Van Eps
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Van Eps

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006

Seattle, Washington, United States
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Rock Alternative





The Showbox at the Market was completely packed from the very start, with a ton of walks up leading to a sold out show and loads of amazing Seattle bands! Unfortunately I missed the first few bands, Jason Kertson, Mechanism, and Black Diamond, but based on what I heard from the crowd they all put on a great show.

Next, Van Eps came on stage to play in front of their largest sold out crowd ever; they sure got them going right off the bat with the fan favorite "We Will Rock You" by Queen. They continued the set with a new song, “Epic”, which was in fact just that. Next the group played their first single from “Go Ahead”, which really got the crowd to their feet. Among the other new tracks played were "Vegas Rain" and "Shade of Jade". They took a brief break from the new material to return to their roots, bringing local fan favorite Amanda Hardy on stage to wow the crowd and sing Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song". Although I missed him earlier, Jason Kertson also took the stage with Van Eps to shred on “The ballad of John and Mary”, before closing with the gritty “Dirty South”. All in all I thought the guys had a great show with great stage presence throughout the entire show, including front man Matt jumping off the drum set on to the stage! The band is set to release a brand new single and video on February 8th, titled "Save Yourself", so if their live show is any indication of their awesome sound, be sure to check it out! - Mosh Pit Report

"Van Eps"

"Van Eps is a band who've been playing together since they were teenagers. Now (about 7 years later), they're one of Seattle's most entertaining bands. Frontman Matt Strutynski does a great job of connecting with the audience and the band is tighter than "Ebenezer Scrooge"" - Jibe Records

"New ZZ Top tour features West Seattle talent"

"Carlson caught (Billy) Gibbons' eye when he viewed the VAN EPS video, and so he invited her to participate."

"You can view the release of the VAN EPS video, "Go Ahead" video directed by Jamie Burton Chamberlin (Black Dahlia Films), track produced by Scotty Olson, at their "Premier Party"..." - West Seattle Herald

"Van Eps"

"... Special guest is MATT STRUTYNSKI from the famed VAN EPS, a band that just last summer had ‘em turning away at the door.” - West Seattle Blog

"Van Eps - A Seattle Mainstay in the Music Scene"

Seattle Sound Live would like to invite you to a virtual meet & greet with the members of the Seattle band Van Eps. Allow me to introduce Matt Strutynski (Lead vocals, guitar); Jake Jovanovich (Drums, vocals); Bobby Steenrod (Bass, vocals); Brad Steenrod (Lead Guitar)

Van Eps has been a mainstay in the Seattle rock scene since 2006. Their sound can best be described as a “classic feel with a modern edge”. Influenced by the likes of the Foo Fighters, ACDC and Led Zeppelin, Van Eps takes to the stage June 29th for the KISW and The Men’s Room presents REDFEST in Seattle WA.

Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?


Van Ep(p)s is the name of a mountain pass in the snoqualmie area where our drummer, Jake, used to snowmobile. When he brought up the name we thought it was unique enough to catch the eye and it shows a little love for Washington. About 2 months into having the name we decided to drop one of the “p’s” and instead of Van Epps we became Van Eps.

As far as formation.. Long story short, we all went to the same high school. Though I (Matt) didn’t really know the guys till I was in college when Jake’s cousin asked if I wanted to jam with them. Our first time playing music things just clicked so we kept on playing and writing.

We started off playing rock covers so that’s what came naturally to us when we would write together. On our own we each have very different styles of song-writing. Once we bring all the pieces together it becomes what it is.. which is a blend of classic/southern rock with catchy hooks and melodies.


What do you feel are the main reasons Van Eps is able to be a mainstay in the Seattle rock scene after so many years?


Hard work. It’s not just about goofing off and playing shows. That’s the BEST part of it all, but there’s another side to this business. After all, in the words of Gene Simmons, it is called music “business”.

Since our sound is such a melting pot, we are able cross over genres. One night we’ll play with heavy rock bands and next show we’ll be playing alongside an americana band, or a punk band. Because of this, we are kind of in our own niche.

