In the last 18 months, Van Hechter has surprised USA’s underground with charting singles, an anthem to the Stonewall Inn, duets with cult NYC Dj Chauncey Dandridge… If you haven’t heard of him yet; trust us, you will! But be warned; he’s not your ”In your face- here I am” type artist. He’s an enigma one finds more and more fascinating over time, an addiction one never saw coming…
We caught up with him last week, just to see what he was up to…
BM: So you’re spending the fall in Montreal- your hometown. How does that feel?
VH: I’m based in Montreal. I own a small record label here. My business partner lives here… It feels like; this is my workplace, this is my workshop.
BM: Underground USA appreciates you, and your fan base is very young; why do you think that is?
VH: Because I’m not first degree camp- I’m actually camp laughing at camp! That’s something the underground relates to; making fun of a joke while being the joke.
BM: When was the last time you played live?
VH: Just a few days ago, in Montreal, at Cabaret Mado! I was delighted because that place is a landmark. If you visit the city, you simply MUST spend an evening there. I was invited by art director Marleen Menard (legend) to join her special event ”Cabaret Queer”; of course I said yes. House was full- on a week night! What I loved most; the crowd was diverse. I like a good mix!
BM: Speaking of diversity; you are openly gay bordering on pansexual (so you said yourself once)- yet your fan base is not all LGBTQ…
VH: Well, I’ve always had a lot of straight friends, especially gym buddies with whom I end up sharing secrets and stories- they open up to me too. I’m not surprised when I see sexy heterosexual girls and straight guys at my shows. It’s a reflexion of my reality. I’m not about tags I’m about individuals. I become friends with anyone who’s heart’s in the right place. And if we can laugh together- you’ve got me for life!
BM: Are you in love?
VH; With music, with my friends, with my coworkers- yes! As far as romantic relationships go… I don’t know if I’m any good at them! I’m one of the best friends you’ll ever have but I’m not sure I’d win a gold medal as ”Husband of the century”! Ironically I’m an amazing kisser so that talent is going to waste most of the time!
BM: You always end on a joke, don’t you?
VH: Yes. You see, my mother died around my 4th Birthday. At the funeral, one of my smarter aunts was laughing. I observed her; she’d understood something others hadn’t… She was devastated yet she could still joke… At the root of comedy lies drama. I always twist my sorrow into something funny. It’s worked wonders for me. It doesn’t mean I suppress tears- just it’s good to look at things from different angles.
BM: Wow! That’s a lot for a four-year-old!
VH: Well, yes. But we all have a path with pitfalls… In many other ways I was extremely lucky. I had laughing aunts, a crazy fat grandmother to feed me cherry pie whenever I was down, a father who’d grown up poor and who’d managed to provide the best of the best. I wasn’t Cosette from Les Mis… I was more like- lost heart broken gay boy with a disco dream wearing Ralph Lauren entertaining a mild eating disorder LOL!
BM: (Laughs) See- you’re doing it again!! Well, we’re glad you clung to the disco dream! This ”Love Elastic” album of yours has really created a need for Hechter! So, what’s next?
VH: On December 1st for World AIDS Day I am releasing a duet with my beloved disco brother Dj Chauncey Dandridge, entiled ”Soldiers Of Love”… And on New Year’s Eve we launch a remix of ”The Delight”, our charting duet of the moment. Of course while this is all happening, I am working on my next solo album. I’d like to release it in early 2023. Every time I get to work I’m like; ”OK— this HAS to be your best work yet”.
BM: We will be on the lookout! It’s truly been a pleasure interviewing you. You’re unique.
VH: Thank you! Feeling is mutual! Btw; what got me bullied on the playground as a kid is precisely what you seem to be enjoying right now! Uniqueness is a double edged sword! I find that hilarious!