Bran Van 3000

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Bran Van 3000
Jayne Hill, Sara Johnston, Gary McKenzi, Kim Bingham & Stephane Moraille Taken at the Bran Van 3000 Concert @ Montreal Jazz Festival 2008, Place des Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 1, 2008
Jayne Hill, Sara Johnston, Gary McKenzi, Kim Bingham & Stephane Moraille Taken at the Bran Van 3000 Concert @ Montreal Jazz Festival 2008, Place des Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 1, 2008
Background information
OriginMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Years active
  • 1996-2002
  • 2006-present

Bran Van 3000 (also known as BV3) is a Canadian alternative rock and hip hop collective from Montreal, Quebec. Founded by DJ James Di Salvio and E.P. Bergen, they collaborated on a number of songs with Stéphane Moraille, Sara Johnston, Steve "Liquid" Hawley, Jayne Hill, Jean Leloup, Kim Bingham, Pierre-Luc Cerat and other musicians.

The name of the group is derived etymologically from Swedish liquor Brännvin, a general term referring to any type of distilled spirit. The name originated as a joke associated with the taupe-coloured Volkswagen Camper Van owned by Bergen in the mid-1990s which was said to run solely on bran flakes, brännvin and brand recognition when carrying the artists on tour around Canada.[1]

Between 1996 and 2016, Bran Van 3000 was among the Top 150 selling Canadian artists in Canada.[2]


1994–1996: Formation[edit]

In 1994, James Di Salvio had received a royalty cheque for work on a remix he had done on a track for Quebec songwriter Jean Leloup, and invited his friend E.P. Bergen to "come help him spend the money".[3] The two got together in Manhattan and coined Bran Van 3000 in 1994. Di Salvio was a video director and asked E.P. to come teach him how to produce tracks with a sampler and turntables. Together they went and bought studio equipment in Times Square. E.P. returned to Montreal and immediately co-wrote/produced a single with Jean Leloup called: "Johnny Go". E.P. invited James to come over and record his first ever rap on that song. It later went to number one in the Quebec charts. James Di Salvio also directed the music video. This was in effect the first ever Bran Van 3000 collaboration.

Together James and E.P. went back to New York to record "Forest" and "Ma Chambre" for Jean Leloup's platinum album "Le Dome". These tracks were very successful, leading to a record deal with Audiogram Records. Together with Haig V, they co-produced the first BV3 album. Jean Leloup gave "Forest" to Bran Van 3000. Bergen started a cover of "Come On Feel The Noise" with plans to have Sara Johnston sing on it. Di Salvio discovered Liquid. In 1996, the album was almost finished. As a joke, James and E.P. sent a demo of the unfinished songs "Drinking In LA", "Couch Surfer" and "Everywhere" to the Canadian Music Week contest. Bran Van 3000 came in first place with another act (Jack Rustle), but got disqualified because there was no real band to perform the showcase. They finished the album and E.P. started auditioning the touring band that included Gary Mackenzie, Nick Hynes and Rob Joanisse.

1996–1999: Glee[edit]

Bran Van 3000 finally released their first single, "Drinking in L.A.", in February 1997 in Canada. It peaked at number 35 on Canada's RPM Top Singles chart on July 28.[4] In April of the same year, the band released their first album, called Glee. The record went gold in 1998 and won a Juno Award for best alternative album.[5] It contained 17 tracks, one of them entirely in French called "Forest" featuring Jean Leloup. "Afrodiziak", produced by E.P. Bergen sold 100 000 copies in Germany with EMI and appeared in the movie XChange. The song "Everywhere" was featured on the soundtrack to the film Practical Magic and "Drinking in L.A." was featured in the soundtrack to Playing by Heart. "Ceci n'est pas une chanson" (later "Une chanson") contains the main melody of "Perfect" song from The The.

In March 1998, Glee was released internationally albeit with some changes: "Ceci n'est pas une chanson" became an instrumental simply called "Une chanson"; the French song, "Forest", was reworked with several English verses. The international version has 19 tracks. Previously unreleased songs are "Rainshine", "Carry On" and "Old School".

After signing with Capitol Records, Bran Van 3000 began a massive touring schedule. It started across Canada, then zigzagged across the United States in Bob Dylan's Tour bus. Every day, the band was waiting for confirmation of show dates. The dates were sometimes confirmed the day before and the band would have to drive for ten hours to the next gig, only to find the posters rolled up in the coat check of many venues instead of on the walls. This inadequate tour planning forced the band to play in front of 20 to 50 people a night. Things eventually got better.

