Arguably speaking, nobody does a better job at surprising people than musicians. Our next guests for The 405 Exchange exemplifies that beautifully with his debut solo album.

Say hello to Van William. Most people are familiar with Van from his colourful pop band Waters, and wouldn’t think that a member of that band could create expressive folk songs. But luckily those people would be wrong, and on Countries the songs are as honest as they are expressive. It’s a beautiful display of a person peering into their lives to make sense of the world around them.

Ken Grand-Pierre spoke to Van William about finding creativity during uncertainty, making music that’s both old and new, being raised in Alaska, and working with First Aid Kit. Check out their conversation below.

“The only thing that I had was this record. I just buried myself into it, man.”

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