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Life Lessons and Artistic Expressions From Thrupence

Getting schooled in Music and Art by Melbourne producer and designer Jack Vanzet

Thrupence is a multi-skilled artist with an impressive output across a range of media. The Melbourne producer otherwise known as Jack Vanzet is not only a formidable producer and electronic music specialist, he's also an artist and graphic designer whose advanced design sensibilities are always in high demand. His carefully crafted beats caught the attention of influential Sydney imprint Future Classic, who released Lessons from Thrupence late last year. Listening to the layered percussion, expertly deployed samples, and sophisticated arrangements, it's clear that Thrupence has a lot to teach us about quality music, and we're eager students. Jack kindly took some time to school us in his ways.

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THUMP: Firstly congratulations not only on the brilliant album, but also on joining Future Classic - how did this relationship develop?
Thrupence: Hey thanks. I think it was a few different things. People I knew frequented their circles and vice versa. I did some artwork for another one of their artists, Hayden James, a year or so ago and we stayed in touch. The music industry is pretty hard to navigate as one man so it's nice to have someone on my side.

You're are a multi-disciplinary artist with an daunting range of work. Can you describe some common themes, ideas, or feelings that unite your various projects?
I think it changes every day. One day I feel as if there is this constant singular theme to everything I create in both music and visual art - and other days I feel like it's all chaos without any type of consistency. A wiser man than myself once said that nothing makes sense during the creative process. Only at the start or finish will it make sense. I think this applies to where I'm at with my work at the moment - too far into it to realise what it actually represents. Maybe when I'm 35 I'll look back to what I was working on now and be able to articulate what I was actually doing.

Can you describe some of the conversations that happen when you're collaborating visually or musically with others, with examples if you feel comfortable discussing?
It can depend on what type of collaboration. I work as a commercial artist/designer as well as doing Thruppy.  So, often it depends on how the interaction starts and on what basis I suppose. Some relationships and collaborations are born and die in my gmail account and others turn into amazing friendships.  For instance earlier in the year Wafia, a singer from Brisbane, hit me up about producing a track for her new album. She flew down to Melbourne and we spent a few days working on some music. Now we're great mates and plan on doing an entire album.

The new release is called Lessons, what were some of the things you learned along the way producing this release? What have been some of the most valuable life lessons you've learned that you could share?
I've been putting out these mixtapes for about 4 years and they're all basically lessons. Little ideas or things I wanted to try out.  Some of them work and others don't. I've always had trouble finishing complete tracks - I tend to completely over think it and need to let them simmer for months before I can call them finished. Time is such an important thing for me musically. I've learnt that if I can still emotionally engage in a track I made months or even years after completing it then I know it's a success. The mixtapes have been a way to package the other tracks, sketches or ideas that died along the way. Ideas that didn't flourish or reach their full potential as a narrative. I'm still working on an LP that will be out next year. It's different to the mixtape series; more coherent and comprehensive as a story, and when I listen back to the album tracks I feel the same emotions as when I was making them.

Your musical processes are varied, can you describe a little of your approach to music making at the moment?
Yeah my music making process changes all the time. I've been moving around a bunch over the last couple of years so my set up is always missing something. I don't even know what my 'set-up' actually is. I've never been big on hardware or having a lot of gear. Mainly because I can't afford it so I try to tell myself that I don't need it. Earlier in the year good pal Chet Faker gave me the keys to his studio here in North Melbourne while he toured Built on Glass. It's this old heritage listed building. The studio is in a converted cool room where they would hang meat. It's been different to work with gear where I've only known the software plug-in equivalent.

Stay current with Jack Vanzet's music and design output via his website. The track "Silk" from Thrupence is also available for free download on Future Classic's Teen Idols Compilation, out now