An Interview with: Yung Van
Yung Van is unlike any other recording artist on SoundCloud. Not only does he make incredible alternative rock, but he’s a college kid on a scholarship to study nursing AND play League of Legends on their e-sports team. Quite a pairing. While growing up in Kentucky, both of his parents were artists and encouraged him to pick up music. Along the way he was recruited for his current collegiate e-sports team. Yung Van is learning to balance his responsibilities but you wouldn’t know that by looking at his discography. With over 50 released songs over the past two years, Yung Van is diligent and punctual, steadily dropping songs with features from his friends. So far, everything has been going according to plan for Yung Van but it wasn’t always this way. He originally got into music because he and a friend parted ways. Without his best friend leaving him, he may have not been spurred to turn to music to fill the void.
What's your name man and how old are you?
My real name? And I’m 20.
Whatever you prefer to go by, and where did you grow up?
Well, my real name is Evan! I grew up in Lexington, KY. But people can me Van.
Nice to speak with you, is Van just Evan without the E? What was Lexington like and are you still living there?
Yeah, that’s how I got the nickname Van, it’s just short for Evan!
So, what was growing up like for you?
Lexington was good, I’ve lived there for the majority of my life. I had a lot of friends in the neighborhoods and went to school with most of them!
That's great, do you all keep in touch? Did they support your music? Who was there early on supporting you when you were starting?
Both my parents are musicians! And my step father is also a Musician. So is my sister, my dad always supported me. He recorded my first song when I was 10, “ZEBRA MONKEYS- BLAZING EYES”. I’m close with my family!
What do they play and what type of music are they involved in?
My mom and dad both sing and play guitar! My mom is more alternative rock and my dad is stoner rock. My stepdad is rock and he plays drums and bass.
How did their musical prowess inspire you? aside from your family, were your friends there for you on your journey?
It made me more passionate about music, they let me know it’s okay to express my emotions! Yeah my friends have always supported me, Guardin, Guccihighwaters, JJ meri, Flowars, Qawi Kamri, and huskai have always been there since day one!
Was rock always your first love? What music were you first interest in? And how did you meet your friends?
Yeah I really loved linkin park when I was younger actually, I still think they are amazing and I love their music. I listen to Hybrid theory from time to time again! I met my friends from SoundCloud and social media really! Or my homie from school, I go to college in Missouri and I am thankful my friends support my music.
That's awesome! So how is school? What are you studying and have you always been academic?
School is going well! I have made a lot of good friends here and I enjoy having a consistent schedule. I’m studying to be a nurse, I’ve always loved helping people and I want to do more for my community, I wasn’t always academic, but I’ve always loved school and it was an escape for me, somewhere I could be independent :)
Does your training as a nurse ever influence your approach to music? Both help people a lot :) do you tell your friends at school your an artist or do you keep it low-key :)
Well I don’t go around telling a bunch of people I make music but my friend Luke Flacke will literally tell anyone he meets it’s really flattering, he is a really nice guy. I think it does help, I am excited for next year to start so I can take anatomy and learn more about the body.
Shoutout to your homie, Luke. He sounds like a good friend to have, is the college in Kentucky? How has the transition from high school to college been for you? Has it given you more time for music or less? :)
I go to college in Missouri! I play league of legends on the esports team here at my college, I got a scholarship to go here lol! The transition sucked so much, I lost my best friend when I moved away, it really ruined me for a good while! I think moving motivated me to work on more music, also shout out my friends Collin, Sean, and Korbin for letting me use their spare room to record music, to helped a bunch!
What is like to be a collegiate e-sports player?! I'm glad you made it through the passing of your friend, do you have any advice for kids going through similar tough times?
It’s really fun but it can be exhausting as well! No my friend didn’t pass away, he blocked me out of his life when I moved away, so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to and I didn’t trust anyone to make friends with.
My best advice is to be the best person you can be, just be kind bro
That's tough but sound like you bounced back quickly, who are the artists you are listening to these days and what are your 2019 goals or ambitions?