When that happens it can be hard to stay part of “the group”, and that’s why one of the main reasons we’re still around is because our awesome fans and friends. They come out to every show, singing and dancing. We have a great stage show that lends to dancing around, but it’s our fans who put on a show for us and we love them for that.


Your website/other reviews have describes your sound as having a classic feel with a modern edge. Do you agree? Why or why not?

[quote]I do agree. A lot of our guitar riffs definitely have a classic rock sort of vibe. Vocally, we tend to be more on the modern/pop vibe. I like catchy hooks and music you can dance to. My voice is a little raspier then Justin Timberlake’s though J haha![/quote]

Do you write out your lyrics? Do you ever change a song’s lyrics in live sets?

[quote]Yes, I write lyrics out. Lyrics are changed in live sets very seldomly. If something like that happens it’s most likely to be something small.[/quote]

Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?

[quote]Songwriting inspiration can come from anything. I like writing about things that are personal to me, but every once in a while I like to take more of an outsider’s perspective on a situation and write about that. It also depends on the vibe I am getting from the tune, because we almost always write the guitar riffs, melodies and structure of the song before I ever write any lyrics.[/quote]

Do you have a band website? Why or why not? Do you have a Facebook or Twitter? Do you use Bandcamp, Spotify or SoundCloud to share your music?


Yes we do!

In this day and age you could potentially get by with just a Facebook and Twitter. That is where everyone, including ourselves, puts most of their updates about shows and song/video releases, etc.

I do, however, think it’s important to have a personal website where your fans can go for all things that involve your band. You’re not stuck to the confines of facebook or twitter and you can really show who you are to your fans. You can make things more personal between you and them.

We do have a Bandcamp, but we primarily send people to iTunes.


Do you think that online presence is important for fans to find you and critics to find your music to write about?

[quote]There is no doubt in my mind that online presence is important. Unfortunately, we are not very tech savvy and have to push through more by word of mouth, but you need to have your music available online. Whether it’s free or on iTunes, people need to have a way to access it when they get home after your show and jump on the computer.[/quote]

What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?


Online music sharing is not a bad thing. It’s a great way to get your music out there. We’ve done it in the past. Currently you have to get our music through iTunes, Amazon, etc.

This is our craft, our product.. what we want to be our livelihood, and I think that people have decided that music has no worth anymore. Free music sharing, in my mind, is what has engraved that lack of worth into people’s minds. We have made this product. It has taken a lot of time and even more money, and I believe it has great worth.

Someone builds a chair, or makes clothing and you pay for their product. Why is it that when someone makes music people just assume they should get it for free?


Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?


One of the biggest things I can say is go out to shows and network. Having a solid product is a good start, but go out and support your scene. People will support you back! Like I said before, people’s view on the worth of music is the lowest it’s ever been right now, so us musicians need to have each other’s backs.

Like any business, it’s largely about who you know. Work hard, have a band/sound you believe in and keep at it. Lastly, remember that in this business you will be rejected more than you will ever know. By venues, radio stations, labels, other band’s fans, etc. Stay strong, and keep at it and you will find your niche in the music world.


Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?


We are doing a show at the Sunset Tavern this Saturday (June 15th) where we will be doing a sneak preview of our lastest single “Nineteen”, shot by Jamie Chamberlin of Black Dahlia Films. Also playing that night is Black Diamond, Lady Justice and Johndus from The Mothership.

Other shows you can catch us at:

June 22nd: Rock and Roll Marathon – Seattle – 8am (SR99 at the Western Ave Offramp)

June 29th: KISW and The Men’s Room presents REDFEST with Van Eps and The Mothership– Seattle- 3pm (Elysian Brewery off Airport Way in Georgetown)

July 13th: The Center– Spokane, WA- 7pm (with The Nixon Rodeo and Witchburn)

August 16th: Showbox at the Market– Seattle- 8pm (w/Moneta, Orison, Sky Pilot and - Rock Paper Rock

"Van Eps Draws Crowd on Heels of Full-Length CD Release"

On any given evening, Seattle music fans fill venues to hear their favorite tunes played live. Friday night at The Crocodile was no exception, especially when fans had been waiting nearly a decade for this special night.