In Europe, EMI booked the band months ahead of time so that there was adequate promo. The band enjoyed larger crowds and got the rockstar treatment in every country in Western Europe. They also opened up for Massive Attack, Björk in sports arenas, as well as Pulp and Moby when they got back home.

In July 1998, "Drinking in L.A." reached number 36 in the UK Singles Chart,[6] becoming their first transatlantic hit. In August 1999 the single was re-released after the song was featured in a popular TV commercial for Rolling Rock and peaked at number 3 in the UK.[6]

2000–2001: Discosis[edit]

In 2000, E.P. Bergen temporarily quit Bran Van 3000 to make a solo record, Airport Lounge, and to work on HBO movie scores: Dead Awake (2001) and Swindle (2002).

In the summer of 2001, Bran Van 3000 released the album Discosis. The song "Astounded" featured the final recorded performance from soul legend Curtis Mayfield before his death and became the most successful Canadian single by the collective, reaching number 3 on the Canadian Singles Chart.[7] Other collaborators on the album were Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour and reggae artist Eek-a-Mouse. The song "Go Shopping" was featured on the soundtrack to the Mexican film Y Tu Mamá También.

2002–2006: Hiatus[edit]

As of summer 2002, the band's website indicated that it was not working on new material or touring, nor did the band have any plans to do so.

2006–2007: Rosé[edit]

Unbeknownst to fans in 2006, E.P. Bergen contacted Audiogram and the publishers to obtain the initial financing of a third album. It was later announced that BV3 was working on a third album, Rosé, which was released in Canada on October 30 and in the US on November 27, 2007. Rosé was co-produced by James Di Salvio and Sara Johnston with the collaboration of Fatlip, Max-A-Million, Swanza, Chris Opperman, Noel Osborne and others. The album was written in Los Angeles and was recorded at Depeche Mode's studio and in Hollywood at Steve Vai's Studio. On July 1, 2008, the original group got back together, on stage, at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, playing songs from Rosé as well as some of their previous hits, in front of a crowd numbering around 180,000.

2010–2012: The Garden[edit]

After the death of his friend and father,[8] Bobby Di Salvio, James got the collective back together and confirmed a new album on August 2010. The Garden was released on October 19, 2010.[9] Since then Di Salvio and parts of the group are touring through Montreal and Canada, collaborating with different singers and instrumentalists like Pierre-Luc Cérat, Nick Hynes, Pascal Lepage Stéphane Moraille. [10][11]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Glee 15 59 120 96
Discosis 15 38 5 89 49
  • Release date: October 30, 2007
  • Label: Remstar
  • Formats: CD, music download
The Garden 15
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album

1997 "Drinking in L.A." 35 46 9 3 Glee
"Couch Surfer"
1998 "Everywhere" 12
1999 "Afrodiziak" 25
2001 "Astounded" 3 36 49 40 35 Discosis
"Love Cliché"
2007 "Call Me (I'll Be Around)" 50 Rosé
2010 "Grace (Love On The Block)" The Garden

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Bran Van Clan Can, Man Oh Man!". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  2. ^ "NIELSEN MUSIC & BILLBOARD PRESENT CANADA 150 CHARTS" (PDF). p. 28. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Patch, Nick (29 Jan 2017). "Thinking (back) in L.A." Toronto Star. Toronto. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017.
  4. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada".
  5. ^ Larry LeBlanc (21 February 1998). "McLaughlin at top of Juno nominations". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 14–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 75. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "Canadian Billboard Weekly Digital Song Sales Charts from 2001". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Interview with James Di Salvio: Bran Van's master crafter has the fever for the flavour". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  9. ^ "Bran Van 3000". Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  10. ^ "Bran Van 3000: Une bourrasque d'énergie". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  11. ^ "10e Festival Ford Racing Bran Van 3000 fera la fête sur Crescent samedi". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  12. ^ "Gold Platinum Database: Bran Van 3000". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  13. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Top Singles". RPM. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  14. ^ a b International Chart peak positions
  15. ^ Official Charts Company peak positions
  16. ^ "Bran Van 3000 Album & Song Chart History - Dance Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 11, 2010.

External links[edit]