Van Pierszalowski first made his presence known in the music industry in 2005 through the project Port O’Brien, which dissolved in 2011, the same year Van began working on what would soon become the first album under the name WATERS. Along with current bandmates Brian DaMert, Greg Sellin, Andrew Wales, and Sara DaMert, the new album Something More! marks Van’s first project that emerged out of a truly collaborative band effort. The album levitates around a series of realizations about life — Van’s deepened understanding of what it means to roll with life’s inevitables while also striving for change. In actively working toward a romanticized yet catalyst-acting vision for the future, the band has created a distinctively delightful pop album.
We caught Van on the phone mid-dog walk as he strolled through Highland Park to find out more about WATERS’ latest album and where he goes to unwind in LA.
CC: So, Something More! just came out less than a week ago, what do you think distinguishes this album from your previous two?
Van: Well for one, I think the biggest change or the biggest way that we grew as a band was just from it being the first record for Waters where the five of us were involved from the beginning. Like the first WATERS record was kind of just me. I was living in Norway, and I was kind of putting together songs and the band as I went along. And the last record What’s Real, I started making by myself again and then put together a live band to finish the record. And that became the actual band, which is the five of us now. So this is the first record where we were all together from the beginning and were all working on the songs together from the beginning. It was the first time really I’d say in my career as a musician where I’d been part of a really strong tight five person unit.
CC: I really liked your “Hiccups” video, it looked like a really fun project. Is there any rhyme or reason behind its concept?
Van: Yeah, I would say so. We wanted to make this weird game show world where there are these ridiculous kind of tasks but they are always rigged against you so you can’t ever win. The tasks are always impossible, kind of going along with the meaning of the song, you know where you have to just kind of go along with all of the fuck ups and bull shit and mistakes that you make in life and the times that you fail and just recognize that’s just the struggle to get to wherever you’re going and just have to be okay with that. So that’s just a pretty direct line between the concept of the video and the song, really.
CC: WATERS has distinguished itself as this heady and upbeat pop/punk project which really seems to be working for you guys, and the overall experience of listening to it feels pretty light, but are there any central themes or issues that you kept running into throughout this new album lyrically?
Van: Yeah I would say it’s kind of reminiscent of the title of the record, a lot of the central themes. Like you know how for most of our lives we are stuck in these shitty jobs and shitty situations while both fantasizing and working toward establishing something more in your life. And I kind of touched on some of it earlier, but also how part of that is just recognizing its all a mess and no one gets there easily or without fucking up a million times. So it’s just a matter of coming to terms with that and as you slowly arch toward that mysterious goal of whatever it is you’re looking for which changes all the time.
CC: Where do you envision this album being played?– Is that your dog barking?
Van: No, that’s some other bull shit dog. My dog doesn’t bark. Um (laughs) anyway, I think I imagine pretty much all records that I’ve made in two different listening areas. One is pretty basic, like very loud in a car. That’s my favorite way to listen to music. And then the other way is in headphones at night in your room, and also pretty loud I would say. And for me, I’m stoned when I do that, but I don’t think that’s a necessity. So I think one is more like living in the music moment where you can sing a long and feel alive with the music and the other one is more of a personal expression of it because headphones are so intrusive and they are putting it right into your brain.
Van’s LA Picks:
CC: Favorite restaurant in the city and what do you order?
Van: Let’s see here… I know a lot of people would say this, but for brunch I’m all about Kitchen Mouse. I think it’s amazing. I get the Gomasio rice cakes every time. You’ve got to add avocado, it’s ridiculous. So so good. Usually for brunch I stick to the classics, but someone told me to order that and I was like ehh whatever, but now I’ve yet to order anything else. For dinner I really like Pine & Crane. I like the whole vibe in there and the food’s amazing. That’s a good one.
CC: Favorite bar and drink?
Van: Sonny’s in Highland Park is like my home away from home. I’ve got two bars that I go to, basically. That’s it. Because I am a boring person who just likes the same spots over and over (laughs). But yeah Sonny’s in Highland Park is like my home away from home. Great cocktails and happy hour is ridiculous. It’s from 5-7pm and 11-2am everyday. And six dollar old fashioneds that are just next level. And then Hermosillo for beer and wine, which is next door conveniently. And that place feels like a really nice local hang, I always run into people I know there. It feels strongly like a community there.
CC: Favorite venue to perform at?
Van: I really like the bootleg. Yeah, I always have a really great time there. And I really like the huge backstage hang area that they sometimes convert. I like the two rooms, and the outside area. It’s just a really awesome hang, it feels like a clubhouse or something. I’ve only played there once but it was great. Great sound, great people, really intimate. The people who are talking are all outside, so the people in that main room are really attentive. I like that place.
The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles will host the band on June 8th. Their newest album Something More! can be purchased through WATERS’ website.