Interview: Songwriting Prodigy Hana Vu Is Living Her Dream

Interview: Songwriting Prodigy Hana Vu Is Living Her Dream

Hana Vu Interview

Hana Vu graduated high school earlier this year, and now she’s touring the country with her band. It’s a dream come true for the young musician. “If I told myself a year ago what I’m doing right now,” she told me, “I’d pass out.”

Vu’s debut EP, How Many Times Have You Driven By, which arrived earlier this year, quickly garnered praise for its evocative mood and lyrical maturity. I met up with Hana at New York’s Bowery Ballroom for a conversation about her path to success, her love of the underdog, and much more.


Hana Vu Interview

Dan Redding: What are your impressions of New York City? Are you a fan, or does it rub you the wrong way?

Hana Vu: I’ve been here before; I have some family that live here. I’m from LA. … A lot of the New York vibe is unnecessarily aggressive. And you know, I’m chill.

I like it though – there’s kind of a workaholic spirit here. That’s how I interpret it.

Yeah, I guess that’s the grind in New York. But a lot of it just seems like wasted anger. You can just do the same thing and be chill about it.

That’s true. You’re on tour right now; is this your first tour?

Yeah, this is my first tour. We’re supporting SALES in the Midwest and the East Coast.

Is music a full-time job for you now?

Yes. Well, when you’re on tour, yeah, because it’s twenty-four hours a day, you don’t stop working. Work as a musician is weird because you have a lot of time off and then you have a lot of time on really hard continuously.

When did you graduate high school?

What month is it right now – September? I graduated in early June.

Will you consider college, or is this the life now?

I was gonna go to college – I applied and did all this stuff for it – but then I signed with Luminelle and put out my first EP. I decided that if I was gonna do something right now, I want to do it a hundred percent, versus do school and do music at the same time. School seems like something I can always go back to, while my career is starting now.

Is [your music career] the dream? Is this something that you’ve envisioned for a long time?

Yeah. If I told myself a year ago what I’m doing right now, I’d pass out. But it’s kinda like, you get to the dream, and the dream is being in the car for eight hours a day. [laughter] But yeah, it’s really cool.

Does that take adjustment – the realities of touring life?

It kinda just pushes you to the limit. You know what you can and cannot do.

How many instruments do you play?

I play a lot of different things, but not very well. Guitar, bass, keys… I used to play trumpet in high school. I played violin for a second. Sometimes I play harmonica or banjo.

You’re self-taught, right?

Yes.

Was there a model for you in that sense? Did mom or dad play music, or did you know someone who was self-taught? Was there a model for learning how to play music?

No, neither of my parents are musicians. [I used] the internet, and also, when I was in high school, I joined the marching band without having any musical experience. I just kinda had to figure it out. So that’s what I did for two years.

Tell me something that keeps you and the band laughing on a day-to-day basis while you’re touring.

[Laughs] We listen to a lot of music. Today we played the whole Curious George soundtrack while stuck in traffic, and it kept us sane. We make fun of each other. That’s kinda it.

Are you the type of person to use humor as a survival mechanism or coping mechanism?

I think humor is like an art. It’s something that a lot of people don’t value as much as they should. I value it a lot when people are funny, or have a good sense of humor.

It seems to me that some bands have increased chances of survival if they have a good sense of affectionate humor that keeps them together.

Yeah. We can’t get anyone too sensitive [in my band], cuz then they can’t go on.

Do you have any daily creative habits?

I have a milkshake every day.

Do you write regularly?

No, I don’t write every day. There’s a lot of advice that’s like, you should write every day, or you should do some sort of something every day. But it’s hard to write on the road. It’s also hard to get yourself to write something when you’re not feeling it. It feels to me like you need to have that time where you’re not working, so that you can feel lethargic, in order to write something when you can.

Do you find that creative ideas come to you more when you’re looking for them or when you’re not looking for them?

I think when I’m not looking for them. My songwriting process is very spontaneous. It could be motivated by something I see during the day, or something that I remember. So, it’s nothing I reach for – either it’s there or it’s not.

Do you ever have writer’s block or creative block?

Yeah. Always. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have writer’s block.

I know some people who say that they don’t believe in it, or that it’s something to be actively worked against.

Oh. Well they’re pretentious.

[Laughter] You put out your first EP this year. What do you think of the format of the LP – is that important to you? Is it a big deal to you to think about making your first full-length album, or do you focus more on individual songs?

I’ve been writing since the beginning of high school, and middle school. I would write something, and I’d release an album-type thing at the end of the year. This new EP is actually ten tracks, which is pretty much the length of an LP. The reason for that was that I wrote an LP, and then the label wanted to release an EP – because I didn’t want to cut any of the songs. If I knew I was writing an EP, I would’ve written an EP. Writing an LP is so much different, because it all has to be cohesive, and there’s a lot more room to experiment.

In terms of the career of music, what’s the most important income stream for making a living? Is it touring?

I guess supposedly it’s touring. It just depends on your situation, and also what type of music you make. In indie music, it’s probably touring. Pop is probably streaming.

Do you see opportunities for having an entrepreneurial approach to your career?

Yeah. There’s lots of artists who expand on their personal brand, aside from music. Tyler the Creator has his clothing brand, there’s Kanye…

That approach seems to be more popular in hip hop.

Yeah. Hip hop is a cultural movement, too. It’s not just music.

But why can’t indie rock be like that?

Because indie rock is predominately Caucasian people. The field is so big in indie – and indie just technically means ‘independent.’ Not always. It’s the genre versus the support. Indie music can come from anywhere. I don’t know what I’m saying.

Tell me a concert that you attended that changed your life.

I dunno, I go to a lot of concerts… I saw TLC one time when I was like ten. It was pretty cool. They did ‘Waterfalls.’ I thought that was pretty dope.

Was there something about it – the showmanship, the music itself – what impressed you the most?

By the time I was ten, their music was probably already considered nostalgic music. So, I feel like nostalgic music … People would just go crazy for that song.

So there was probably a fervor in the audience.

Yeah. And I was ten, so it was really exciting.

Do you find that you look for that in the audience when you play? Obviously, you’re not TLC, but what’s it like getting a reaction from the crowd from night to night?

Well, when you’re the opening act, you gotta put your ego somewhere else. You gotta accept that you wanna put on your best show, because these people might have never heard you before – they’re seeing you for the first time. So you just wanna put on a good impression, not be too aggressive.

Do you ever feel competitive about performing?

Like, competing with who?

Either with yourself or with the headliner – just in general. Do you have that kind of personality?

No, I’m just grateful that they took us on as support. I’m really grateful for the chance to get to see the country and reach out.

What band do you think has a good band name?

I like the band Tennis, and I like how their band name is Tennis. SALES is the same sorta thing. You can’t really Google ‘Tennis’ and find them. Or SALES. I think that’s kinda cool. It makes them work hard to get their name known.

You’ve said that you empathize with the underdog. Who’s your favorite underdog in movies or music?

We talk a lot in the car about Spider-Man, and how he’s just some nerd, but he’s really cool. We just root for him. Especially being in New York, all they do is talk about Spider-Man. That’s what comes to mind.

Published at Sun, 30 Sep 2018 13:35:10 +0000

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Brave the Heat with Blistering London Show

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Brave the Heat with Blistering London Show

Is there a cooler fucking band on the planet than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? I think not. These guys are the essence of rock n roll and eight albums into a steady and impressive near two-decade career they continue to make brilliant albums as if the digital single had never been invented. Although I’ve always been a fan of these guys, first seeing them at legendary Emo’s in Austin during the tour for their first record, I really fell in love with them on their third release. It’s one of the best records start to finish that I’ve ever heard; sixty minutes and twenty-six seconds of pure genius songwriting and production and it was called Baby 81.

Baby 81 was the last album for BRMC on a major label for the band before going independent. “Berlin,” “Weapon of Choice,” “Took out a Loan,” “Windows,” holy shit this record is brilliant. You can tell there’s a major label behind it because it’s too perfect. I would guess that there was a tremendous amount of pressure on these guys to deliver a breakthrough record three albums into a major label with every critic in the world raving about them. But that’s a story for another time, on to the show at hand in London.

BRMC in London. I’ve been waiting years for this moment. Fresh off some US tour dates supporting Depeche Mode and between festival gigs across Europe London gets a proper show at the legendary Forum. The show that night was jam-packed on what would be one of the hottest days in the history of the UK. London is not built to deal with heat like this, especially with a couple of thousand people going ballistic inside of a non ventilated theater built in the 30s. Twenty four songs, two hours plus and these guys never even took off their black leather motorcycle jackets. That’s fucking commitment. While BRMC has more than enough songs to choose from, I was really hoping to hear Hate the Taste from 2013’s Specter at the Feast in the set as I think it’s an under-celebrated instant classic.

