Learning to be Cool: An Interview with Avan Lava

Play this while you read!

Avan Lava is a dance, funk pop, electronic group from Brooklyn that makes tasty beats that make you want to move it. Their EP ‘Make It Real’ is out now and I recommend getting it, it makes for good Saturday morning music. The following is the story of my first encounter with them.

I met the second coolest Dutch girl at Buffalo Billiards in Austin the first goes to my friend, Roos.  She then proceeded to lead me to meet Avan Lava. There I met Ian Pai, Le Chev and TC Milan and immediately knew what cool was. Avan Lava’s members know how to be cool without even trying and had I known this in high school I would have been extremely popular.

As we were getting settled we started having a side conversation about popular names and our common inability to find mugs at souvenir shops with our names on them, then we talked nachos. As a matter of fact I never got to eat nachos with Avan Lava, sad face.

One thing I should have asked them is how to say their name. I still stumble and trip over myself trying to figure out if it is Ah-VAHN LAH-va, AH-van LAH-va, or Ah-VAHN lah-VAH. It shouldn’t be this much of an obsession but much like my Norwegian friend’s names I kinda practice them over and over to say them correctly.


Back to saying how Avan Lava (AL) comes from New York City. That could contribute to their innate coolness factor. When asked how they got inspiration from NYC, AL responded, “We’re definitely a combination of all the stuff in New York.”

I took it one step further and asked how exactly the City is an inspiration and the response was, “New York is a melting pot. New York is a place where ideas and influences from all over the place come together. So I definitely think we have a lot of that. Part of being a New Yorker is being immersed in the culture there is from all over the place.”

I then proceeded to ask what it was like to really be a New Yorker. As I’m originally from LA and now residing in the South, I’ve never really lived above the 40th parallel. I’m very much a sunshine and heat type of person and they convinced me that New York has that. They also warned me to avoid Chinatown in the summertime.

I mentioned that there is this unspoken rivalry to being a New Yorker vs an Angeleno. “Everyone seems to have a rivalry between living there (LA) and New York, living there and New York.”

Could be because Angelenos like bragging about how great living in Southern California is and can’t bring it up without sounding pretentious, so we start arguments with non-Angelenos. Everywhere else loses by default except NYC; they give us a run for our money. They’re huge in entertainment, fashion, and cuisine. Both are home to iconic music venues and have produced many a talent. So it comes down to the weather.


“Living in New York is hard (because of the climate) so we kinda have to say, ‘Eff you, I love living here’. No in all reality, once you’re stuck living in NYC, you can’t live anywhere else,” AL said.

But is that true? Being the dance, electronic, pop funk fusion music, I asked if they’d ever move to Miami or dare I say even LA.

“I’m gonna move to LA when I can afford to have a personal trainer, a chef, a mansion, a driver so I can get drunk and he can take me home. I think it’s fun to live in NYC and be gritty and make it work while in LA it just needs to work. You need a car, you need the lifestyle.”

It couldn’t be described in a better way. LA is hard because it’s spread out. It’s also hard because you can easily get seduced by the casual lifestyle of sunbathing and fad diets. In New York you have to find a way to survive as they say.

This being said I wondered how different crowds reacted to the coolness of Avan Lava. Would a New Yorker crowd differ from a Coloradoan crowd?

“Definitely different, definitely different but the one thing that’s actually burning is the fact that wherever we go, there’s a party. Sometimes it can be a confusing moment like ‘oh shoot we’re having fun’. Like the audience didn’t expect to have fun and we tricked them into it. But say San Francisco, they’re by the stage and they’re ready to go.”

We never even touched living in San Francisco.

“It’s cool that no matter whom we’re in front of as long as they’re feeling the vibe,” AL added. “One thing we’ve found out on tour is that everybody wants to dance. It’s just a question about how much they want to dance. Some places they wanna dance but they’re a little shy so they dance sorta quietly in their own quiet way, and some people go absolutely bananas and they’re just tearing it up and they don’t care about anything, like anything and there are also people in between.”

The universal sign of enjoying them is dancing. I can see that, except for my mom she doesn’t like dancing I tell them.

“Your mom wants to,” AL says confidently.

She doesn’t. My mom doesn’t even clap to hold the rhythm.

Avan Lava doesn’t budge, “She may not dance, but she wants to.”

Come back to me, AL. We can dance and eat nachos. You can teach me to be cool.






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