This song was released yesterday, but it immediately caught my attention. Normally we only add tracks to the list that are submitted by the artists themselves, but I’ve made an exception for this one.
Slow Res is the alias for Dutch artist Nicky Hustinx. He is mostly known for playing drums on tour with Fink, a band that I have seen live quite a few times. This song is completely different from what you might expect from a drummer. Instead of showing off his drumming skills, he makes electronic mellow synth music. This song is perfect for a relaxed Saturday like today.
Padre Toxico comes from as he describes it “a small country in Europe, where law is being broken by the government on daily basis and where freedom is being taken away everyday from innocent people. Where tolerance is only a word in a dictionary, it’s Poland.”
If music was his main source of income, he would starve to death. It probably applies to a lot of the independent musicians. Then what drives you into music? Padre Toxico: “As far as I remember music was with me every single day since my primary school. But for a long time I was only a passive music consumer. Time was passing by and I was starting to listen to new genres, I started experiencing music on different level, listening to each track many times to get out of it all I can with my ears. I wanted to make music for as long as I can remember. I tried 2 times in the past when I had all the time I could wish for, but I was not ready. Finally in November last year my good friend talked me into getting music gear. I was telling her how I have this urge to create something and to give back the music community at least a part of what I got out of listening to music consciously. And here I am”.
Even connecting the hardware to my laptop and getting any sound out of it was a blast
Padre Toxico has no experience in music at all. He calls himself a ‘total noob’. “I just read the manual for my maschine mk3. Even connecting the hardware to my laptop and getting any sound ouf of it was a blast”. But now that he has mastered these skills, he creates his music all by himself. Only exception is the vocal version of „Summer in LA” which was blessed with Pri’s beautiful voice. “She made that track, that was released as an instrumental track, complete and made it sound like it should sound from the beginning.”
Padre Toxico is now busy working on the release of his new LP which is called ‘Mandala’. It drops 24.08.2020. “I am really excited to see if people will like it”.
In the future he would love to get some features from rappers as hip-hop is his first love. “I always wanted to make my ‘Life Supplement’ a vocal album”. There is another project on the side, but he doesn’t want to jinx it, so we will have to wait for more about this. It may take some time because he also feels he needs to rest a while as the last months were very exhausting.
“I would like to thank all my listeners, I was not expecting such support in my wildest dreams. Music is fantastic journey, and if you want to try your skills in dropping some killer tunes – DO IT. We live only once, and we regret the things which we didnt do.”
How did you come up with the name Padre Toxico? “Hey. it is a complex story, don’t want to bore anyone. Good thing is that there is only one Padre Toxico in music :)”.
The Marvin Dee band is a Dutch acoustic rock / Americana band from Rotterdam, influenced by acts such as Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel, Sting and John Mayer.
On March 12, exactly one year after the Dutch government first closed all music venues and theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvin Dee Band is releasing their new single ‘Step Back’. This is no coincidence by any means, because the single is about taking an unexpected side-road, or even having to take a step back before going forward again. Dee wrote the song in 2018 when the band was going through a rough period of its own, but in the last year the song has gained a new double meaning.
The release of their debut album ‘Changes’ lost most of its momentum when the pandemic forced music venues to close, cutting short their acoustic tour and all planned festival shows. The longer the situation dragged on, the more the band watched their investment go up in smoke–and even now, a year later, the possibilities of playing live are still extremely limited.
This year the band hope to regain some of that lost momentum with the long awaited digital release of their debut album ‘Changes’ followed closely by a second live-album that was recorded in October 2019. Once concerts return, the band definitely plans to hit the stage again. It’s the one place where this energetic band truly shines the most.
What inspired you to write ‘Step Back’?
“Just before we were set to enter the studio to record our debut album, we ended up losing some core band members. Leading up to that moment, there were several moments where I was unsure about the creative direction of the band. Band members started to grow apart and we had clashing ideas about which direction was right for us. It was really hard for me to admit to myself at first, but in the end, it was better to part ways. Both for me as an individual and musician, as well as for the project’s musical integrity. When you make music together for a long time, you become great friends, almost like a family, and it’s really hard to let go of that, and admit that your family has become dysfunctional. That period lead me to write ‘Step Back’.”
