Sunday, March 29, 2015

Believe in the Raptor - New Music Out May 5th

Making music is a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon.  Making raucous absurdist protest songs and pompous indie parodies with three amazing musicians, one wild card producer, and an engineer who can put up with days of bourbon-infused testosterone-feuled craziness makes for an unforgettable two weeks.

Throw in tracking sessions of grown men making Velociraptor noises, shouting non-sequiter soapbox religious rhetoric through a megaphone, and about 50 tracks of handclaps, and I’d have a hard time deciding whether my recent studio experience or being Miles Davis during the recording of Bitches' Brew was the more enviable position.

Excuse the hyperbole, but the session that will soon yield two great songs (with a full album to come shortly thereafter) has been the most enjoyable music making experience I’ve had to date.  I’ve recorded two albums before these sessions, and while both past experiences have been positive, this was the first time I decided to let go of any expectations around having these songs be “successful.”

In short, my first two albums I made for someone else to sign off and say I was cool.  Blogs, radio stations, college kids that dig around sound cloud to find the next Grizzly Bear or Deer Tick.  But after two PR pushes and support tours on albums I made for the cool kids.  I had a realization.

Nobody knows whats cool….wait, scratch that…

I don’t care anymore.

I don’t care about being the cool kids' click bait. I don’t care about being talked about in the over-analytical, soft whispers of public radio.  I don’t care about showcasing at an exclusive wine party at an overhyped industry-festival-turned-tech conference.

I care about cranking an amp and singing as loud as I can while my buddies play their hearts out.  I care about the listener grabbing onto that energy and bringing them to the same level of excitement that my band has when we’re playing these songs.  I care about the Raptor noises scaring the shit out of everyone.

Oh right... the first single is about a Raptor.  A divine Raptor that when you hear the song you’ll have no choice but to fall to your knees and believe in the Raptor.  And in the power of sweet, sweet Rock and Roll.

The new single is called Velocirapture and drops Tuesday, May 5th everywhere along with a bonus b-side track.  Thanks to Andy Valenti, Mike Douaire, Erik Estrada, John Daise, and Adam Ashforth for making some killer music with me.  There’s much more to come.

Can’t wait for you all to hear it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Falling Out of (and back in) Love with Music

After almost a year of playing cover shows with the band, pretending to be Beck (http://youtu.be/hD832fHJ828), working a day job, trying (sometimes successfully) to quit smoking, and trying to grow up in a number of different ways, I’m gearing up with my label to get the band back together and back in the studio for a project I’ve been getting more and more excited about.  But if you asked me six months ago if I was trying to get back into recording and performing original music, I would have given you a bitter look and changed the subject.

I’d played to many empty, beer-soaked clubs whose glory days had passed way before the music machine crumbled and left every band out there alone with nothing but their minivans, a cooler for food, and a vague dream of success.  And success for me as a musician didn’t even mean millions of records sold, and arena (or even big theater) shows.  It just meant a small income; enough for me to pay rent and to keep making records and performing.  Right around the end of 2012 we hit that sweet spot where the guys I took on the road and I were able to do that, and we hit a nice ground swell with the record “DJ Booth.”  We started seeing repeat fans at clubs, more money from the door, and some online press to support our touring endeavors.  But in a climate where everyone interested in making a living in that space is fighting for so little money to go around, there are vultures and bottom feeders around every corner.  I was green enough, gullible, and so excited to break into more success that I fell right into the trap of some crooked radio promoters who conned us out of a major chunk of our financial resources, and hired-gun musician who tied the band up for over a year in a frivolous lawsuit (which was eventually dismissed).

But as this was going on- we kept playing shows.  For another 8 months, pooling every dollar from merch sales, door fees, spotify, Pandora, and almost any source, and putting in the van’s gas tank to get to the next club.  I commend everyone in the band for sticking with it on the road for so long, but we finally decided to hang it up, go to work for a while and push the reset button.

I parlayed my touring experience into a decent job in sales at the end of 2013, and for almost a year I didn’t want to have anything to do with music unless I was at a bar getting paid at least 200 bucks to play someone else’s songs.  As the months wore on, a number of my friends in DC, where I grew up and still live and work, started putting together some amazing bands and releasing great records.  Watching bands like the Cowards Choir, the Deadmen, The Beanstalk Library, and Derek Evry rock out helped me keep a little spark of inspiration and creativity that has in the last month or so transformed into an overwhelming desire to write and perform again.

I let my narcissism about being the guy who could “make it” get in the way of actually writing and recording great songs, and that’s not what playing should be about.  As I get ready to re-enter “Alex Vans & the Hide Away,” I think about everyone who has helped inspire and keep that creative spark in me.  I can’t wait to get this new music out to everyone.  When the songs come out, I don’t care if you listen to them on vinyl, itunes, spotify, Pandora, or by tying a string to a cup and having your grandma play it off her old cassette player.  I don’t care if I make a an eighth of a cent from it or 10 bucks- I’m just looking forward to you hearing it and getting your own value from it.  It’s my job to figure out how to make it happen and your job to rock out.


