Weaving Neon Tinged Pop Trails With Van She, With Crystalline Results
A new year normally means a new list of bands to pin all of your hopes on, as the new savours of whichever genre the UK press claim needs saving at the time. It’s not a question of saving that particular genre, it’s more a case of coming up trumps on a mission to source that stunning flawless vintage find in amongst a cluttered sea of junk and repetition. Enter Van She, the Sydney based four-piece, all funky one of clothing ensembles, ‘80s inspired haircuts and surrounded by a whole lotta bright white light!
Is it possible for a band who have been in existence for less than a year, to emerge with a sound, so matured and so directional that other bands can only manage to look on in awe, as their punters are stolen from under them and thrown into a state of frenzy? FasterLouder caught up with the band’s resident synth king, Mikey Di Francesco to investigate.
The first time I heard Sex City, I remember being on my first alcoholic beverage for the night and instantly feeling inebriated and completely consumed by the closing of the track. No tears, maybe a few goosebumps, but mainly just that sheer understanding and sense of díƒÂ©jíƒÂ vu from the familiarity, even though I’d never heard it before. That’s the power of a perfect pop song and the fact that these boys have nailed the very formula so precisely after such a short time together, is at best amazing.
As my phone line connects with Mikey’s, I catch him on a break back at the studio, where the band are emersed in yet another week of the writing process. A process which hasn’t really stopped since they started writing and jamming together after piecing the band together bit by bit, about a year ago. “Every time we rehearse we end up with new material, so it’s just a matter of solidifying it and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.”
This time they’re hard at work on material that may or may not be demo-ed for their upcoming debut album, due out later this year and already spawning interest from the likes of Alan Braxe (one half of Stardust with Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter).
“We sent him [Braxe] Kelly to remix and he got back to Modular right away, saying that he’d love to work on the album with us.” Another name that’s been thrown around liberally since talks of who to work with on the album started, are French remixing deviots Justice. But it seems The Cars’ Ric Ocasek still remains high on their wishlist “I love his work and that would be amazing if it could happen, but at this point I doubt it’ll happen” says Mikey of the very suggestion.
It’s little wonder the band are getting interest from some high places when it comes to working on their album. After all their debut EP saw the Aria award winning duo Pnau at the helms, making sure that the masterpiece became everything it could be in the dance world, whilst still managing to hit highly with the indie rock set and getting away with just enough pop to break on through to the commercially-minded millions. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from all corners so far. It’s really great to see the club kids and the indie kids coming together to support a band, cause at the end of the day, music is music and you’re either moved by it, or you’re not.”
It seems the band have been taking full-advantage of their wide-spread success of late, as they tap away at both scenes. Moving between their spectacular live pub rock assaults and utilising their humble DJ skills at the likes of Home and Purple Sneakers. But what most of you may not be aware of, is how far their technical skills go when it comes to the dance side of things, with their recent remixing expertise sheening the likes of The Presets’ Are You The One and Mandy Kane’s latest single. “Both Nick and myself come from a more technical background, so it’s just a talent that come naturally. I find that I’m pretty obsessed when it comes to synth sounds on a track, cause I’ve collected synthesisers for years” he laughs “But it’s loads of fun to do, it’s just a totally different angle to approach things from. ‘Cause you don’t really think of it from an instrumental perspective, when you sit down with the track. All of the elements are already there in front of you on the computer screen, you just have to lose yourself in the song and work out how to improve on it” explains Di Francesco of the process. “It’s also great to be able to play your own remixes when doing DJ shows, it gives you just that little bit more creative input into your sets.”
Still riding high on the success of the EP which has gained them an air of notoriety around the nation and a well-earned nomination in the ‘06 Jack Awards for ‘Best Newcomers’, it looks as though their sights are set on the UK market next. As Modular plan for the EP’s British release come March “It will be exciting to see how it goes over there, but at this point it all still feels a little un-real for us” says Mikey at the suggestion of taking the UK by storm. Their main focus is on their upcoming shows, including a regional tour they’ll be doing with fellow Sydney act Faker at the end of the month and of course working on new material for the album. Which is all coming together in a chillingly effortless way for the band, who were experienced their first-ever magical studio moment on Valentine’s Day.
“Nick came up with a chorus and then we all just fell into putting the track together piece by piece really quickly, it blew us all away. A really good way to gauge how good something is, is when you manage to give yourself goosebumps. When stuff that you’re actually working on, actually does that to you, that’s when you know that you’re on the right track” he gushes excitedly. “When something is so right harmonically and sentimentally and all of the bits of the puzzle just fit together -the notes, the words, the whole thing, it just takes you all by surprise!”
Catch the unstoppable Van She as they rip open a venue near you, as they blaze a trail of achingly beautiful ‘80s tinged electro rock around the nation in the coming month. And if you don’t yet own yourself a copy of their epic debut EP, make sure you grab yourself a copy while you still can, and if you already have a copy in your possession, why not grab one for a friend. You’ll be sure to stay on their favourites list for bring on such a musical awakening.
Thursday March 2 – The Old Chinese Theatre, Melbourne
Friday March 3 – Sydney Uni, Sydney
Sunday March 5 – Vamp, Waverly Bowling Club, Sydney
Saturday March 11 – The Hopetoun Hotel, Sydney