Van Hechter is a Montreal-based pop artist with an edge. His tracks are catchy, easy to dance to but are always underlined with humor and social criticism. The fact is; Van is perpetually exposing his foolishness to make us laugh and think… — He grew up between Canada, France and the U.S.A. He is French-Georgian. His new single, ”I Am” is now available worldwide- it’s the fourth from most recent album ”Love Elastic”!
Interview by Tim brown
When and why did you start playing?
I was in my early twenties. I’d dropped off from studying opera. A punk band recruited me as their lead singer. I was petrified and felt dreadfully untalented but I knew I had to go for it. That was the start of my journey- a journey towards myself, really. There was nothing ”smart” about my decisions- at least on paper. However I am the man I am today because of these bizarre choices I made… And I rather like me now so I regret nothing!
Tell us about your new single…
Well, it’s from my recent album ”Love Elastic”… The track is entitled ”I Am”. Musically it’s rather 80’s but with something of now. It’s catchy- the kind of song you can listen to doing almost anything- the vibe is really positive. As for lyrics- the message is simple; ”Dare to be you no matter what anybody says!”
The video for ”I Am” is very cool– simple but fun. How’d you come up with the idea for it?
It was spontaneous. I was in South Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Springs. I just took short clips with my phone. Filming elaborate productions involving groups was complicated and I was loving my 3 month trip so much; why not turn the footage into a video?
Who are your favorite musicians?
Of recent years; Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, I love SaHara & Big Daddy- their new song is just so good, Curtis Waters is cool as hell and I enjoy binki’s old-new vibe.
Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions?
Live performance is my favorite part of the work now. I used to be scared stiff, couldn’t sleep for days… But one day I suddenly felt at home onstage. I was playing at The Stonewall Inn for the first time and I realized — ”This is not about what they’ll think of me- it’s about what I can give THEM- I’ve got hand out my heart without fear”. I’ve never had stage fright since.
I love to show up in the middle of a DJ set during a party as a surprise to perform a few songs- like ”Pop-up Van” hahaahh! Then I’ve got more elaborate events; I host with gorgeous Vanettes, perform many songs throughout the evening, I dance with guest between songs, we have comedy skits- there’s always a dress code.
Why do you choose to play the music you play?
I don’t know that it’s a conscious choice. I play what I love. Disco, soul and New Wave have always been in my heart. With my music partner Eryck Wyseman, composing seems to just happen. We don’t think- we write. Then we tweak until we both love the result.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?
I think that it’s just become closer to what I’ve always intended to create. My ideas haven’t changed, – only now I know how to express them clearly in a song.
Because your image is considered ”sexy” and we know you’re asked this a lot— let’s go there; are you single?
It seem to be austerely single for months on end to then find myself in 4 relationships at a time. That’s the pattern for me hahahahahha! Not complaining. Just; it never rains.
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done- romantically- in the last few months?
I sent flowers to a guy after having chatted online with him for an hour! Nuts; right???But I’d do it again. Of course he ran. Who cares? I just do what I feel. Grand gestures and momentary excess are seen as negative in this society. I think it’s cool to get crazy from time to time. Btw, those who flee- well- are crazy too; they might be cutting themselves off from treasures just out of fear and skepticism… I say; ”Making a fool of yourself once in a while makes you less of a fool than never going there as to save face”… So then I sent chocolates and lost him for good I think LOL!!!!
How do you keep your voice and body in shape?
I workout every single day for at least one hour. No junk goes into my body- EVER. I try to shut up a lot to rest my voice. I do scales daily. I sleep properly. I drink only water, green tea with ginger and wine (too much of it- a vice I refuse to let go of for now).
What are the plans for the future?
More singles with videos from ”Love Elastic” will be released. Then on July 4th I launch a duet with Stonewall Inn resident DJ Chauncey Dandridge- should be my first live performance in 18 months! I can’t wait. Plus there are subsequent dates in Manhattan; Halloween, New Year’s Eve. Slowly things are picking up- that’s a great feeling.