Former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega, who subbed for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng on tour in early '99, has recorded a solo EP, "The Ray Martin Sessions," for fledgling New York indie GrapeOS.
Listeners expecting to hear the aggro-metal Vega played with his former bands are likely to be surprised, as the EP, which also features contributions from ex-Helmet guitarist Chris Traynor, owes more to folk-pop singer-songwriters like Elliott Smith than New York City hardcore.
"We were all in bands that were a lot more cathartic and dealt more with the 'downer' end of the feeling spectrum," Vega said from his New York home. "We all had been through recording sessions like that, too, that were more heavy than they needed to be -- more dramatic emotionally, and taxing. This was the antithesis of that, by design."
For Vega, the songs came together in his home studio with the help of several friends from the local scene.
"Chaka [Malik], who sang in Orange 9mm,
came over to my house and heard some stuff that I was putting together," Vega began. "He really liked it. That got me stoked on playing it for other people. He got me out of my house.
"Then I hooked up with Dave Wolters and Scott [Winegard] -- they do GrapeOS, and Scott was in Texas Is The Reason," he continued. "They were like, 'Man! Let's put this stuff out!' So I just called up my friends who were in bands like Orange 9mm and CIV and other guys from Quicksand. Just a bunch of friends, a bunch of post-hardcore guys, all wound up playing on my record. It was a labor of love. It was just fun. It was very light-hearted."
Quicksand released two major-label albums ("Manic Compression" and "Slip") before calling it a day. Soon after, Vega found himself filling in with the Deftones.
"The extent of my involvement really was just one month in the band, as the bass player," Vega remembers. "Their bassist hurt his toe and had to go home. They called me up. We've been friends
for years, and Quicksand had just finished a tour opening for them. I guess I was fresh on their minds, so they just gave me a call. Those are friends of mine who I speak to with a great deal of regularity."
Though Quicksand briefly reformed before disbanding again ("Nothing dramatic," he said, "it just wasn't really coming together"), Vega is now focused on putting together an album in October that will once more feature Traynor as well as former Chamberlain drummer Charlie Walker.
"With this project that I'm doing now, I just put songs together at my house, and my friends help finish them," he said. "No stress. We all had such a good time that we're hoping to maybe do a solid thing, more of a band thing. Maybe even get a band name and exist."
Doing so would certainly make another Vega happy: Sergio's daughter.
"My daughter [and her friends] have gotten really into [my solo stuff]," Sergio said, laughing. "The further away [my music is] from Quicksand,
they respond to those songs the most. The only people who have been, like, 'I don't get it,' are people who were just really about the metal end of Quicksand."