To kick of the New Years Weekend, the Dutch DJ and production duo VICETONE came to San Fransico. The duo has been churning out songs for their massive fan base and have recently just released a new song, Landslide featuring vocals from YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE. Vicetone is known for their massive energetic sounds and they did not disappoint. The two worked well together on stage and are certainly a treat to see, and listening to their set was definitely one of the best ways to kick off the weekend.
Below is an interview giving insight on their new single Landslide, and some future plans for Vicetone.
How are you guys feeling about the success of Landslide?
Ruben: It’s doing really well on Spotify and youtube. It’s the first time that we really deviated from the certain signature sound that we’ve done before, and we’re really happy to see the positive reactions from a fan base whose quite dedicated, and want that certain signature sound, but they’re still open and embracing.
Victor: I was surprised how well our fans were accepting of the track, it’s hitting all the big playlists on Spotify. We didn’t know what to expect for this track because it was so different but we’re really happy with how it’s doing now.
What would you guys say makes Landslide it so different?
Ruben: Well the first thing would be the tempo, its sort of combination of genres rather than just the dance music that’s sort of the Vicetone style. And also just the sounds that we’re using are quite different and the energy is different as well. We wanted to go for sort of an old school sound.
Victor: It’s kind of a Indy song mixed with a catchy hip-hop beat that we love from back in the day, from the Dr. Dre days.
Ruben: And then give it our own spin.
Victor: Yeah, and give it the EDM, kind of Vicetone Sound.
How long was Landslide in the works for?
Ruben: It was actually quite a while, I think we met up with Youngblood Hawke very early on in 2016. I think it was February we met up with them and went to their studio in LA and they showed us a couple of tracks, and when we heard Landslide, and they did their own production and vocal operation, and we were like “Can we have that vocal?” and we did a completely different thing with it.
Victor: And they absolutely loved it.
Ruben: Yeah, they absolutely loved it, and we loved it too. We were quite excited. When we saw that, we were like “We got something special here,” and we were really happy that we were all on the same page here. So they already written the vocal, and we produced a whole track around the vocal.
What was your muse or inspiration for Landslide?
Victor: It started with the piano and the piano intro and that was a little Dr. Dre hip hop inspired. And then we just took it completely with the flow from there.
Ruben: It’s weird but lately this year we’ve really tried to go back to the music that we grew up with you know, and we try to think about why that music was so influential and why did we listen to it thousands of times and why was it so good. And every time we compare our tracks to back in the day, we have a tendency to make things really complex, and you listen to those tracks and they’re so simple with 5 elements at the same time or something like that, and it’s very inspiring to just look at how those tracks were produced by legends like Dr. Dre or TIMBALAND, and that’s kind of how Landslide started too, we wanted something that was fairly simple and catchy.
And you guys keep coming back to Dr. Dre as one of your major inspirations that you draw from, are there any other artists from your childhood that you see yourself going to back to?
Ruben: For me, I know EMINEM was really big, and I was a huge fan of his music, not only because he wrote about stuff that was actually in his life but more so also the beats. Just the music itself, and when you’re 11 or 12 you think that the artist always produces the track itself and later you learn that it’s a team, and producers, and then there’s somebody who writes the song, in that case himself. But I started learning more about the beats and how it’s produced and that sort of whole era of hip hop, between 1999 and 2005, I would say maybe even 2007, that’s still very influential.
Victor: My first album was Justified by JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, and it’s kind of like a pop, R & B, mix, but um I used to, a few months ago or a year ago we downloaded everything again and listened to it in production, and Timbaland produced most of those songs, and it’s just very simple and catchy, and it’s just really inspiring to listen back to the 90’s and 2000’s productions.
Ruben: For us it’s sort of less is more, and we have a couple of really catchy elements and when they blend well together they can make just an amazing, amazing, song. And that’s what we’ve been drawn to lately just because we know how it made us feel when we grew up and how important those songs were. The biggest hope you can have in a music career is that your own songs have that impact on other young people, who will grow up and later look at that song we made, being like “Oh man that really got me through this period. At the end of the day that’s one of reasons we wanna do this.
How soon can we expect another song?
