Van Susans are an exciting 5 piece alternative folk outfit hailing from both the surburban outskirts of London and the rugged highlands of Glasgow. Comprising of 5 members: Olly Andrews, Eddie Dullaway, Holly McLatchie, Innes Christie and Harvey Simpson.
Interview with Olly Andrews – lead singer of Van Susans.
How did the band start up?
We’ve been going for 6 years now, forming the band with myself, Ed and Rob. Had a lot of changes along the way – recently Rob left which hurt like hell… But myself and Ed are still here! Haha! We of course have the lovely Scottish lass Holly on the violin, recently having two fresh faces in the equally Scottish drummer Innes Christie and our new awesome bass player Harvey Simpson.
The new line up has given us a fresh lease of life, it feels fun again, and we are writing some great new music. All is good in the VS camp.
Where did the name come from?
Rob and I had a good friend called Dan Susans, he was a top lad who tragically lost his life in a motorbike accident. He was kind of an honouree member of our previous band, always wanted to get himself a tour van and write our old band name on the side of it. It just felt right to name the band after him.
You are releasing your second single on Friday April 29th – the video for which is already out – can you tell us about it/who produced it/why it’s important to you?
Yeah the song is called ‘Seagulls’. We wrote it over three years ago and have been sitting on it until now biding our time until the right moment to release it upon the world! The music video is out now and we are very happy with how it turned out. We worked over three years to get the video to where it is, going back and forth with ideas… Nearly killing an actor along the way! Ben K Adams the director did a great job of getting all the pieces pulled together.
It is the most important song we have ever written. It’s not about girls or growing up it’s about loss and heartache. All the band have been through a lot of that of late with family matters and other dramas. The song reflects upon all of this. After writing it, me and Ed made the decision to never write a song again for the sake of writing it, it needs meaning and depth behind the words and music. It was the song that set a precedent for that so it is indeed, very important to us.
These days there’s a big focus from the industry on band’s Social media stats. You have a significant following on Social Media for an emerging band. What benefits have you seen?
Social media is just another tool to advertise yourselves. We have a great following all around the UK after going for 6 years now, toured the UK, France and Germany on numerous occasions. It is great to have these people supporting what we are doing, they make it all worth it.
Last week we had a girl come up to us at our show on Record Store Day at Head Bromley and she said ‘Your album got me through some very dark times’. I couldn’t help but hug her in spite of me being dripping with sweat… I’ve been there with bands myself, Frightened Rabbit, Jack’s Mannequin, these are the bands that I love and have helped me overcome my bugbears. Knowing that there is somebody out there listening to our music is all the reward that we need to do what we do. That is the biggest benefit that I can think of.
You’ve toured with some big acts, which of them stood out for you?
The Beautiful South was one of the bands that I grew up listening to. My Dad would put their greatest hits on repeat for car journeys to Scotland, so when the opportunity came up to tour with them I was ecstatic. It was very early on in the VS world, so it all felt like one big dream. It was the first time we all felt that we were really on to something good.
Plans for the rest of 2016. Any Festivals etc?
Yes! We have an EP on its way, called ‘Live Forever’. It’s going to be out in the late summer, can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
We are playing a good amount of festivals; Cornbury Festival, Towersey and our beloved P4P Festival again to name a few. Then we’re jumping back in the studio to get our new album recorded! Hopefully having a lot of fun along the way, as that’s the only thing that matters.