Los Angeles genre-bending solo artist Vaines have the honor of being our #WeeklyDiscovery for this week.
Fueled by a tumultuous childhood and a strained relationship with his mother – due to her drug addiction – Vaines moved from a small town in upstate New York to Los Angeles to start a new life. With just $200 worth of home studio equipment he began to write, record, and track songs, letting his loneliness lend itself to creativity.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, can you give us a quick elevator pitch of the history of Vaines?
Basically, I’ve been playing music in and out of bands since I was 15. I always struggled with bringing my ideas to life with so many people to have to run my ideas by. I created Vaines to free myself musically and creatively. Everything I create is raw and unfiltered and me.
Many artists have great backstories to how they become involved in music. What led to you becoming a musician/songwriter?
I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer in some avenue. I used to do plays and sing for my parents and their friends. My dad actually bought me a guitar because I was really good at guitar hero and then he bought FL Studio for me when I was 14. I had a natural talent for playing and producing and I just ran with it, my family was really supportive the whole way.
In 2017 you began writing, recording, and tracking songs in your bedroom with just $200 worth of home studio equipment. Can you elaborate on the highs & lows of taking such an approach to your initial songwriting?
Yeah so in 2017 I moved to LA with some guys I met on Craigslist. My manager gave me about 200 dollars of studio equipment and I grinded it out writing every day, looking for a part time, and I was actually homeless for a few days before finally climbing out of the hole. It was tough, I wrote a lot of songs that were rejected, and I made a lot of music for Vaines trying to find myself musically. I’m so thankful for that whole experience in hindsight because I don’t think I’d be making art the way I am without it.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Medicines” that’s out now?
Medicine is a very cool track about the absolute worst way to take rejection. In the song I write about closing myself off because the way I felt about a certain person wasn’t reciprocated. The music itself is RnB inspired but I don’t think it falls into any specific genre. That’s the way I like my music.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yeah, I really liked this girl when I was around 18. I bought her a rose on Valentine’s Day and she told me the next day that she didn’t feel the same way about me and it was really the first real rejection of my young adult life. I handled it terribly then, just like in the song.
Does your latest single mean we can expect even more material throughout 2019?
You can absolutely expect material in 2019. My 2018 was a little lowkey, I just wanted to plan and really find my sound. 2019 I’ll be releasing some sort of packaged bunch of songs, whether that’s an EP or an album is still in the air. I have a lot of tracks that I want people to hear.
It’s still early in 2019. What musical goals do you have for yourself and your music this year? Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
I didn’t even want to disrespect myself by making a resolution that I know I won’t stick to. So, in other words I’m supposed to lose 15 pounds by June. Goals for Vaines this year is to establish myself as a bonafide up-and-comer as opposed to just a dude who sings and writes good music. That means working on the things I’m not especially good at and spreading my name everywhere I can. I’m not sleeping on the living room floor grinding out songs anymore, I’m ready to go.
Any plans to collaborate with other artists on future tracks?
I would love to collab with somebody. I have some plans here and there and I’m always down to work on creating with an outside party. Like I said, I’ve played in bands and I’m used to working with other people on a project and now that I’m a solo artist I’m excited to collaborate.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
The longer I live, the more I realize that although I’ve had a pretty troubled childhood, everybody goes through something. I used to write songs for pity and I’ve grown from that. I want to tell a story about my life because the things I’ve been through are crazy and interesting. I try to find the lighter side of those things, but I won’t water anything down.
What elements of your character does your sound represent?
I think you can tell with my music that I’m a person who’s been through a lot and experienced a lot, but I don’t let it hold me down. My music isn’t completely dark and brooding, there are different colors to all of my tracks. My music is as organic as I am.
I want to stretch your memory and take you back to your childhood. What’s the first song or artist that made an impact on you?
I think my first favorite song was Ms. Jackson by Outkast, but the first artist that I really loved was probably Justin Timberlake. My parents always had the radio on in the car and we didn’t really have money to spend on buying CDs so a lot of my influence was early 2000s Top 40. I wasn’t really moved by a song until I heard, no joke, Against All Odds by Phil Collins when I was like 13.
We’re big on indie artists at DigiSpun. Any hidden gems you’ve been listening to lately?
Listen to Taylor Janzen right now.
What’s next for you guys? What does the future hold for Vaines?