“When the band was on the brink of falling apart, at the start of 2018, I wasn’t sure if things would ever turn out okay again. By pouring those emotions into my songwriting, and turning all that into music, I also realized that the departure of some old band members opened doors to a new, more mature musical direction that better fits who I am today.”
What’s your favourite memory of writing/recording this song?
“Well, there’s a lot of bad memories that went into the making of this song, obviously, but there are also many good memories that surround it now. Since the time it was written and recorded, we’ve found new band members and the new group is even closer than the original formation. The new band members have brought a lot of maturity and calm back to the band and that’s exactly what we needed. Now we can look to the future with focus and we’re better prepared to deal with unexpected turns in the road.”
“As for recording, one of my most vivid memories is when we were recording the horns section in the studio. At the end of one particular take, the trumpet player casually kept playing a melody after the recording had been stopped, as he turned away from his mic. The result was a really cool effect of a lone trumpet that became more distant and roomy-sounding as he turned away from the mic. I loved that so much that I asked him to do it again, slightly more deliberately this time, and that happy accident became the ending of the song as it made it on to the album.”
What are you hoping to achieve with this release?
“World domination!!! Hahah, no just kidding. The same thing we always aim to achieve – inspiring people, making them smile, helping them deal with stuff, and mostly just sharing our story. The album that this song is part of, ‘Changes’, is the most personal thing I’ve ever made, and I hope that reflects in people’s reactions to it. I hope people can relate to my story, in whatever way, and find comfort in the music.”
‘Step Back’ is a bluesy rock ballad. You can pre-save the single on Spotify.
Vix20 comprises of Gary Mills and CJ, two music industry veterans who became so disillusioned with the state of every element of the music industry that they walked away, vowing never to return. Years later the duo now fully rejuvenated, have returned to the industry they previously left behind. Seemingly using their time away to master the art of writing insanely catchy 3-minute power pop thunderbolts, illustrated beautifully by their songs ‘Digital Age’, ‘Try again’ and ‘Hashtag Change’. Always keen to explore different genres the 80s synthtastic banger ‘Tron Takes the Train’ is a perfect example of the bands versatility.
Their brand new single ‘Broken Melody’ was released yesterday. It’s edging towards their softer side having crafted a beautiful, but slightly sinister track that takes the listener on journey through joy, grief and revenge.
“This is a tricky song to place in a genre having never released a song like this I’m not sure somewhere between a chilled art rock ballad with a sinister underlay…. The song is about dealing with your emotions when someone hurts your child. I documented those feelings in that moment. Melody is the child’s name. The art work features Melody by CJ.”
Joined by long term conspirators Kill and Rich, this year looks set to further cement the band’s legacy as one of the bands to look out for.
The boys from Vix20 also have their own podcast, bringing you jocular ramblings, the best of indie music and a few classics. The Vix20 Essentials podcast is featured on over 20 radio stations and continues to build momentum, with bands daily submissions to be featured on their playlists. You can tune in on mixcloud.
Marveline is the eclectic solo project of Pete Marley, who also plays in a band called Nature Strip. He was born in England, but his family emigrated to Australia when he was very young. Pete Marley is currently living in Sydney, Australia.
“I’ve lived in London a couple of times. It was great, so much happening but I love being here near the beach.”
Where did you grow up?
“I grey up in the western suburbs of Sydney, and there wasn’t a lot of art around. It was a bit of a cultural desert. It was all sport and drinking really. Music was an escape from all that for awkward boys like me and my closest friends. Hanging out and making noise trying to learn to play together was a great way to pass the time, keep out of trouble and escape the boredom of suburbia.”
How did you get into music and what is your musical background?
“My closest school friend was forming a band. I wanted to play drums, but there was no room in our tiny house for them. I still want to learn them. I played guitar at home, but there were already two guitarists, so all that was left was bass. I didn’t have one, so for the first few months I played the lower strings on a borrowed electric guitar. That was pretty crap, but we had fun.”
“It was all rock & guitar based pop: Sex Pistols, XTC, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, T-Rex, stuff my mate got from his older brothers.”
