Despite only forming earlier this summer, neophyte Northern Kentucky group Vito Emmanuel has already graced the stages of Fountain Square and the ballroom in Southgate House.
Lead singer and guitarist Brandon Migliorisi also plays in on-hiatus hard-rock band Rosemary Device, but with Vito, he abandons his hard rock roots for the electro-pop/acoustic stylings heard on the soon-to-be-released record "Good Luck."
The septet prepares to play their third show ever at MainStrasse Village's first, hopefully annual, Feywill Music Festival this weekend that'll showcase 50 other bands during the Friday-Saturday extravaganza. Migliorisi talked to us about how Vito differs from his previous bands and how Oasis convinced him to become a musician.
So why the new band?
I used to play in a bunch of just hard rock bands, and it was always weird because I'd be hanging out with other hard rock bands backstage or at the bar before the show would start and they would always ask, "Did you hear the new so and so album?" And I'm like, "No, I don't listen to hard rock." I'm not sure why I'm in a hard rock band. I just decided to do something different.
Who's in the band with you?
There's a guy who runs Mad Hatter and Radiodown named Kevin McNamee. He plays drums and percussion. My roommate sings backup vocals, Olivia Toller, and she also plays violin. A guy named Zack Rowe - he plays in Rosemary Device. He also plays in a band called Sleepin' Dogs. I just got to see them for the first time recently and they're amazing. I've been playing music with this guy for too long to not see his other band. Morgan Genevieve - she sings backup. Kristi Kruer plays ukulele, sometimes keyboard, and sings backup and then my friend Ben Brown does turntables and synthesizers. Sometimes I play piano, acoustic guitar and sing.
Where does the name of the band come from?
My dad wanted to name me Vito before I was born, but my mom hated the name. She had picked out Emmanuel. That's the story I got from both of them.
But my real name is Brandon. I had to ask my mom where that name came from. My mom and my aunt use to watch this soap opera and there was this gorgeous guy that they were in love with and his name was Brandon. I guess under whatever sedation you're on after giving birth, my mom just randomly decided to tell her my name was going to be Brandon.
And so when my parents asked a couple of months ago why I picked the name Vito Emmanuel for the band, I told them and my dad said, "I thought it was because your two great-grandfathers use to play together, music, and one was Vito and the other one was Emmanuel." I had no idea about that.
Why did you decide to become a musician?
I was in the sixth grade and my mom was picking me up for school. I get in the car and she puts it in park, and she's like, "I'm going to go in and talk to your teachers about grades and see what's going on." And obviously I'm like, "Oh, s -" because I was a sixth-grade boy and I wanted to ride my bike and burn things. I didn't want to study.
She went in and I was out in the car sweating bullets, so I turned on the radio and there was an alternative station at the time that doesn't exist now. As soon as I turned it on they were doing an interview with the band Oasis. I didn't like Oasis at the time. I liked the Beatles but I thought that Oasis was trying to rip them off. But they kind of inspired me to play music because in the interview, they were saying that their grades were pretty awful in school, and where they were living, you had to have good grades to get a good job. And they figured we'll just learn music and just play music in bars and get paid that way. I thought that sounded like a bad idea but I remembered that my mom was always trying to push music on me.
And so when she came back out to the car, she didn't look happy. So I instantly brought it up. "Isn't there a guitar in the closet at the house somewhere?" She's like, "Yeah." I was like, "I want to learn how to play that." So I diverted the conversation to music and I was kind of locked into it. She paid for guitar lessons and so I started taking them. It turned out to be a really good thing.
What are your live shows like?
I think because I've been playing in the Krinj band for so long, I was really tired of people showing up to play shows wearing what they wear at their house and just kind of playing music and not making a show out of it. So in this band, sometimes it gets real cheesy. The girls will be blowing bubbles sometimes, like tons of bubbles. Fog machines just going off. We have a wild light show. Sometimes we have a 100 balloons that we'll throw out, or beach balls. We try to get the crowd to feel like they're more part of show then just some dudes showing up in jeans and t-shirts and playing really loud music. We have a box of tambourines and maracas with the band name on them and we spread them out among the whole front row. We try to encourage everybody to dance, be loud and sing.
What would you like to see happen with the band?
I don't like to have too many expectations because I don't want to be let down. Right now I'm in the mindset that hopefully a lot of people will like the band because the goal is to just make happy music that people will want to dance to.
But would you like to make it big?
I think right now we're really doing it for fun, but I do have to be totally honest. I've been playing music for so long and working at a crappy job for so long, if somebody was like, "We will pay you to do this," I would totally drop what I was doing and make some money at it. It's not a goal, so if anything like that does come up it would be the greatest surprise ever.