INTERVIEW: Vanilla Ace

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Londoner Vanilla Ace is one of the most exciting house producers in the business, with a unique sound that spans Deep House, Nu Disco, G House, Indie Dance and more; he’s set to thrill audiences all over North America this summer.

He exploded on to the scene in 2012 with releases for Toolroom, MODA, Blockhead, Maquina and Ministry of Sound. With a distinctive production sound somewhere between House and Disco lovingly influenced by New Jack Swing and the 1980’s, his tracks have had support from the likes of The Magician, Soulclap and Seth Troxler to name a few. With a steady stream of recent releases from a plethora of remixes for likes of Basement Jaxx, Kylie Minogue, KANT, and Dirty Vegas, Vanilla Ace continues his quest to create quality house music with soul.

We recently chatted with the Londoner and here’s what he had to say.

1. For our readers who aren’t familiar with your music. Tell us a little about your background.

I was born in London, England and still live here. I have been DJing since I was 16 years old. I grew up on a mixture of house music (its like pop music for us English, always on the radio), hip hop, R&B, Funk, Disco, Reggae etc, the area I grew up in hosts the Notting Hill Carnival and it defiantly was a influence on me, the Carnival welcomes a million people to my neighbourhood and the sound systems play all sorts of music. After being a successful DJ for many years I created the Vanilla ACE alias to make house and nu disco without being judged, it started out as a side project, got some great support and took over my life.

2. You’re going on tour in a few days to support your “Night Steppin” EP. What goes into making a successful live performance?

Being a DJ first I just like to see the dance floor full all night and if I get to test some new music out thats even better. Playing to a crowd that knows its music is the best.

3. What goes through your head when you’re watching all these people dance to your music?

I think I have the best job in the world, I’m sure many DJ’s and producers would agree. We are paid to travel to places all over the world and play our music and tastes to people that want to party and dance.

4. Best and least favorite thing while you’re on the road?

Best thing has to be playing great clubs and festivals all over the world and having people appreciate what you do. Worst thing is being by yourself a lot, away from family, friend and home comforts.

5. What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts artists today?

Social media is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it helps you reach your fan base wherever in the world they are and helps you stay connected to them. On the other hand you sometimes get people that read into things the wrong way and something so small and trivial can blow up into something big. I’ve had my fair share of trolls, but with any job, you can’t please everyone. 

6. What music and artists inspired your music and sound growing up?

I grew up mainly listening to hip hop, R&B and jungle, artists like Jodeci, Nas, Biggie, Snoop, Teddy Riley. I didn’t really get into house properly until the late 90’s, so artists like Armand Van Helden, Junior Jack, Kid Creme, DJ Disciple, Joey Negro, Grant Nelson inspired me and I loved all the early Defected and Strictly Rhythm stuff still. In the UK house music has always been around since its birth in the late 80’s so a lot of that music was played on commercial radio here and the acts would even perform on TV. 

7. If you could take shots with anyone in history who would it be?

Hard question, it would probably have to be a keg party with me Nikolai Tesla, Zecharia Sitchin, Prince, James Brown, 2Pac and Notorious BIG.

8. First job?

My first job if I recall correctly was washing hair and sweeping up in a family friends hairdresser’s…I hated the job, only thing I enjoyed was being allowed to make the mix tapes for us to play on the stereo.

9. What’s something about you that would surprise our readers that we can’t Google?

I can draw, act, sing a little and when I was 13 Pamela Anderson came to my life guard swimming course as part of a Baywatch promo tour!

10. What’s next for you? Are there any new projects you want to explore?

I have lots of new Vanilla ACE music on the way on labels like CUFF, Nurvous, Go Deeva. But I would like to start selling my screenplay ideas to Hollywood and start a radio show somewhere.

Night Bass, Enormous Tunes and d:vision star Vanilla Ace embarks on a eight date tour of the US this August, with stops in Detroit, Chicago and Dallas as well one in Edmonton, Canada.  You can experience Vanilla Ace & friends for yourself at the dates below:

vanilla ace tour dates

LISTEN TO VANILLA ACE’S IN THE LOOP GUESTMIX:

https://soundcloud.com/inthelooprecordings/in-the-loop-radio-vol-24-vanilla-ace-guest-mix

LISTEN TO NEW TRACK ‘THE GEE’

https://soundcloud.com/data-transmission/vanilla-ace-gee

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