Vans fronts Alex Vans & the Hide Away, a D.C.-based band that just released the album "DJ Booth." The band is playing an album release show at Iota Club & Cafe in Arlington on Feb. 1.

What went into the new album? It all started with a Kickstarter that I did about a year ago. Just from playing solo shows and stuff I had a bit of a fan base and a lot friends that wanted to see me succeed. We were able to put in just over seven grand to make this album. We had gone out on a few tours before that just on the East Coast, and we met a lot of good producers and saw a lot of good studio spaces. I did most of it between New York and Philadelphia mainly because I wanted to remove the whole band from their hometown elements and say, "Hey guys, we're going to go into the studio for two weeks and not think about anything else." We were really able to get a lot done.

What's the difference between working as a solo artist and working with a band? I spent about two or three years mainly doing solo acoustic stuff around the area. Once I picked up a group of guys that have been really great to play with, I haven't wanted to go back. Playing solo is liberating because you can do whatever you want without consulting anybody. Going out on the road alone gets lonely, though.

What are the ingredients to a good live show? A good live show for myself would really be trying to execute all the elements of the recorded product and adding a visual aspect that somebody can't get listening to the record. Basically, it's the texture and complexity of what's going on on the record plus all of the energy of your live performance. There's also the vibe onstage -- if the band is happy, I'm happy. - Matt Connolly

- Matt Connolly