Rise Up Through The Mental Clutter with Vanderocker

>> "Vanderocker started as a little experimental project in L.A. that spanned several different styles of rock music with kind of an avant-garde approach. It was campy and weird at the time. I wanted to have fun. The name is a homage to my Dutch-American roots and would translate best as “Of the Rocker”. I was second guessing the name and then someone told me the cardinal rule of naming a band was never to use the word ‘rock’. So that good advice helped me commit. It was then I knew this project was definitely going to be called Vanderocker." Can you explain how your style has evolved throughout the years and what influences inspired these changes? Well first off, my taste is extremely broad. I have a classical background and also grew up with heavy exposure to rock music from my big sisters: Kate Bush, Bowie, The Beatles etc. Eventually, I got into world music and then wound my way back to acts spanning from Gwar to Laibach, 80’s Pop to Diamanda Galas, Legendary Pink Dots, NIN, and still adoring classical composers the whole ride. I love so many different kinds of music; so then growing up in my particular family that listened to such a large variety of music, and then being in a town like Austin that had so many different acts floating through- I feasted on it. So now I kind of feast on creating a bunch of different kinds of flavors and vibes. I just flow with how I’m feeling and roll with it when I write.

Do you have any big plans for 2019? YES. Two music videos are about to drop from my freshly pressed desert rock album, Point Defiance, and lots of new music and collaborations are on the way. Any favorite books you have read this year? I have been devouring Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes lately. I listen to audiobooks a bunch and was delighted to hear her narrate all her own material; her voice is divine, as well as her storytelling. She is gifted, and the messages in her books are extremely pertinent for me especially now. She paints some really interesting, eye-opening, and often empowering images of society and culture; and how to thrive, especially as a woman. Please describe your time recording in Joshua Tree.

The desert is an amazing place to help funnel creative energy. It’s so vast with so few elements compared to other places (like LA). Sort of a minimalist environment to cut distractions and help the subtext to rise up through the mental chatter. Joshua Tree is sacred to me now after spending so much creative time there. I took a lot of solo trips there and locked myself up with some whiskey and my guitar and wrote like crazy. It’s funny, I ended up with 13 tracks on the album, but probably wrote at least 30. Some of the other tracks that didn’t make it on Point Defiance may end up coming out as singles down the road. Who knows.

What are the most important things you have learned this year?

To be patient, to take care of myself, to trust the different processes in life. To look through the lens as the witness a little more, and see the beauty in the bigger picture a little more. Hopefully, that means I’ll get better at choosing my battles as well. Also, I nailed the flaky pie crust this year. Keep the butter cold as Medusa and don’t blend it to death. Big chunks, in this case, are optimal.

What artists are you listening to right now?

These days I’ve been keeping Joni Mitchell on a lot, a little like chicken soup. Very comforting. Then there’s Agnes Obel, The Wailin’ Jennys, and Abigail Washburn. Shook twins here and there. Then if I’m feeling feisty I’ll likely throw on some Black Angels or Brian Jonestown, Shuggie Otis, Dick Dale, Wise Blood, Portugal the Man, and lately have been revisiting Beastie Boys and George Clinton. Put on some Parliament next time you’re cooking dinner. Super fun. What would you like to say to your fans/supporters? I would say a big juicy thank you for listening, and this baby is just getting started so please tune into Vanderocker’s social feeds (or Spotify and Pandora, etc) to catch new music as well as tour dates. And feel free to pop in and say hello on socials or at shows- I love meeting you good folks! <<

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