Danish garage-rockers The Blue Van haven’t yet made a big dent in the North American music scene yet but with their song “There Goes My Love” currently being featured in commercials for Apple’s iPad (view the commercial here), international success just might find its way to the group yet.
“It’s almost like having the hand of God reach down, pick your band and your music for this unheard of, widespread exposure,” Blue Van vocalist Steffan Westmark starts of what might prove to be the biggest 30 seconds of exposure of his group’s career to date.
“You can’t buy that kind of exposure,” he pauses before continuing: “Actually, I’m sure you could but we don’t have money for it,” he laughs.
With no hesitation, Westmark notes how Australian rock band Jet blew up internationally after their track “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” was featured in an Apple commercial for the company’s iPod.
“We haven’t seen that kind of success yet and frankly, I don’t know if we will. I consider the iPad to be more of a luxury item where iPods are more affordable in terms of appealing to the common person.
“No matter what happens, it’s an amazing opportunity that we have been given.”
As we chat, Westmark is sitting in a hotel lobby in his native Denmark doing some press prior to heading off for the group’s 21:45 time slot at the Nordals Musikfestival.
Mixing the sounds of vintage bands such as Cream and The Kinks, The Blue Van are in promotion mode for Man Up, to be released on June 22 in Canada via a licensing deal with the Toronto-based Awesome Music label.
Prior to their upcoming new record, the group had been signed to the now bankrupt TVT music label for North America. According to Westmark, the label had lost interest in the band a year and a half prior to folding.
“We had heard that things weren’t going well at the label,” he says. “We knew that there was a possibility that they were not going to pick up the option for a third record so we had a backup plan lined up in case it had come to that.”
Come to that it did. After the initial excitement of their newfound freedom from TVT subsided, Westmark says that failure was not an option for the band:
“Driven out of fear of being forgotten, being without a label encouraged us to get our songwriting together and step up to the plate with a number of killer songs.”
Westmark tells me that the group’s 2006 record Dear Independence “didn’t do anything in Denmark” and as such, the group wasn’t quite sure how their fans would take to the group’s new material.
The uncertainty around Man Up quickly dissipated when, in addition to the iPad coup, the group secured airplay on DR, Denmark’s national broadcasting corporation, giving the band exposure throughout their homeland.
“They took a liking to the band with Man Up,” Westmark notes, referring to DR. “They didn’t feel as though we had the songs until now but now that we have their support, we are getting so much further than we have in the past.”
Indeed the group’s burgeoning success is a combination of all of the above factors. While the iPad commercial might yet offer the band their biggest opportunity to further success, Westmark is optimistic when it comes to summing up the band’s fortunes to date:
“We regularly play 1000-person capacity venues in Denmark. We have a good reputation here because of our live show and because of the iPad commercial, our audience is now branching out to include those who might not have checked us out in the past.
“You’ve got those people who would have been at our show pre-iPad but you’ve also got young kids discovering Danish rock music and they are also coming out to the shows.
“It’s cool for once to earn some money from playing music,” he laughs.
For more info on The Blue Van, check out their website, located here.