As part of our journey with the Van Lears, we were given an opportunity to sit down and dive deeper into, not only the music, but also the life and journey of Trey and Andrew. We had a chance to find out all the nitty gritty details that make them who they are as people, as artists, and how the Van Lears came to be.
When asked “At what age did you know you wanted to play music?” The guys responded with “We were born into it, it’s in our blood.”
They credit their mom as having one of the greatest voices they have ever heard; stating she is a mixture of EmmyLou Harris and Loretta Lynn. They grew up immersed in music from a very young age. Their young childhood years were spent in the studio watching their mom record her first album, surrounded by some of the greatest musicians in Nashville. Almost as a result, they knew from a very young age what direction life was pointing them in. Trey’s dad built him his first guitar at 4 years old.
They both started playing instruments at around eight years old. The boys briefly took guitar lessons before their father became their teacher. He helped them learn to play in order to create; teaching the boys the rudimentary notes and structure that would then lead them to dive into their own exploration of writing and growth as artists. They began to sow the seeds of artistry and expression through music as a natural part of their youth. They stated that their parents were always encouraging them to be themselves, giving them room to grow and allowing them to be in a space that enhanced their individuality and originality. There was always records playing and music flowing throughout the house. Both parents always encouraged and fed their passion, telling the boys that they wanted them to be happy and creative in life and to follow the path that would lead them to that.
Unlike most young gentlemen the Van Lears got over their sibling rivalry early in life. “Our chapter of fighting and being at odds was fairly short lived. When we did have arguments or as young male adults will do, brawls, it would always fuel our creativity as a team and bring out the best material.” Said Andrew. It didn’t take them long to come to this realization and learn how to channel that energy together without the quarrels. They had a refinement era, where they actually started recognizing that lyrical content and the structure of a song could be something that can take people places. From there they really started concentrating on vocals and Harmonies as brothers. The pair credit one another as being each other’s daily inspiration, along with their families. “We call our studio The Moonshine Dojo” the pair said and honestly wherever they are, together, is where they find their creativity and inspiration. They use the sleepless nights and the long days as fire for their creativity and drive. They really are each other’s best friend. That journey together, as a team, has led them to where they are today.
As far as musical influences growing up go, the boys grew up around all sorts of surrounding hometown musicians; that included local music store owner Travis Stephens (who is still involved in their lives to this day) and their parents. Besides their family and neighboring performers; they grew up listening to traditional country such as Waylon, Johnny, Patsy Cline, and Merle Haggard. More than that the guys enjoyed Everly Brothers, Sunvolt, Uncle Tupelo, which is at one-point kind of how they wanted to be as a band and last but certainly not least, the Eagles. They specifically recall finding one magazine cover of the Eagles as kids, where the band was dressed, with boots on, in their outlaw getups with their six shooters. They saw that picture and Trey told Andrew “That’s us, that’s who we have to be.
We have to be like the Eagles”. Their love for the Eagles is still decidedly present today in their passion for music and its ability to reach everyone differently.
Most of their songs are inspired or written about their life experiences. “We feel like there has to be a rawness and a conviction behind every lyric we sing, you can’t have that unless you’ve lived it. Not all songs have to make sense to everyone that hears them, we really got back to our roots by realizing we don’t have to sing songs that make sense, we in truth are only trying to sing songs that give people a feeling. To me there is no grey area in music, you either love it or you hate it. It either makes you feel something or it doesn’t.”-Andrew
Holding themselves to a standard of what they want to produce as a product has helped them sharpen their focus and find their drive. When you get past trying to make music for a certain genre of people and you start making music for the masses, that’s a very freeing occurrence said the duo.
“We are living in crazy times right now and music is one of the few things we can all escape to, that can connect everyone. The songs that touch people the most are the most personal ones, the ones that make us all vulnerable. With each song you kind of give a piece of yourself to everyone, you let down your defenses. So many experiences we have had helped us grow and learn. Whether they were good or bad they helped show us more of who we went to be and work towards. Song writing is our therapy.”-
The Van Lears.
