Music Q&A:
Christof van der Ven

The folk artist has a string of northern dates lined up this spring. Here he tells Big Issue North about his efforts to go plastic-free on tour

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What informs your music and songwriting?
I’ve been doing a lot of travelling over the last few years and I think it has influenced me quite a bit in terms of my writing. It’s sceneries, the people and our own little group of friends that make this job really interesting and challenging. It’s hard to write on the road but after a tour I always come back with lots of ideas.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I think touring and playing with different bands has made me open up a bit more about my solo project. I’m more determined and confident within myself and I know how a song should sound.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m releasing an album ton 13 April and I’m playing lots of shows around the release. It’s super exciting. Also I’m already thinking of a new record and I’m keen to get demoing.

What’s on your rider?
It’s more like what’s not on my rider I find more important these days. We have a serious plastic problem and it ends up in our land and in our oceans and it’s becoming more of a threat each day. Therefore I’ve chosen not to have bottled water on the rider as I’m happy to drink out of the tap. I also prefer to not have any plastic wrapping on my food.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Crowd surfing at a festival during our Bear’s Den show at Lollapalooza on my birthday last September was pretty insane.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Jeezzz, there’s so many! But I love Coffee by Sylvan Esso. Such a well written track and Amelia’s vocals are so folky and that combined with the electronics is just bliss.

What’s your worst lyric?
Not sure if it’s the worst but certainly funny. It’s one line of my song called Love’s Glory and it goes: “You stormed off for a burger but I followed to warm up till morning light.” It’s pretty cheesy.

Christof van der Ven plays the Lending Rooms, Leeds, 29 April, the Castle, Manchester, 3 May and Sound Food & Drink, Liverpool, 11 May. For more information visit

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