Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen
Photo by Marc Rimmer

Chad VanGaalen was not afraid to pack his new record with bizarre imagery and quirky (yet sometimes gloomy) story telling and lyricism. The Calgary singer-songwriter released his fifth studio album Shrink Dust on April 29th. In support of the album’s release, he will play Toronto’s Lee’s Palace tonight with Cousins and we had the chance of calling him before hitting the stage. Read our interview below as we  discuss interesting illustrations, ultimate festivals, grimy dressing rooms, and more.

AMBY: Thanks for chatting with me today, Chad.

Chad VanGaalen: No problem at all.

AMBY: You kicked Spring off by releasing your fifth album Shrink Dust. When it came to recording the album, who were your biggest influences or inspirations?

Chad VanGaalen: Probably just my family and friends.

AMBY: As far as the title goes, what inspired calling the record Shrink Dust?

Chad VanGaalen: My friend Matt and I try to come up with stupid band names while on tour. I think at one point we were talking about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and talking about how cool it would be to have something sort of shrink something. Then he said “shrink dust”. I immediately thought “that’s such a good name” [laughs].

AMBY: And it stuck! Alike its name, the artwork for the album is quite unique. I’ve looked at your illustrations and animated artwork in the past and there are a lot of great looking pieces. When it came to choosing the artwork for Shrink Dust, why did you decide to go with this Sasquatch-octopus-human-esque being?

Chad VanGaalen: I guess it kind of directly relates to a lot of the themes on the album. I was working at the same time on a sci-fi animation and thought it was appropriate. Especially for the Monster track on the record.

AMBY: Oh okay, I can see the relation. Now, you’re currently on a North American tour and will soon playing Toronto’s Lee’s Palace. What do you enjoy most about being on the road?

Chad VanGaalen: I’m on the road with two really awesome bands right now; Cousins and Bry Webb. That’s probably what I most enjoy about it. I don’t really tour with people I don’t like to tour with.

AMBY: Is there anything specific you do or enjoy other than the bands?

Chad VanGaalen: Well, I like to play Frisbee. We just had an awesome Frisbee game last night. I like when people treat me really well and eating delicious food. I like when I get to a club and the bathroom doesn’t look like people have been having bowel movements for five years.

AMBY: It’s always a surprise when you find a clean one.

Chad VanGaalen: Yea [laughs]. I like it when a green room doesn’t look like people have been masturbating in there for years.

AMBY: Understandable!

Chad VanGaalen: So far, people have been way nicer than I would have expected. Not that I didn’t expect to have a lot of things happen that weren’t nice, but everyone has been really nice.

AMBY: I have one last question on the touring front. What’s a crazy or bizarre tour stories that you’ve encountered?

Chad VanGaalen: Just being in America is crazy in general. It looks like corporate America has taken over everyone’s lives and is slowly making every subliminally hateful towards themselves. It’s pretty bizarre.

AMBY: Have you seen any difference in playing to your American audiences to the Canadian ones?

Chad VanGaalen: I don’t know if there’s that much of a different. I always get really freaked out when I come to the states because I’m kind of scared of this country. But the people are always surprisingly nice. In Canada, people don’t really dance.

AMBY: I’ve noticed that, compared to America.

Chad VanGaalen: Yea, there’s more potential for people to start dancing here. I’m not sure why though [laughs].

AMBY: What’s something about Chad VanGaalen that most people don’t know yet?

Chad VanGaalen: I lived in Michigan for four years when I was a child.

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Thank you Chad VanGaalen, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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