“But when I was even younger, it was the mysterious sounds on my parents’ car radio that made me want to hear and play music. Stuff that sounded like it came from another planet. Strange reverbed voices and gnarly guitars, and drums that made you want to jump up and down. That stuff got me hooked.”
“I’ve been in bands since high school. I’ve done some touring the good old-fashioned way but that was a long time ago! Before COVID-19 hit I was playing bass in a few different bands-original outfits like Fallon Cush, The Starlings and Distant Drum, plus a Motown covers band and a Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood covers band. Playing the bass is my musical home I guess. I have my own studio and write and record there. I usually only work on things I’m musically involved with directly, but I would like to break out into more mixing of other peoples’ stuff.”
Who are your main influences?
“Bowie features very brightly in my musical universe, genius songwriting and always changing. When I first heard ‘Heroes‘ I was broken open. As do the Beatles, Radiohead & PJ Harvey and Elvis Costello. Melody, interesting songs, that’s what draws me in. XTC too, but also Kraftwerk and Talking Heads. All of the above write great songs and have distinctive voices. Jeff Tweedy influences me a lot now, I love his writing and his character. Wilco is a great band.”
Have your musical tastes changed over the years?
“My tastes have changed a bit. I hated jazz and country when I was younger, but now I love a lot of great jazz. I learned the double bass because of it. Miles Davis’ album ‘Kind Of Blue‘ stands out. What a record! I’m just now discovering real country too. Hank Williams, George Jones, earlier Dolly Parton. The Ken Burns docu series on country music is genius.”
You started Marveline as a project when your other band The Nature Strip was on a break. What can you tell us about Marveline?
“My main musical outfit for the last decade was indeed The Nature Strip. In Oz, the nature strip is the bit of grass, usually, – between your house and the roadside. We did three albums and two EPs and a lot of Sydney shows. My musical buddy John E and I are the songwriters – it’s a retro-guitar-pop-rock 4-piece band, but we’re on a very long break for a rest and for John to finish a PhD. He teaches & studies music.”
“Anyway, I had a bunch of unfinished tunes recorded by just me and I decided to put out an album. I played almost everything on it except drums and the twelve songs on my debut album ‘Savoury-Toothed Tiger‘ are the result.
What’s the story about the band name?
“Marveline comes from my surname Marley and wanting to have a “product” name that had a logo and everything. Just for a laugh really! So I copied that from a certain brand of engine oil and made the big M logo. I formed a band from musical friends and we just did our first show. The plan is to record some songs as a band instead of just me. I want to be able to rock out with a band playing together instead of constructing music one instrument at a time.”
What’s your creative process like?
“My songs nearly always start on acoustic guitar. I have written a couple from badly-played piano. I noodle till I find some interesting chords, riffs etc and record quickly on the phone. I’ll often have music for entire tunes but no vocal melody. And hundreds of snatches of little riffs etc. The vocal melody usually comes later in conjunction with decent lyrics. I sweat over lyrics a LOT. They have to say something to me. I’ll make noises and mumble along til something sticks melodically or lyrically. Or, I’ll record the entire song with all the instruments then sing nonsense over the top until something gels. Then it’s stream of consciousness lyric writing which gets hammered and cut til it fits. Simple ?!?! Ha.”
Do you enjoy the process of creating?
“I love creating music, it’s the most fun and satisfying thing you can do with your clothes on I reckon. When you get going, time becomes irrelevant, it’s another world. I love it from the writing to the releasing. Recording is especially great. You never know what’s going to happen, you have to be open to ideas on the fly and often the best parts are the mistakes and side-alleys you go down. I have that luxury with my own recording space, I can take my time.”
The music you make with Marveline is more pop influenced compared to The Nature Strip. Regarding musical styles and genres, is there anything different that you would like to explore?
“Not anything like genres, but I want to simplify things, get to the core of a good song. Make the song do the work and not rely on so many layers. The Tiger album has a lot going on, stacks of keyboards under the surface for example. Lots of guitar tracks. Stuff that got mixed out or way down. I want to write songs that reach you with the least number of tracks possible. Sparser. I’m thinking of buying my first proper synth that we can gig with. The instruments you play with can determine the course of a recording. Let’s see what that does.”
