(For Vidya Academy of Science and Technology, Kerala, India
VAST is an American alternative rock band based in Austin, Texas. The acronym VAST stands for Visual Audio Sensory Theater and is the main creation of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jon Crosby. The band is signed to 2blossoms, an independent record company created by Crosby himself.
VAST's sound is identifiable as ambient electro-rock with considerable industrial and acoustic influences, usually made with Crosby's traditional acoustic guitar, electronic instruments and processing, drum-driven tracks, and heavy bass. On stage, VAST uses elaborate stage monitors and visual effects to complement the live performances of the tracks.
After Elektra Records terminated VAST's contract due to poor sales of their second album, Crosby signed his band to his own 2blossoms. Due to VAST being on a small independent label, the band has been known to play in smaller venues as of late, catering to smaller audiences and lower budgets.
Crosby's musical endeavors began at a young age of 13, where he was noted in Guitar Player Magazine as a promising guitarist of the future. He often recorded home demos with nothing more than a guitar and a drum machine
, sometimes a bass
player with him as well. He nearly signed onto a guitar-based label Shrapnel, but turned it down to work on his budding songwriting skills. Crosby eventually left High School to do Home Study and begin his own band, which he dubbed VAST. Much like fellow Alternative Rock/Industrial band Nine Inch Nails
, Crosby was the only member but found a touring band who knew the songs well enough to play with him live.
After sending multiple demo tapes to nearby radio stations in his home state of Texas, the band began to receive considerable attention; especially after Crosby sent a demo to Elektra Records, who eventually signed a contract with the budding musician. In a matter of no time, VAST released a teaser of their upcoming debut album Visual Audio Sensory Theater titled VAST Is..., which featured the first four tracks of the album. The track Touched received considerable amounts of airplay on local radio stations before capturing the attention of a mainstream audience, being featured on the soundtrack to the movie The Beach, and being featured as a promo song during TV show advertisements on NBC.
Elektra years (1998-2000)
Crosby was about to release his critically acclaimed material on April 28 1998
with his debut album Visual Audio Sensory Theater
. Promoted heavily by Elektra as a revolution in rock music due to Crosby's usage of various choirs, (like the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Maur and Les Mystère Des Voix Bulgares), a 17-piece orchestra, thrashing guitar tracks, and ambient industrial influences. However, the album stuttered out of the gate, with its lead single Pretty When You Cry
not even charting on modern rock radio, and the album having a considerable strong start, but falling off the charts quickly. However, the band's popularity increased as the second single Touched
became a hit, receiving good airplay around the country, as well as receiving airplay on television as the soundtrack to Angel (TV series)
, and being used as a trailer for The Beach
. The song is still a fan-favorite and gets occasional play on radio and television promos to this day. After Visual Audio Sensory Theater's relative success, the band went on an extensive tour as opening acts for countless bands, gaining a rather large fanbase and a cult following.
After the promising tracks of Visual Audio Sensory Theater, Elektra pressured Crosby to go back to the drawing board and craft an album that was accessible to more listeners, but still retaining the distinct sound VAST had conjured for the last album. After two years of recording, VAST returned with 2000's Music for People. Turmoil was abundant during the album's recording process as Crosby constantly fought with record executives over the music's direction and former backup guitarist Rowan Robertson wishing to leave VAST and begin his own solo career. By the end of the album's recording process, Robertson had left VAST, and Crosby reluctantly moved forward with the band and released the most emotional songs Crosby had released to this point. As expected by the label, Music for People created a bit of a buzz in the musical world as the band received MTV airplay with their lead single "Free"'s music video, with the single charting on the Billboard's Hot 100, and hitting #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks. The band became a relative success after Music for People, but the album's poor sales and lack of a second charting single led to tension between Elektra and Crosby. In late 2002, Elektra Records terminated VAST from their contract.
Turquoise and Crimson years (2001-2005)
In 2004, Crosby recorded bundles of tracks that were titled Turquoise 3.x
and Crimson 3.x
; they were released through online electronic delivery outlet Payloadz.com. VAST solidified his band's line-up during this time, and it became a standard 4-person band. The unusual method of distribution angered record companies, and as a result Crosby was forced to sign a short-term deal with 456 Entertainment to release the best of both releases as one album, titled Nude
. Due to the relative obscurity of the label and the strange method of Turquoise & Crimson
's release, the band quietly drifted off back to underground crowds as Crosby's musical integrity grew and became something that Crosby wanted, not what Elektra wanted. The idea of releasing Nude on an Indie label was a "nightmare", Crosby says because "There were so many problems dealing with them (456 Entertainment) on every level. I feel we made a big mistake not believing in ourselves enough and doing it on our own.". The album also received barely any airplay or commercial success, and when unnoticed by most critics, except for the few who stated that Crosby had found new life on his own, and stated that Nude was his best work since Visual Audio Sensory Theater. But, blooming out of the disaster with 456, Crosby's independent label, 2Blossoms began.
2blossoms years (2005-present)
After a short tour for Nude
, the band released 2blossoms
's first release, A Complete Demonstration
, which was a collection of early demo tracks during the Visual Audio sessions. The album was a limited-edition piece and sold quickly due to popular demand. Then in 2006, VAST released Turquoise & Crimson
, a double-disc collection of all the tracks that were released as bundles online in 2004 online under his label. Popular demand was high, even with it being on an independent label, and eventually the album received a physical, retail release in stores. The album went over well with fans and critics alike, but still didn't receive enough attention to bring VAST back to the mainstream. In 2006, VAST released Live at CBGB's
on their 2blossoms record to moderate sales. After multiple tours, VAST went back to the studio and recorded their first all-acoustic album, April
The release method for April was, once again, unorthodox. In 2006, Crosby released an online version of the acoustic album online with ten tracks. April was mostly recorded only by Jon Crosby and an acoustic guitar, but in other occasions, the bass and drums were used. Originally intended to be the finished version, Crosby was "unhappy with the finished version", so went back to the studio and finished the album with four new tracks and a whole new track listing. Fan-made artwork graced the cover, and the album received a traditional release in stores. The album was not as well received by critics and fans, but was modestly embraced. It didn't do as well as past albums, but features a few fan favorites and Crosby says it's one of his favorite VAST CDs.
Expected in 2008 is an album/documentary titled Closed Romantic Realism. The album is expected in early 2008, and is a 'return to the electro-rock' of past records. It is also expected to be a movie documentary of sorts, but not much else has been elaborated on. They have also recently released a new live album titled Seattle 2007, which features more April songs played live than their previous live album, Live at CBGB's. VAST is also currently on tour, supporting April on a US and UK tour. The band released Bang Band Sixxx in 2008, which was a return to the band's sound after April.
Solo work and side projects
Jon Crosby and the Resonator Band:
Bang Band SiXXX