-Interview- Getaway Van (2/22/19)

Getaway Van talks about their new album, the current state of Rock and much more.


From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Sounds like: Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Getaway Van" and is there any meaning behind it?

Charlie: Coming from a family with a strong musical background, I got introduced to the world of music at an early age. My parents play/played in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, so I was playing music whether I wanted to or not. My Dad was my first music teacher, starting me on piano at 4. As I got to concert band/youth orchestra age, I picked up the trumpet. At age 16, my puberty-fuelled, rebellious nature prompted me to defy my parents and swap the trumpet for the guitar, allowing me to play the music that I was actually passionate about.

I didn’t start playing guitar with other people until Derek and I decided we would start a band - the first band for either of us. I do feel the need to point out that that decision was the result of a blurry house party, which lead to a jam session - the inevitable jam that results from 2 drunk guitarists finding 2 guitars. I think that was back in 2015, and since then we’ve been through 3 major project/personnel changes. After we lost our bassist and drummer, we found Devon on craigslist, got him on board, and he then coerced his childhood friend Zack to join us. Thus, Getaway Van came to be. As for the story behind the name, sole credit goes to Derek, so I’ll leave that to him. All I have to say is my immediate reaction was “oh f*** yea bahd.”

With regards to our sound, I feel that once we overcame the barrier of building some initial chemistry, our sound started developing and hasn’t stopped. Nor does it show any sign of stopping. Between the 4 of us, we cover a broad spectrum when it comes to listening preferences. A lot in common, but just as much diversity in our tastes. Some may see that as an obstacle, but we use it to our advantage. One thing we do all have in common is our desire to be a band who isn’t confined to one genre, and with 3 primary songwriters, all who have a variety of influences, it gives us the ability to write music that we’re all really proud of, all have a hand in creating, but is wildly different from one song to the next.

Zack: I was about 10 years old when I decided that if I wanted a girlfriend, I'd better learn to play the guitar. My Mom bought me a cheap starter Stratocaster knock-off and practice amp and got me in lessons. My heart wasn't really in it at the beginning so I really struggled for a while. It wasn't until I started obsessing over AC/DC, say what you will about them, and their iconic riffs that I really kicked it into high gear. I ended up teaching myself mostly. I played in various bands through high school and afterwards, picking up a variety of instruments along the way. Piano, drums, bass, ukelele, harmonica. Devon (the drummer) and I have played in multiple bands together since we were 15 years old. A little over a year ago now he invited me to come jam with these guys, and here we are! Derek came up with the name Getaway Van. The name says it all. Fast, dirty rock and roll.

Derek: I actually never played any instruments until like 7 years ago when I was 24. I was living in Edmonton for a winter for a job I had. It was like -30 Celsius outside and I needed a hobby. I decided I would pick up a guitar. It was a hobby that I was really not skilled at, so everything was a challenge. First it was “learn a song”, then it was “write a song”, then it was “be in a band”, then it was “play a show”, then “play a big venue”, “write a record”, “go on a tour”... I keep setting goals and I need to work hard to make each work. But it’s really been a personal project in something I am not naturally gifted at. It’s super rewarding knowing the focused effort that goes into it, and accomplishing goals.

As for the name of the band, I totally came up with this one. I was thinking of what to call this project, and thought it should be something aggressive, a little bit out of control, and something that just aligns with our vibe. I always loved the desert rock vibe and hot-rods were kind of a symbol within that scene. As soon as I thought of it, it was just perfect. It totally symbolizes our musics vibe. I told Charlie and Logan (our bassist at the time) that this should be the new band name, and it stuck right away. It helps that Charlie is a mechanic and I’m a car guy. Another name we tossed around was King Victoria and I’m pretty happy we went with Getaway Van, haha.

