Catching Up with Van Alden’s Paul Abrahamian (the 2019 Edition)

Van Alden front man Paul Abrahamian (middle) returned to ‘Jake’s Take’ to talk about his new EP. (Photo by Harvy Moon & courtesy of Gramophone Media)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

It is a privilege to welcome Van Alden frontman and Big Brother alum Paul Abrahamian back to Jake’s Take.

He just released his sophomore EP, You’re Not What You Used to Be. The four-track EP was highlighted on a plethora of media websites such as Billboard, Earmilk, and Parade Magazine. Throughout the EP, Paul explores the emotional spectrum as he drew on several of his influences such as Bon Iver, Chet Faker, and James Blake.

In this edition of Catching Up, Paul opened up about which artists that he would like to see Van Alden collaborate with, his thoughts on Big Brother 21, and why the Big Brother fanbase is toxic on social media.

Jacob Elyachar: It has been a year since we last corresponded. How have you grown as a musician since we last spoke?

Paul Abrahamian: I have been challenging myself with songwriting, music production. I’ve been working with a ton of just say cloud speaking and really just, I mean spending a lot of time, not only of the music wisdom, but study what I guess makes music. What makes music make you feel good, or what sounds pleasing to the ear or make you reflect? I have been trying to crack this code and understand it more. A lot of self-reflection and a lot of just musical exploration has been going on in this past year.

Jacob Elyachar: When I saw you at your New York City concert at Arlene’s Grocery last year, you mentioned that you would be moving to Brooklyn to focus on your music career. What were some of the similarities and differences that you found from living in both the NYC and Los Angeles areas?

Paul Abrahamian: I do not know if this is just because I was born in LA, but it’s been a little bit harder for me to find and network with fellow musicians and artists. It is not so much that has been difficult, but you have to look and seek out people. In Los Angeles, I feel like are a little bit easier to go about your search. In New York, I think that it is a bit more challenging because artists are tucked away and burrowed, and you got to find it. Living in New York City has been challenging, but I have loved it. Since I moved to Brooklyn, I have been extremely motivated and my time here has been incredibly inspirational. Just the change in scenery and change in my culture alone has really, I guess, molded me differently.

You’re Not Who You Used to Be showcases Paul Abrahamian’s next chapter as a musician. (Album cover of Dramakaze Records)

Jacob Elyachar: Let’s talk about your EP: You’re Not What You Used to Be. What can my readers expect from this record?

Paul Abrahamian: To be honest with you, the album is just anecdotal. It correlates the experience that I had in my life. Things that I have to deal with. Changes that I have to deal with. Changes with relationships, people, friendships, and myself. It is really just an album EP. You’re Not What You Used to Be is about self-reflection, growth, and dealing with circumstances that we like often find ourselves in, but we just brush off or kind of do not take the time to figure it out, if that makes sense. Like certain, bad habits that we have, toxic relationships that we choose to stay in. Even though we know are inherently terrible for us, you know what I mean? Social media expectation, all of these things are pretty much put out into the EP.

Jacob Elyachar: Have you thought about taking the record on tour? If so, what can my readers expect from this tour?

Paul Abrahamian: We are taking You’re Not What You Used to Be on tour. We are super excited about our live show. We have been working and curating a lot on it. If you did see us during the first tour, we have a new additional member that will be playing with us. We are also changing up the show up instrumentally. The shows are going to have a better and significant sound. There will be more activity on stage. We will also have a completely new light show. A different show and we have a lot more stuff to play. I think it’s going to be fun. I think people are gonna enjoy it.

Jacob Elyachar: Hopefully, there will be a show in New York City. I would love to see it.

Paul Abrahamian: We actually recently announced that we will be back at Arlene’s Grocery on August 8th, and we are also going to be performing at IHeartRadio on August 8th as well. We will be back in Brooklyn, and I amsuper excited for that performance.

Jacob Elyachar: Who are some of your dream collaborators (singers, songwriters, and producers) that you want to work with? How would they enhance Van Alden’s sound?

