Q & A with Keegan Calmes, lead singer of Vinyl Theatre

Jill O'Brien

Indie rock band Vinyl Theatre is ready to hit the road on their latest tour, which will span 29 cities across the U.S.

After leaving their label, Fueled by Ramen, and releasing a new single on March 2, the Milwaukee-based trio is ready to play new music starting tonight at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines.

The Daily sat down for a phone interview with lead singer and guitarist Keegan Calmes, who spoke on getting back on the road and “not really answering to anybody” when it comes to the band’s sound.

ISD: Today is the first day of tour. How are you feeling?

KC: We’re feeling good. It’s always nice to get back out on the road.

Any pre-tour nerves or jitters?

It usually comes down to ‘What did I forget?’

When the band was starting out, you guys toured with a lot of other indie bands, like Smallpools, The Mowgli’s and twenty one pilots, and you also headlined your own tour. How does it feel to be back on the road since those first tours in 2014-16?

It feels good. We were off the road for a year, we only had a couple tours over those two years. We get to sort of be free with our creativity…everything we’re doing is more hands-on.

How do you think this tour will be different from past ones?

It’s more exciting. All the music videos came out, there’s not much to provide people content wise — when you’re on the road, your creativity has been stunted. We’ve been home for a long enough time that we’ve premeditated what we’re doing. 

How do you think your sound has changed/stayed the same since “Electrogram” in 2014?

It’s changed a lot. “Electrogram” was a synth-pop record, “Origami” is a rock record, where guitar took the lead a little bit. We threw any sort of formula out the window…and now we’re coming out with a new song on the side of Bruno Mars. We’re not really answering to anybody, which opens all those doors. When you have someone telling you what’s good what’s not good, you get to the point where you’re fed up.

What is your biggest expectation or hope that you and the band have for this tour?

We just hope to see everyone again, be revitalized, build momentum into the new music and the new EP. Things have changed in a good way — it doesn’t feel like we’re being held back creatively. A lot of our fans had concerns about that and that’s no longer the case.