It’s 11:30 a.m., and Ben Vanden Boogaard has already spent six hours in a coffee shop. From 5-11, he worked as a barista, making drinks behind the counter. But after his shift, he headed to another cafe, having agreed to tell me about his other line of work: music.
Vanden Boogaard is an artist at the very beginning of his professional career. He’s played shows but not noticed much traction; he belongs to the 2016 McNally Smith graduating class, having earned a bachelor’s degree in songwriting (and met a couple of members of his future band). Mostly, he’s facing the “what now” conundrum of a recent college graduate.
The project Vanden Boogaard hopes will win him some attention is “10 in 10,” or 10 music videos in 10 months. He released an album called 2 O’s 2 A’s (see: his last name) in 2015. But from that experience, he learned, “People that don’t know me aren’t going to invest 45 minutes to listen to all of those songs.” So this year, he’s back with a more easily digestible project.
So far, 10 in 10 has yielded five music videos: “Still,” “Right For Me,” “POGU,” “Fossil Fuel,” and “The Last Train.” They range from tender love song “Right For Me” (musically, straight out of Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen) to harder-rocking “POGU” (which features the intro, “This one goes out to all the ’90s kids).
The hardest part of the project has been the videography itself, since Vanden Boogaard doesn’t have instincts or much past experience in the field. Given budget, especially, he says, “I underestimated how difficult that would be.” But one by one, he’s making them happen, reaching out to friends and learning a fair bit on his own. He’s proud of the five music videos he’s released so far.
Until recently, Vanden Boogaard performed under his own name. But as band members Alec Thicke (bass/vocals/engineering), Lewis Wethall (drums), and Zach Ward (lead guitar) became more and more instrumental to his music, he wanted the title to encompass the whole band. After a long brainstorming process, the group became known as Of The Orchard, or “van den boogaard” in Dutch.
This summer, Of The Orchard will perform several shows, especially in Wisconsin (Vanden Boogaard’s home state). This weekend, they’ll play multiple sets in Appleton, Wis. at the Mile of Music. In September, they even have a Texas date planned. As for their next Minnesota date, stay tuned — and look out for their next music videos.