INTERVIEW: VC Pines

VC Pines is the new alternative soul project from Jack Mercer, former frontman of indie band The Carnabys.

Moving away from the rock scene into new territories, VC Pines’ unique blend of soul, punk and poetry has garnered support from the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne.

On his reflective new single, Vixen, Mercer shows off his captivating vocal range and takes you on a journey from late night moody introspection to a soaring, expansive chorus.

Ahead of his headline show at The Lexington, London on 3rd April, I had a chat to Jack to find out more about the story behind VC Pines…

Hey Jack! Tell me about why you remodelled yourself as VC Pines…

It’s a name that doesn’t really have boundaries, so it gives me the opportunity to delve into any kind of musical avenues I want to. It stands for Violet Coloured Pines.

I have synaesthesia as well as temporal lobe epilepsy… my favourite music that I’ve written is purple or violet in colour in my head. TLE is memory based, so ‘Pines’ comes from vague childhood memories of North America.

Yeah, I read that the name comes from your experiences of chromesthesia. Can you tell me a bit about that?

I’m starting to use it as a tool in songwriting and trying to write through colour rather than simple song structures which is getting interesting, ha. It definitely helps with labelling and stuff in the studio.

I didn’t realise it was a thing until I was in a lecture at the ICMP and the lecturer started talking about Synaesthesia. I thought that’s how everyone’s brains worked?

Your new single Vixen explores themes of introspection… it’s got a sultry, late-night feel to it. What’s the story behind the song?

I used to have a selection of tunes I’d call ‘cigarette songs’ when I was at college. I’d listen to them at night out my window and I used to hear the foxes in the alleyways. So I started the tune aiming for something like that, then everything else around me at the time crept their way into the song.

I noticed I’d been mentally vacant from a lot of relationships at that time. Mental vacancy is also a symptom of TLE, so it’s also a song that kind of says ‘don’t worry about me’, if that makes sense? I guess the foxes / vixens then changed to become a metaphor for people gossiping / worrying or talking about my symptoms.

The track is beautifully produced. Where did you record it?

It was produced by Hound – AKA Paul Watson. He has a studio called the HUB in St Albans, we do almost everything there. It’s actually above one of the oldest pubs in Britain, so the bar’s just below us, which helps sometimes.

You’ve got a headline show at The Lexington, London coming up on 3rd April. Are you looking forward to the show? What can listeners expect from the live band?

Yeeessss! Can’t wait… Really looking forward to changing it up with the new tunes.

I have a seven piece band called the Violet Collective, which features drums, bass, guitar, organ and brass, so it’s a big sound. There are a lot of differences to the recorded tracks which I think gives us space to change it up every now and then. You should come, those guys are sick.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?

André 3000 all day any day. The dude’s a genius. I’d hope we’d be friends.

What’s coming up next for VC Pines?

I’m releasing my EP – Indigo – late March, then the headline show at the Lexington, followed by a couple of festival slots in the summer.

I’m always writing and recording, so who knows what’s to come later in the year.

www.vcpines.com

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