Road to Diapason Festival: A Conversation with Chad Van Gaalen

By: Sun Noor

Canadian Musical and visual artist Chad Van Gaalen is also another musical act whose set remains among the highly anticipated at Diapason Festival tonight. After embarking on a European tour later this Spring, the artist is due to play a series of Canadian festivals such as Hillside Festival in Guelph as well as a few dates in the Pacific North West this fall.

I caught up with Van Gaalen ahead of his appearance at Diapason in order to discuss touring, the creative process behind his art and music.

So you’ve just culminated a European tour how has that been for you?

Chad: The tour in general was pretty good.

Have you had any memorable shows/ have any specific cities you like returning to?

Chad: I like Vera in Groningen, that’s probably of my favourite venue to play at.

You’ve also mentioned to have a preference of spending time at your studio over playing live shows in the past, do you still feel that way about touring?

Chad: Yeah I prefer being in my studio because it means that I’m closer to my family.

Your latest record Light Information has almost been out for a year now , how do you feel about that?

Chad: I don’t really think about that has it been a year? Time is definitely… I don’t understand it.

Is there a specific track from the Record you enjoy playing live over others?

Chad: there’s a couple but whichever ones I remember in the moment I enjoy playing.

You’ve also mentioned taking quite a bit of time to put this record together. When did you start the creative process, how long did it take and did it differ from process for previous works?

Chad: Yeah it’s hard to say since I’m kind of always working on songs so, you know like lot of it was taken from…some of the songs on there are six or seven years old. I just kind of like whatever song I’ve written in the mean time and have left over or have rediscovered I just put them in a folder and pass them around. Like I said my concept of time changes and I’m working on a lot of visual art at the same time too and that’s probably what I focus on the most.

What was your main source of inspiration and how do you usually being the process of making records?

Chad: Like I said whenever I get an idea I just record it and now I’ve been working on the same equipment for probably the past I don’t know fifteen years, it’s pretty economical and quick. I’m slowly tweaking my studio all the time. From an engineering perspective, it’s a little bit easier townspeople my head around these days if you let pass chords and maybe a little more skilled or maybe not who knows! My ears are also becoming extremely damaged it’s not very advantageous to be a musician at the same time as being an engineer I think because you’re doing s lot of damage to your ears in the live rock situations and then you come back home and don’t really realize that you’re deaf or you’re loosing you’re hearing until everybody tells you your songs sound like garbage or the mix sounds weird or whatever so I’m just trying to deal with that and I feel like my right ear is like fifty percent of what it used to be and just trying to deal with that, but whatever, who cares! Maybe it’s gonna sound good, maybe it’s gonna be awesome, maybe the right speaker on everybody’s stereo is going to be blowing as well.

As a visual artist do you think that you often draw inspiration from visuals for song ideas or in terms of the production?

Chad: Yeah, I guess.

And what is your main source of inspiration when putting a record together?

Chad: same as everybody else’s, I’m just a human on a landscape seeing stuff and hearing stuff. Life is just life.

Given that Diapason festival takes place in various strange settings such as cruise ships, libraries and also an ice cream truck as well as the few stages, do you recall the strangest setting in which you’ve previously performed?

Chad: I don’t know, yeah maybe. I feel like a club is a strange setting. Clubs are weird it’s like people are just there to get drunk and that’s weird. I feel like any rock club is weirder than playing out in the forest, that doesn’t seem weird to me.

Lastly, what are some of your favourite records at the moment?

Chad: My current favourite records? I just got a “Sounds of Senegal” record when I was out traveling that I’ve been really into, it’s like percussion from Senegal. I’m listening to this Philip K Dick Glass, I’m also listening to The Kinks, David Axelrod Songs of Inconveniences is good, Elea Craig’s One Nighter is awesome, some love Jimmy Hendrix, I don’t know if this is a single person or a band called Deuter it’s called Call of the Unknown, it’s like New Age music I think you can call it, some Klaus Schulze, a record called Moon Dawn as well as Doom that’s a pretty good record, some Eric Dolphy, I’m always listening to a bit of Dolphy. I just got a pile of stuff that’s sitting here ready to be listened to but I haven’t really gotten around to that.

Click here to view Chad Van Gaalen’s remaining tour dates.

Watch the video for “Host Body” below

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