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PRESAVE: A chat with VANES about new release, 'i lost my mind'

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Wolverhampton, UK-based rising indie rapper VANES (he/him/sensitiveboi), a.k.a being vanes, is on a mission to define the artist as 'a person who is unapologetically human'. The fluent-in-Chinese, British-Caribbean artist was raised by a family of working-class creatives and counts the late radical visionary Judith Malina, co-founder of The Living Theatre, NYC among his previous mentors.

In 2022, he began collaborating with London-based Lithuanian producer Mindaugas Juozapavicius (Benny Atlas, Ivan Michael Blackstock) and LA-based mixing engineer Clinton "HeadAche" Walker III (Higher Brothers, Tiana Major9). With inspirations ranging from Blondie to Dominic Fike, their international team-up produced VANES' debut EP: 'pixie dust', a soft punk, guitar-heavy hip-hop vibe that explores narratives of so-called 'codependency'.

Ahead of his upcoming release: 'i lost my mind', FLEX sat down with the self-declared 'unashamed embodiment of tenderness' to chat about all things VANES.

What should we call you? VANES? being vanes? sensitiveboi? You've got a lot of names!

Haha, perhaps that's true, although I think generations to come will have a lot more. Vanes is my surname and artist name, 'being vanes' is a self-given name. I'm interpreting 'being' as both a noun/ verb and adding my surname at the end. It encapsulates my artistic intention; exploring how it feels to be this person called 'VANES', and expressing how it feels to be me. 'sensitiveboi' is a personal pronoun that I'm gradually getting more comfortable with using publicly.

How have your experiences shaped your music, sound, and career as an unsigned artist?

While making this EP's songs, I didn't clock it, but they're actually notes to self on how childhood detachment, separation, and loss have impacted my adult shaping. How else could I be out here continually telling girls I wanna marry them on a first date… Sure, I love pretty freely, but I'm also beginning to understand that there's hurt in here and past wounds asking to be addressed.

Career wise it's super early days, but currently, my sound is somewhere between Alternative Hip-Hop and Indie-Pop. I grew up on everything from Avril Lavigne to Finley Quaye. The creative freedom of being unsigned is something I embrace, but the weight of these ever-increasing hats I'm wearing?.. Hmm yeah, my well-being defo isn't liking that so much.

Your Instagram page looks really unique, how important is artistic aesthetic to you?

Thank you.

To me, to be an artist, aesthetic is everything. In marketing language (#vomiiit), an artist's vision really is their USP. However, there's a fine line between creating something aesthetically pleasing and being consumed by toxic perfectionism. Staying on the healthy side of this line is often a real challenge for me.

How has 'i lost my mind' been a creative development from your previous releases?

Promise not to tell anyone? 'i lost my mind' is my favourite single on the whole EP! We (I and my producer, Mindaugas), wrote the whole thing in one session. Delivery wise it's defo a development compared to my previous two singles. Born a poet, singing is new for me, however, I really f**w the vocals on 'i lost my mind', especially the hook… It makes me wanna stick out my tongue and dance like an anime girl.

What do you hope to see as a result of 'i lost my mind' - what reactions are anticipated?

The track feels sticky to me. I reckon teens will vibe it, it's the kind of tune to be played on the way to meeting someone you're really crushing on. I pretty much channelled my 15-year-old self into the production. If you're an adult and digging it, (once you've streamed, saved, and shared it :D), you might benefit from reading some Eckhart Tolle, sitting down, and grounding ya batty. Results I'll leave to the music Gods, although in 2022 we may as well call them the Spotify algorithm…

Do you have any exciting plans for the release?

For sure, we just wrapped a pretty sick music video for the single. I shot the video for 'can't feel your love' with indie filmmakers Robin Clewley, Lee Isserow, and Stefan Tolmachov. (Big shout out to Stefan, he's in the Ukraine and that shit really is no joke). These folx are all doing a great job at interpreting my music visually, and I'm energised to share this latest video as part of the single's release.

VANES' new single 'i lost my mind' drops November 18th

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