I listen to Guccihighwaters, Guardin, Convolk, 9tails, Fats’e, 93feetofsmoke, Qawi Kamri, Flowars, L.I.F.T, cozyboy, lil Tracy, lil happy Lil sad, Huskai, yesterday, basically the whole squad hah! I love Em, my goals would be to drop one of my best projects, which I’m working on right now, it should be out January 25th, the day of my first show! I wanna go on tour eventually but I’m not in a rush cause I wanna finish college :)
Looking back on 2018 what were some of your highlights and what were some moments you would revisit if you had the chance too?
My favorite time would probably be going to Canada with my boys, Guardin, Qawi, Nolan, noxx, Matt, and 9tails oh and Swaine as well! That was super fun, I also loved seeing Flowars and NY! Getting to meet all my homies is amazing, I met guccihighwaters this weekend and it was great, Convolk is a nut as well!
Sounds like a good time, so how so what else has been going on in your life besides music and gaming? Do you have a significant other?
I am not interested in any atm, I haven’t met anyone that I would be willing to take the time out of my day to spend with them. I usually just hang out with my friends and watch Hulu or Netflix. I need to find another hobby, but school and music take up so much time
Of course, is it hard to balance the two? What are your favorite songs you’ve made and what is your process of creating like?
Well definitely “Lets just keep walking” “I waited on you, you never came” “I just wanted somebody to hold me” and an unreleased song! I usually freestyle over something my producer will send, well one of my producers, I just have a lot of friends who produce haha! But sometimes I write it all out :)
Who are some producers you've enjoyed working with?
Brody, HKFiftyOne, Retrohills, Aquinas, Aidan, Hateful, colcaine, lil heartbreak, 1800entity
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
I have a show on January 25th and I’m dropping my first full length project! It’s called an album but I don’t really know the difference between everything! I just can’t wait to see my homies more and travel, that’s the plan
That sounds dope, would you want to share the name of the album with us here, if not, I totally understand. What are some of your favorite video games to play besides legends and what games did you come up on? Runescape or WoW? I was/am big on those two.
Yeah the album name is “Blackwater” it’s coming out January hopefully and my favorite games were Pokémon, earthworm Jim, banjo kazooie, and supermario galaxy!
Do you play any instruments aside from being a vocalist?
Play the drums actually!
Do you have any aspirations of being in a band or doing and live drum performances? Where are some of your favorite areas to travel in the US?
I definitely enjoy playing drums but I love singing more! I wouldn’t mind being in a band though! I love tracking to NYC, Canada, Florida and Colorado!
All good spots, what is about singing that you enjoy more than using an instrument? Is it like writing with word instead of numbers?
I think the words are really important, I get to spread a message :)
Tell me more about your new album Blackwater, was it recorded in your dorm?
It was recorded in my dad’s garage and my friends basement! We got a pretty sweet setup :)
What software do you prefer for recording/mixing?
I record in logic and I don’t really mix my own songs. Huskai mixes most of them.
Huskai is good at what he does, are you into any movies, TV, or books?
I love movies and TV! I love books too but I can’t seem to finish them, I’ll get really into them and burn out before they’re done.
What are some recent stuff you’ve seen you either enjoyed or disliked? Don't worry about not finishing the books either, sometimes you gotta give it time then come back to it with a fresh mind.
I really like Harry Potter! So the fanatic beasts serious has my attention, I love watching them and they give me that magical feeling I used to have seeing Harry Potter when I was younger. You are definitely write about the books! My favorite movie of all time is The Labyrinth though, the one with David Bowie
We've covered a lot but is there anything else you want us to cover before we wrap up? One question I do have is your opinion on politics, if you have one of course. And fashion, are you into it at all? Do you have certain brands you enjoy?
I don’t really have opinions on politics, I’m not super religious either. I’m so bad with fashion, if I go shopping it’s at goodwill. Also I’d like to mention my bestfriend Jonathan is the reason I make music, he supported me back when I was free styling haha! He goes by JJ meri.