VATS

VATS

Bio by VATS | Photos by Keith Feltis: one, two, three, four

In the green glass room, certain words are allowed, but others are not — the player within the room must ask questions until they figure out the parameters of the world they’ve entered. It is only logical that VATS would exist in such a space.

VATS was conceived years ago in a basement in Tacoma, Washington when Sarah and Gabe were roommates. Their shared interests in Devo, sci-fi films, and social commentary led them to write a handful of chorus-heavy beat-driven punk songs using just bass, guitar, and dueling vocals. A few attempts were made to bring in drummers or drum machines, but they agreed that no one had yet grasped the sound they were going for. It wasn’t until they moved to Seattle in 2013 that they found the right woman to complete the band: JJ.

JJ and Sarah met by chance when Sarah got a job at a Seattle coffee shop and commented on her new coworker’s Wire pin. When JJ mentioned that she was a drummer looking to start a new project, Sarah knew immediately that they had to collaborate. JJ shared a practice space at the old Chop House, where she quickly learned the few existing VATS songs, delivering a style influenced by her Seattle favorites — bands like A-Frames and Wet Paint DMM. Her calculated and angular approach to drums was nothing like the ‘80s punk from which the first VATS songs were derived, but her efforts provoked compelling songwriting and solidified the sound of the group.

Preferring to involve friends and local spaces in their recording process, VATS self-released three tapes over the next two years. VATS’ first full-length, Green Glass Room, was recorded and mixed by Ian Crist at burgeoning International District studio and venue, Office Space. It is telling that their debut would kick off with a melodic feedback squall, introducing a mixture of older and newer songs as well as a cover of ’80s German electronic band, Malaria! The nine tracks of Green Glass Room range from cold punk anthems to jazzier, more melodic passages, with a dry vocal delivery that vacillates between brassy and sincere. VATS take inspiration from broken TV sets, unwanted advances, the Northwest, injustice, pleasure, and daily life — making their Green Glass Room an enthralling essential, a compelling beginning.

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Releases: Green Glass Room LP/CS

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“VATS take cues from the James Chance contortionist legacy… In their ‘Green Glass Room,’ VATS create an eerie little world to inhabit for three-and-a-half minutes.” — The FADER

“Tensile, tuneful post-punk with stark male/female vocals and moods darker than Robert Smith’s hair.” — The Stranger

“Overflowing with precise, crashing drums and guitar leads that harken back to the best of ‘80s goth rock; emotional, angular and driving all at once. Up-and-comers for sure.” — KEXP