Devon: Some of my first memories are of music. It was always playing in the house when I was little, so I’ve loved music from a very young age. Not too many years later, I decided to pick up the sticks and try playing drums. I took a couple lessons when I was 8, but really didn’t enjoy it. I begged my dad for a drum kit because I still wanted to play. He saw how badly I wanted to do it, and bought me my first kit. Fast forward 16yrs, here I am playing with Getaway Van. Derek came up with the name one day, as far as I know there’s no special meaning behind it. As soon as we all heard the name, we loved it. It was different, and it sounded cool. Now here we are over a year and a half later.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

Charlie: The number one thing I strive for people to experience when listening to our music, is a feeling of contentment. And I don’t mean being content as a synonym for happiness, cause our music is emotionally diverse. I just want people to be moved, be grooved, and feel aurally satisfied.

Zack: I would hope that people can rock out to our music, leave their worries behind, and just generally have a good time. The songs we've written, for the most part, come from a very real place. A place of struggle, sadness, and love. Most people can relate to those things, and I think that most people just want to be understood, and I hope that they'll get that from our tunes.

Derek: I want people to listen to it and have one song that they go to as something they listen to when they’re in a certain mood. Like when I am in a hectic stressed out place, I find Branches really covers those emotions and people can use it as an outlet for that frustration.

Devon: My hope is that people just enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoy playing it. In my opinion, whether you like Punk, Blues, or just good RocknRoll, there’s something for everyone in our music.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Charlie: To the average listener I would say in general, we are a rock band, through and through. More specifically, there’s noticeable roots of stoner rock, classic rock, blues, and punk - just to name a few. And to those who aren’t predisposed to rock music, I say give us a chance, even if you don’t like the first thing you hear! In some cases, when going from song to song, you might not even recognize us as the same band.

Zack: We are a good old rock and roll band. We have bits of grunge and classic rock. Imagine ZZ Top and Stone Temple Pilots got in a car crash, better yet a VAN crash.

Derek: The music is meant to be played loud. It’s heavy but soulful. Fast paced and hectic. It’s an eye into our minds.

Devon: We all have so many different influences, and I think it really shows in our sound. I love Punk Rock, it’s where I come from. I was raised on Classic Rock as well, so there are definitely those elements in our songs. I would say we’re a “Bluesy, Punk Rock influenced, RocknRoll band”.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Charlie: Like dream bands or realistic bands? Cause top for me would be Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, and Incubus.

Zack: Against Me!, Motorhead, Black Sabbath

Derek: Fu Manchu. Truckfighters. Elephant Tree.

Devon: That’s a tough one, especially cause none of them really sound like our band. I would have to say Green Day, Alkaline Trio, and Social Distortion.

5. What are your three desert island albums that you'd never get tired of listening to?

Charlie: That is a reaaalllllly tough one, but probably A Night At The Opera - Queen, Lullabies to Paralyze - QOTSA, and Innervision - Stevie Wonder

Zack: For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver, Random Access Memories - Daft Punk, Demon Days - Gorillaz

Derek: Songs for the Deaf - Queens of the Stone Age, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine - Death from Above 1979, Elephant Tree - Elephant Tree.

Devon: Oh god that’s a hard one… Only 3?? American Idiot- Green Day, The 59 sound- The Gaslight Anthem, Good Mourning- Alkaline Trio. There would be many, many more...

6. What’s your take on the current state of Rock?

Charlie: I know everyone loves to say that Rock is dead, but I’m not buying it. If anything, I think it’s been making a resurgence in recent years. I mean, the decade of 2000-2010 paled in comparison to the glory of the 90s, but I’m hearing some really high quality new rock these days. And the fact that a band like Greta Van Fleet (whatever your opinion of them may be) can skyrocket to stardom, shows that rock n roll will never die.

Zack: I think, like all music, there's good stuff everywhere. You just have to be willing to look. Even just here in Vancouver I've discovered plenty of awesome local rock bands. Rock can never die.

Derek: I think the state of rock is about producing more raw, less polished albums. I love that, with digital stuff becoming the norm, it’s cool to see the old tube amps still being the forefront of every guitarist’s set up. Seems like the sounds are headed into more lo-fi territory lately, which gives you those perfect imperfections in the music.