‘Our Parade’ is your new single. We spoke about it for the Release Talk. You mentioned you were shooting a video for the tune. When can we expect the video. By the way, I really enjoyed the videos you made for the singles of the Savoury-Toothed Tiger album.
“Thanks, I love doing videos. I’m editing ‘Our Parade’ now, it should be out in a couple of weeks.
“Yes, I drew and animated ‘Another Perfect Day’, it’s all a kind of stop-motion animation so it’s 2,000 photos joined up! Man, that’s a lot of work but it came out pretty well! I stole the sand – it takes place mostly in the desert, from my local Sydney beach.”
What can you tell us about the other Marveline videos?
“‘Made of Stars‘ was all me too, with help from my partner. She shot some of me performing, the rest was a static camera on a tripod and me hitting record and jumping in front of it. I have a house out of Sydney with an old pianola. I stuck the lyrics in a piano roll and filmed it going round as I pumped the pedals.”
“My good friend Mark is a video guy who used to edit and animate big-budget vids for bands way back when. He directed ‘Turpentine‘, which was shot by a pro cameraman. I had the ideas for the storyline and Mark made it happen. We shot it at our drummer Tony’s work warehouse. Mark masters all my vids and gets my amateur iPhone recordings looking great!”
What’s next? Can we expect a new Marveline album?
“I hope there’s another album. We have booked a recording date in May to get drums down in a bigger studio than mine. Let’s see. I have to write a few tunes by then. I’ve got a few half-written. Also booked a Nature Strip recording date….crazy busy.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“‘Where The Time Has Gone‘ by Wretched Pinhead Puppets. James writes great interesting tunes and records them really well, he’s into lyrics and melody and exploring sounds and variety. A proper songwriter! He also has great videos.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
“I could talk music all day, but I wonder where it’s heading. Most people have disconnected from hearing it played in a room on real instruments. Everything on commercial radio is in perfect time with perfect pitch, it’s catchy and shiny, but it usually doesn’t feed your soul. Not all of it – I like Billie Eilish, but her imitators annoy me. She and her brother are unique. Stop copying them people! Then bring back guitars!! Ha ha.
“I just realised I forgot to mention The Pixies, what a band.”
“This song is about coming to the realization that you are completely obsessed with a person you can’t be with, in a way that is self-destructing and unhealthy. The chorus expresses that realization with the lyrics “I cannot live like this; I cannot sleep like this”. You basically wish to be free of that person but you are not ready to let go yet, even though you acknowledge how harmful the situation is to you.”
“This release is quite different from my past ones in a lot of ways. This is actually my first official release that features me as a singer; so far, I stuck to producing, but I felt it was time to explore this avenue as well. It is also sonically quite different than my past releases. It has a dark/ominous tone that fits with my early work but in a more contemporary trap setting with a lot of industrial influences! The opening synths are also from my violin which is rarely featured in my productions.”
“I hope to expand my audience, since I believe this is a very marketable song that doesn’t sacrifice experimentation and production value in order to appeal to a wider audience. I also wanted to share with my existing fans this new aspect of my artistry, which will be a lot more prominent in the future as I’m already working on a bunch of songs that I also sing. Finally, I hope someone can relate to what the song’s about and see it as a fun way to escape, but also as a reminder that so many of us go through tough relationships.”
Interview with Static Satellites: ‘The Symphony is about when you’re with someone and, on paper, it seems perfect and amazing but there’s not a click’
by Sara Seddon at The Bucket Playlist (inthebucketplaylist.com)
Glasgow/West Lothian indie rock band Static Satellites will released their fourth single, ‘The Symphony’, Feb 5th – showcasing their catchy riffs and deep rich vocals. It marks the second single from their upcoming debut EP, As The Dark Unfolds, which will be released in May.
The band, which was formed in 2018, comprises Ross Whelan (vocals/guitar), Ally Taylor (lead guitar), Sam Carlyle (bass) and Ciaran Boyle (drums). Carlyle and Wheelan are best friends from high school who had jammed on occasion with Boyle. Taylor was a happy accident: ‘We auditioned a few guitarists and then Ciaran remembered that he had a talented cousin, Ally!,’ Whelan said laughing. It was always Whelan’s intention to have the word ‘satellite’ in the band name: ‘We also looked at the name Satellite Score, we batted every name in the park. My mum liked it, so hopefully others might as well.’