Seattle-based Van Eps had released a limited-run short EP a few years back, (some still available as “singles” on line), but since forming the band nearly ten years ago, they hadn’t put down enough tracks to make a full-length CD – until this year. Two songs, “Dirty South” (the first song they wrote as a band), and “Go Ahead” appear on both, but the newer versions have been redone and remastered. When asked why it took them so long to produce a full-length CD, lead singer Matt Strutynski said that they had “wanted to for a while, but we didn’t really start to take things serious until about five years ago,” and they hadn’t been happy with enough songs until now. They also didn’t have the funds to make it really what they wanted, and didn’t want to rush into it knowing it wouldn’t be “great.”

Strutynski, who describes their sound as pure “rock and roll,” says his favorite song from the CD, “Vegas Rain,” is “catchy, and has great hooks. It’s the most fun song we’ve recorded so far, and it showcases the direction the band is going.” Their strategy for writing has been the same from the start. He and drummer Jake Jovanovich write the majority of the lyrics. Then, they start working on guitar riffs and take it to the rest of the guys where they work on adding other multiple sounds and finishing touches. They seem to be on a roll these days – after completing the nine songs on their self titled CD, they’ve written three new songs, which they added to their set on Friday night. During their set, they had a few special guests singing backup. Rachel Lerwill joined them for “Nineteen,” and Chantal Bailey jumped onstage for “The Ballad of John and Mary.”

As for future plans, Strutynski (who also has the title of band manager, occasional tour van driver, and booking agent), has scheduled a West Coast tour this month. They plan to add a few more dates to a second tour leg, hoping to hit some mid-west cities, including Denver, in the fall. They will play a few local shows throughout the summer, but because of band member schedules, they won’t be playing any regional music festivals.

The middle slot for the night was filled by Seattle band, Moneta. In addition to playing a variety of shows around the region since 2007, they also played Van’s Warped Tour ’08-’10, and have opened local dates for national acts such as Paramore and Smashing Pumpkins. Their latest CD, The Only Constant,was recorded at Robert Lang Studios by acclaimed producer Jim Wert (No Doubt, Incubus, Jack’s Mannequin).

Opening the show was Spokane-based band, The Nixon Rodeo, who had everyone in the venue rockin’with on-stage visuals, including colored smoke boxes that went off at specific points during the show. Lead guitarist Brent Forsyth took center stage throughout their set, but was joined up front for the last few songs by drummer and background vocalist Ethan Harrison. Bassist Travis Singleton moved over to the kit, allowing Harrison the ability to more closely interact with fans in the crowd, move about freely on stage and sing atop band-stamped light boxes, with the occasional jump from box to center stage. - SMI (Seattle Music Insider)

"CD Review: Van Eps' Self-titled Full-Length Debut - You'll need 3 of them"

Van Eps – ‘Van Eps’ is the first full-length release from these mainstays of the greater Seattle music scene.

For this self-titled album they teamed up with Scott Olson(Scott Olson Productions) and engineer Jason Shavey(Synergy Productions) and got to work on making what will surely be a popular album and further establish the band amongst the bigger names that are making the ground shake under the feet of northwest music fans.

Having released 3 singles prior to this album, Van Eps has been rocking crowds in Wash., Oregon and Montana since 2006 with their rock/alt./heavy rock sound and opening for artists such as Vince Neil, Geoff Tate and Hurt. The experience they’ve gained along the way is put to good use on the new album and they are tight.

Although the members of the band went to the same high school, it wasn’t until college that they first played together. It was a comfortable fit, so while they continued playing covers, they began to write together and with each members alcove of styles, they have produced a fascinating concoction of true musical art with a modern, alternative sound all their own.

The songs on this album are very energetic and some sound very personal. Matt Strutynski’s strong, slightly gravelly voice has the ability to give these songs the additional power that they deserve. Strutynski displays his beautiful voice, loud and rough on most songs, yet it’s genuinely sweet and loving on bluesy ballad “Ballad of John & Mary” and the beautiful, yet slightly haunting, duet “Nineteen” with Rachel Lerwill.

