Taking care of this week’s Mixtape are charming Sydney boys VCS. Fresh off a show at Oxford Art Factory, the guys are currently holed up in the lab putting the finishing touches on their next EP, due for an October/November release. Until then, keep an ear out for their dulcet electro-R&B tones!
Hey, VCS. Who’s the best-looking band member?
We are the United Nations of R&B with our Indian-Australian–Jewish via Czech Ukrainian vibes with a healthy serving of Phillipino. We have something for everyone and it really depends what you are after. VCS is just one ridiculously good-looking entity.
What are the boxes you’re looking to tick with the new EP?
Improving Production Quality: We have spent a lot of time learning about ambient production techniques and hip-hop sampling. I have spent countless hours listening to Timbaland, Massive Attack and 90s R&B tracks to get the right balance. We are also working with a Jazz pianist (Jackson Harrison) and another producer (Ivan Vizintin – formerly of Ghoul) to take our sound to the next level.
Lyrics: We’re always trying to make the lyrics more memorable and relatable yet personal. I have also had more experiences in the last year travelling, providing me with greater inspiration (I’ve been to Japan, India, South Korea and Hong Kong). There will also be some obligatory heartbreak moments!
Vocal: I want to channel some of my live performance energy into the studio recording. I’ve learned to loosen up a bit more and enjoy the studio experience, improvising and freestyling melodies as I go.
How did you guys get involved with Elizabeth Rose?
Elizabeth ran into my music on the internet and she liked the vibe. I received an email from her and we took it from there. We had a couple of sessions in the studios, practicing melodies and shaping the verse I was singing. I’ve also been lucky to perform with her a couple of times, particular highlights being Field Day 2014 (side note: I hugged A$AP Rocky) and opening for CHVRCHES at the Metro.
If you had to choose one person to make all your future decisions for you, who would it be?
I guess there isn’t much choice, I call the shots! In terms of production, my brother (Sarath) and I get the tracks together. In terms of the live performance, I tend to try shape the sound based on the boys’ strengths and the sound I’m after.
Tell us a little about the tracks you’ve chosen today.
My track selection is quite the mixed bag of international superstars and upcoming local acts. I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Hip-hop, R&B, Chillwave and IDM and these tracks are just a cross-section of what I’ve been grooving to!
1. Polographia – Sunsets
These boys are quite well known in Sydney and are champs. This tune never ceases to relax me. The Toro Y Moi chillwave production vibes are matched with their dynamic live performance with the live drums and sampling.
2. Banks – This is What it Feels Like
This song has done its rounds and Banks looks like she is exploding around the world! I love the ominous ambient production and her sultry and vulnerable vocals. It was co-produced with Lil Silva and one of my favourites, Jamie Woon.
3. Abhi//Dijon – Twelve
A mate of mine pointed these guys out to me. I’m a huge fan of the smooth production with the delicate vocals, got a bit of a Jai Paul vibe. Looking forward to the EP they are dropping later in August.
4. Drake – Trophies
I’m a huge Drake fan and he is killing it right know. I was a big fan of ‘Nothing Was The Same’ but this is a great follow up track. Love the contrast between the moody low pass filter refrain and the brag rap high-hat clicking verses. Damn!!
5. Kanyon – Faster Than Time
Kanyon is an Aussie Sydney based producer who recently released a new EP. This song makes me feel like I’m going on an intergalactic journey through time!
6. Usher – Good Kisser
It’s a quite playful song with a hilarious title and lyrics to match. It is good to see Usher back to his best! The vocal layering and the various melodies in the track is reminiscent of his best work in albums such as 8701 and Confessions. Looking forward to his upcoming release!
7. Elizabeth Rose - Sensibility
I have always had a weakness for female 90s R&B (Aaliyah, Brandy, Monica and heaps of others).This track feels like a throwback with some modern electro vibes.
8. The Weeknd – Loft Music
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Weeknd’s earlier mixtapes. Abel Tesfaye’s seductive voice with the ambient soundscape always gets me. I love how the song has different parts with its very gloomy, haunting and bass heavy outro.
9. j.Cole – Too Deep for The Intro
I’m a big fan of Cole’s flow combined with his clever and relatable lyrics. Also a very smooth Erykah Badu sample running throughout the track!
10. Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves
I have been Yeezus devotee since College Dropout. The evolution of his sound has been exciting and I can never get this track out of my head. I absolutely love his raw emotion and aggressive verses. The sampling of Nina Simone is amazing as well.