Whelan describes ‘The Symphony’ as being about ‘when you’re with someone and, on paper, it seems perfect and amazing but there’s not a click’: ‘I wrote it when I was 19, I turned 24 a few days ago,’ he explained. ‘I came up with the bridge a few months later. Ally’s lead guitar takes it to a different place. I wrote it just acoustic, it was a slow song at first. It’s very influenced by Ben Howard’s album I Forgot Where We Were (2014). We’ve played it at various gigs over the years. It was the first song I jammed with Ciaran, it’s probably our oldest song.’
‘It’s about accepting that some things don’t work, no matter how hard you try’
In addition to ‘The Symphony’, the upcoming EP will feature the previously released single, ‘Fortify’, plus two new tracks, ‘By the Way’ and ‘Smoke Screen’, the latter of which will likely be released as a single before the end of April. ‘Whelan describes ‘Smoke Screen’ as being about ‘letting go of problems and people’: ‘It’s about accepting that some things don’t work, no matter how hard you try,’ he said.
‘By The Way’ is one of Wheelan’s favourite tracks to play live: ‘There’s an outro where we really get to rock out! The guitar riffs are quite quick and the drums are melancholic, they fill up the space. It’s quite a dark song, lyrically and in terms of the mood, it’s more in line with ‘Symphony’. It’s kind of about memories and losing your memory as you get older.’ I tell him he’s far too young to be losing his memory and he laughs.
Static Satellites have been likened to artists such as Two Door Cinema Club, The Strokes and The National and they have supported acts such as Red Rum Club, Scottish singer/songwriter Luke La Volpe, and indie poppers Voodoo Bandits.
They’re big fans of Glasgow’s ambient pop quartet, Who’s Olivia. ‘I know their drummer, Reece. The music they write has a proper build-up, they’re different, proper class.’ Whelan is also a huge fan of singer-songwriters Ben Howard and Jack Johnson. ‘Sam would say Muse, Cieran would say The Clash and classic punk and Ally would say The War on Drugs (an American rock band). If he could tour with anyone, he goes with American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean: ‘Just to be in a room with him, he’d be cool, wouldn’t he?’
Melisa Mia is a Singer-Songwriter by the Sea, writing in many genres and styles both in solo and collaborative work. Melisa Mia writes songs about the people around her. She released two singles ‘Passing People‘ and ‘Old Friend‘. On 12 March her new track will be released. Here’s a link to pre-save.
What can you tell us about your release?
“It’s a pop/rock ballad, inspired by those people that come into your life in your darkest moments, pick you up and take you forward, rebuild you back up again and make you believe in yourself. You and your life would not be the same without them. “
“This track was recorded all over the world: piano in South Korea by Boyoung Hailey Joe, violin in Russia from Rita, vocals in Hastings by Melisa, backing vocals & produced in London by Thiago Trosso.”
What are you hoping to achieve with this release?
“Music wise, we want to see our songs reach more playlists so we know our songs are getting out into the world. On a personal note, we want to say thanks for all those people that have been a part of helping us in our lives and believing in us, because without them we wouldn’t be in the moment we are in now.”
Fonz Tramontano is an independent synth music artist / producer from Sheffield UK. His new track ‘Get Down‘ will be released on 5 March.
“The song is a House / EDM track. It song was inspired by watching some video footage of Ibiza and the clubs there. I wanted to recreate the feeling of dance music with a balearic overtone which PWasy gave with the piano lead. Sort of a holiday feel.”
“I wrote the track, recorded, mixed and mastered the track from my Mileven Studio in Sheffield UK. I sent the pre-mastered instrumental track to PWasy in Canada and she recorded the piano lead and outro. She sent it to me and I recorded the vocals and then mixed and mastered it.”
“I always use pictures of beautiful women on the cover of my releases. With this cover I wanted to get the feeling of movement across to the listener. This cover perfectly illustrates the song.”
The name of Skylar Nevaeh’s upcoming release is 11:11. It will be released March 5th. This is the link to pre-save the song.
“This song is about wishing and believing the wish will come true. It’s the same as the law of attraction, imagining something that you really want to happen or have and seeing it manifest into reality. It’s also about how someone can be surprised something is happening in their lives, like they didn’t expect it.”
