By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – 2018 aims to be another big year for Chad VanGaalen, Calgary’s prolific musician/visual artist who’s always got a number of projects on the go including a tour he just finished for his latest album, Light Information, which was dropped last September.
“It’s been great,” he says about the latest trek. “I didn’t expect anybody to really care at this point but the shows were good and people were excited. I was really surprised in the States, just places that I’d never been. It was so much fun.”
For VanGaalen, Light Information was about revisiting old tunes as much as it was about crafting new ones. “I kind of like the idea of now going backwards in time. I’ve never really liked the way that records are always new material. I don’t really listen to a lot of new material myself, so I feel like it’s nice to have enough songs now that I can start going backwards. Light Information touched on that a little bit. Like (the track) “Golden Oceans” is like six, seven years old at this point. But as far as the news songs go, I guess it’s always an evolution, but it’s definitely like a rock album.”
Now that he’s home, VanGaalen is stoked to work on a number of visual projects, namely Dream Corps LLC, an animated show he does the soundtrack for and designs characters for on Adult Swim.
“Right now I’m pretty excited about starting work again on the show. We’re just finishing up the second season of that. I’m excited to come back now and sort of have this alone time to sort of decompress. I’m also working on a few animated things too so I can kind of ping-pong between those as I feel like it. It’s an animated music video for a new song off my record.”
His visual art is inspired by everything from Dr. Seuss to Jim Henson to Jean Giraud, an artist he’s looked up to since adolescence. “I’m like a comic book nerd. As my mind was settling visually as an early teen, I was really into Heavy Metal and then that sort of introduced me to Moebius. Jean Giraud has always been my sort of anchor as far as visual stuff goes. I’m always trying to achieve that sort of effortless detailed line that he was presenting in all of his comics.”
Speaking of Henson, VanGaalen was ecstatic when the Jim Henson Company decided to take on Dream Corps LLC, which came with a visit to Henson Studios to meet the rest of the team.
“Oh fuck dude I was crying at the board meeting,” he admits. “Of course I didn’t get to meet Henson because he’s dead, but I feel like he touched enough of us with his vision and his love that that’s as close as you want to get. It’s such a huge gift to give such a positive outlook and he so creative in the world and be so sincerely good and be able to transcend genre and age.”
VanGaalen’s local fan base will get a rare chance to see him on stage this January. Although he enjoys playing, VanGaalen says the Calgary shows tend to come with a little extra anxiety. “Oh yeah it’s completely nerve racking. It’s definitely the hardest place to play. I mean luckily I don’t really play Calgary ever so it’s nice to have that to my advantage.”
Chad VanGaalen will be playing Jan. 25 at Commonwealth (Calgary)Chad VanGaalen, Commonwealth