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ROCKchester festival preview: Interview with Josh Augustin of Vansire

ROCKchester festival preview: Interview with Josh Augustin of Vansire

ROCKchester is a local music and arts festival showcasing the growing youth music and art scene in Rochester. Curated by teenagers, the event focuses on the participation of young creators, musicians, and artists.

In the lead up to the event, the Med City Beat is publishing interviews with some of the featured artists. Our fourth and finalinstallment is with Josh Augustin of Vansire. The interview was conducted by ROCKchester consultant Terri Allred.

What is the name of your band?


What does it mean?

Vansire refers to a species of mongoose and a type of parasitic wasp native to Africa. We are both pretty amused by mongooses, but the main story is that Sam once received a nasty wasp sting around the time we were first recording bridges for the young. We were outside, kind of wandering around a random soybean field, and I was filming him for what would ultimately become the BFTY music video (which you can find if you google the song). I still have some of the footage of him yelling out and grabbing his arm. Behind the camera I'm like oh, that looks pretty bad, that was a big wasp. Ouch. Then he yelled dude, stop filming, and we got out of that soybean field.

This was during the summer and wasps were out full force, and we actually had to stop recording for awhile because his arm was really swelling up! Through some wasp research we found the name Vansire, and decided it fit the vibe of what we were going for. When the welt on his arm died down, we finished recording the song, and we felt confident that we had found the right band name. Despite that wasp ravaging Sam's arm, we have to thank it for helping us find our name. 

Who are the members? How old are you? What schools do you go to?

Core group: Sam Winemiller and Josh Augustin (U of M and Century High School) our live group features Isaac Winemiller, Nathan Richter, and Jake Johnson

What type of music do you play?

Lo-fi dream pop

Do you write your own music or play covers?

A mix; we have an EP coming out soon with original material and we do some covers as well


How did you come to play together?

Sam and Josh have been playing together in drum line, jazz band, and in the century high school bands for multiple years and created the band last summer.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Mac Demarco, Tame Impala, Washed Out, Melody's Echo Chamber 

Where can people find you?, and on twitter @wearevansire

Who is the least organized in your group?

Sam. That boy is not very organized! 

Tell us an inside joke.

You've got one shot.

When recording Bridges For the Young, we used a shaker lying around in Sam's basement called "one-shot". This "one-shot shaker" has been used in a lot of our recordings now, and before gigs and recording certain tracks, we often tell eachother that we've got one shot to get this right. 

What is the funniest, weirdest thing that has ever happened at a gig?

Our first and only gig was in the lounge area at some dorms at the U of M, and it wasn't technically condoned by the U- so we had people rushing from a dorm room where our equipment was carrying stuff over to this lounge area to get everything set up super quickly and silently before anyone noticed.

Why are you excited to play at ROCKchester?

To spread some dreamy vibes across the good souls of Rochester.

What do you want people to know about you and teen arts?

Rochester needs to put a little more emphasis on celebrating all of the talented teen artists we have in the area, on a large scale. We live in a fairly STEM dominated city, but we are brimming with skilled artists in all fields, and we need to do all we can to support that. This festival is a good starting point. 

ROCKchester Music and Arts Festival is scheduled for May 15 at Wicked Moose Bar and Grill in Rochester. For more information about or to purchase tickets, visit

The Med City Beat is a proud sponsor of ROCKchester.


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