Devon: I could go on for a long time about garbage that’s on the radio, but I would say that RocknRoll is still alive and well. It may not be what you hear on mainstream radio anymore(for the most part) but I think that adds a sort of special thing to it. RocknRoll is the best music in the world, and as long as there are new bands coming out that have a love for it, it’s not going anywhere.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in British Columbia both locally and country wide?

Charlie: Well I can’t speak much to the music scene across Canada, as I’ve only participated in my local music scene (and a couple other BC towns), but I find it’s a bit of a mixed bag in Vancouver. Generally, I think the scene here is pretty good, but it’s a constant balancing act between the folks who want to see live music, and the folks who want to see a DJ spin top 40 tracks. Unfortunately, one of those makes more money for the bars.

Zack: We have a very diverse music scene here in BC, Vancouver and Victoria being the main hubs. So many awesome bands willing to help each other out. In my experience anyway. As for the rest of the country, I have yet to find out.

Derek: The heavy music scene in this city is strong, a lot of bands have a sense of comradery and support each other. In the less heavy rock scene here, it’s not so supportive. Outside of that, yes electronic music is at its height and I think it will likely fizzle out soon. Something is so unsatisfying when you’re at a live show watching a DJ check their phone while “playing” a set.

Devon: I think Vancouver is like a majority of North America. Most people want to hear Pop music, or go pay to see a DJ play on a computer. That’s totally fine if that’s what you’re into, but if you want to find a good band or artist, you have to look a little harder. Luckily there are a few venues that still support the Rock scene. When you gain fans, they stay loyal to the scene. When other bands play, you go support them, and they do the same for you. I get the feeling it’s like that in a majority of Canada and the U.S.

8. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

Charlie: To be perfectly honest, I don’t think it’s an issue anymore, since the advent of streaming services. I personally don’t know anybody who still downloads music illegally. Everyone just streams instead. (Which is a whole different topic)

Zack: I agree with Charlie, streaming all the way.

Derek: Take the music - listen for free, I don’t care. But for fucks sake, show up to the shows!

Devon: The way I look at it, if someone likes our music enough to steal it, that’s cool. Not that we want people to steal music, or merch, or whatever, but I won’t sit there and nickel and dime people. If we’re making enough just to keep ogoing, that’s amazing. If our music is out there being heard through speakers, and seen on a t-shirt, that’s great.

9. What’s next for Getaway Van?

Charlie: Up next for us is a whole lot of writing. We’re going to be spending the next several months writing and curating a track list for another album, one that we’ll be even more proud of, and more stoked on, than the album we released on Feb 23.

Zack: Many more shows, hopefully some touring, and another album. Stay tuned!

Derek: Release more music and play a bunch of shows across Western Canada this year! Hopefully book some USA shows as well.

Devon: We’ve got some shows lined up this spring, we’re releasing our brand new album “Getaway Van” on February 23rd. Hopefully writing new songs, and lots of practice!

10. Any shoutouts?

Charlie: Shoutout to Mike Slater, for making us sound so great. To Live Acts/Live Agency for helping us navigate the local music scene and get shows. To my parents and family for blessing me with my love of music. To my bandmates for helping me make great music. And to my lovely girlfriend Eleni for keeping me grounded, supporting me, and occasionally being my muse.

Zack: Thank you Mike Slater for making us sound like pure sex. And to Bort for being the dopest touring buddies ever. And to everyone who has come to see us live, you're what it's all about. And to my band mates for being like a family to me.

Derek: Thanks to my girlfriend Robyn for putting up with this, thanks to my brother Devon for being the biggest fan and making the trek to our shows, and thanks to all our fans that support us day-in/day-out with this project.

Devon: There’s so many to name… I just want to thank anyone, and everyone who has helped us out in any way. Anyone who has come to our shows, bought a t-shirt, let us stay on their couch, let us play at their bar, and anyone who is interested in what we are doing. Also my bandmates, my brothers, I love you guys, and I love our band. THANK YOU