Announcing The Indie Music Showcase Series | Interview w/Tart Vandelay


540WMain is equal parts ART | EDUCATION | AND EVENTS so we that we are pleased to formally announce our brand new event series: The Indie Music Showcase.

We are pleased to announce our brand new event series:

The Indie Music Showcase at 540WMain

This LIVE music showcase is an intimate concert and will feature Rochester’s finest indie musicians and bands. The showcase will happen in January, March, May, September & November of 2017. We are thrilled to have Rochester’s very own Tart Vandelay join us for the debut show. Comprised of Katie Halligan (vocals/looping station/ukulele) & Marty LoFaso (guitar/vocals) Tart Vandelay has a unique style of fun, eclectic, soul-searching Indie rock. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have them kick off this series and are even happier that they agreed to do an interview with us.

Purchase your tickets by clicking the button below


Check out Tart Vandelay’s interview below:

When did you begin your career as musicians and what inspired you to pursue music ?

(ML) I’ve been playing music since I was ten years old and Katie has been playing music her whole life, performing her first gig with her father when she was five. Music runs on both sides of her family, and both Katie and I have always felt a natural pull towards music. Music has always been a natural passion for both of us.


Where did you get the inspiration for your band name?

(TV) The band name stems from a Seinfeld reference. In more than one episode of Seinfeld, the character George uses the name “Art Vandelay” to lie about his identity. Katie thought of adding the “T” in front to avoid any copyright issues and to add a little “tartness

What genre do you consider your band/music

(TV) We tend to use the catch-all terms “Indie/Alternative” because it frames what we do, while still leaving some ambiguity. We know that labels are meant to help people get an idea of our sound before they hear us, but as we feel our sound is such a blend of styles and is unique to us, we try to leave the explanation somewhat open-ended so that people can listen with an open mind.

For you how does playing instrument/songwriting relate to wellness?

(TV) Music is inherently therapeutic, and also abstractly spiritual, and so both of those aspects really inform how playing music helps a person with wellness. By performing a therapeutic and spiritual exercise, we’re keeping ourselves well, but we can also influence others’ wellness by them listening to a recording or experiencing a live performance, because the therapy and spirituality is transmitted to the listener/experience.

 Tell the readers about your instruments and what inspired you to play them

(KH) Marty plays guitar pretty much exclusively, as well as singing back-up vocals. He’s just always been drawn to the instrument, never really had much interest in being a super multi-instrumentalist. I began on saxophone, moved to voice, also learned piano, ukulele, bass, and now I also do vocal looping through a looping pedal. I was inspired by seeing vocalists loop their own voice and create a choral effect.

How do you stay healthy?

  • Mentally – We practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis. We also make sure to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, or as close to eight hours as we can.
  • Physically – We stay active by walking, eating healthy, drinking LOTS of water, and getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Emotionally – Playing, listening to and writing music are all ways that naturally and healthily allow us to express and manage our emotions.

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your career as an artist/musician?

(TV) Our biggest challenge so far has been developing a brand that reaches enough people to sustain the band as a long-term venture. The amount of time, energy and money it takes to bring a band to the level that it can sustain itself as a business requires a lot of sacrifice, and it’s difficult to keep oneself on that track on a daily basis.

Briefly describe your song writing process.

(KH) Usually, Marty comes up with the skeletal structure of the song on guitar and passes it along assembly-line-style to myself to add lyrics, edit and arrange. Then the full band adds bass and drums to complete the full arrangement. We tried writing face to face together in 2013 but it wasn’t quite working, so we waited until 2014 to try working together again, and just kind of fell into the assembly line thing, so that was really nice. It definitely works well to keep things compartmentalized; the work is more efficient. Too many cooks spoil the broth!

Who are your musical icons and influences

(ML) My biggest influence is definitely The Beatles. They are the reason I became a musician I also love Wilco and I’m super influenced by Jeff Tweedy as an artist. Phish and Incubus were also big influences in my formative years.  Katie’s biggest influences are Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant, St. Vincent, and most of all the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

 When you aren’t creating music what are you up to?

(KH) When I’m not wiriting I work part-time at my sister’s bakery, Get Caked, in the Village Gate. I also love to read, draw and paint in my spare time. Marty teaches private guitar lessons. In his spare time he enjoys reading and playing disc golf.

 What is it that inspires you to keep going as an independent musician?

(TV) Knowing that the people who’ve had the success that we aspire to kept going. It’s almost like the lottery in a way, because you really can’t win if you don’t play, and if you give up, you’ll never know how close you were to the success you wanted or what could have been. We would rather “fail” at this than “succeed” at anything else. We use those terms with quotations marks because it’s up to each individual to define what “success” means to them.

Do you ever see yourself signing a major label deal? Why or Why not ?

(TV) We would probably not sign with a major label. We would love to sign with a small or midsized label that had compatible artistic views and wanted to help us grow our business organically; the pressures attached to mainstream success and major labels feel like they would constrict our artistic freedoms.

 What are you working on now? When can we expect a full LP/album

(TV) We have lots of things in the works for 2017. We’ve started tracking for a full-length album, which we hope to release in the summer. We will be filming our first music video in the coming months, and we’ll be venturing out of town to some new locations, bringing the full band out of town for the first time.

 What’s has been your best live performance experience thus far in your career?

(TV) In Rochester, playing at Water Street has been our best experience thus far, because it was the biggest stage and crowd we’ve ever played in front of. But we really consider Burlington VT to be a home away from home, and we always feel very welcomed and appreciated there as well.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

 (TV) Getting started was our biggest challenge, which we’re happy to say we have been able to do, simply by forcing ourselves to stop being perfectionists and get outside of our comfort zones, past our own personal barriers. Truthfully, sometimes when forcing yourself to take that approach, you aren’t always 110% satisfied with things, but it’s better than nothing happening at all, because you waited for everything perfect and it never was going to be. That’s life.

What advice do you have for others interested in pursuing a career in music?

(TV) Do the research about all of the different career paths within music and about all of the different ways musicians make money. Saying you want to be a musician is as broad as saying you want to be a doctor; there are so many different ways to be a musician, and the only way to be successful is to know exactly which avenues speak to you.

Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?

(TV) We like to think our music not as music for the mind, or music for the body, but rather as music for the soul, the place where the mind and body meet

For the rest of January we will feature fun facts about Tart Vandelay and their members Katie and Marty right here on the website. To learn more about Tart visit their website

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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