Lead-guitarist Brad Steenrod is a powerhouse player, playing tight riffs reminiscent to those that were the highlight of rock in the 80’s. These riffs will grab the attention of those that who listened to AC/DC, Van Halen, and Scorpions as teens. He has a very precise style, most notably in songs “Save Yourself”, “Keep on Breathing” and “Catch My Vibe”, all of which have some very cool solos.

They change things up a bit and further demonstrate the diversity of the band with “Dirty South”, which has become a fan favorite, this is a country/rock song with the talent of guest Tyler Paxton on harmonica and if you’re looking for a chance to scream “Go Ahead” and “Vegas Rain” are the ones for you. Jake Jovanovich on drums and Bobby Steenrod on bass give the album a sturdy foundation and are the perfect rhythm section for this music.

You’ll want to get three of these CDs, one for the car, one for the house and one for the friend that hears it and wants to ‘borrow’ yours.

Van Eps is:
Matt Strutynski – Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Brad Steenrod – Lead Guitar
Jake Jovanovich – Drums / Vocals
Bobby Steenrod – Bass
1. Keep on Breathing
2. Save Yourself
3. Go Ahead
4. Catch My Vibe
5. The Balled Of John & Mary
6. Dirty South
7. Vegas Rain
8. Move Out of the State
9. Nineteen

Get the album HERE - Northwest Music Scene

"Van Eps Album Release Party (Interview with Matt Strutynski)"

(An SWR Interview with Matt Strutynski)

Do you enjoy good whiskey?
You do? Wow! So do I!
Okay, what about good, solid, live rock n’ roll?
Yeah? You don’t say! We sure do have a lot in common so far.

Well now… here’s the real question: Do you like having your face totally decimated by kick ass guitar riffs; your bones turned to dust by sweet bass licks; and your socks rocked right off you by phat ass rock beats… all while you sip yourself some tasty Jameson?

I figured you for the type.
Well, here’s what’s up then…
THE TIME: Friday, June 12th at 8 PM.
THE PLACE: The Crocodile in downtown Seattle.
THE OCCASION: The esteemed gentlemen of Seattle rock band, Van Eps, are launching the release of their debut record, and they want YOU there to join in on the party.

You don’t need longtime exposure to the northwest music scene to get wind of what Van Eps is up to. The word “ubiquitous” is a heavy one, but it’s honestly not far from fact. Van Eps’ musical proficiency, their ability to draw sizable crowds, and their strong –and I mean strong— presence in the live show circuit have made of them a formidable rock n’ roll act. What more can you expect from a group that has been in the game for nearly ten years and running?

Formed in 2006, Van Eps–comprised of Matt Strutynski (lead vocals/guitar), Jake Jovanovich (vocals/drums), Bobby Steenrod (Bass), and Brad Steenrod (lead guitar)– got their start playing rock covers before composing the original songs for which they’re known. Were you to loosely classify them as a band who approaches their music like Led Zeppelin via the Foo Fighters (older rock influences with a loaded dose of modern execution), then you might very well be hitting the nail damn close to the head.

As singer/guitarist, Matt, would tell me in our conversation together, their record has been several years in the making. (And SNEAK PEEK… they’ll be playing the album in its entirety live!) There is a lot to be said, I think, of an artist who takes the time to hone their craft before allowing little ears to hear. In this regard, Van Eps is a veteran band with a firm sense of themselves. Regarding the production of the record itself, the boys have teamed up with some very experienced professionals for this project. They nailed down a producer who worked closely with The Deftones (one of my all time FAVORITE bands) and Alice In Chains. They had a gentleman named Pete Lyman, who did work with Slash and Fall Out Boy, do the mastering for their album. Without even mentioning the man who directed their (currently three) music videos and his work with ZZ Top, Sammy Hagar, Slash, and Steve Vai, among others… you’ve got to know that Van Eps is pumping out only the highest quality work.

