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Given their irresistibly intergalactic hybrid of rock and electronic music, it wouldn't be a surprise to find out VanLadyLove actually arrived on earth from a different planet...
However, it turns out the trio—Travis Van Hoff [Lead Vocals, Keys, Guitar], Steele Saldutti [Bass, Ableton, Synths], and Jordan Clark [Keys, Guitar, Vocals]—call Utah home. Since their 2012 formation, a string of undeniable songs has fueled the group's rapid rise from local prominence to national buzz. Along the way, they scored an impressive total of six high-profile placements on TLC in addition to a cameo performance on the hit series Sister Wives. The New Music Seminar named them 2014's "Artist On the Verge," while their independent debut Love Matter landed on VH1's "Staff Picks of 2014" and garnered "Best Album of the Year" at the Utah Music Awards and the boys took home "Best Pop Act." Their single "Neverland" racked up over 2 million cumulative plays in less than a year's time as they continually average 37K-plus streams on Spotify monthly. They've ignited stages alongside everyone from Portugal. The Man and The Avett Brothers to blink-182, Train, Rachel Platten, and many more.
Their 2016 EP, Alive, stands primed to blast the band off to another level altogether. "It really stems from a trinity of different things that come into play," declares Jordan. "We have this incredible chemistry, and we influence and push each other. It's a magic dynamic."
"We want to be authentic to ourselves," Travis exclaims. "We write what comes naturally. We've been really inspired by electronic ideas that clash with guitars and bass. It culminates on Alive."
"Travis brings the powerful vocals, acoustic guitar, and awesome range," continues Steele. "Jordan brings that cool rock 'n' roll blues edge. I'm obsessed with electronic music and whatever the newest future bass or progressive house is. That gives everything a shiny new vibe." In order to transfer that vibe to tape, VanLadyLove headed to Jingletown Recording (owned by Green Day) in Oakland to record what would become Alive during late 2015. They enlisted the production duo of Brain Mantia [Primus] & Melissa Reese [Guns N' Roses]. They emerged with five anthems that encompass electronic-tinged ecstasy and arena-ready rock 'n' roll bliss.
The first single "Mars" shimmies between danceable synths, robust guitars, and handclaps before exploding with a resounding chant. Following its debut, the song soundtracked a video on YouTube's popular What's Inside Channel and instantly received 6 million views that continue to grow today.
"We're all interested in space travel," explains Jordan. "The words were built around the idea of changing our perspective. There's so much terrible destruction in the world. We're pondering, 'If we get off the planet, would we stop trying to blow each other up? Can we just learn to be good to one another?' That's what we have to do. It's based around creating that hopefulness."
Elsewhere, "Moves Me" stomps along on a hulking groove that examines inspiration in its purest form. The title track "Alive" encapsulates an overarching theme for VanLadyLove.
"We all gravitated towards that song," says Travis. "At times, it can be dark, but there's a glimmer of hope in being able to simply say, 'I'm alive.' There's always another chance."
Now, VanLadyLove transmit that message loud and clear for all the universe to hear.
"When people listen to Alive, I'd love for them to feel something," Jordan leaves off. "I'd love for it to stick with them after the last note, so they're uplifted or even pumped up. If they're thinking, it's working."
"It's about getting them to feel something and then sharing it with their friends," adds Travis. "That's the ultimate endorsement."
"We've always known this was about the fans since day one," concludes Steele. "The reason we got to where we are is the fans. We value them so much. We want to deliver for them."
R. Florino / July 2016