Remember the pop-anthem in 2013 that went something like this…
“It’s going to be the best day of my life. My liiife…”
If you guessed it right, that song is called “Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors. Zac Taylor, guitarist from American Authors embarks on his solo career as an artist called Van Bellman. He took the time to speak with us about his solo journey, musical influences and more! Check it out…
1. Your new project is called Van Bellman. Now we all wonder, what’s your real name? (totally kidding) but please elaborate.
I have played as a solo artist since college under my own name Zac Taylor, sometimes calling it the Zac Taylor Show, but with these new songs, I wanted to start fresh with a new band name and new direction. The name Van Bellman is a tip of my hat to the job that afforded me to live in NYC in my first few years here: carrying bags and getting taxis at the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Ave. It was actually a lot of fun: meeting people from all over the world, recommending restaurants and touristy stuff, and of course, counting all your greasy tip dollars at the end of each shift.
2. What or whom inspired you to start your new project, Van Bellman?
I wanted Van Bellman to be my alter ego or alias, sort of like the St. Vincent to Annie Clark. I was waiting until I had the right songs to invest the necessary time, money, and effort into a new band. And as a working musician who plays guitar for a handful of different artists, it was hard to find a window of time to make the leap, because when you do everything independently, you have to be terribly efficient with every resource. And in the last few years, I have been working very hard as a songwriter and producer to be the best I could be. So I guess I was waiting for the stars to align.
3. How would you describe your sound to someone who has just discovered your music? I’d have to say, it’s much different than American Authors.
I like to think of it as a bluesy indie rock with some depth to it. Black Keys meets Jeff Buckley. I have learned a lot from American Authors as far as production techniques and concise pop songwriting, and those guys have always been very supportive of my solo ventures.
4. You just released your first single, “I Hate To See You This Way”, which I love by the way! It’s a solid rock n roll track. Also, you hear some pop elements throughout the song. Lyrically, it’s pretty deep. What inspired you to write this track?
Thanks! Glad you dig it. I wrote this tune with fellow NYC artist and compadre Kiyo Cato with whom I often collaborate. For me, it’s about seeing someone you love in a dark place and feeling unable to help dig themselves out. I have seen many people I’m close with have troubles with depression, drugs and alcohol, bad relationships, or just being down in the dumps. I feel like we have all been there on either side. This song is an expression of being that helpless witness.
5. What’s next for Van Bellman?
I’m in the process of booking more shows and working on a music video for “I Hate To See You This Way”! I’ll be rolling out my songs one by one, so each tune can have his or her own party. My website vanbellman.com will have all the news and info on these and other shenanigans.
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Interview by Taleen Bedikian
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