Disguising tales of loss, destruction and heartbreak under a glistening masquerade of woozy dream-pop, Van Houten are the band who will steal your heart and put it back together again. Blending colourful sonic textures with introspective lyrics, the four-piece effortlessly saunter on the line between lo-fi sound and polished production.
Your self-titled debut album was released on September 13th. What can listeners expect from the album?
To us, the album sounds like a nice cuddle or a warm cup of Joe ready for a good sipping. Our debut album has an overwhelming sense of honesty, longing and lust, shrouded in dreamy soundscapes and minor 9 chords. Think crooning vocals and warm guitars! All this is complemented by the crisp 70s hifi production of the based God/Sheffield legend that is Martin Smith. Listeners should expect Daddy pizza jazz that had a baby with an analogue delay pedal but then daddy left the baby and it got really sad and was sick down its bib.
You're all clearly really good mates. How did you meet and start playing music together?
We all met on Tinder! Henry and Louis have known each other since high school; Megan and Jake W met through friends at Leeds college of music; Jake R was a fan of the band prior and managed to weave his way into the starting line up. As a band we all are passionate about making good music and having fun. We’re all best friends now and always hang outside of the band because that’s what friends do from time to time. We’re really lucky to have the friendship group we have.
You have a great lo-fi yet developed sound. Are there any creative challenges associated with this?
The challenge of maintaining lo-fi routes in a studio is difficult. All of us like to record in our bedrooms. Often, simplifying elements tend to sound more natural. We found that in the studio, if you maintain the idea of a raw and natural performance, like how you would perform in your bedroom or your shower, then you can get a natural result. Louis and Jake R like
to turn the lights off in the vocal booth, which helps when you wanna give a sexy performance.
How does your new album compare to Kirk Van Houten's mixtape?
Drastically inferior, but Kirk only released a single and we have an album so who’s winning?! If he ever wants to collaborate or replace Louis as lead singer then he should hit us up big time stylee! Here’s a bit of VH trivia for ya: the episode which that is from is what inspired the name of the band. We still get Van Hooten a lot from people who haven’t watched the Simpsons before though.
Do you have any plans for after the album release?
We’re doing lots of shows to support the release of the album up and down the country that you all should come to! Hopefully we will be going back into the studio soon to start work on album two which, between me and you, is gonna sound minty fresh! We will also be recording something for Come Play With Me to be released next year. We also have some personal plans: Ribbo has started to write his Christmas list all by himself like a big boy, Henry wants to be in Pixies, Megan is going to learn French, Louis is planning on getting a haircut and Wriggley wants what Wriggley gets.