There’s many reasons for picking Van Zeller as our first ever Bristol band of the month. The four-piece have just dropped their new single ‘The Coward’ which is a frantic slice of punk and are also heading out across the UK in due course. The tour is set to finish with a headline show at Thekla on the 29th September with support from Milo’s Planes and Leeches. With all this in mind we sat down with the band for a nice catch up.
We love the new track – what was the thinking behind it musically?
Thanks very much, glad you like it. Well in terms of the music, I wrote it really quickly one night and then we pretty much learnt it and played it live the next day. I wanted the track to sound relentless, like it was on the brink of falling apart at any moment. I like to think it could be the soundtrack to a car chase in a Clint Eastwood film.
It’s an exciting time for Van Zeller – are there plans to keep momentum with another release?
Hopefully, maybe not for a while though, we have been writing lots and demoing lots of stuff at our place, we’re still interested in pushing our sound in different ways and the results so far have been good, so hopefully there will be a larger release down the line somewhere, but we just want to work on the songs as much as we can.
To what extent has the Bristol scene helped you develop your identity and sound?
For me, the sheer amount of talent and musical diversity in the Bristol music community just amazing. Seeing bands like IDLES just doing it by themselves has really helped us solidify our own DIY sensibilities. In terms of our sound, I think we just want to keep it enjoyable and fun, we take music and writing seriously, but live I think we just want people to keep having fun and escape a bit, and I think Bristol has really helped us in achieving that a bit.
You’ve played some smashing shows – how does it feel to be headlining Thekla this month?
Thanks, we try and make the headline shows something special for everyone who supported us, and we have been genuinely surprised by the response that the shows got. For me, it still feels pretty surreal to be headlining at Thekla, I mean if you’d told me that a year ago I wouldn’t have believed you, but we’re hopefully gonna pull out a couple or surprises for it so were getting pretty excited for it.
If you could pick a local hero then who would it be and why?
I think we’d all agree that it’s Big Jeff, his support for and knowledge for musicians across such a broad spectrum is astounding, and speaking to him about music is always great because you always learn about music that you would probably never have come across without him, and he’s also an incredibly nice person as well.
What other bands on Bristol scene should we be listening to right now? You can’t say Lice.
Well, Lice were getting behind in their promo payments to us anyway, so we’re now no longer legally obliged to recommend them. I’ve been listening to a new band called Tropic, they’ve just put out a single on Fresh Juice called ‘A Continuing Saga #3 (Deja Vu)’ which reminds me a bit of Ought and a bit of Parquet Courts. Also, if you get the chance to see Scalping, get out and do it because they put on an extraordinary live show. I’ve also been listening to the latest Milo’s Planes album, they’re song ‘Fidget in Paralysis’ is one of my favourite of the year. Also cant forget our surrogate brothers Leeches, great tunes, great hair.
Where would we catch you guys hanging out in the city do you have a favourite spot?
Well you can usually catch Nick (our bassist) sipping on a chilli and ginger cider down the Crofters Rights most nights, sometimes he invites the rest of us down. I really like the Old England as well becasue it’s got a pool table.
Lastly what else have Van Zeller got coming up that we should know about?
Well we’ve got a tour coming up in September then I think we’re just going to keep on writing and recording as much as we can and hopefully have something out next year.
Listen to ‘The Coward’ right here: