Neu Pick: Christof van der Ven shares the gorgeous ‘Vancouver’

We talk to the singer about the track and his upcoming debut album ‘Empty Handed’.

Fresh from supporting Bon Iver at part of his Hammersmith Apollo residency, Christof van der Ven is set to release his debut album ‘Empty Handed’ next month.

For today’s Neu Pick, we’ve got the first play of its gorgeous next track, ‘Vancouver’. Set around atmospheric stabs of reverb-drenched guitars, the track is a brilliantly calming ballad, pondering the problems the Canadian city faces.

Around the album’s release on 13th April, Christof is set to head out on a UK and European tour, including a London headline show at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney on 10th April.

View the dates and stream ’Vancouver’ below, and read a chat we had with him about the track, the upcoming LP and his plans for the rest of the year below the jump.

01 Amsterdam, Paradiso
07 Nijmegen, Doornrsoosje
10 London, Paper Dress Vintage (album launch show)
12 Utrecht, Tivoli Vrendenburg (with Lisa Hannigan)
14 Eindhoven, Naked Song Festival
15 Middleburg, Kloveniersdoelen
26 Shrewsbury, Henry Tudor House
27 Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
28 North Shields, Tynemouth Surf Cafe
29 Leeds, Lending Room

02 Stroud, The Prince Albert
04 London, The Borderline
05 Bristol, Thekla
10 Nottingham, Bodega
11 Liverpool, Sound Food & Drink

Hi Christof! How are things in your world?

I'm hungover but in pretty good spirits with all the exciting stuff that's coming my way this April. I've just come back from an intense game of badminton, as I’m trying to stay fit while I'm not on tour. I'm flying back and forth to the motherland a couple of times in the next two weeks, so trying to get organized, start packing my bags and figure out how to get to airport from my new home in North London.

Your debut album's coming out soon - can you tell us a little bit about it?

Well first of all, I'm pretty stoked for it to come out. It's been a long time in the making, but I only made the decision to put this album together about 6 months ago. I was going to release another EP but I was like "fuck it!”, I need to release a proper record. That's when the idea for Empty Handed was born. The songs were there, I just had to pick them and put them together in an orderly fashion. It's a mixed bag really.

Some older songs, some newer songs. Songs that already had been recorded but never released and now re-recorded with a completely different arrangement. Songs that have been released and now re-mastered. I think it's a nice selection that represents me and the sound in the best possible way!

And the latest single is 'Vancouver' - have you had any particularly formative or memorable experiences in the city?

Yes, but it's quite a heavy and memorable experience. When I was touring the US and Canada with Bear's Den last year we played in Vancouver. When I walked through the neighborhood we played in you just knew something wasn't quite right. Vancouver is a gorgeous city with a problem.

There's an opioid crisis that's affecting so many people and so many people die from overdoses. Someone actually overdosed and died right across from the venue the night we played. It was so intense and I remember it had such a big impact on me, I just got so frustrated and sad and I couldn't really do anything about it.

Once the album is out, what can we expect from you in the rest of 2018?

Well, I want to gig as much as possible. I've got an album launch at Paper Dress Vintage in London on the 10th of April as well as support tours with Sam Brookes this April and a some EU shows with S. Carey, Joan As Policewoman and Lisa Hannigan coming up as well.

I'm hoping to do quite a few festivals and hopefully a headline tour myself! I'm also thinking about a new record and might just get that started this year. Most of the songs on this debut album have been around for a long time and I fancy doing some new shit you know! There's a bunch of songs I've been slowly working on.

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