By Seher Sikandar
If you haven’t heard of Van Hunt, consider this your official warning: you will be perpetually whack if you don’t get on – right – now. Now. This funkaholic is performing live at Yoshi’s Oakland this Thursday, August 20th at 8pm only. Tickets are $18 at Yoshi’s website.
“There’s no greater happiness than to be able to be yourself and pay your bills,” says Van after what he calls a “tumultuous two-and-a-half years” following his parting with Blue Note in 2007 (which took over his former label of about 5 years, Capitol Records).
And now he’s reemerging. Waist deep in a new project he hopes to release in February 2010, Van describes his mental spaces for creating this record as having an ‘extreme range with lots of up’s and down’s.’
“It’s a vast project; I can’t imagine needing to make another record after it.” Kind of a big deal. But! To hold us over in between what seems to be a monumental project, Van just independently released a free compilation of demos, acoustics, and b-sides titled, Use in Case of Emergency. Featuring work recorded between 1997 and 2005, it’s kinda the ish – and his original cut of “Hot Stage Lights” (called “Man of the Year”), I have to say – is sorta amazing.
It’s clear this man is a true artist at heart – first and foremost and without a doubt – so it doesn’t come as surprise when he says the album won’t be released unless it’s done completely right. ‘Doing it right’ this time around includes having a live band help with the tracks (instead of Van playing all the instruments like he usually does) – and that costs money.
I spent half an hour catching up with Van and getting a little peek into his world – all the way from his five-year-old, to records he’s bought, to what keeps him waking up in the morning.