Heartbreak was his muse but Van William is ready for a ‘rollicking good time’ on his European tour, following the release of his latest album Countries.
The tour kicks off in February, accompanied by Swedish duo folk act turned best mates First Aid Kit.
The trio collaborated on Van’s latest album, combining their eclectic styles and melodic voices to songs Revolution, Before I Found You and Fourth of July.
“I have known Klara and Johanna from First Aid Kit for many years,” Van said.
“We reconnected at a mutual friend’s house party in LA a couple years ago and became instant best friends again. It was incredible.
“I sent them my record and they wanted to sing on Revolution, which I was obviously excited about. They came in the studio over the next week and we cut that tune.”
Van, whoalso fronted indie rock bands Port O’Brien and WATERS, revealed the birth of the new album Countries was a culmination of the work he had done with previously.
“The vibes of Port O’Brien and the craft of WATERS songs got together and had a weird baby and then explored the world a little bit and that is Countries,” he explained.
The album features 11 tracks that centre around heartbreak that Van admits was the source of inspiration to the harmonic lyrics and touching songs.
“The songs started pouring out after a very intense break-up, after a six-year relationship,” he said.
“I thought that I had experienced heartbreak before, but it turns out I hadn’t even come close.”
In addition, his father announced he was retiring as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska – Van spent his summers working alongside his father on his fishing boat.
“I had to say goodbye to that incredibly important place in my life,” he said.
“It felt like two Earth-shaking break-ups at once.”
Van wrote the album in seclusion at his parent’s cabin where he revealed it was essential to get the ‘mind space’ from the ‘bustle of city’ life to write the confessional album.
He explained the album was created at a time when America was gripped with political tension.
“After the devastating election here in the US, a lot of the songs took on double meanings,” he said.
“During the break-up, I started thinking about the two of us as these autonomous countries, in search of this need to get along, live with each other’s differences, respect these somewhat imaginary and porous borders without going to war with each other.”
This can be most notably heard on the aptly titled track Revolution and the riveting melodies of Fourth of July.
The self-confessed realist credits his real-life experiences as his main source of musical inspiration to write emotional songs.
“Well for me, that’s the only way to do it. I suppose there are other things to draw inspiration from, but for me, I need to feel this shit,” he said.
With his focus now on the tour, Van expressed his excitement to performing on stage with First Aid Kit and revealed what fans can expect from the show.
“A rollicking good time of course,” he exclaimed.
“We will be performing as a three-piece and I’ll sprinkle some Port O’Brien tunes in the set for good measure.”
Van is optimistic about the future and is already writing songs for his next record.
“I’m all in on this record and project. It’s go time. I just can’t wait to keep working,” he said.