A Conversation with Van Alden’s Paul Abrahamian

Van Alden frontman Paul Abrahamian visited the blog to talk about his “Van Alden” EP. (Photo courtesy of Gramophone Media)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a privilege to welcome Paul Abrahamian to Jake’s Take.

Paul came into the public eye when he first joined the cast of CBS’s hit summer competition series, Big Brother in 2016, where he went to the Season 18 finale and came in second place.  He also returned to the show in 2017, where he also made it to the end and once again, received second place.

But before Paul went inside the Big Brother house, he pursued his passion of music with his band, Van Alden.  Recently, the band released its self-titled EP, which allowed Big Brother fans to see him a brand new light through five tracks. Van Alden featured impeccable dark, moody, and synth-heavy music that transported listeners onto a Los Angeles rooftop at 3 AM. So far, the EP has been streamed over 500,000 times since it dropped on Spotify.

Next month, Van Alden will travel across North America performing for fans at Pasadena’s The Rose (with Sugar Ray), Chicago’s Subterranean, New York City’s Arlene’s Grocery, Toronto’s Sneaky Dee’s Concert Venue, and in Los Angeles, where he will perform for KROQ 106.7 FM listeners with Sleeptalk.

In this edition of A Conversation, Paul shared about the Van Alden EP’s recording process, would he ever return to a hypothetical Big Brother: All-Stars 2 season, and teased what fans can expect from this upcoming tour.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you first get interested in music? How did that passion evolve into a desire to pursue a career in the recording industry?

Paul Abrahamian: I have been interested in music ever since I was a kid. When I was 8, I started taking violin lessons with some hardcore Armenian-Russian violinist, who truthfully scared the shit out of me (Laughs) – a couple of years later, I ditched the violin and picked up the guitar. When I was 15, I saw Linkin Park, Coheed and Cambria, and Chiodos perform at the Staples Center in LA – that show inspired the fuck out of me. From that night I made a promise to myself to one day play on a stage like that.

Jacob Elyachar: Recently, you released an EP with your music project, Van Alden. Could you please describe the recording process to my readers?

Paul Abrahamian: Getting this EP out was quite the personal journey. Essentially, this was my first time putting out music without being a part of some band and group. There were some struggles of confidence along the way, constantly second-guessing myself, et cetera, but the more I became honest with myself and the music I was writing, the more comfortable the whole process became. Surprisingly enough, every song on the EP started with an acoustic guitar and a notepad. From there, the Van Alden team took each skeleton and further developed/produced it in the studio. We made an effort to focus on the atmosphere, texture, and ambient of each track. We did not limit ourselves to how ‘weird’ the tracks got; we just committed with what felt right at the moment. I’m sure the team hates me for being the pickiest, most indecisive fucker on this planet. (Laughs)

Jacob Elyachar: A majority of my readers know you from your two seasons on Big Brother. What are some of the challenges that you faced establishing a career in the entertainment industry once you left the show and how did you overcome them?

Paul Abrahamian: I was an artist and musician far before the opportunity of going on television presented itself. I think the most difficult part has been not allowing my time on Big Brother define me and my accomplishments as an artist. I did not want just to disregard it and jam my music down everyone’s throats. A good chunk of my fans had no idea I even played music; they were just a fan of my TV personality and clothing brand – so I had to find a perfect transition to present something new and digestible to them, without coming off as overwhelming and out of pocket. Fortunately, the transition has been better than I could have anticipated, and I truly enjoy seeing my fans organically discover and form an opinion about my music, whether it is good or bad.

Jacob Elyachar: If you had the opportunity to return to the show for a second hypothetical Big Brother: All-Stars season, would you return to the CBS competition series? Who would you like to play against?

Paul Abrahamian: Assuming that I would not be occupied with touring or recording, this would probably be the only other scenario that would make sense for me to play again. I have made it to the end against a mixed cast of vets and new players and against a cast of all new players, so I would only be interested and curious to see how I would do against other “all-stars.” I would like to play against all the players considered “Big Brother Legends” in the fans’ eyes. It seems like it would be pretty intellectually stimulating and challenging. I want to be matched with other aggressive strategists and game players.

Jacob Elyachar: Next month, you will be traveling to five cities to promote your new EP. What can your fans expect from this mini-tour?

Paul Abrahamian: I am so excited to showcase everything and get to meet my fans in my element. We have curated the shows to be pretty laid back and expect to create a very intimate experience with the music. Aside from the full EP, we have added a couple of our favorite covers to the set that we believe will accent the shows perfectly. I genuinely think I am just as excited to see and perform for the fans as they are eager to watch.

Jacob Elyachar: If you had the opportunity to meet with musicians who want to pursue a career in the recording industry, what advice would you share with them?

Paul Abrahamian: Quit thinking, quit planning, quit second guessing yourself, just start. Whatever the first step is that you have to take, whether it is writing, recording, coming up with a name and brand, anything – just start. Put it on paper, get something tangible, and keep progressing forward. Things will change, develop, fail, succeed, and go in all sorts of directions, just start. It’s impossible to predict what will come in the future, but if you spend your time just constantly thinking, doubting, and ‘what if’-ing yourself, you will be stuck and making circles in the same spot. Just get the train going, it will pick up speed with time.

For more information about Van Alden, visit the band’s official website! You can also connect with Van Alden on social media by visiting their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube channels.  

You can connect with Paul on social media! Visit his Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter channels.

 

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar