Locally bred, earmarked for international shores, the band Van Hoorn, is a success story in the waiting. On first hearing about this duo, comprising Cheyenne Tozzi, one of Australia’s significant exports in the modeling industry and Josh Mullane, local musician and guitarist, we were curious about their sound. Our curiosity paid off.
Van Hoorn (the Dutch name is Tozzi’s mothers maiden name) began in a “small barn south of Sydney called Silvergum Stables”. The duo were thrown together during a jam session by Josh’s brother, who now manages the two: they describe their sound as heavily influenced by blues, with a hint of country.
Tozzi’s husky vocals, accompanied by Mullane’s rockstar ability on the guitar had us stumped. Forget the days of auto tune, Van Hoorn is keeping things slightly more rustic, with the lead singer explaining, “We didn’t want it overly produced, so we kept it very organic”. I have grown somewhat averse to the term ‘organic’, yet on this occasion it perfectly and properly captures the overall sound and aesthetic.
When asked how Tozzi perceives the relationship between her modeling and music careers, she describes the joy at being able to find a good balance, “Although they work hand in hand, I find it a totally separate part of my life. I’m letting people in to my personal life, telling stories that spill out of my heart”. Fret not, the face of ModelCo is still very much involved in the modeling industry, however, it would seem her manager and partner, Tyson Mullane, was the one to propel her into the world of music, with Tozzi explaining, “(He) pulled me aside and said ‘This is who you are’. Long story short, he pushed me on stage earlier this year to sing in front of ten thousand people with the British Indie Rock band, The Kooks”. Not too shabby for a first main stage performance.
Van Hoorn has seen some major highlights, with the band touring Afghanistan in December to entertain troops stationed in the war-torn country. Tozzi thought that thousands of stone-cold sober soldiers would have been their “toughest crowd”. She, in fact, found it quite the opposite, “The response was our greatest so far. It was just a little token of our appreciation to what hard, brave work they are doing…”.
While touring major cities is often the coup d’etat for up and coming bands, it is refreshing to report that Van Hoorn also walks on the wildside: we were fascinated to hear about a “guerilla-style gig”, that the duo performed in none other than a gentleman’s lavatory in Sydney’s CBD last year. When asked why they took to the least glamorous venue imaginable - a toilet room - their explanation did add up, “We actually did that to make men more aware of prostate cancer and the importance of getting checked. Our manager took us straight to the source - the gentleman’s bathroom at Central Station with a hat saying, ‘Prostate Cancer, Get Checked’. We also aimed to raise a little money. It didn’t last too long, with the cops dragging us out. Perhaps, not the best venue we’ve performed in, but definitely the most unusual”.
Bondi’s The Canteen served as an excellent spot to launch the debut EP, performing to a swarm of Sydney’s pretty things. However, Van Hoorn is now looking to the main stage (or the international market), due to record their first album in London this month, while also focusing on festival slots and a tour planned for the end of the year