A Letter From The Editor
There are eight of us crammed into a tiny green room (read: not actually green, just industry lingo for a place for artists to hangout) that resembles something of a train carriage; an entrance at one end, a shelf and bar at the other, red clothed bench seats on either side. A forty of gin is being passed around, red cups are scattered about, beer and energy drinks placed on the shelf. The reverberation of dance music echoes through the walls and vibrates our seats. Some are speaking in French, others in English, everyone is laughing and happy. Needless to say, it’s a celebration.
DnM: Well, thanks for taking time out of your night to do this. I really appreciate this.
Van Bobbi: Yeah, of course, happy to.
DnM: I want to start off with a nice easy one for you. Is the line for Republique, is it worth it?
Van Bobbi: Hell yes it is. It’s the best quiche I’ve ever had and also they have bacon steak, which is the thickest cut of bacon you could ever imagine AND you can upgrade your butter to Normandy butter. It’s seven dollar butter, yeah, you only get a few grams of it but coats the inside of your mouth really nicely. It’s salty and delicious.
DnM: So, would you consider yourself a foodie? The reason I ask is because you do have a YouTube series dedicated to lunch, which has 5 episodes. How did you get involved into these short little mini short clips of you, a green-screen, and some food.
Van Bobbi: It started with snap chat actually. When I learned about bullet proof coffee and got really excited. Cause, no one drinks bullet proof coffee and doesn’t go all in.
DnM: You gotta get the butter in there.
Van Bobbi: You gotta go butter, you gotta go with the omegas, you gotta go with the coconut oil. So it started with me snapping myself making all these bullet proof coffees in the morning, and I got a lot of really positive feedback from that. So, I bought myself a green screen and was like what’s something I can do when I’m not releasing music, or making music, to keep people engaged, show them who I am. And also share my other passions because music and food are very very similar to me. Being able to take raw ingredients, a couple basic elements, and combine them into something that is transcendent, something you can survive on. It’s nourishing. It’s vital. Music is vital. Food is vital. It’s a basic need as far as I am concerned.
DnM: You’ve done 5 episodes now and number 4 actually features an updated version of 8th Grader’s ‘Morro Bae’. With future Van Bobbi releases are we going to see more updates or more originals, and what can you say about the updated Morro Bae.
Van Bobbi: As far as you know, and the public knows…that’s the only one. There are songs that I have written that we are going through right now, that might be updates, but they were never released. They were ideas I had that I thought were really close. But, now I’m collaborating with other people who are helping me finish them out. It’s really fun. All of the 8th Grader and Collaj stuff was all me all by myself. Now that I have got Lights and Music on board, and that I live in LA, I’ve been collaborating a lot more with people. It takes the weight off and shares the experience of song writing, taking something I feel strongly, or excited about, and having someone else sprinkle some thing wonderful stff on top of that.
DnM: Speaking of 8th Grader, that project represented your experience of 8th grade love: the hopeless romance, the awkwardness, the shyness, the nervousness. Then there was Collaj, and now Van Bobbi. What was Collaj and how does Van Bobbi differ?
Van Bobbi: 8th grader for me was a wonderful jumping off point for me. This was the beginning of my solo career after coming out of music for animals. Honestly, I wrote 5 slow jams for my girlfriend at the time all in the style of late 80s early 90s RnB. It went a lot further than I thought it was, it ended up getting a lot more blog coverage and SWSX invites. It was great and kind of scary for me at the time. But then people in real life started calling me 8th Grader, like hey 8th Grader, what’s up 8th grader. It just felt kind of weird being called 8th grader…I just kind of wanted to treat that as a moment and let that EP be it’s own thing. I started writing new music for what I thought was going to be the 2nd 8th Grader release, but it didn’t feel right anymore.
I want be able to blend… I mean I listen to Tom Petty, R. Kelly and Pink Floyd. My influences are a collage of many different things from on and off the radio. So I adopted the name Collaj. And I released was Tropical Vacation and Morro Bae under the name, and that was cool. But then again one last time, I was like ‘that was a wonderful moment‘. What I loved about 8th grader was that it was a character based project for me. What I hated about it I started to love and miss. Then Van Bobbi popped into my head, and I thought ‘hey that sounds like a fun guy to be around‘, he’s a party guy but not just a party guy.
I want Van Bobbi to be expansive and also be diverse and hard hitting dance-floor music. But not like techno, moreso Indie Pop.
DnM: What do you hope to accomplish with this project that you didn’t with the last two?
Van Bobbi: …uhhh it’s kind of weird because I’m doing that right now. My idea with Van Bobbi was to find a family. Find somebody who really believed in the music. Get other people involved. All the other stuff was solo and I realized I could only have so much fun as a solo. I missed collaboration. Van Bobbi is more about bring other people into the fold and sharing that music. Listening to other peoples ideas, being open to others peoples ideas. And hopefully growing the project into a family.
Jay temporarily leaves the room to perform an other set. As he re-enters an in-flexed voice from the distance shouts “Is your name really vaN? The green room erupts with laughter.
DnM: So we left off talking about what you want to accomplish with Van Bobbi.
Van Bobbi: I want to release more music and start building a nice catalogue. With each of my last projects they kind of got stuck up. With this one I want to go full album, release a couple singles, have a full album that is a complete expression of my music.
DnM: We’ve talked a little about family [off the record] and I know you’re really close with yours. How do they feel about your pursuit of music and songs like ‘Lose Control’?
Van Bobbi: They love it man. My mom is a really hilarious and potty mouthed woman from Hawaii who does hula too all of my music. My dad is a similar, and they’re both really supportive of the project.
DnM: I’m going to try and bring this full circle, you mentioned food and how it it’s bringing basic elements together to create something something beautiful. Which is something I want to bring up with you, which is something you do which is rare: you play the drums, guitar, sing and write your lyrics. Tell me about how you came to that kind of capability.
Van Bobbi: For me it started at a really early age, I started to hear distinct parts in music, I started to hear little individual things within the music. I always enjoyed ear candy and went through periods, 80s funk, 90s r&b, listening to Roger Waters and Pink Floyd. I took notice to people taking risk with sounds, soundscapes and textures. I’ve always sung and was in choir in highschool. That’s when I started to play around piano and learning songs by Billy Joel, Elton John, really cheesy shit like Reo Speedwagon and TLC. I really wanted to play and sing at the same time. Then I started studying Afro-Cuban drumming. I learned traditional Ghanan and Ivory coast rhythms. I’m not an expert but I got some of the basic pulses and loping feel of that kind of music, all of that stuff that really pushes and pulls the rhythm. I always try and incorporate that stuff as the backbone, I love Afro-Cuban music. Within 5 or 6 years I kind of taught myself how to hold it down.
DnM: That’s a great response. Now for my closing question, and I think you might appreciate more than most, but if you could do any drug with any person past or present who and what would it be.
Van Bobbi: The drug probably have to be cocaine. Otherwise it would get too weird with everything else, get dug into a deep conversation. It would have to be…
DnM: Thank you so much for taking time out of your night.
Van Bobbi: Thank you for having me.