Van Hunt Interview

vanhuntBy 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.

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