An Interview with Bob Velma of Shinobu & Fuss

Recently, we caught up with the bassist of Shinobu, and the new band, Fuss, Bob Velma. Among other things, we touch on Bob’s comings and going during the pandemic, his origins in music, the formation of Fuss, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Fuss, head over to the group’s Bandcamp, and dig in. Once you’ve done that, check out this interview with Bob. Cheers.

Andrew:
Bob, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Bob:
Between recording this album in the spring and announcing it in the fall, I had the most intense summer of my life dealing with a relentless wave of work and some heavy family stuff, on top of, you know, everything else! Here I am on the other side of it all with the knowledge that if I can get through that, then I can probably get through anything.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Bob:
I think I was just born with music in my blood. My earliest memories of music were recording songs from cartoons like Looney Tunes and Garfield, and going to my aunt’s house to dub the songs off of VHS onto audio cassettes. My mom played violin and encouraged us, kids, to play music too, so I grew up dabbling with piano and trombone before discovering punk rock as a teenager.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Bob:
I think the first musician to really blow my mind was Beck. Odelay blended so many different styles, the lyrics were weird and funny, and I think it opened up a new world beyond bland alternative rock radio for me. My older brother took me to see him the day after I turned fourteen, and that was my first show. I was (and am) really into The Beastie Boys too, and in hindsight, they were doing very similar stuff in the 90s. In my twenties, I got heavily into this Japanese Punk band called Ging Nang Boyz, who re-molded my entire perspective on performance, and songwriting, so much so that some friends and I did a whole podcast about them over the pandemic.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events. Take me through the formation of Fuss.

Bob:
I knew Chase [Knobbe] casually from Joyce Manor, Shinobu having played some shows with them, and I also worked at Asian Man Records, who had released a couple of their albums. When I moved to LA, Chase reached out to me, and we ended up hanging out pretty often, just wandering around or doing karaoke. At some point, Chase had met Nick [Aguilar] and was impressed with his drumming, so he got us all together, and it turns out we had some decent chemistry as a band!

Andrew:
How about your new single, “Teryaki Dinner?” What can fans expect?

Bob:
“Teriyaki Dinner” was the first song that Fuss wrote just by jamming out ideas in the practice space. The lyrics are pretty autobiographical, about feeling like a loser when all you want is to impress and take care of someone special.

Andrew:
Fuss has quite the pedigree with origins of Joyce Maynor, Shinobu, and Neighborhood Brats. What sets Fuss apart?

Bob:
As a songwriter, I’m all about melody, so sometimes my songs don’t have too many other bells and whistles. I think Chase as a guitarist really thinks differently than anyone else, playing as if the guitar were another voice, and Nick is really loose and funky on the drums. Those two really elevate my simple songs, making them shine in exciting, unexpected ways.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? What are a few of your favorite albums, and why?

Bob:
I have a pretty big collection of LPs and 45s that has been an absolute pain in the ass to move from place to place over the last six years, but I also wouldn’t have it any other way.

One album I always find myself listening to is Leatherface’s Mush, which has a unique type of British melody that I’m obsessed with, and some beautiful guitarwork. I’ve also been really into Kero Kero Bonito’s last couple of records. They’ve really carved out a cool niche combining those aforementioned British melodies with J-Pop, House, and Pop. I wanted to see them play later this month, but the tickets are $70! DOH!

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Bob:
My escape from the world over the pandemic has been tending to my little cactus garden. I’m biding my time until I someday have a home of my own where I can do some serious xeriscaping, and watch them bloom as I grow old. One of the songs on the record is a sort of love letter to cacti, the desert, and my friends from Arizona, who helped me stay stoked on music over the last few years.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Bob:
I don’t think I’m particularly qualified to comment on the state of the business, but I’d hope that the artists I love continue to make art regardless of all that. Didn’t we all get into music for fun in the first place? Don’t we just wanna get these abstract noises in our brain out into the world?

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next on your docket? What are you looking forward to most in the post-COVID world?

Bob:
I just wanna travel, eat good food, and see people again! I’d love to visit Spain or Scotland, maybe Tokyo again!

Interested in learning more about Fuss? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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