After Van She played at the Logitech UE launch held at Oxford Art Factory a couple of weeks ago, we caught up with dudes to chat music, Jamaica and synths. Here is what they had to say…
How did putting the band Van She together, first come about?
We used to hang around in the same kind of scene and parties, met through mutual friends and realised we liked the same kind of music and decided we wanted to make some together.
Your second album Idea of Happiness is out now, what was it like putting that together and what was the road like getting there?
It was four years since we’d first started to get our stuff out there, after we toured with our first album for a couple of years we did some writing and took a break and everyone did other projects and then we got back into it so I think realistically it probably took us a year to make it. We had a lot time so there were no time constraints or project constraints, and that’s probably why it took so long.
What kind of advantages are there playing with the synth rather than using more natural sounds?
The whole concept behind a synthesiser is that you can synthesise any sound and make any sound, shape it and I think there are endless possibilities. Advantages are probably that it’s a little easier to control, it’s not acoustic it’s electric.
What first got you interested in the electropop sound? Was there a defining moment where you realised it was a sound you wanted to work with?
It was probably when I was at university, I was studying music and I wanted to play bass in orchestras and then I came across synth work and I began looking at the back of records and seeing a particular instrument listed with the machine that was used and learnt about things that way.
Earlier on you guys did a lot of remixes of some great artists, what did you learn as a band from remixing tracks by artists such as Klaxons and Feist?
I think we learnt that sometimes you second guess yourself and go round in circles and I suppose from doing something like the remixes we got on a roll and we knew how to achieve what we wanted to achieve. We had a good experience learning about the decision making process.
Who is the biggest music inspiration to you?
I don’t think there’s any one particular person who inspires me, I’m more inspired by the way somebody might put some chords and melody or sounds together, and it could be any artist or any genre of music. That’s kind of what excites me and I know what I like when I hear it, there are some people who are like “I know I can’t listen to a country song” but I could be inspired by the way it’s put together.
Was there a moment when you realised you were really making it as a band out in the world and becoming a big hit? What was it like?
In retrospect, when I look back I’ll think “yeah wow that was pretty cool, that was pretty lucky” but you don’t think of it at the time, nothing really changes that much, not for us anyway. I think if someone books you or someone is interested in having you go to another country and play, then that’s pretty good, that’s a pretty good sign, it’s pretty lucky that lots of people would like to do that and have gotten to do that so I suppose from that perspective yeah, we’re really lucky and it’s really cool.
Have you ever had any embarrassing moments live on tour or in front of a band you really like?
Yeah, we were in Perth and Nick and I had an argument and we fell into Pnau’s band room while they were doing a Channel V interview and we were grumbling and we fell into the door while they were filming so that was pretty embarrassing. And then we got held up in the car park by undercover policemen so yeah, that was probably the most embarrassing.
You’ve just come from playing the Logitech UE and are set to play Stereosonic, Foreshore and Field Day, but what do you think the greatest performance by Van She was?
I can’t recall the name of the festival, but there was one in Melbourne a few years back and we played at dusk and I remember looking out and there were heaps of people and we were playing really well and I remember thinking “this is really, really cool.” But it kind of all blurs into one, after a while it’s just another gig and you stop thinking about where you are or what it is.
What’s something that’s surprised you most on your journey as a musician and performing all over the world?
It’s really nice when someone cares, for example in Columbia we finished playing and we were outside and a whole bunch of people came up to us and were like “we’ve been waiting for seven years for you guys to come, thank you so much, it was great” so that’s really cool to think of people right on the other side of the world who don’t even speak the same language as you that really like you.
What are the plans for Van She in late 2012 and 2013?
Just doing all these festivals and probably start writing. It’ll probably take us a few years to finish it this time.