Paul Abrahamian: Over the past few years, we have been looking for different artists, songwriters, and collaborators. We have a song that we are working on right now that features another artist that I am so excited to release the track. As far for dream collaborators, I would love to collaborate with Portugal. The Man. We covered “Feel It Still,” and they followed me on social media. We were thinking about playing a show date in Portland, and if we do, I am going to let them know. Hopefully, they come out and check it out at the very least because they are a massive inspiration for me. That would be awesome even to have them watch the show would be cool. Another musician that has reached out, his name is Elliot Moss, and I absolutely  love his music and his production. I think he is a genius. Recently, he reached out to me on social media, too, and we started following each other. It would be cool to one day, maybe even linked up with him and write with him because he is a massive inspiration.

Big Brother will introduce a whole new crop of houseguests to America on June 26. In pre-show interviews, several of them mentioned that they were a fan of Paul Abrahamain’s gameplay. (Logo property of CBS)

Jacob Elyachar: Big Brother 21 will return to CBS on Tuesday, June 25. Both Jeff Schroeder and Ika Wong have aired their interviews with this year’s houseguests. Have any of the houseguests caught your eye?

Paul Abrahamian: I am going to be honest with you, Jacob. I did not watch the interviews, but I did get tagged in a couple where I think there was a handful of the houseguests to reference that they enjoyed my gameplay. I enjoyed hearing that because that means that they liked my gameplay. If they admire whatever I did, that means that they will put the balls to the wall and really give it their all, I guess. I think the cast is super interesting. I had to get neglected, and I think it’s going to be a shit show in a good way. It is diverse enough to where I think there’s going to be good inherent drama like in and of itself and good gameplay I am hoping. So yeah, I am actually looking forward to it. I do not really watch TV that much, but I will say the shout outs that I have received has been very intriguing.

Jacob Elyachar: A majority of the show’s fans have posted negative comments on social media about veteran houseguests.  In your humble opinion, why is a majority of Big Brother fanbase so toxic and how you do deal with the negative comments?

Paul Abrahamian: Ever since I left the Big Brother house, I have made it a point to talk about the fanbase’s toxicity because it is so horrible. People want to sign up to be on this show. But, if you end up playing the game a certain way, you could come out and get verbally harassed. It’s terrible. People stalk you. They will message your family. It is a bunch of horrible things that not meant. Nobody wants that, and, strangely, fans treat the houseguests’ families horribly, because their loved ones provide fans with entertainment all summer.  There is not one houseguest that does not get harassed.

A lot of people like to say: “Well, this person is shitty; They deserved it, or this and that.” They believe that they have the inherent power to treat random strangers; they do not know so horribly. It is just a bizarre environment that is created that I think seeps into the way that people play the game. Then the same fans hate it. They hate the way they played because they do not play because they are too concerned about social media. Of course, some people are going to be worried about social media when people are so ready to jump on you. It is a loop of negativity that I hate. You see that community and whatever people think I am the punching bag with these people and they want to get out all their trolling your shit talking on me. That’s fine because I know I have the skin for it whatever the heck they want to be, and it is not going to move me one way or another.

Jacob Elyachar: On your episode of Big Brother Small World with JC Mounduix, you mentioned that you would ONLY come back for All-Stars. Would you like to face off against winners (Dan, Boogie, Rachel, Nicole, and Josh), legends (Janelle, Frankie, Vanessa, or Tyler), or settle a score with old enemies (Paulie Calafiore, Mark, and the Nicksons)? Why or why not?  

Paul Abrahamian: I do not need to play former rivals or my enemies because I already beat all of them. Nicole (Franzel, Season 18 winner) and Josh (Martinez, Season 19 winner) are not rivals. In fact, I call them my friends and I love having them in my life. I would love to play Big Brother againwith legends such as Dan Gheesling, Janelle Pierzina, Vanessa Rousso, or whoever the fandom generally claims as All-Stars. I want to play again because I think it will be challenging and I would like to put myself up to the test and see how well I can do. I have done all the other scenarios, it would not be fun for me.

Jacob Elyachar: We are nearing the 2019’s halfway point. What can my readers expect from you as we march to the end of the year?  

Paul Abrahamian: They should expect a Van Alden tour. We will be traveling across America with potential dates in Canada. We will also be releasing new music after the EP. The band has so many incredible collaborations with artists that I am super proud of.  

For more information about Van Alden, visit their website!

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


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