Vanilla Ace on Humble Beginnings, Changing Names and Making It
Every interview is special for one reason or another. What really stood out about Vanilla Ace is how humble the man is, and that he is just starting to get big in the United States and making a name for himself. Seeing him play on his second US tour with Breach at Q Nightclub for Studio 4/4 was a special sight. His catchy samples really stand out and you can tell he has been digging through records to put on a great show.
OTB: What is your favorite city you have traveled to and played in America and why?
VA: On my last tour I would say my favorite party I did was in Brooklyn. It was a party in a warehouse and was so different. I didn’t know what to expect and it was definitely not a nightclub setting, but it was pissing down rain and was a random funny night. I am excited to head back to NY to play with Lane 8 later this month. For me it’s never about the city. Nights like tonight with a wicked crowd and they are ALL dancing early is the best. I don’t want to put any cities down but there were a few stops on my last tour that you would think would be great and people just stand around and aren’t that into it.
OTB: You have an interesting and unique music selection, what from your past are you drawing from that influences you now, and how would you describe your sound?
VA: Before I was Vanilla Ace I was making different types of house music under my real name, but it wasn’t really going anywhere or very inspiring. The moment I started Vanilla Ace I was utilizing my record collection and childhood influences. I grew up on everything from 90’s R&B to Guns and Roses to Nirvana. Also, when I started going clubbing and growing up I would listen to stuff like Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers. I really loved all the disco samples from the earlier house music. Where I grew up there were loads of record shops and a famous second hand market. I would go there religiously just to get one record a weekend. All my music that I am using now is utilizing that record collection that built up over the years.
OTB: We have to ask what inspired your name, and how many Vanilla Ice jokes do you get because of it?
VA: If I could go back and maybe have chose another name I might have. I remember the name came up because I saw it on a Facebook post or something and thought it was funny so I went with it. I didn’t really think about it or realize how big it was going to get. Once I realized that it was working and people like The Magician were playing my tracks I decided to stick with it. It was never meant to be a serious name, it was supposed to be funny. An alias name is just supposed to be catchy and it works.
OTB: What was it like being asked to be part of HARD Summer and how did it come about?
VA: HARD came about for me because Destructo was following me on Twitter. I didn’t want to reach out straight away and be like I should probably do HARD or whatever. I completely forgot that he was following me until me and Sharam Jey put an EP out. I saw a video on YouTube of Destructo playing one of our tracks at Holy Ship and DM’d him the next day. He wrote back saying he was a big fan and that’s how it came about.
OTB: What is your favorite/the biggest show you’ve played to this point?
VA: I’ve played some iconic places like Ministry of Sound in London, Pacha, and HARD Summer was pretty cool. Shiba San and myself are also playing the main room coming up later this year at Ministry of Sound which should be sweet.
OTB: How did you decide to embark on this 19 stop U.S. tour and what do you think you will gain from it?
VA: For this tour you can blame my agent. Back in March or April he was like, “what are you doing in August?!” He said the last tour went so well and asked if I wanted to spend all of August in the states and I said why not. U.S. clubs love their social media and I can see I am really gaining fans because of it.
OTB: Who is your favorite producer out right now (besides yourself that is)?
VA: Tonight to be playing with Ben Westbeech (Breach) is cool. His voice and productions are great. I am really feeling Blend at the moment. I also love Moon Boots but there are only certain times I can play his music, like at a poolside set. I am just happy to be involved in this. Sometimes I have to look back and be like ‘wow.’ If you told me two years ago I was going to be doing all this I would have said you were crazy.
OTB: Last but not least, what is your favorite go-to meal on the road?
VA: It is a toss between sushi and BBQ. I love American food! It’s really hard to go to a bad restaurant in the States. While I’m on my down time I’m in LA and the food is great.
Who have you followed since day one that has grown massively over the years? Let us know in the comments section below.
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