I previewed VanGaalen's upcoming show in my column this week , but wasn't able to chat with him until after we had gone to press.


Chad VanGaalen at the Triple Door this Sunday

I previewed VanGaalen's upcoming show in my column this week, but wasn't able to chat with him until after we had gone to press. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

The bio accompanying Soft Airplane implies that this was your most focused and concisely recorded record to date. Presuming you share that perspective, was this a clear goal you worked towards or something that just took you a while to dial in? Did you put limitations on yourself in terms of a timeframe, deadline or other creative parameters?

Yes, i think for this record i was really concerned with continuity more than the last two because even though they had moments where they succeeded, the songs seemed to suffer from the fractured sequencing. I wanted Soft Airplane to be more of a record that is a sum of all of its parts rather than a random or seemingly random collection of songs and sound. I didn't really have any time restrictions, and that gave me the ability to really rework parts that were half-baked or just plain bad.

The "Molten Light" video is lovely and brings to mind the obvious query about how being a visual artist impacts you creative process as a musician. Do you visualize your songs in any fashion while you are writing?

Chad VanGaalen, "Molten Light"

Um, well sometimes i have pictures in my head about certain themes in a song. most of my songs will erupt from jams or strumming, and lyrics come at that very moment or long after and sometimes before. The ideas for the song "Molten Light" came from a hazy dream. I can't really see it anymore, but it sent me on my way with enough to make it into a full story. The characters in the video were completely separate from the original dream characters.

I get the impression you still work in relative isolation for the most part. What are the challenges and advantages of this?

Yes, I do work away from alot of things, but my small world seems quite big the more time i spend with it the bigger it gets. The challenge in that is that you are always looking further and further inside yourself, and that can get quite boring if you let it. the advantages for me are that i can really see that micro cosmos everywhere now.

Much of what draws me to your work as a listener is the dovetailing of the morose and life-affirming imagery that colors many of your songs. Why does weaving the two components together fascinate you?

I think that contrast exists in most things that surround us so celebrating them at the same time just seems to make perfect sense! I feel like so much of what happens to people is unexplainable and to abstract to condense in a song, so leaving two opposite elements side by side is the best i can do right now.

Chad VanGaalen opens for Giant Sand at 7:30 sharp at the Triple Door. Get your tickets over here.

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