Park the past two years, so Houstonians eagerly anticipated this year’s festival, located back at the picturesque Eleanor Tinsley Park. Unfortunately, the festival was cut short due to weather conditions but not before we were able to get a one-on-one interview with the self-described Melodic Trap DJ, Vanic. He played a killer set at the Mercury stage and kept the crowd upbeat and on tempo throughout his entire set, finishing with his new single .
Spirits were high leading into the eighth annual Free Press Summer Fest. FPSF was at NRG
PMB: So we’re under a highway. Being originally from Houston, highways and driving are a big
part of our lives. So as far as weird locales go, where does this stand?
V: Honestly, when I got here I wasn’t too sure. Then I saw this stage. You guys got the hill; you
guys got a bunch of trees in the back that make this sort of canopy; and you got the highway
coming across with people on top with cameras going crazy. It’s pretty sick. I don’t know if I
could give a number ranking but it’s very high.
PMB: Are there any other location that you remember for weird setups?
V: Not really. This might be one of the top ones. We’re gonna play Shambhala pretty soon
which is forested. But this almost had that forest vibe while being in the middle of the city, which
is pretty sick.
PMB: For the people that don’t listen to your music, how would you describe your music?
V: Ah, the worst question of all time.
PMB: I know, sorry.
V: There’s kicks and snares and people singing. It’s like melodic trap. I kind of do a little bit of
everything, but I really just like to mess around. The last two tracks I did were very bass-housey.
It was based on Joyride, but the majority of it is melodic trap.
PMB: This is a two part question. On our site, something that we focus on are people that
struggled a bit and then overcame that struggle. So for you, was there ever a time where you
really struggled, and how did you overcome that struggle. And the second part of that, if you
weren’t playing music what would you be doing.
V: I’ll start with the second part because that’s easy. If I wasn’t doing music, what would I be
doing? I would have finished my degree, and I would have been doing some lame business job
[…] but yeah. I just had a big incident in my life, and I thought, “I should do something cool.”
PMB: Was there ever a point where you just didn’t know if you’d be able to come out of [the
V: Honestly, it’s all a struggle. I don’t know. I feel like artists are kind of weird, most artists at
least. I kind of struggle with anxiety and depression, but I seem fine. It’s always just the same.
Every day I wake up trying to do something cool, but I just take it day by day. My whole life is
day-by–day. It just makes everything easier.
PMB: When did you realize that you could have a legitimate career as a DJ?
V: Honestly, this sounds kind of bad because everybody works towards it for a long time and
they’re like, ‘Hey you know I’m finally doing it.’ But I was always kind of doing it because I love it
and was focusing on something else. Eventually it started working, and I start getting shows
and making money. I was like, ‘Hey I can make money from this and live on this and it’s way
better than anything else.’
PMB: You were doing something that you loved, while also doing something on the side to keep
you afloat and then it just worked because you were doing well in it.
V: Yeah exactly. Every big artist that works out has this struggle where you either make it or you
break it. You’re a starving artist, but for me, it just slowly starting working out well.
PMB: So as you’re sitting out there in the ridiculously hot and humid weather, looking at the
crowd, how do you get them hyped up? Also, what’s going through your head when you’re
trying to get them pumped up?
V: I have a bit of an advantage in something like this because I play a whole bunch of things so
people don’t get super bored, and a lot of DJ’s, no disrespect at all, just have a stronger focus
on going into a build then a drop, a build then a drop. It’s like holy shit that’s so hype, and you
can do that if it’s cold and everyone’s pumped up, but if you do that here, somewhere where it’s
hot, you do that and after 20 minutes everyone’s dead. So half the time it seems like it’s boring
and people are chilling with some downtime, but when it’s this hot it’s worth it.
PMB: How would you describe your pre-show ritual? Is there anything you do specifically before
V: I don’t really have one. I have nothing cool to report. I show up, take my backpack off, have
a couple drinks and that’s it.
PMB: What’s your drink of choice, just curious?
V: Drink of choice…pretty much always vodka. Even though I can’t do vodka shots, it mixes well
PMB: Same with me.
V: Yeah, we’re just a couple twelve year old white girls.
PMB: I want to add that I’ve always considered myself a sixteen year old white girl so…
V: (Laughs) I’m glad we’re on the same page.
PMB: So who are your biggest inspirations?
V: It changes a lot. I think it’s different when you’re an artist because you hear music differently.
PMB: Hearing it from almost a more scientific perspective?
V: Yeah, you hear it and you analyze it. You know, you just take the emotion away from it. Like I
remember specific moments when I was 12 or 13, hearing specific music, and the segment
would change or something would happen and I was like, ‘Why do I feel like that?’ You notice
that you’re sad or super hyped up, and you are curious about what’s the difference or what
happens, and you realize that it comes down to sounds and instruments. It’s so basic when you
think about it, but the emotion that you take is so much stronger, and so listening as an artist is
So for me when I listen to an artist, they kind of have a high point and then drop off. Like Flume.
I mean everyone says Flume is one of my biggest inspirations because he always does
something unique and innovative, but then he has certain tracks that don’t resonate with me at
all because he’s just doing his own thing and it’s totally different. I’ve just gone through years of
night party? Wolfgang Rich used to be huge, and I don’t mean huge in popularity, he was just
huge in my life. So I can’t really say anybody in particular, but I can say that a few songs from
everybody kind of shaped me through the years.
PMB: Awesome. I heard your new song that came out yesterday. I love that song but was just
wondering how long have you been working on it and so far what has been your feedback?
V: It’s hard to make a song that’s good and simple. It sounds kind of backwards. Like you can
spend a million years making something super advanced and people don’t really vibe with it
because too much happens […] In my opinion, you have to make something cool, strip it down
and keep what’s really good and just leave what’s really good. And that song, I’ll just say it’s
really good but like to get what we have took over a year of rewrites in vocals and adjusting
instrumentals and a bunch of other things before we reached a final product. Also, Claire is from
Sweden, so getting our schedules to work was challenging.
PMB: What was your first “Damn I made it” moment?
V: To be honest, I have never had that moment. I still feel like I have not made it. I feel like it’s
just a step. Like a big show in front of a thousand people. Then a show in front of ten thousand
people. Then making an album with a ton sold. It just keeps going up and up.
PMB: So you feel like it’s an incremental change.
V: Yeah exactly, there’s never been one time where I’ve been like well I made it.
PMB: Cool. I know we’re almost out of time, but I was just wondering, what can we expect from
Vanic going forward?
V: Well, musically we’ve got a bunch of originals that are very close to being done. There are
small things that I have to tie up, re-record, and put together. So over the summer and a bit
after, we’d like to put out a couple of originals that we have and a couple of remixes, too.
Hopefully that builds some hype into the fall. In the fall, we’re going to take a little bit of time off and probably start a big tour again in January and in between that time doing some