INTERVIEW: Van She

With a July 6 sophomore album release, and a tour in support kicking off the day before in Perth, I was given to opportunity to interview on all things VAN SHE as the fellas prepare themselves for a hectic second half of 2012.

… and then the phone cut out. I was halfway through my interview with MIKEY DI FRANCESCO, one quarter of the Sydney synth-rockers VAN SHE, and all signs of life evaporated. 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.

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 up-and-coming new-look tour.

“Summer,” without a lick of uncertainty says DI FRANCESCO, “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, and aptly titled 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 sounds like what coconut and mojito’s smell. 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. 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 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 that was definitely better, we could just go at our own pace.”

Launching onto the scene in 2005 with the 80s rock 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 by the way featured a significantly retooled version of their first track. What eventuated from their first LP was a sharp sketch of the 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 in 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 then going on to remix all their original tracks off V and released it as the album Ze Vemixes. 

“When doing remixes, we were essentially writing new tracks and putting other peoples vocals on top.” This experimentation had an undeniable influence when the band was considering whether they should self-produce their next album. “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 practise.”

Invigorated with a skewed musical direction, the tour VAN SHE are readying to embark on presents challenges for their performances. “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 the 6th of July with the tour beginning on the 5th. And for Sydney-siders here is a special treat by way of MICKEY DI FRANCESCO:

“When we did the remixes, when we were touring, we had a show at the Metro, and that was sold out. For me, walking out on the stage, like I had been there many times as a kid, so walking out and being on the stage, that was a highlight.”

VAN SHE TOUR DATES

5 July – Perth
Capitol – www.moshtix.com.au

6 July – Adelaide
Fowlers – www.moshtix.com.au

Sat 7 July – Canberra
Zierholz at UC – www.moshtix.com.au  (With RüFüS)

Sun 8 July – Newcastle
Cambridge – www.moshtix.com.au  (With RüFüS)

Wed 11 July – Byron Bay
The Brewery – www.moshtix.com.au  (With RüFüS)

Thur 12 July – Brisbane
The Hi Fi – www.thehifi.com.au (With RüFüS)

Fri 13 July – Melbourne
The Hi Fi – www.thehifi.com.au (With RüFüS)

Sat 14 July – Sydney
Metro – www.ticketek.com.au (With RüFüS)

Sat 21 July – Hobart
Republic – www.moshtix.com.au

Words by Luke Letourneau
A version Via Purple Sneakers

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