Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Version 5

Photo courtesy of Heart Riot Agency.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

The roaring 20’s have emerged once again.

Earlier this year, Minnesota-based rockers Version 5 delivered their own “version” (pardon the pun) with the music video for their single “Close My Eyes,” which was filmed at an actual speakeasy bar.

Recommended for those who like Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park and Bring Me The Horizon, the group – which consists of brothers Spencer and Andy Olson and drummer AJ Rowe – provided the heavy on this riff-centered single.

The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the trio about “Close My Eyes” and more.

Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name? 

AJ Rowe – When we are demoing new songs, it always seems like the fifth version is when the song really starts to take shape. Most song ideas never get to that point. 

Music Bugle – What was it like making your new music video? 

Andy Olson – The video was an absolute blast. We rented out a real speakeasy bar in Minneapolis, Al’s Place. They were amazing to work with, so everyone pretty much hung out, drank cocktails and had a fun night. We really had the dream team – everyone involved gave it their all. We shot it all in a half a day – which is tough to do if you don’t have the right people around you.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music? 

AJ Rowe – Our style is timeless… and extravagant… with just the right amount of Jank live. Electronic music has been around a while and definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Incorporating the angst, rebelliousness and non-conformity of rock music with heavy electronic elements just fills a hole in my soul that I didn’t even know was there and when you add three gents that love performing and can really put on a show, it’s impossible not to want to party.

Andy Olson – For me, it’s when we blend multiple styles of music. I love big synths along with big guitars, mixing my rock roots with some EDM elements.

Spencer Olson – With Version 5, I think what excites me about our music is that people have a difficult time figuring out where we belong on the musical spectrum. It works a bit as a blessing and a curse, as we aren’t “rock enough” for some audiences or “electronic enough” for others. However, I like that. It means we’re not rewriting every song we release and we’ll continue to push genre boundaries.

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

AJ Rowe – I’ve been jamming a lot of miscellaneous hardcore/metalcore, I guess, -type genres lately. The infinite subgenres for each band always confuse me! (Laughs) Architects, Polaris, While She Sleeps, Parkway Drive, etc..

Andy Olson – I’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff. I kinda felt like I was in a rut, so I’ve been listening to everything from jazz, like Django Reinhardt, old school rock and roll like Eddie Cochran and Minneapolis hip-hop, like Mujah Messiah. I can get off on tons of different styles and that’s what keeps music fresh and fun.

Spencer Olson – I’ve always been an electronic music fan. I listen to it non-stop while I work and I love the groove and consistency of certain artists. I jokingly call them “brain food” because it feels like motivation fuel. My main picks right now are deadmau5 – as always though, Tycho and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross with their recent soundtrack work. “The Social Network” soundtrack is a masterclass in scoring and sound design, in my opinion.

Music Bugle – What are three of your favorite all-time albums? 

Andy Olson – That’s a tough one. It’s hard to narrow it down that much. For me, ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles is probably the best album of all time. It’s probably a three-way tie of ‘Rubber Soul,’ ‘Revolver’ and/or ‘Sgt Pepper.’ I love The Beatles and they have proven how timeless they are. Number two? The Cars’ debut record. It’s literally perfect. It’s catchy, filled with some punk attitude and amazing musicianship. Then, probably The Prodigy’s ‘The Day Is My Enemy.’ I’m a huge Prodigy fan and I believe that that is their magnum opus.

AJ Rowe – Simple Plan’s ‘Still Not Getting Any’ was the first album I ever bought when I was like, eight or nine years old. The pre-teen angst. (Laughs) Listened to it nearly everyday on my CD player and boombox for years and the full album still lives on my main Spotify playlist today! A Day To Remember’s ‘Homesick’ is my go-to introduction album for anyone I meet that doesn’t know ADTR. Eminem’s ‘Curtain Call’ has the greatest early singles from the real Slim Shady. The greatest “Greatest Hits” album.

Spencer Olson – God, for me, that’s such a hard question because they are always rotating out amongst each other. I’m not that consistent of a listener when it comes to specifics artists or albums. I definitely listen in trends and phases. However, as of right now – ‘Hesitation Marks’ by Nine Inch Nails, ‘Fat Of The Land’ by The Prodigy and ‘4×4=12’ from deadmau5.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Spencer Olson – Obviously, not playing out has been a huge factor, but we’ve used this time to write and record some new tunes, so 2021 is looking to be one of our most active years yet.

Music Bugle – What does today’s music industry need more of? 

Andy Olson – I believe there is a ton of great stuff out there, but most people never hear it. The algorithms act as a sort of gate keeper from the masses. It’d be nice to see music online democratized a little bit. With the internet, people should be able to take musical risks, because of how much less everything costs to get out there than it used to. It’d be great to see the risk takers rewarded.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape? 

AJ Rowe – We’re all into riding motorcycles, snowmobiles and pretty much anything power sports-related, so that’s what we do to get away. What’s great about riding bikes is that there are serious consequences to making mistakes, so you’re forced to live in the moment.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Spencer Olson – No quote. A complete and unrelenting desire to be famous.

Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021? 

Andy Olson – We have an EP to release that is completely done and we’re finishing up a couple singles. Hopefully, we can release those with some new music videos in 2021.

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