If I haven’t made it clear yet, Van Eps is in that special group of bands who are legitimately key to the northwest rock scene, so I was positively stoked to get to chat with Matt on behalf of Seattle Wave Radio. And so, without further ado, I bring you our interview…

SEATTLE WAVE RADIO: So, Matt… so far, Van Eps has dished out three singles to promote this upcoming album: “Go Ahead,” “Save Yourself,” and “Nineteen.” What else can you tell us about the record?
MATT: The songs off this record are all pretty much tunes that we’ve been playing for a long time. I mean, we’ve been a band almost about ten years now with the same lineup, but we started pushing the record about four years ago. Yeah, we’ve been playing together forever, so these songs are kind of a compilation of what we’ve done up to this point. “Dirty South” is one of the first songs we ever wrote, and that’s on the record. And then, we have some songs like “Vegas Rain,” which are songs that we wrote fairly recently. So, it’s kind of cool in that sense because with this one record, you can see how we’ve grown as a band throughout time. Of course, there are older songs we’ve changed a bit through time and made better… more like how we are now… but it all really shows the growing process from how we started to what we are now, which is pretty cool.

SWR: The song “Nineteen,” in particular, is quite moving and is one of those tracks that could bring any listener to tears. It’s also an entirely different sound for Van Eps. Tell us a little about that song, if you will.
MATT: Van Eps, for the most part, has always been a straight up rock n’ roll band, but I also write a bunch of softer folk stuff, too, and every once in a while, I’ll bring something to the band, and this was one where the guys were like, “We like that tune. Let’s work on that.” So, we put it together. Ya know, we don’t usually go too soft like that, but every now and then, we’ve gotta let that side out, too.
It’s a song about love and loss. All that good stuff. We don’t always get to put that kind of thing out there with the rock songs. I mean, with the rock songs, you wanna speak your mind about whatever it is, whether it’s politics or… drinking… but yeah, it’s kind of nice to be able to breakdown and play something a little softer, a little closer to the heart… well, my heart.

SWR: I absolutely love the video for that song. In fact, ALL the videos you’ve shot for each of the album’s singles are phenomenal. Jamie Chamberlin of Black Dahlia Films did some truly amazing work with you fellas. How did you all go about conceptualizing and creating the themes for the videos? Was there a lot of planning involved or was it more spur of the moment?
MATT: With all three of the videos… before each one, we sat down with Jamie and talked about what we saw for the video, and then he threw in his ideas as well. One of the cool things about Jamie was that he’s really good at taking the ideas that we had, and being like, “Okay, I see what we could do with that,” and then basically conceptualizing our grandiose idea and turning it into something that we could actually do.
What’s kinda cool is that even though they look completely different, we shot our first two videos, “Go Ahead” and “Save Yourself” in the same room. I dunno if you’ve ever been to the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle, but it’s like a rock n’ roll bar/restaurant type deal, and they were nice enough to let us use half their room for the day… for two days, actually… one day each for “Go Ahead” and “Save Yourself.”
And then, “Nineteen,” we actually shot over at Discovery Park. We just spent the day down there. It’s such a beautiful spot. But yeah, the videos were very easily conceptualized. Jamie was an easy guy to work with, and he was good at bringing out what we wanted from the videos, and even a little bit more. Like with “Go Ahead,” the effects were pretty out of this world.

SWR: You gentlemen gig pretty damn steadily and regularly, even as other musical acts struggle to get a single show going. Not to mention, you certainly know how to draw a crowd. You’ve rocked REDFEST for KISW and The Men’s Room. You’ve sold out the Showbox At the Market. And that’s barely scratching the surface. How do you guys manage to keep so busy?
MATT: As far as shows, I mean… there’s really nothing else to say other than you’ve just gotta bust your ass, really.
Like, with posters, ya know… I dunno what other bands do, but we always do it ourselves. We make the posters. However, for our video release, we had a good friend of mine make those because she’s a really good designer and everything. Actually, that’s what we’re about to go do! We’re about to go pick them up and go around the city today, putting up posters. We’re a big word of mouth band. I mean, KISW has been very helpful. They’ve been awesome. But other than them… up until now, we’ve done a lot of this stuff on our own, just bustin’ ass, and doing everything we can to get people out. The main thing is putting something extra into the shows. It’s not just, “Oh, we’re gonna go play again.” If we’re playing, it’s a CD release, a single release, a video release, or we’ll play with some killer bands we haven’t heard before. Like, every show… you’ve gotta make it a party, I guess. You’ve gotta make it so they’re like, “Not only did I show up and hear some great music or whatever, but I came and I had a blast, and I want to do that again.” You’ve gotta make ’em wanna come back for more, and that’s what you have to do for every show. Anyway, that’s what we’ve tried to do, and hopefully… hopefully, we’ve succeeded.