One final note, I just read a review in the Guardian where the reviewer gave the show a two-star rating for the show in Glasgow. I’m quite sure it was a similar set that I saw in London, and I find it impossible to not love this show if you like this band. Maybe it’s another jaded critic who was on assignment and missed the point of this band altogether, regardless it casts a lazy shadow on a group that has nothing left to prove, but continue to deliver one hell of a show for those of us who get it. And there are quite a few of us around the globe.

Published at Sat, 15 Sep 2018 12:03:36 +0000

Eminem: Live from New York City [4k / Ultra HD Version 2015] ePro Exclusive

The legendary Eminem concert shot in Madison Square Garden in 2005, is available in UltraHD quality. Do you surely want to be on Eminem’s show? Why am I asking – of course, you do! Now you have a chance to see this spectacular full Eminem show in superhigh quality!

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EJ Magazine #24 Halloween Edition Available now! READ http://www.eminem.pro/eminem-journal-24.html
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Setlist:

01. Evil Deeds
02. Mosh
03. Business
04. Rain Man
05. Ass Like That
06. Puke
07. Kill You
08. Like Toy Soldiers
09. Lodi Dodi
10. Just A Friend
11. Nuthin But A G Thing
12. My Name Is
13. Git Up (with D12)
14. How Come (with D12)
15. Rock Star (Bizarre)
16. 40oz (with D12)
17. My Band (with D12)
18. Stan
19. The Way I Am
20. Just Don’t Give A F**k
21. Got Some Teeth (Obie Trice and Eminem)
22. Stay ‘Bout It (Obie Trice and Stat Quo)
23. The Set Up (Obie Trice and Stat Quo)
24. Like Dat (Stat Quo and Obie Trice)
25. Cleaning Out My Closet
26. Mockingbird
27. Just Lose It
28. Lose Yourself

#Eminem #EminemPRO

Pale Divine Light up The Delmar Hall – Exclusive Photos from the Surprise Show in St. Louis

Pale Divine Light up The Delmar Hall – Exclusive Photos from the Surprise Show in St. Louis

Pale Divine was the biggest band in St. Louis in 1991. They seemed to be on the verge of mega-stardom. Then they signed to Atlantic Records and were doomed ever since. Signing to a major record label can be a blessing or a curse, unfortunately, nine times out of ten it’s a curse. The band was busting out of their St. Louis seems and made an absolutely brilliant record called Straight to Goodbye.

I remember being a teenager in St. Louis at this time and you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing about these guys. Although I never did get to see the live show, I did see singer Michael Schaerer several times and I’ve watched guitar master Richard Fortus in Love Spit Love, Honky Toast (I fucking loved these guys by the way and I saw them play in a bowling alley in New York City, actually ON the bowling lanes. They were bloody brilliant!!!), The Dead Daisies and of course Guns n Roses.

I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of the entire history of the band as I couldn’t do it any better than this article did here a few years ago. With that being said, I made a trip to my hometown of St. Louis a couple of weeks ago and the band did a surprise show for a friends B-day. Tickets were free and only available through the band members. I was lucky enough to get a pair of tickets for my first night in and it was absolutely epic.

Even though I really only know the songs from the debut record, Pale Divine filled a good two hour plus set that was incredible. All the “hits” were included along with carefully selected covers and a few rarities. Even though I didn’t see the band in their heyday, I’d find it hard to believe that they were not as good as if not better on the stage that night at the Delmar Hall. Bravo Pale Divine, you guys still got it. Now if we could only get that fucking record on Spotify so I don’t have to dig out my cassette tape to relive the glory.

Published at Wed, 19 Sep 2018 09:58:14 +0000

Bon Jovi: New tour dates, new songs as band heads into Rock Hall

Bon Jovi, which was recently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has announced dates for a North American “This House is Not for Sale 2018 Tour” that includes two shows, April 7 and 8, at the Prudential Center in Newark.
It’s a sequel to the hit 2017 “House” tour.
The tour begins March 14 in Denver and concludes May 14 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. Other area shows include May 3 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and May 9 and 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ticket presales begin Jan. 16 and go on sale to the general public Jan. 19 through Ticketmaster.
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