Remember Van She? Of course you do. They were that Sydney indie-electro band signed to Modular. After their second album, 2012’s underrated Idea Of Happiness, the quartet quietly fell apart. But various members have since busted out cred dance music projects.
Michael di Francesco, the synth-player, has established the synth-house Touch Sensitive, scoring a cult hit with 2013’s Pizza Guy on Future Classic. Frontman Nick Routledge enjoyed a club smash as Nicky Night Time with last year’s piano-house Everybody Together. And now Matt Van Schie, Van She’s bassist (and half of the nu-disco Du Tonc alongside Brit Mighty Mouse), is introducing Tear Council via the pretty ’80s synth-pop Anywhere – and he’s again working with di Francesco.
Curiously, years ago the pair collaborated on Journey, which Van Shie has suggested was Tear Council’s prototype. Tear Council is no mere side-gig either, with van Shie talking tours and even an album, when we were lucky enough to grab a quick chat.
Music Feeds: You have a new project called Tear Council – which has been depicted alternately as your new solo project, but with input from Michael di Francesco, and as a new duo project for you and Michael. Whose vision it is?
Matt Van Schie: It’s definitely a combined vision. We like to keep the bio loose because Michael will not always be involved in the live performance.
MF: Michael has already established Touch Sensitive globally – and he seemed to be relishing the solo life (he lately contributed to the Teen Idols comp). What prompted him to come on board?
MVS: Michael has been a driving force behind the project since we created it six years ago. So no prompting was required.
MF: The first Tear Council single, Anywhere, has a sweet ’80s lilt – as does the project name. What were your reference points?
MVS: The Reels, Suicide, Alexander O’Neal, Bob Welch, Telex.
Watch: Tear Council – Anywhere
MF: There’s been a prevailing ’80s nostalgia for quite a while – and it’s inspired great music and videos, even by the likes of Client Liaison. How do you account for that enduring fascination?
MVS: I think it’s the melodic nature of ’80s music. Good melodies make you feel good – and people like to feel good. So I don’t think it’ll ever die.
MF: Bridezilla’s Holiday Sidewinder also features on Anywhere. How did you cross paths?
MVS: We’ve been mates since we toured together when she was singing in Pnau. Van She supported Pnau on their Oz tour in 2008. The song just felt like it needed the loving touch of a woman and she was the first lady who came to mind.
MF: There’s talk of an upcoming Tear Council EP. What can you tell us about it?
MVS: EP: maybe later in the year. Our next single should be out late April.
Listen: Matt Van Schie – Journey
MF: You have suggested that Tear Council is for expressing your “more emotional outpourings”. Can you elaborate?
MVS: The songs we write together just happen to be emotional, romantic songs. Not because we try, but because it just comes so naturally to us. Maybe we’re in love? We like to call it ‘Nu Romantic’.
MF: What are your long-term plans for Tear Council? Is this a side-project? Or more? Would you do an album?
MVS: I don’t feel any pressure with this project – we write and release when we want. I wouldn’t call it a side-project. It’s a passion project. And we would definitely do an album.
MF: We’ve heard that Tear Council will be touring soon. What can you tell us about your live show?
MVS: We’ll probably kick off in June now, starting with Vivid (Sydney). The band will consist of three people. Me on vocals and guitar, a synth/MPC beat person, and a female backing vocalist.
Watch: Van She – Jamaica
MF: Most of Van She’s members have been making serious new moves lately. What is the status of Van She?
MVS: Van She is on hold while we explore our inner yearnings. And it’s clear that people have different styles they want to push.
MF: Why exactly did you decide to put Van She on hold, given your momentum as a band? Even Crystal Castles once sampled you!
MVS: It didn’t feel like there was momentum. The Crystal Castles thing was seven years ago, and our last album was three years ago. Being in a band is about compromise and I think we just needed a break from that. Time to do our own things our own way.
Tear Council will be appearing at Vivid Live in May.