INTERVIEW: Van She
With a new album on the shelves and upcoming national tour, VAN SHE have a pretty full dance card at this present moment. As the fellas prepare themselves for a hectic second half of 2012, I sat down with MIKEY DI FRANCESCO, one quarter of the aforementioned Sydney synth-rockers for a chat…
… and then the phone cut out. The still, black, endless nothing of a dead line rang through my headset. My heart sank. I got all excited for my interview, and this man became increasingly hard to lock down. He could have been on the other side of the world or four blocks away, but all I knew is that he was not in the dull, white-as-white cube of an office I was.
(Check out their gig at the Beach Road Hotel HERE)
So after a few moments, and little squirming on my part, the line came back and we were able to continue our conversation about the new record, the influences of remixing and their new-look tour.
“It’s a lot more summery than the first record. It also has a more synthetic sound, yet at the same time is still organic and has the feel of a band.”
Undeniably whimsical (with titles like Idea Of Happiness) VAN SHE’s second record feels as though it is one totally ripped from the tropics: sincere and sharp vocals, and grooves that recall drunken summer nights in the Caribbean. It is an album full of music that strips one from the mundane, spring-boarding you to a breezy tropical beach.
‘There is a heap of escapism and this whole be where you wanna be [vibe]. I mean, I think where we recorded says a lot too. The studio we were in, it’s kind of underground and it doesn’t get much light. So when we were looking out the little window you got the feeling of like, wanting to be out there. And I think that’s played a really big role.’
The entire album was recorded, engineered and produced by the band in a studio they built in Kings Cross, Sydney: a declaration of self-sufficiency no doubt allowing them time and space to think and consider and just let their ideas grow.
‘We built a studio and we weren’t constricted by times or budgets. If we weren’t feeling it one day we could just say ‘You know what? Lets go home, or the beach or whatever. And that’s the good thing about control, it does allow the freedom to be that way. Whereas I suppose if you were in the studio paying $500 a day, then you have to think that you need to get something done. For us, this was definitely better, we could just go at our own pace.’
Launching onto the scene in 2005 with the ’80s pop inspired ‘Kelly,’ Van She cannot be accused of rushing into recording. It was not until 2008 that the guys finally released their debut LP – which featured a significantly retooled version of their first track. What eventuated from their first LP was a sharp sketch of metropolitan nightlife: a direction quite beyond where their current sound stands.
‘I think with V we were still kind of trying to find our feet. It wasn’t like a tugging and pulling of a bunch of different directions, but I think this one’s still more focused.’
In the years that sit between the release of V and Idea Of Happiness, the guys have been quite prominent with the off-shoot VAN SHE TECH. Remixing other’s work, and the going on to remix all their original tracks off V and released it as the album Ze Vemixes.
‘When you’re doing remixes, we were essentially writing new tracks and putting other peoples vocals on top. The first album we went with a big name, but this time around we thought you, know what, we know what we want and we think we can cheat it. It was all practice.’
Invigorated with a skewed musical direction, the tour VAN SHE are readying to embark upon presents a challenge for their performance.
‘Yes well, we’ve totally restructured the show, ’cause it doesn’t play the same as our previous work.We’re sorting it out now, but we know it will be more up-beat and dance’.
Idea Of Happiness is set for release on July 6.
VAN SHE TOUR DATES
Thursday July 5
Capitol Theatre, Perth
Friday July 6
Saturday July 7
Zierholz at UC, Canberra
Sunday July 8
Wednesday July 11
The Brewery, Byron Bay
Thursday July 12
The Hi Fi, Brisbane
Friday July 13
The Hi Fi, Melbourne
Saturday July 14
Metro , Sydney
Saturday July 21
Words by Luke Letourneau