Steve Chab's Internet Blog About Music N'at

An Interview with Vanilla

Vanilla logo

A few years ago, before glitch-hop became a real genre, I was monitoring the term glitch-hop on Twitter and came across Vanilla’s Chrometrails. I downloaded the whole album and immediately became a fan!

I wanted to sample Second Guess/Low Density, so I contacted Vanilla. We eventually became internet pals and released an EP together.

Vanilla’s new album is called Sweet Talk, and his music has gained a lot of popularity. So, I interviewed him!

Let’s learn a little bit about the man behind the music, shall we?

Vanilla, how did you get into music?

I guess I really got into music in my teens, mainly rock and punk and stuff. I was pretty inept at actually making it but always wanted to try and pursue it, so I did a music technology course at school and since then have really been into using computers to produce.

Do you play any instruments?

I play a bit of piano and guitar. I don’t have any training on these, I just tend to mess around working out new chords and ideas, although since most music I’m making at the moment is entirely sample-based means not a lot of this has come across in my releases yet. I am working on several entirely sample-free albums which will hopefully showcase this to some extent.

I also learnt the clarinet for a number of years, although it’s really been collecting dust for a while now. I did manage to record it for a feature on a friend’s track which might see the light of day at some point so I’m happy I’ve managed to immortalise it.

Tell us about your studio. What do you use (DAW, plug-ins, synths, etc.)?

I’d love to say my studio is a big room full of cool gear and equipment but really most of the time it’s just my laptop and a pair of headphones. I do have some good monitors and keyboards but the way I sample music means I don’t need a lot of hardware to arrange and produce it. I’ve always used Logic as a DAW, I’m still using 9 as it works pretty well for me. I’ve amassed a pretty reliable collection of plug-ins over the years - I mainly use Logic’s own compressors and synths but when it comes to composing I do have a soft spot for FM8 and Albino 3.

How do you feel about your music’s popularity?

I’m honestly so grateful for it and amazed that people are still interested, considering I actually put out music very infrequently. I’m hoping it will encourage me to push myself and make better music in the future.

Have you ever considered a full-time music career?

As ‘Vanilla’, no. I love making music but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time. I would, however, love to get involved in sound or music in some other aspect as a career, particularly in film, and keep producing on the side. Some of my favourite jobs have involved working in large teams and I like the balance between that and my own more isolated personal headspace for music.

What are your music goals?

I have no one particular goal, although something I would love to do is soundtrack a film with an original score. Or something like the Samurai Champloo soundtracks. I have at least four albums in the works of completely different styles that I would love to see released in the near future.

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

When it comes to beatmaking, Dilla is still at the top, and I love guys like Madlib, Nujabes and Onra. Outside of hip hop, some of my favourite artists are Radiohead, Tom Waits, Lindstrom, Bruce Springsteen and Pat Metheny to name a few.

If you could have anyone, living and/or dead rap or sing over your music, who would it be?

That’s a tough one, maybe MF DOOM or Erykah Badu. I’m a huge fan of both.

Do you have advice for aspiring artists?

All I can say really is that I put a lot of time into my music, and I think that you have to invest the time to get something out of it ultimately.

Listen to Vanilla’s Sweet Talk album »

Tycho gets over 23K plays on SoundCloud in just 5 hours

Tycho on SoundCloud

5 hours on SoundCloud get Tycho 23,191 plays, 2154 likes, 683 reposts, and 145 comments. Thank you, SoundCloud, for making a platform which empowers producers, bands, and songwriters.

I Produced an EP for Life After Us

Life After Us is a super friendly pop/rock band from Pittsburgh. I produced The Rest is Silence EP. It contains 3 songs which showcase their capabilities and versatility as a band.

For the EP, I coached them during the songwriting process and even helped with the recording session at Treelady Studio.

Listen to The Rest is Silence EP »

Life After Us album art

Why Music Producers Must Use SoundCloud

You probably already know that I’m a huge fan of SoundCloud, as it’s super-useful and relevant for music-makers and producers.

I use it to …

1. Find Awesome Music by Indie Producers

Music-makers tag their tracks with moods and genres - all of which are searchable. SoundCloud also features the ability to repost sounds; so, my favorite producers are sharing songs by their favorite producers. It’s really great!

2. Get Advice & Encouragement from its Friendly Music Community

SoundClouders add much value with encouraging comments and constructive criticism.

Encouraging SoundCloud Comment

When a fellow producer likes one my tracks, I’ll check out their music and leave some feedback. And if their music is good, I’ll follow them back! It’s a great way to network and make friends …

3. Network with Friends, Music-Makers, & Producers

By following artists whose music I enjoy, I’ve made some great relationships. For example, I started following Vanilla, and we eventually became Facebook friends and released an EP together. Also, my funk band released a remix album featuring a bunch of artists I met through SoundCloud, including Big Groove, Nebulist, and Funkload.

4. Embed the Incredible HTML5 Audio Player

Sounds play beautifully on iPhone and Android and can be embedded on websites, blogs, and social media platforms.

Visitors to my website are greeted with my “best of Steve Chab" playlist …

For what more could I ask? Soundcloud rocks.

How are you using SoundCloud?

Jacob Meador is a Talented Mastering Engineer & Songwriter

Jacob Meador in the recording studio

I discovered Jacob Meador’s solo album by browsing music tagged with “Jeremy Enigk” on NoiseTrade. It was awesome, so I immediately downloaded it and liked his Facebook page. He also checked out my music and sent me a very friendly message about how he’s a mastering engineer and would love to master my projects.

Jacob is a great engineer! He mastered my first solo album, and I highly recommend his services. He’s affordable, responsible, and an all-around honest fellow!

Hire Jacob Meador as your engineer »

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