I'm Billy Van. I make music. This year, I'm embarking on a journey to create 12 unique EPs with 12 different artists. I want you to be a part of it. Scroll down to see my progress...

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5 months ago

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Sunglasses EP: Don’t Get Caught Staring at the Sun

By: Billy Van

 Sunglasses, my third collaborative EP of this #AYearOfSongs project, is all about energy and hooks. I wrote these four songs with Adam Christopher, a songwriter/vocalist. His post-hardcore electronic band, Brother’s Grimm, hired me to produce tracks for their debut EP, and after we finished that project, we decided to do an EP together and go a completely opposite direction.

 Adam’s voice has a really cool timbre to it, and brought me back to the punk/emo vibes of my middle school days. With references like Hot Chelle Rae, Secondhand Serenade, and Boys Like Girls, we decided to sculpt a more “modern” sound around that style of pop songwriting/vocals. One of our biggest inspirations for this project was actually old school Cash Cash (when they used to be a band!). Huge, hooky melodies were our top priority.

 We started each song with the choruses.  We’d vibe on chord progressions with gibberish melodies, then translate those melodies until words popped out. Once clear pictures of the hooks were in place, we built concepts and songs around them. Adam is a beast vocally, so we had lots of cool riffs and ranges to work with when making melodies.

 The EP takes on a few different shapes. From the opener, Cannonball, with its darker, more aggressive attitude, to the closer, Parade’s tongue in cheek “march” vibes, we spanned a wide variety of concepts that all revolve around the same idea.

 The overall concept of this EP is independence and confidence. One of the reasons I decided to do the #AYearOfSongs project is because I recently adopted the mindset of doing what you love no matter what. I am learning to be content being creative and making music that inspires me, even if it results in no fans or money. It is really easy to get fixated on analytics and I think that society really magnifies that problem. This applies to all aspects of life. For example, we are taught to find or be the model girlfriend/the rich boyfriend.

 Sunglasses is about breaking those expectations down. Everyone needs something different, and will be content with different things, but we get caught staring at the sun (societies’ standards) and miss out on what will truly make us happy. A good pair of sunglasses is all that is necessary to change our perspective and be confident doing what we love.

5 months ago

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