The Michigan-based 4-piece Rock band Van Go Go returns with another heated and conceptual single with their latest hit, "Imaginary Friend." The likes of Nathan Mackinder, Jason Schaller, Paxton Olney, and Jonah Brockman have been busier than ever.
Van Go Go is incredibly eager to drop their forthcoming singles, which all capture a certain theme or concept. We always enjoy the hard-hitting stylings of Van Go Go, as they're perpetually one to stimulate the listener's mind as well as ears. Having initially formed the band in 2008 and breaking up shortly after, the 2020 return of Van Go Go is much needed.
Regarding their recent single, "Imaginary Friend," Van Go Go has jam-packed this track with themes of betrayal and reflecting upon relationships, romantic or platonic, and realizing that our so-called 'loved ones' have a few conniving tricks up their sleeves. Produced by Chuck Alkazian at legendary Pearl Sound Studios, the overall track offers a tightly-wound and classic sound that resides in the heart of in-your-face and exhilarating Rock.
Taking a listen to Van Go Go's entire piece, "Imaginary Friend," the song heatedly opens with stimulating instrumentation through Jason Schaller's soul-clutching lead guitar, Jonah Brockman's upbeat and lively drum patterns, and Paxton Olney's riveting bass licks. As lead vocalist Nathan Mackinder makes his appearance, he offers an incredibly exciting vocal delivery while singing a sour story of truth and realization.
As Van Go Go is blasting through this track with the utmost power and stamina, the song is never one-note. Listening to Nathan Mackinder's lyricism, he sings more of a reflective theme surrounding long overdue relationships and realizing that some are rather imaginary instead of real. Coming to an end with incredible heat through Van Go Go's entire scorching instrumentation, they're leaving us wanting more of the fiery 4-piece.
Van Go Go has our heads banging with their exhilarating and conceptual single, "Imaginary Friend," and we're eagerly anticipating the boys' forthcoming tracks.
We're always excited to feature your band, as you continuously provide incredible concepts. Regarding your latest single, "Imaginary Friend," what inspired the song's concept this time around?
Thanks! We love BuzzMusic and we are very appreciative of your support. Van Go Go writes music, words, and lyrics from the heart - from life experiences and not from a hypothetical view of the world and our perception of our relationships. Nate could genuinely tell you who this song is about and why he wrote it. We'll save those details for a deeper discussion in the future. If you can tell a genuine story about anything, you should tell your story. Fact is always stranger than fiction and I'm sure that our fans and listeners can immediately relate to at least one verse or line in this song.
Within your previous interview with us, you stated that you appreciate the irony of a sound that's uplifting against a subject matter that's rather serious. Is this how you created your single, "Imaginary Friend?"
We're thrilled that you picked up on this detail. In a previous life with Nate and Jason's former band, South Normal, songs were crafted in a minor key with a catchy melody and hooks. The lyrics and content associated with the music of South Normal told stories and represented real-life experiences that were very serious, but Nate saw an opportunity to be different with Van Go Go from the start. Our subject matter and lyrics remain serious, but the music is uplifting, powerful, and danceable because Jonah and Paxton, the rhythm section, are so tight. This is heavy, guitar-driven music that people can relate to. The uplifting music that supports the lyrics is a reminder to find the good in situations that otherwise tear you apart. You can look back on life and realize it wasn't what you thought it was and decide to learn and move on. We are a band that learns and moves on. We encourage our fans and listeners to do the same.
What did your sonic creative/recording process look like for "Imaginary Friend"? Could you take us through the highlights of the process and how Chuck Alkazian helped you reach your goals?
Sure... Love this question. Chuck is an amazing musician himself and he records, mixes, and produces music as he would want to hear it from a fan's perspective. The band and Chuck all grew up on high-energy, rock n' roll show-business-bands that can fill an arena with sound and produce a record that makes you want to blow your speakers. We all love a live show and the energy that it brings to a room. Recording Imaginary Friend started as all good songs should start, with the band playing live together in the studio. This is where the magic and the energy is captured. The root of the song and what you hear driving the energy is from the live recording in the room with Chuck at Pearl Sound. Jason beefed up the guitar tracks with some doubling of the original parts and Nate did the same with his guitar pat. Pax and Jonah, "God of Thunder and God Rock n' Roll" nailed their parts and we kept what was recorded from our first take and mixed it with the Chuck Alkazian magic. Pearl is one of the best places on the planet for that huge drum sound and great drums drive a recording and a sound that is powerful. There is something magical about the four of us in Van Go Go and what happens when we're with, Chuck. He's very very good and he works extremely fast. His ear is amazing and he very much encourages our creative process and adds to the energy in a way that is hard to describe with words. We all feel like we're on stage together at Cobo Hall recording a live album when we're in the studio together. It's really hard to explain the creative energy. Chuck is amazing. Hands down.
What should fans expect from your forthcoming singles? Are they all produced by Chuck Alkazian at Pearl Sound Studios?
You can expect to hear more stories with a wall of sound as the backdrop. We have two more singles "in the can" and we are proud of them. "Why Ask Why", our next single tells the story of our lives in the rock n' roll business. I think this will be a song that any band, from the garage to the arena stage will be able to relate to and any person and fan will be able to relate to when they think of their favorite bands or take the song into the context of the career or relationship that they are pursuing. "Too Much Too Late" is another serious song relating to human relationships and the timing of each partner's emotions and desire to connect. Love rears its ugly head and sometimes it's better to say goodbye. We've been writing some of the best music we've ever written together. Paxton, who has never written a song actually came up with a great song that the band is working on. Nate is writing better than ever and we have plans to record a special cover song as well. We have more material than we ever imagined and we're excited to bring these songs to life. Stay tuned for more details as we head back into the studio with Chuck to complete our EP.
What goals do you have for your music going into 2021?
Goals are tough for us. We've been down this road, we've set ambitious goals and we've been disappointed. Today, we are working from a point of 0% expectation and 100% fun. We're truly writing and recording our music because we love it and want other people to love it too. We learn as we mature that too many goals, particularly BIG goals can lead to disappointment and a feeling of failure when they are not met. Everyone in the band wakes up each morning with a passion and a desire to write amazing music, have fun, and to enjoy the road ahead. We are some of the hardest working people we each know and we have an internal drive that is not fueled by a goal or expectation for where we should be. People love to ask us, "where do you see yourself in X number of years?" We're honestly amazed that we are all healthy, happy, and together again writing music and producing some of the coolest sounding stuff we've ever done. We're proud of it and we love that people are enjoying it. Jason cut off over 5/8 of an inch of his left ring finger in a traumatic boating accident just over a year ago and never thought he would play guitar again. He's adapting and figuring out how to make it happen because of the energy associated with Van Go Go. This band and its music have caused all of us to overcome things and do things we never thought possible. We're constantly amazed and humbled by the love and support of everyone who has been enjoying our music. And to that, Buzz Music, you are included.