Imagine touring the festival circuit and hanging out in your car with some of the most popular artists in the world. While at Cali Roots, The Pier caught up with Jam in the Van founders Jake Cotler and Dave Bell of Venice CA, who tour the country recording mini concert series from the inside of their solar powered van.
“We’ve been doing this for about four years now,” says Cotler. “It started out in a backyard in Venice because the two of us loved going to music festivals and rent RV’s, and that extracurricular activity eventually turned into this business.”
When asked why the duo decided to stop at Cali Roots, Bell said “One of the marketing guys here used to work for Klean Kanteen, and we met him at High Sierra Music Festival. When he got a job with Cali Roots he reached out to us to do Jam in the Van.”
Some of the most hyped about headliners at Cali Roots stopped by to record a session with Jam in the Van, including: The Dirty Heads, Ethan Tucker, Mike Love, Iration, Cas Haley, G. Love, Sun Dried Vibes, and Fishbone. Despite recording from the RV lot during festival hours, the van managed to attract a good crowd of fans who wanted to see a more intimate performance from their favorite artists.
“This isn’t our normal scene, but we keep it very eclectic on our website,” admits Cotler. “We’re after any kind of good music, and there’s plenty of it here this weekend.”
When asked who they were most excited to see at Cali Roots, both agreed that The Roots were their biggest draw, but were unfortunately not able to book them to record a session in the van.
Cotler admitted his dream guest would be Snoop Dogg, but also enjoys many of the unknown bands who’ve recorded with them in the past. “Pretty much anyone we could get is a dream artist to us, but we get some dream artists regardless. Some of the bands we don’t know before booking them turn out to be some of the best ones we get.”
Besides the mass influx of artists, one of the coolest details about the van is the fact that it’s solar powered. “[Being solar powered] was always one of our goals,” says Cotler.
“We had the original van that fit behind my house. We would just run a bunch of plugs from my apartment upstairs down to the van, and we would blow the power all the time. It was a real pain in the ass, but now that we’ve got the solar set up, it simplifies everything and it really makes what we do complete, and makes us a true mobile studio. If you’re a mobile studio that’s limited by the fact that you have to plug in everywhere you go, then you’re not really mobile.”
After Cali Roots, Jam in the Van will be stopping at Bottlerock in Nappa Valley, High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA, Center of the Universe Music Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and San Francisco’s Outside Lands.
Jam in the Van posts on YouTube weekly, and their website features free audio downloads of all their recording sessions.