Thursday, September 24, 2009

Interview Scraps: Van She

Photo Credit: Cara Stricker

A while ago, I was lucky enough to do an interview with Mikey from Van She. It was one of the most enjoyable interviews I have done. I am often nervous when doing interviews: I'm worried that I'll ask lame questions and I'll be wasting their time, or that the conversation won't flow, or the tape recorder won't work, or that any other technical difficulties/wardrobe malfunctions will occur. Often I'm interviewing people whose work I admire so much that I can't help but be a little flustered when I first meet them.

Photo Credit: Cara Stricker

I met Mikey in a restaurant in St Kilda, where we talked for an hour about all things Van She. He was polite (he held the door open for me), he was friendly, he offered plenty of anecdotes (a journalist's dream) and explained the lyrics behind Cat & the Eye (a fan's dream), but it was his story about his experiences with Daft Punk that really stuck with me. I notoriously get all fan-girly and gushy (though I prefer to say 'passionate') about music that I love, so it was nice to hear that a musician I admire does the same thing. This story didn't really fit in with the final draft of the article, but I think it's one that needs to be shared.
"I suppose meeting Daft Punk [was one of my highlights]. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be into dance music. One of my fondest memories was when we saw them in Perth. It was the first time we saw them and it was at an amazing open air venue next to the water. They were doing Stardust in the encore and Tomek [Van She's drummer] and I were just running through the crowd, dancing and spinning round in circles. It was amazing. Just smiling.

Would you say that they are one of your influences?
Yeah, definitely very influential. But also figuring out who their influences are too. I remember hearing them and then going out to house nights and stuff and, being a musician, studying music, being like ‘Wow, how do they play like that?' To me, figuring out how they play was the best. Getting into disco and buying disco records and hearing bits of those disco records in Daft Punk tracks and realising it and putting it altogether.

Did they pass on any words of wisdom when you met them on the Nevereverland tour?
No but I got to ask them about a specific bass sound that I had always, always wanted to know what that sound was.
When Play Paul was here, he’s Guy-Man’s [from Daft Punk] brother, we heard he was playing and he’d never been to Australia before. That was when Daft Punk were really happening… So I went to one of his gigs and said ‘Oh hey, I am a massive fan, do you want to hang out in my studio, do you want to work on some stuff?' He was with another guy who was an artist as well so they both came over to the studio. It was myself, Nick [Van She's singer] and those two guys and we wrote a track which actually ended up on the album. That was ‘So High’. Being with him in the studio and him saying 'This is what my brother did...' and just telling stories and him seeing a piece of equipment and saying ‘Oh yeah you know the high-hat on that’s on Alive? That’s that’ so it was really cool. You just realise that all these people that you think are amazing, they just like the same things as you and it’s not that big of a deal."
Hopefully I can include this 'Interview Scraps' section as a regular feature. And they won't be actually be 'scraps' either, they'll be little nuggets of gold that were too good to be published... perhaps I will come up with a better title for it later.
I've got some interviews lined up exclusively for
In Ghost Colours too, so keep an eye out for those.

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