Van Berg

by the partae
Where are you currently based?
Nathan: The four of us currently live around Melbourne’s inner northwest. With three members around Essendon and our drummer Sammy currently based in Doncaster. 
How did Van Berg form?
Phillip: The four of us go back a long way… Franny (bassist) and I go all the way back to the first day of Prep.
We all grew up playing music together in various bands throughout our school years.Nathan: I feel like music was always a core interest for our friend group in high school.
After school, I went and lived in Manchester, UK for several years.
During this time I messed around for a while writing some ambient home recordings, but never really took it that seriously.Phillip: In the time after high school, several of us mucked about jamming and the occasional gig but nothing really stuck.
Nathan came back from the UK and I showed him some of the material I’d been writing, and to my surprise, he was really into it.
He was really keen to help me start getting the material recorded.Nathan: Yeah, I feel like Phil had lots of cool material I wanted to play around with, and I had the experience (albeit primitive at the time) to track and do basic mixes.
Everything kind of snowballed from there.
What’s been happening recently?

We picked up a good bit of momentum in the middle of 2021. The album was coming along nicely, and we were picking up shows at sick venues around Melbourne.
The fruits of our labor after playing together for so long were starting to finally pay off, as we were beginning to create a live sound and energy that was exciting to us.
Obviously COVID through a huge spanner into that, and we’ve been unable to perform or record, which has been a rather large kick in the nuts.
But as of late I’ve been huddled up in a dark room writing material for the next album.

Your second single Obnoxious is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
Nathan: I feel that a lot of our music’s ‘sound’ has key influences being Nirvana, The Cure, and The Smiths. I really dig Phil’s style of 80’s/ early 90’s jangly guitar melodies and catchy hooks. We do our best to keep things upbeat and dancy for y’all.

The song is about a toxic previous relationship of Phils.
(looks at Phil) – you were always in bloody quarrel weren’t ya?
… Phil initially wrote the chorus and I finished the song off by writing about their relationship from my point of view.

 Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
The whole album has pretty much been recorded at Nathan’s house (Thank you modern technology and a sincere apology to all of his neighbors).It’s been a learning process for us but we’ve had amazing help from those around us. Our great friend Ollie Coupe Sando was there from the beginning, helping us mold the song into the best version possible.Our mixer John “Hooves” Clayton and masterer Jack the Bear (both legends in their field) also somehow managed to turn the muddled mess we gave them into one sexy banger, which we are eternally grateful for.
How did you approach the recording process?
So hindsight definitely is 20/20… we’ve honestly wasted so much damn time on the recording process. That being said, we’ve learned so much along the way.

We initially tried a live recording, but it just ended up sounding shit and wasn’t what we were after. We found it very difficult to control guitar tones – so we scrapped it.

Now we’ve learned to get the drum track Schmick in a studio and then record everything individually. We do pretty much 100% of all other recordings in either Phils or my bedroom… athangyou 😉 .

What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played and why?
One particular instance definitely springs to mind. It was a dive bar in the city, which I won’t name.The whole place just gave out the weirdest vibes, everybody was just strange and smelled awful. It was like that scene in the movie “Deliverance”, where Burt Reynolds stumbles into the massive inbred community.The band that organised the event must have gotten wise to the setting because they didn’t even show up. No word or warning, nothing.The owner was blind drunk the entire evening, slamming down lemon lime and bitters with vodka chasers. At one point, she storms the stage mid-set, rips the microphone out of Nathan’s hands and screams “WHICH ONE OF YOU FUCKERS STOLE MY COASTER?? THE ONE THAT SAYS BOSS ON IT?? NO ONE IS LEAVING THIS FUCKING PLACE UNTIL I FIND MY COASTER”
Then proceeds to throw the mic down and stumble off stage.
We later found her backstage, punching the wall and still screaming about her coaster. Lady had some demons alright, but it turned out to be one of the most fun gigs we ever played. There were like four people in the whole room, so we just got blind and took the absolute piss out of it.
I’m also glad we got out of there alive.
How do you prepare for shows?
I’m super fussy and paranoid about live sound, so I normally end up just licking the soundies arse during the whole ‘set up’ process to make sure everything is how we want it.
We like to get everything wired up, set up right, then just kick it and have a cupla bevs with everyone before the show. Best way to loosen up ya know?
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’d be lying if I said The Smiths weren’t still making a regular appearance on my Spotify. It’s been years but Johnny Marr still tickles me in all the right ways.
As far as new music, Still Woozy’s latest album has been a shining light throughout the last few months of shit.
What do you like to do away from music?
In my spare time, I try to hang out as much as possible with my partner and my mates.
We’re constantly planning dinners, weekend trips away, camping… all the good shit.I’m not much of a material man, but I will admit I do have a bit of a fascination with motorbikes and cars. Soz for the generic bloke answer.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?
Continuing crying isolated in my bedroom, eat more peanut butter out of the jar and pray to the indie rock gods we can ever play a live show again.
Our third single “Saffron” is also just about ready, so we’re keen to release that in the next few months.
Then the full EP by the end of the year.
Favourite food and place to hangout?

I love a good Ruby Murray or Japanese.
Tapas is up there for me too but there’s not many Spanish options around me.

Park hangouts for me are my favorite at the moment (literally all we’re allowed to do anyways).
Take a big Bluetooth speaker and an esky down with a few bevs (shhh).
Our close friend Madi also brings an absolute beast of a platter.
Get a little tipsy and end up throwing a frisbee around for a few hours. Top Banana.


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