SWR: Van Ep’s album release party on Friday, June 12th is fast approaching. Jameson Irish Whiskey has partnered with you to put this all on at The Crocodile in Seattle. This is definitely a momentous occasion for the band. What can ticket holders expect at this milestone of a show?
MATT: We’re pulling out a few things we haven’t really done in a while. We’ve got some surprises as far as the stage show goes. All the people who’ve helped us out on the record… we’ll have some guest singers come out and help us out. The bands that we’re playing with, like Moneta… they’re good friends of ours. The Nixon Rodeo from Spokane are also good friends. These are two killer awesome bands. But yeah, Jameson is helping us and collaborating with us on this one. Basically, there are gonna be drink specials. It’s gonna be cool, man, I’m excited… I’m really excited, but I’m also super in stress mode. We’re gonna play the whole record, and then, we’re also gonna play a couple brand new songs that no one has ever heard before. We want to give people a taste of what’s up next, too. We’re gonna try to throw in a couple oldies from a long time ago for the people who’ve been there with us from the beginning.

SWR: This all sounds so amazing, man. Well, lastly, Matt… is there anything you’d like to plug? Band websites? Upcoming shows or events?
MATT: Yeah… we haven’t actually announced it yet, but following the release show, we’re going to be doing a tour. Our first west coast tour as a band. We’re going to L.A. and back and doing a bunch of eastern Washington shows, too. I’m going to announce that the week of the show. We’re still booking a couple of the dates, so I wanted to make sure it’s all booked before I announce it. But yeah, that’s something we’re definitely going to want to push.
Of course, there’s the website:
There’s our Facebook page. And believe it or not, we just got an Instagram, so we’re gonna start pushing that, too. Gotta stay with the times. I mean, we’re not the most electronically savvy band, so that’s why we’re such a word of mouth band.

SWR: Hell, man… I don’t even know what Twitter is!
MATT: Oh, I know, dude! I’m so lost on that. I don’t even know where to start! You gotta “tweet” like six times a day, but I’m like, “I don’t have anything interesting to talk about six times a day!” Anyway, that’s all I can think of to plug.

SWR: That about wraps it up, then, man. Thanks so very much for chatting with me this evening.
MATT: It’s been a pleasure talking with you, man.

Once again, the album release party is on Friday, June 12th at 8PM at The Crocodile. Don’t miss it!

Drink and rock out responsibly. Likely, I’ll be doing both those things with you on the 12th. (Matt promised to buy me a drink, even, if I hit him up, so HELL YEAH!)

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN - SWR - Seattle Wave Radio


Still working on that hot first release.



Drawing influence from all across the rock spectrum (from the 1970's to present) Van Eps has a unique sound often described as having a "classic feel" with a "modern edge", with arrangements showcasing their broad, stylistic range. They fuse blistering AC/DC-inspired guitar solos, bluesy rock rhythms in the style of Led Zeppelin, high-octane edginess reminiscent of the Foo Fighters, punchy grooves and occasional eerie melodic phrasing ala Muse (minus the synth), and the southern flair of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

SMI (Seattle Music Insider) wrote in an article titled "Van Eps and co: The New Sound of Seattle" saying that "Van Eps' energy was infectious" and that "their high octane set leaves you wanting more". In the last 3 years, Van Eps have performed in and sold out The Showbox, Crocodile, Tractor Tavern as well as other notable venues in the region including The Knitting Factory in both Spokane and Boise. In support of their first record, they successfully self booked two tours through the Western US going as far East as Dallas. Their sophomore record is set to be released summer of 2017.

Band Members