Exploring Melodies with Vanic
A Vancouver DJ you need to know about it.
Looping pop melodies, sugary female vocals, junkets of gleaming electro house—all of these sound fabrics can be felt through the music of Jesse Hughes, who goes by the DJ moniker of Vanic.
The Vancouver-based DJ/producer has been quietly releasing a wash of remixes over the past year, tackling acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lana Del Rey and Birdy. His newest submission, "Circles," with LA band machineheart, has blown up and reached one million plays in just a couple of weeks. If you haven't heard this tune it's time to grab your free download here. "Circles" also climbed to the top spot on Hype Machine earlier this month.
Like many of Vanic's other entries, "Circles" blends sunny synth lines with ethereal vocal pressure, forming a strong and expansive pulse of glossy-pop tuneage. Other remixes to note include CHVRCHES "The Mother We Share" and his rework of "Police" from the band SomeKindaWonderful. Vanic packages songs that are sexy, boundless and downright fun, scribbling between the lines of dubstep, house and trap. It's also cool that he hunts to remix emerging or lesser known acts rather than sticking with the predictable and popularized names, it's a creative pursuit from the get-go.
THUMP: How did your musical career begin?
Vanic: I've been playing piano since I was four years old and I played at a high level then in middle school I turned into a metal head and then I got really into DJ Zany and original hardstyle. I kept progressing and when I started to make my own music I realized I was better at the prettier stuff instead of the harder.
Why do you gravitate more towards female-fronted acts?
It's easier to add onto a track and it happens that a lot of the tracks I've selected to remix incorporate female vocals.
Is there a moment that just comes to you when you know you've found your next song to remix?
It's funny, I'll hear a song and then really get into it. I'll write my own chords underneath and listen to the chorus a lot, I'll sing it in the shower over and over, basically just trying to get it into my head. I'm embarrassingly bad at singing though.
How did the whole "Circles" track come together?
Someone tweeted about machineheart and I checked them out, realized they were incredible with great vocals so I reached out to them. They had already made the song so we decided to not call it a remix so it would be more radio friendly. I knew right away I had to remix this song.
Felix Cartal recently dropped the single in one of his podcasts. The word is spreading.
I actually went to high school with him back in the day. I love what he has done so far and for him to show the support to me really means a lot. I used to be 'that guy' that would be asking others to check out my songs, now I'm getting those requests. In the end it's just nice that he played it.
Since you did have an appreciation for harder stuff and metal, do you think you'll get into more of that style or stick with the melodic?
I heard this rapper and got the same feeling as when I first heard machineheart. I've been working on a new remix of it and it's kind of metal and dubstep—not really pretty. I'm hoping I don't scare people away because it's not melodic.
It's also hard to mesh the rock and electronic worlds. Sonically, rock songs are full of drum recordings so if you try to do something electronically with that it never ends up as good as you intended. I think that's why it's a tricky thing to get a good rock and electronic mix without distorting the sound or it just not fitting.
You're a fan of Adventure Club too, what was it like playing before them in Vancouver?
I love Adventure Club, I think they have great vocal chopping and I was so nervous when I played before them. It's funny because as soon as I went up, people started cheering, I wasn't expecting this at all. It was just amazing. I also made sure to drop the "Skinny Love" remix at the end of my set, right before Adventure Club was going on. They came up to me and said they loved the track and since then they've been playing it at all the festivals.
What are some places people should visit when venturing to Vancouver?
Stanley Park on a nice summer day, it's gorgeous, the aquarium—it's great. At night I'd say Celebrity nightclub because it has a wicked sound system and they bring in the best acts.
To get more of a feel for Vanic and all his shimmering soundscapes make sure to check out his THUMP NORTHMIX as well as his Soundcloud. Keep your eye out for more fixations from the Vancouverite, 2014 already looks quite promising.