Listen Up Music Interview: Van Susans

By Londonist Last edited 90 months ago
Listen Up Music Interview: Van Susans
South London six piece Van Susans are a band with big ambitions and a fan-base to carry them through. They sold out Oxford Street's legendary 100 Club for the launch of their debut EP ‘We Could Be Scenery’, and are about to headline IndigO2 – they even have a cocktail named after them. Not bad for an indie band with only one release.
Londonist spoke to Van Susans singer Olly Andrews about how London has affected their Frank Turner-esque melodic indie-rock, and what their home city means to the band in advance of their monumental IndigO2 show.Congratulations on selling out the 100 Club. How does that feel?
It’s a real achievement to sell out the 100 Club, so many amazing bands have played there and to be able to say that we sold it out is something really special for us. It was a great night and one of the best shows we’ve ever played, looking forward to the next time.

Describe your musical philosophy to us.
If a band plays in the woods, and no one is there to hear them, does the band really play in the woods? But in all seriousness, we play music we love. Making music is our passion and we make music that we would listen to, the more people who are getting into our sound the better.

Who are your influences?
We all have slightly different musical influences, what with our bassist Tim being into Latin music, and our guitarist Ed is a real metal head. But we all have mutual ground with American pop rock bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Jack’s Mannequin and Death Cab for Cutie.

What’s your favourite London venue?
My personal favourite venue is Brixton Academy. It would be a dream come true to play there. I’ve seen some great bands take to its stage, and I’d love to be able to carve Van Susans name on its wall. The way the venue slants towards the stage is great, it allows everyone in the audience to have a clear view of the performance, no matter how tall the guy is in front of you. The architecture of the inside is beautiful and it gives off a great vibe, like you’re in a magical cave

What’s the London gig circuit like for bands starting out? Is it important to have historic venues like the 100 Club to aspire to play in?
There will always be a local pub for new bands to play in, but there is a great deal of competition in the industry, especially in London for the more renowned venues. A lot of ‘historic’ venues in London are either on the brink of closer or have closed their doors already. The Astoria and Mean Fiddler have gone and the 100 Club was only saved by a sponsorship from Converse. So it is lucky that we still have historic venues to aspire to at all.

If you could have yourself projected on any building in London, which would it be?
Battersea Power Station, someone needs to do something with it so might as well make it a Van Susans shrine!

How important is London to you and your music?
We all have an undying love for London. We are very lucky to live in such a vibrant place with lots of possibilities. You are never more than an hour away from a gig in London. You must seek your own opportunities, but it sure does help when they are on your doorstep.

What’s your favourite...
  …London monument?
Not really a monument as such but we sure did love South Bank skate park when we were growing up.
  …Tube line?
The Victoria Line as there used to be this guy who would get on the train late at night and play Elvis Presley covers. It was a great way to start the evening on a night on the town.
…place to hang out?
We’ve got a local karaoke bar in Bromley called Metropolis that we all love. We play there frequently and now even have a cocktail named after us at the place. You know you’re really going places when you have a drink named after your band! Anyone for a Van Susans?
…Area for food, China Town or Brick Lane?
Brick Lane is so overrated, you can get a better curry at the end of my road than you can in Brick Lane. China Town is where it’s at, ‘it’ being good food. You need to try the triangle cakes, they are divine.

Where in London would Van Susans like to play if they could play anywhere?
Probably on The Mall. That is where the front cover for our EP ‘We Could Be Scenery’ was shot. God Save The Queen!

From 100 Club to the IndigO2, things are getting bigger, what’s in the pipeline for the Van Susans?
Onwards and upwards is the plan. We are working hard in the studio at the moment on our album, which we will release at some point in 2012, and planning a UK tour. We’ll no doubt book up a big London date in the not too distant future. Things are going really well for us, and we’re all looking forward to whatever is in store for us.

Van Susans debut EP ‘We Could Be Scenery’ is released by Beatnik Geek records and is available via their website. They headline IndigO2, North Greenwich, on 24 September. Doors 6.30pm. Tickets £11.50 available through Ticket Master.

By Dave

Last Updated 21 September 2011