“What inspired me to write this song is that I saw the numbers 1111 everywhere. There are people saying it’s a sign to make a wish, but some people also believe it’s a good sign from the angels. I like how there’s some kind of mystery to these numbers. That’s what attracted me to it and made me come up with these lyrics. Even while I was producing this song I kept seeing 1111.”
“The special meaning to me in the lyrics I wrote is that I want to keep on wishing and believing in my wishes, that they will come true. I also believe I have to work for my goals and this song is a little reminder to hold on. In general, I want this song to have a positive effect on the listener. Especially in these hard times of COVID-19, I hope to make people feel better with a lightweight dreamy song.
VAN TASTIK is a one man blues band mixing blues, rock and american folk. He was born into a French-American family who travelled the world. VAN is currently based in the Netherlands.
What can you tell us about yourself?
“I go by VAN TASTIK, VAN, The Reverend VAN or The Rev. I’ve got a dark history with many issues which have given me, VAN TASTIK, the Blues. My stage name is a wink at the ladies and gentlemen of Burlesque and Classic Cinema. The Vons and Vans of this world always have darker names to most people around, except in the Netherlands where that’s just your average last name. I sure know how to pick ’em.”
“My family travelled the world for work and I continued to travel to escape from the pain and the hurt that they’d put me through. Now it’s become a bit of a lifestyle truthfully and I just travel because I love coming across new cultures and learning their ways. The more you broaden your horizons the kinder a human you become – I think. Certainly wiser if nothing else.”
How did all that traveling shape you?
“My travelling and my multi-cultural background has undeniably shaped the way I make music today! I believe my music speaks of displacement, homesickness and being lost/not having a home. At the same time I think it also speaks of the silver lining, hope and finding the good amidst the bad. That’s why I find solace in the Blues. I think if you listen to a lot of the Blues there’s a sadness so deep that it just cannot be expressed in words. It’s about being lost but not knowing why, it’s about not belonging but not knowing how and it’s about being outside looking in. The Blues resulted as a mix of cultures. The people making this music with all their cultures had no choice but to live in a culture that wasn’t theirs. So just like those who invented the Blues I often find myself in a similar situation where in some ways I belong and in others I don’t. Unfortunately the ways I don’t, usually outweigh the ways I do. That’s a big downside of travelling and being multicultural. Always there, never welcome/at home.”
When did you start playing/singing?
“I think the little me was singing and drumming on kitchen utensils before he could speak. I don’t truly recall a specific point. Just an ineluctable need to express myself and the feeling of finding solace through performance arts – be that acting, music, dance or other artistic endeavours. I suppose there were turning points – school shows where I sang or plays I was in and learning guitar from watching the pianist in Church. He would show me chords on the piano which I would replicate on the guitar. Those sorts of things.”
When did you become VAN TASTIK? Is the music you make now different from what you made before VAN TASTIK?
“VAN TASTIK started about six years ago and the first gigs that I ever played were in Edinburgh, Scotland - for what’s known as the Edinburgh fringe Festival. Depending on my projects I have taken on many different styles, instruments and genres. Part of what I find interesting is to approach new styles. I started out writing what I can only describe as Nu Metal, then going through groups of Neo Christian Worship Music, Old School Gospel, Pop Punk, Emo, Post-Hardcore and Singer Songwriter and Funk-Soul infused Jazz.”
“I’ve honestly never been a fan of using my own name; I believe artists should have a persona as it makes you as the artist easier to discern from you as the person. Your art is an outlet, but it’s not everything you are.”
Your sound reminds me of The Black Keys. Are you influenced by them? Who are your biggest musical influences?
“The Black Keys had an undeniable influence on the music I make today. One of my first albums ever was ‘Rubber Factory‘ after that one I lost taste for them really. There was something so raw and honest about their music until ‘Brothers‘ and then they lost it. However my sound is mostly inspired by people like Ma Rainey, Lucille Bogan, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters, J Cash, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon, Elvis, Skip James, Lightnin’ Jon Hopkins, R.L. Burnside, Amédé Ardouin and many more nameless singers and bards of Americana and Blues music. I took their sound and made it modern in my own way. With inspiration from other current bands like Reignwolf or the White Stripes. Still the influence is mostly from older artists musically speaking. I cannot omit the influence in my music of heavier genres that I have been involved in such as Deathcore, Grindcore, Melodic Hardcore, Doom Metal, Sludge, DSBM and so on.”
