‘What is happening?’ | Interview with Van Goose

With adventurous songwriting upon a thrilling spacey groove combined with some twinkling synth lines, Van Goose’s latest single Post​-​Truth and Bird Feeders will, without doubt, capture your attention. Get ready to enter a period of chaos and confusion. Unfortunately there is no way out.

Read our discussion with the artist below!

Describe your sound in 3 words

What is happening?

Tell us a few things about Post-Truth and Bird Feeders. What is the main idea behind it?

In the past 5-6 years, it seems like the gap in perspectives and narratives of reality has widened to an insane degree. Like a perfect opposite mirror image.
The spectrum of what people considered as “truth” has widened. Down was up and black was white.
I really wanted to understand how that gap in narratives was being formed.

I started noticing that massive groups of people who were going through rapid transformations, completely shifting the way they look at the world and every aspect of reality. They were not getting their information through news outlets but through niche message boards as well as out in the open on social media.

I started documenting it by taking screen shots and video captures. You can find some of them hidden in the Rabbit Hole website that I built.

Then the pandemic happened. People were home and with a lot of free time on their hands so many found themselves spending extra time on social media. While those online “movements” or “digital cults” seemed to me like much more than a niche prior to the pandemic, once Covid came into the picture, these movements were on steroids. It was spreading in a shocking speed. I couldn’t stop watching it. I kept watching and documenting these movements all through 2020 and up until the end of January 2021.
The things I saw had a heavy emotional effect on me and I started looking for ways to express it.

This song and the album as a whole are the product of a year long dive into the strangest pockets of the digital world.
It’s an emotional expression of a personal observation of the current times we live in rather than a manifesto of a certain opinion / stand.

If you were asked to describe the internet during covid using up to 3 words, what title would you give?

A fucking mess.

‘Watching other people go down the rabbit hole became my very own rabbit hole.’ Was there any hidden treasure there after all?

I’d say that the main treasure I’ve found while diving into those online communities was compassion towards the consumers of disinformation. It’s not a popular opinion, I know.

There was this realization that with the right targeting, with the right custom-tailored “outfit”, we are all potential victims of perception altering information.
That made me see the consumers of said information more like victims instead of just dismissing them as “bad guys” and that understanding turned any anger that I might have had towards the deceived ones into compassion.

What music computer programmers used to listen to back in the 90’s? And what music do they listen to nowadays?

I’m no longer involved in the programmers or hackers community nor do I code myself.
It was an interest when I was a teenager, probably between 12-15 years old so I can’t tell what music they listen to today.
I’m also not really sure if there was one specific type of music that they used to listen to back then.
Personally speaking, my “hacking collaborators” and I were really into death metal at the time.

Listening to your back catalogue, there is a clear focus in producing uplifting energetic grooves, sometimes in fast bpms. In which place or state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

The first album, Habitual Eater, had a very dancey element and probably worked best at parties and high energy activities. Many people told me they like to listen to it while working out.
We played mainly at DIY shows and dance parties so that was working really well with the music.

The new album is surprisingly more mellow. The song Post-Truth and Bird Feeders is indeed on the high energy side but the rest of the album is not as hectic. You’ll be able to hear that as I release the next singles.
It’s much more contemplative so it’ll probably work best to listen while in a contemplative mood- walking in a forest or riding the subway on the way to work as you watch other riders and contemplate over how reality has changed.

You have toured a lot, from small towns to big cities. Can you share something funny that happened during one of your gigs? And what would be your dream performance venue?

Oh man. There are too many.
There was a band I used to play in and where I always used to jokingly complain to them that I demand a private clown to come and entertain me before the shows. It was a joke obviously but then they surprised me one day and actually hired a professional clown! A clown named Itzik. They brought him to spend the evening with me and entertain me before the show. It was amazing and hilarious.

I played a gig in Toronto in an arena attended by nothing but hundreds of people riding stationary bicycles. It was a rock show and everybody was just cycling in place. It was really strange.

Years ago I used to play drums for a Beatles cover band and we did an event at some sort of a nursery / elderly beach village.
During the song ‘In My Life’ people were signaling us to stop playing. Someone got a hard attack. The ambulance arrived and they rolled him in. As soon as they left we were asked to go back and play. As if nothing happened. Like “…and we’re back! Now everybody! We All Live In a Yellow Submarine!”
I’m not sure why i’m telling you this. That’s actually pretty horrible (“insert hand on face emoji”).

Are we on a slippery slope towards dystopia?

There’s a long answer and a short answer. The long answer –

I think that there are two things to consider here.
First, it seems like the whole digital ecosystem and I dare to say, our economy as well, has adopted a business model that is unfortunately thriving as long as we keep engaged spending most of our time staring at the phone screen. The easiest way to get us to do that is through emotional triggering.

The other thing is that the the ability of AI algorithms to influence online communities has become frighteningly efficient. And it’ll become much worse as technology progresses.

If you combine these two elements – the efficiency of the algorithm to influence an individual’s perspective and the fact that our economy essentially “thrives” when we are emotionally triggered, you understand that we are bound to consume a whole lot of bullshit and destructive information as technology progresses which, if we look at examples of propaganda in history, can easily lead to horrifying events. That doesn’t sound too promising, is it? . On the other hand, humanity has always found a way to somehow overcome so I’m hopeful.
That was the long answer.

The short answer is Yes, probably. Maybe?

Thank you!

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