Van Alden is the deep, pop-noir music project of Los Angeles-based artist and clothing designer, Paul Abrahamian. His self-titled debut. Van Alden is a strong showing of a fully-modern singer-songwriter, bent on expressing life’s more intense and complicated emotions from loss, memory, to freedom despite pain. The dark, moody, and synth-heavy sounds make the record feel like a lonely 3AM smoke on a rooftop in L.A.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
This is a solo project of Paul Abrahamian. On live shows I have musician Isaiah Leavitt join me on stage.
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to (insert band/artist name here)? How long has the band been around?
I used to be in the post-hardcore/metal scene growing up as a teenager. I also dabbled with indie rock. I made my rounds in separate bands as the front man, guitarist, & sometimes both.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
I was born & raised in Los Angeles. The street I grew up on & have had so many experiences on is Vanalden Avenue. There are so many cool things around the suburbia that I grew up around; the name brings back nostalgic memories of simpler times, freedom, & youth. At the end of this street there’s a small trail that you can hike - it leads you to these cool caves that are covered in art work / graffiti. Used to always go there with friends & cause mischief / play music / hangout.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
I write all my music along side my friends/producers Bob Curtin & Isaiah Leavitt. The main themes/topics come from raw life experiences. Heartache, struggle, growing pains, depression, & realizing the wonders of life make it all worth it. I live a very liberating, spontaneous, & free lifestyle; the way i believe life should be lived. These song reflect my experiences / journeys along the way.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Elliot Moss, Odezenne, Joji, Radiohead, Mad Rad
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
My first ever concert was at the age of 12. I remember watching Coheed & Cambria, Chiodos, & Linkin Park (RIP Chester) play at the staples center in Downtown LA. I had pit tickets, & vividly remember watching these artists blow me away. The energy that filled the stadium instantly convinced me that I had to achieve this level of success & live this dream for myself.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
I try to meditate, clear my mind, maybe take a shot or two of absinthe or tequila, & surround myself with energetic / excited people. I don’t like to be frantic / nervous before a show, I like to get loose & have fun before it even starts.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
The incredible feedback from fans, honestly. The fact that people actually resonate with the music/lyrics makes me so incredibly happy. Fans constantly write to me & share their personal stories/struggles & how listening to the record puts them in a completely different headspace/mood. I love to hear that because i love when music does that for me.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Really any band that can invoke emotion life & can set a mood. I find this to be so interesting. I am absolutely fascinated by the atmosphere that a musician can create. Anyone who can pull this off & invoke emotion throughout the crowd - i’d love to share the stage with.