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
“I ended up in the Netherlands as a result of Brexit, living in Scotland at the time my status as an artist who was non-British was uncertain at best. Since my partner could not get a visa extension, we chose to move to another European country where English was still a possibility for her.”
How’s your Dutch? 😉
“I have a knack for languages so my Dutch is actually already pretty fluent, certainly conversational including my writing.”
You are preparing your debut album. ‘Ain’t No Man With Money’ (ANMWM) was the first single. ‘Hangman’ was the second single. I understood the album was recorded entirely live in an old biscuit factory in South London. What can you tell us about your album?
“The album was recorded with a group called The Animal Farm – the producer Mat Leppanen did an amazing job and I had a tremendous time working with him. I walked into the studio and he immediately understood what VAN TASTIK was about and what the music needed; so along with the ideas that I brought to the table we produced a full album in the space of SEVEN DAYS. Many of the songs have been waiting for a long time to come out so it was great to get them on record, but I’m tired of waiting now and I need to let them be free so I can continue to create and unburden myself, creatively speaking.
What are your favourite memories of writing/recording the album?
“When it comes to favorite memories the two brothers who run The Animal Farm are great guys and were very fun to work with. We had a lot of good jokes and banter and the whole experience was seamless, easy and pretty much all in one take. Every one of the songs that you hear on this album was recorded in a single take for guitar, vocals, kick drum and foot tambourine. Once those were recorded, we added some additional percussion, backing vocals and bass on three of the tracks, so the bulk of the recordings are all in one take – solos and all. The idea for me was also to replicate the experience of my live shows as a one-man band and for the songs to vehiculate the same energy that I give off when I play live. So in other words: no click track, no 10,000 layers of multi-tracking, it was all live.”
Are you happy with the response for ‘Hangman’?
“So far the release response for ‘Hangman’ has been amazing. People are really enjoying the song and the same went for ‘Ain’t No Man With Money’. Considering that I have a grand total of four songs available online I couldn’t have asked for a better response. We’ve been approached by several publications, been granted airtime on radios across the world, and we’ve acquired almost 300 new fans on Spotify and Instagram and it KEEPS going!”
In the Release Talk you mentioned you pictured ‘Hangman’ as a Western. The video also has a Western vibe. What’s your favourite Western?
“I honestly don’t know that I have a favorite Western – I am a big film freak and therefore it’s pretty hard to pick. However, if you were to press me… No… I still don’t think I can choose… maaaaybe Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man with J. Depp and Gary Farmer and a host of great cast members. I would certainly recommend going to watch Blue Steel – the western with John Wayne that I used for the ‘Hangman’ video clip which has long since been in the public domain.”
Speaking of films, if you were given the chance to rewrite the soundtrack for a film, what film would you pick and why?
“I think if I were given the chance to write a soundtrack to a film I would probably make my own film. Hahaha. If it were to be a film that has come out recently, I would love to be featured on anything that is Dark, Americana, Western. I mostly think of TV shows over films however; since I personally prefer it when films have orchestral music or tailor made scores. I think it’s more befitting of the cinematic experience. TV shows on the other hand can very easily have opening credits or closing credits of an up-and-coming artist and that would be great whether it’s Godless or Damnation, Peaky Blinders or West World; or even Yellowstone. Although I must admit I’m very curious about this up-and-coming Netflix production with Tom Hanks called News of the World.”
What inspires you to write songs?
“I’m inspired by just about anything. It’s difficult to pinpoint that sorta thing for me. I’d say I’m inspired by my own difficult past as well as by coming to know, hearing about or watching the struggles of others. Some I know, some I don’t. I use music to exorcise my own demons or just as a catalyst for my emotions. There’s something meditative about it.”
What do you enjoy most as a musician?
