Obsession Collection -
Music Site Scavenger Series #1
The Big Purple Van Club is a French Internet music site that features videos of awesome underground music acts, filmed in a 1970s Van. While the van drives through the streets of Paris, it becomes a moving theater. The interaction between the musicians and the colorful crew replicates a contemporary version of "The Magical Mystery Tour." The Big Purple Van Club site is a destination where viewers will see all genres of music captured in an atmosphere of love and celebration. The authenticity is potent. It is like seeing a band in a basement, living room, or garage show, where few boundaries separate the audience from the musicians.
The creative staff that makes it all possible includes: Pablo Nicomedes (creator/cameraman), Mc Load Le Pirate (the van conductor), Joaquin Lola (sound), and Muchachos (lights). The chic hobo-styled foursome brings artistry and personality to the fray. They have designed ingenious ways to film and edit impromptu music sessions while layering humor in the mix.
I regularly visited their myspace site and wrote glowing comments. With a few communications in broken English, we discussed the possibility of doing an interview. Some time passed and I went back to the site and was a little concerned, it was looking a little strange.
Surprisingly, all their top friend icons were beautiful women posed in funny and provocative positions creating a parody of myspace. I was offended and didn't quite get the joke. My rush to judgment was a little embarrassing. I have grown to appreciate their zany antics. They don't take themselves too seriously, which is one reason the site is so refreshing. You almost never know what they will do next.
My interview took place with Pablo Nicomedes, the creator/film director of The BPVC via email.
As a teenager in the sixties, a van symbolized freedom and the awaiting open road of possibilities. Gas was cheap, there was the call of the sexual revolution, and young people decorated their vans as lo-fi love shacks, unlike the customized vehicles of the “Pimp My Ride” generation.
The Vans Torrid History and Karmic Upgrade
When Pablo found the van, he was surprised by its history. It was a destination for prostitutes to do business in Pigalle, the red light district in Paris. This was a love shack of a different order, and in Pablo’s mind, it represented the love of sorts. While viewing the van, He had an epiphany, he thought it would be wonderful to film musicians and poets in the van and share their energy and passion via the Internet. The dull old van got a face-lift and was painted purple. That was the inauguration of The Big Purple Van Club.
Finding and presenting music not found in commercial media is the primary focus of The BPVC. Their music selection is not genre specific. They are open to music of any category and what suits their fancy at a particular moment. So far, many filmed sessions have included musicians respected in the underground scene, like Ramona Cordova, Francois Virot, and David Fenench. The uploaded videos offer exposure to their music.
The original concept has evolved and has enabled the fluidity of ideas. This year The BPVC presented “The Big Show,” which included twenty-five recent live-in van performers to participate. Affording pop, underground, hip-hop, strange electro, comedic, and rock to share the same stage in one night. The collective created a pre-show event with the purple van parked in front of the Le Club Des Chats. This theatrical red carpet staging area added momentum for the line-up to follow.
The BPVC has just updated its website, making it a necessary pit stop that showcases all its creative endeavors. They have recently added a French radio broadcast that presents a different artist weekly, along with podcasts of each performance. For the future, they are planning to bring the purple van to New York in the summer of 2008, culminating in a big show in September.
This madcap crew knows how to have fun, and their eccentric frolics can be outrageous and campy. The van interior and their costumes change to accommodate the varying line-up. This collective has discerning taste and creative vision. Most importantly, they share their love of music with viewers worldwide, hoping to make purple a symbol of music passion.