The new EP is coming out in March.

Monday, July 8, 2013

big shows this weekend + new single on the way + new live videos

Just finished up an amazing weekend recording a new single at Bias Studios with the inimitable Mike Douaire producing/engineering.  The new song "Somebody to Lose" will be finishing up mixing this week, and will see a september release along with another cool new b-side.

Haven't named the release yet, but stay tuned.

As for some new show announcements, the band has been rehearsing hard for a huge east coast weekend.  On friday, we will be hitting my favorite venue in Brooklyn, the Rock Shop, with my favorite band in Brooklyn, These Animals.  Show starts at 9pm, for ticket info click here:
http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/270843?skinName=tfly&utm_medium=api&wrKey=C2C310C3AAD61C173653F31BE853186E

Then, we will be blitzing down to Richmond to play Hardywood brewery for a marathon 3 hour set.  We are armed with a bunch of new tunes, and some of my favorite classic rock arrangements (a rad new Neil Young cover is in the works for the Brooklyn show Friday).

If youre new to the band live you might want to check out the latest video from last month's NYC show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KMyiQhYrrA.  My favorite part is at 4:22.

Hope to see some of you on Friday in NYC, and in the meantime, rock on!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alex Vans & the Hide Away NEWS: What I'm Doing on my Summer "Vacation"

Alex Vans & the Hide Away NEWS: What I'm Doing on my Summer "Vacation": One of my new years resolutions that it has taken my roughly six months to make the first step into doing has been keeping a more regular bl...

What I'm Doing on my Summer "Vacation"

One of my new years resolutions that it has taken my roughly six months to make the first step into doing has been keeping a more regular blog.  Well, dog gone it, I'm going to do it starting now.  I'll be updating this page much more frequently, and not just with the incessant stream of "come to this show" and "hey I'm playing a show over here" and hey "why haven't you been to a show yet?!"

No, no, no.  this blog will be reserved for my thoughtful musings on life, music, things that I feel like I have to complain about, and the occaional new video, single, album release, aka what I'm actually supposed to be doing as a bandleader.

After 6 months of hitting the road hard, and finding myself in town after town of strangers (albeit very cool strangers, which, for the most part became fans and friends), I'm happy to finally be mostly back home in Washington, DC for the summer.

The band is getting back to its roots.  I've put together a great line-up of DC all-stars from the area and we are getting back to the basics.  Actually practicing, writing songs, working out tighter arrangements, and, most importantly, bro-ing down.

We have a few weekend excursions to New York City and North Carolina, as well as a healthy docket of hometown shows.  I'm excited to have these guys on board and I can't wait to share with you whats coming next.

Over the summer, you all will have a chance to look forward to a new web video series called "Live from The Dunes" that I will be putting out starting Thursday July 3rd, with new content coming out once a week.  We will be previewing new songs that will be on our upcoming, yet to be titled fall EP.

More to come, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Now on Pandora!

Some quick, awesome news:  our new album now has its own Pandora radio station.  Just search for "Alex Vans" next time you go onto Pandora, and listen to us and similar artists.  And who knows, maybe that next awesome song you hear pop up on one of your other stations, it will be ours!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

one chapter ends, another begins...

After spending the better part of 2013 so far on the road, we have been taking a much needed break from touring.  I've been writing some new material, licking my wounds from the road, and preparing for the next step in this never ending musical journey.

One important chapter of the band recently came to a close.  My New York City backing band and I parted ways at the beginning of this month.  Jaron, Scotty, and Dave rocked it out with the band for the better part of 100 shows and they kicked ass on every single one, whether it was at a huge festival, or a dive bar, they always brought their musical "a-game" and I feel blessed to have shared the stage with such great dudes for so long.

On May 3rd of this year, we played a near sold-out show at Pianos in New York City to commemorate how much the band was rocking, and we recorded a live album and video, which I hope to be releasing in the next few months.  I've been listening to the mixes so far and they sound amazing.  For anyone that didn't get a chance to hear that band, keep an eye out for the live tracks when they come out.

A new chapter in the life of this band began last week, when the new incarnation of the Hide Away rocked it out in front of 400 people on the lawn of the National Building Museum in DC.  Made up of some great guys from my hometown, we just killed it in Philly last night, and are looking forward to a busy summer, starting with string of MD/VA shows memorial day weekend, and beyond.

Hope you've enjoyed our shows and releases so far, thanks again for your continued support, and we can't wait to show you whats coming next.