“The best part for me is always the live shows and the communal experience with my listeners. That’s why I love performing old and new and original a cappella numbers. Music no matter the type is a communion altogether. Everyone in that room will share that experience and there’s something both fleeting and eternal in that. Once it’s done, it’s gone even the H-est of D recordings couldn’t do it justice but if it was worth it and if you felt alive, you’ll never forget it, ever. I’ve had people see me from the other side of the street and cross to tell me they saw me live and how much they enjoyed the performance because I got them involved and brought them fully into the Reverend VAN’s world. Warts and all no matter how rhythm-crippled and tone-deaf they were. That’s something you can’t replace and it gives us all a teeenie tiny bit of happiness in a world of darkness and mundanity coded by zeroes and ones. I think I reflect both that thirst for life and that gloom in my work. I hope I do at least.”
What social issues are you most passionate about?
“I think there are few social issues that don’t matter. I think gender stereotypes are among some of the most harmful things in the world. Men kill themselves because they don’t believe they’re allowed to feel or experience failure or hide health issues until they are terminal. Women don’t feel whole without figure-correcting clothing and 3 inches of make-up. None of that is good.”
“I also want to stand for mental health in general from my days couch surfing/sleeping rough to the abuse I experienced from my family, I suffered greatly from mental health/emotional issues be that because of others around me or because of issues within myself.”
“For me the most important issue is probably education and equal access to it for everyone. If we start by giving everyone around us everywhere access to knowledge and a methodology to use that knowledge I think that most of the issues which we see as a species would be severely palliated without getting too metaphysical or altruistic. Haha.”
How do you feel about the current music industry?
“It’s doing what it can to follow its users I would say… poorly… but it’s keeping up as best it can. Like any giant conglomerate or lobby those at the top usually find out too late or listen too late to their users/audience. I have noticed recently that Facebook and Instagram have been making it more difficult for people to reach their audience organically and that is dangerous for us and them. If we small artists can no longer reach new audiences without having to pay for it at a time like this I think it may quickly bloat itself into annihilation. You know… it’ll be too fat to see its own feet and as a result lose the feet. I wouldn’t want to stay on a platform where all I see are paid promotion viral videos but at the same time for an artist like myself who has focused so much on Instagram because of the visual nature of what I do it could also mean losing a large part of my audience. So it’s an issue for all concerned.”
“If there’s one thing I do deplore it’s that we musicians these days have to … first and foremost – be business minded and that isn’t always very conducive to creating band folklore and legend or to creativity. You keep your business hat on for too long and it taints your creativity… or at least it takes a while to channel it into something else somehow. I feel it sometimes, and I’ve seen it happen and it’s a sad sight. Creating requires an innocence that not everyone has… a capacity to see beyond the mundane concerns of paychecks and debts and mortgages and phone bills and if you lose that innocence it’s hard to get it back. Watching a lot of Disney films and cartoons might help.”
What are your plans for 2021?
“Well, launching this album. Hopefully touring it. Playing virtual festivals although I cannot yet say which so you’ll have to keep an eye on my socials and SUBSCRIBE TO MY MAILING LIST hahaha… one way to overcome audience diaspora is mailing lists. They can be a nuisance, but emails have been around for almost 50 years so it’s not going anywhere. Some of my previous bands used to be on myspace and that died a hard death.”
What’s your favourite song in the Cool Top 20?
“Well, I think I might have to say Youth Antics – ‘This Moment‘. Reminded me a little bit of Joy Division especially with the vocals but also bands like We Were Promised Jetpacks and the candid happiness (although secret misery) of bands like Weezer and such. I have to say the selection is pretty good though… and I like the consistency in genres.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track to our chart and why?
“I’d say probably ‘Coffee Grinder‘ by a guy I met recently called Caffeinated Rock’n’Roll he’s an awesome guy and a good musician from the mountains of Switzerland and also a One Man Band and I Feel like we don’t get enough repping in the music world. Or maybe Clarke and the Himselfs, she is a wonderful One-Woman-Band and whilst I’ve never met her personally I think I’d really love to. My favourite of hers is probably ‘So Sorry’.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
This is an RSVP to The Church Of VAN TASTIK my weekly Thursday livestream at 5pm CET.
Here’s the link to the new single and my Merch Page.
This is all my Platforms, Outlets, Websites, Social Media all of it!