Von Sell: Exclusive Interview @ Arlene’s Grocery

By: Stephany Salamea
After months of eagerly awaiting a performance by Von Sell, an electro-pop band from Germany, I finally got to see them live at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC. Slated to play along with a handful of other bands that night, the trio easily stood out with their catchy beats and dancey tunes.
Von sell, named after lead singer David Von Sell, is a relatively new project but with an unusually sophisticated flare. Most recently, they released their first official single, Ivan, off of their first, and not yet released, EP.
The only thing I enjoyed more than seeing the band play, was getting the chance to talk to David after the show. In doing so it quickly became clear that the bands sound is so promising, even though they’re only a few months in, because of how professional and detail oriented their approach is. Needless to say, if they continue on the path they’re on now, Von Sell will quickly be invading all of our playlists in the vey near future.
Enjoy the interview below and make sure to check them out soon!
Play Too Much: So, the first time I had ever seen you perform was back in February at the SoFar Sounds showcase at City Bakery. I remember you mentioning that it was your first show ever, is that true?
Von Sell: Oh My God, that was an even worse show! (laughs). But yeah that was my first, this is my third.
PTM: No way, I loved that performance, it’s the reason I became a fan. Thats interesting because you seemed really comfortable that night. Although I do remember you stopping and restarting one or two songs. A lot of my favorite artists are perfectionists, is that something you can identify with?
VS: I can identify with anyone who’s neurotic.
PTM: Yeah me too. So how long have you been playing? And are you classically trained?
VS: Well when was SoFar? February? So about two months.
PTM: Had you been playing for years before that, though? Even if just alone in your bedroom?
VS: No, this project is about a year and a half old and I’d never performed before this.
PTM: But if I remember correctly, you attended Berklee?
VS: Yeah but I’d never performed any original music, just piano recitals, things like that.
PTM: So was this always the goal?
VS: Yes, always, always, I just wasn’t ready for it. I’m still not ready.
PTM: I don’t think anyone is ever really ready for this kind of thing. So how long have you been in NYC, because I understand that you’re from Germany?
VS: I am. I’ve been here since 2008 or 2009. I first moved to Boston to go to Berklee, but I didn’t really like it and didn’t end up graduating so then I moved to Brooklyn and I’ve been there since about 2011, I think.
PTM: I heard you’re living in Williamsburg? How are you liking it?
VS: Bushwick, actually. I love it.
PTM: I’m right by there, so we’re neighbors! So whats next, are you working on an EP or anything? I’ve already heard Ivan, of course.
VS: Yeah, I’m working on an EP. We already want to release the next song but (pauses)
PTM: Is that just the perfectionist in you again?
VS: Yes thats a part of it, and the other part is that the process is just so new to me that there are all these little bumps in the road, but the idea it to release a new song every six weeks or so.
PTM: Well, I’m excited. And so is there any new music you’re listening to now, or any all-time favorite artists you want to talk about?
VS: Well, my all-time favorite artist is Rufus Wainwright, hands down. But I’ve listened to him for so long, so many years, that i haven’t listened to him lately. Right now I’m literally just studying music, so I’m listening to all sorts of music, even things I don’t like.
PTM: That makes sense, you have to find out what you don’t like, to find out what you like.
VS: Yeah, and I like to know what people like….. so I can do the opposite.
PTM: I like that idea. After tonight, are you playing any other shows or hoping for a tour?
VS: No these are all really just practice shows, just to figure out what I want to sound like, its no more than that. Right now I’m mostly focused on the releases.
PTM: So since you’re living in NYC now, Play Too Much wants to invite you to do a video session with us sometime!
VS: Sure! Wait, you’re from Play Too Much?! You guys were the first to ever, ever, ever, write about me!
PTM: I heard about that! But something had happened and it was taken down? Is that right?
VS: Yeah, it was like, because we were doing a release back in October of Ivan but we really didn’t do it right. So then we decided to rerelease it, get the song right, get the release strategy right…
PTM: That makes sense. So is there any other question you want to be asked or anything else you want to add, anything at all?
VS: You know, I’m a person who’s always in question mode. I’m always questioning everything. Always questioning why I do what i do, so at this point I’m running out of questions to ask myself. But you can ask me anything! I feel like there is an essential question at the heart of everything.


PTM: Thats a great answer, answering my question with a question thats perhaps unanswerable. Its perfect.
VS: Yes but some answers would be nice for a change. Just once in a while, you know, some answers.
PTM: Absolutely! Which is why this is the perfect ending, because you’ve given all the answers to a bunch of questions.


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