Family is a huge part of the Van Lear’s lives. They recall the sacrifices their parents made to help them play music, to grow as artists and to support them. “Our parents always provided for us and made sure we had everything we need. Their example has shown us how we want to be as men, as parents and as people. We want to give back not only to our families but also to everyone in need” said The Van Lears. They continue to do mission work in their lives and believe it is about taking yourself out of the equation and trying to help other people with whatever you have, no matter what that may be.
“By giving to others you never lose anything but you in turn gain everything. You learn to love and appreciate everyone for their beauty, you learn more about yourself and you understand more of yourself through helping others. Our families inspire us daily, our little girls are the driving force behind our sleepless nights and some of our most creative times. They teach is how to always dance through life.” Their outlook on love, family, community and giving back is a breath of fresh air in a world so focused on negativity.
Q & A
What’s your favorite food?
Our favorite food is Mexican, we are always hungry for some Tacos.
What are your favorite drinks?
Tequila and Moonshine. Moonshine has been in our family for over 100 years, so we grew up with that as a part of our heritage and history.
What are your favorite songs at the moment?
Nothing But Thieves – Amsterdam
PJ Morton – First Began
The War On Drugs – Pain
Since the Eagles were one of your favorite bands, what are your personal favorite songs by them?
Trey – Victim of Love
Andrew – Witchy Woman
What are your favorite sports teams?
Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves
Ice Cream or Pie?
Trey – Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, hands down.
Andrew – Blackberry Cobbler From the Pie Wagon in Nashville
What are your favorite Quotes?
Trey – “Our dad used to tell us ‘Find something you would do for free and work your hardest to do that’ I sort of live by that as a motto”
Andrew – “In our studio we have this sign that states ‘Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night, for that is how galaxies are made’ and that one really speaks to me.”
We have noticed you guys have some tattoos. What are your most cherished or most meaningful ones?
Andrew – “I have this watercolor tiger that has flowers over its eyes and butterflies over its head. It represents to me seeing the world through rose colored glasses and being the protector of my family. I also have my wife’s name on my chest and I really cherish that one.”
Trey – “I have a tattoo of my wife under my left arm, close to my heart. That one is hands down my favorite”
What are some fun facts about yourselves that most people don’t know?
Andrew – “That my favorite band is The Buena Vista Social Club and that my favorite book is Vampire Hunter D”
Trey – “I love reading. I read about 6 books a month”
“We also are really into Japanese culture and Anime” said the guys!
What does Soul Revival Represent to you?
Soul Revival represents to us a time we have all been through in life, where we thought or reminisced about a particular person or that significant other that you have had or have in your life. That one person that can revive your soul, that can save you. Almost like a physical baptism, where you become renewed in this person. Everyone will take the song the way they need to take it and it will mean something different to every person that hears it.
Breathing you in my lungs… you got me speaking in tongues… you make it easy feeling closer to the lord. – Trey’s Favorite Lyric
Have you had any other band besides The Van Lears?
Yes!! One of our first bands was called The Cash Farm Killers. It was kind of a sort of “Cowpunk”. The name for Cash Farm Killers came from where we grew up on Cash road in the mountains of Northwest Georgia.
What inspires your style or your look?
Our style has never come from a particular look or image. We never thought to ourselves “what’s hot or popular?” In fact our barber’s name was Frank Campbell growing up and he only had one style of haircut, which we both rocked for a long time. “Growing up I am pretty sure I looked like every bully from Harry Potter” said Andrew.
”We kind of just wore whatever we wanted to. We really didn’t care about what people thought we looked like. We always wore boots, tight jeans and leather jackets, even in the summer. It’s really where that American Outlaw Freedom slogan that we run under really came from. It’s that mindset of “do whatever you want to do, look however you want to look and just be a badass.” Our style motto is “Wear you”. The one staple of our style that hasn’t ever changed is Corral. We have a closet full of them and we wear them until we get holes in them. We have worn them at every show we have ever played. The first pair of cowboy boots Trey ever bought for himself, when he was 16 years old were Corrals. They were a hand-tooled tan pair that he purchased at Horse Town on his first trip driving himself to Marietta GA. Needless to say their style has evolved into a look all their own… right down to the boots.”
We are proud to present ……… Soul Revival
Written by Desiree Gustafson