Ruben: In January we’re not going to release anything because we want to let Landslide breath and we have the end of the year mix and that always has a pretty good lifespan and with Landslide and Kalediscope and the end of the year mix, we went out with a bang so to say. In 2017 we’re going to do studio upgrades which, you know, not a lot of people know, we never really told anybody but for us that’s a big deal. That means more creativity and better sounds too. So for us we’re continuously improving, so the next song we wanna put out is probably going to be in February or March and it needs to be a real good song. We already have a selection of three that we need to sort of finish and pick which one we want to do.
Victor: It’s going to be really different than what you hear now on the radio. We’re going to make a mix of completely different elements that work together in a simple way.
Ruben: But in our own style.
Victor: Yeah in our own style, it needs to have the energetic Vicetone style.
Ruben: Exactly, that’s always the key for us.
How would you describe your style right now then?
Ruben: It’s mostly about the energy and the positive vibes. I think the main thing that would describe our sound right now is energy and feeling, emotion, whether it’s a happy or sad one, or anything in between. We want people to feel something. So that’s why in our career we rarely made tracks just purely for the dance-floor. They’re really fun to produce and even more fun to play out, and we do play tracks like that but when we’re producing music we have a tendency to prefer to go to tracks that follow the melodies and the cord progressions rather than just a feeling.
Do you guys ever think you’re going to switch from the EDM genre?
Ruben: I think maybe for Ghost producing or producing for other artists, it’s really fun to do. I think with Landslide we sort of made the first leap to different genres but for our own project, for Vicetone, it’s going to be the same sort of style that we’ve been doing with minor variations. But I feel like if you look at our whole discography and listen to it you can definitely sort of sense Vicetone’s sound.
Victor: We’ll always keep on evolving since that’s the fun part of being a producer and we’ll always want to try different stuff with some new elements.
Ruben: But the soul of it needs to stay the same. And that’s hard to explain, but it’s the same thing when you have big artists like Coldplay for example who still makes the same type of music even though it sounds different or has different elements and it’s hard to describe but because it’s two people making music and we’re extremely critical of each other and honest, Vicetone is bigger than either of us which means we have really high standards. And the main goal is to keep the energy but keep evolving cause if we do the same thing over and over again, and we’ve done that in the first two years of our career where we sort of like “Well this track worked, let’s do another one like that” and you see the recorders rolling like “Guys this sounds really similar to that old track, can’t you do something new?” And we’re like “You know we can and let’s do it.”
What’s your favorite song to play to crowds right now?
Ruben: Nevada for me
Victor: For me too.
Ruben: I wanted to say Astronomia at first because it’s a crowd pleaser.
Victor: But we’re been playing it for two years, and it still works amazingly but Nevada is that new track that sometimes gets the reaction you don’t expect. When you hear the melody come in and people reacting to it, it’s just an amazing feeling.
Ruben: And most locations that we play, it works, we get the reaction we want from the crowd because they came to see that track basically. But we were in Korea, two months ago, and that track didn’t even do that well and we’re like “Oh that’s surprising,” and then we got a couple requests to play Angels, which we released last year and then everyone went NUTS. And that’s a real interesting perspective for us because we don’t know what tracks they love in South Korea because we’re never there, and they like completely different stuff there than in Europe where they love Astronomia, and then [in the US] and in Canada especially, they love Neveda. We were there for the last three days and they all wanted to hear Nevada. So maybe here in San Francisco… well we don’t know what they’ll wanna hear.
Victor: Yeah, we’ll see works best.
Where was your favorite place to tour this year?
Ruben: Which one of the babies do we like the best basically.
Victor: So this run we played a contact festival in Vancover, which was sick. And we played in Tawain in a spider over the crowd, which is called Arcadia. And that was insane. People were so excited, it was incredible to see.
Ruben: Yeah they we’re loving it. If you’re playing your music and all the people are loving their lives with what you’re playing, it’s sort of feeds back to you. That and being in a spider. Normally when you’re playing to a crowd you look forward right? But in a spider we could turn around and go one way and then the other way. So we would walk all around trying to say hi to the crowds. That was one of the coolest experiences.
What are some goals for Vicetone in 2017?
Ruben: We have some personal goals like improving our music technically and being more creative. I think for Vicetone as a project the most important thing is to keep evolving and growing as artists while still remaining true to the core sound, or the core energy that’s always been in our tracks while not staying stagnant. Sometimes I think people don’t realize how it’s difficult for certain artists once they get to a certain level where they can just tour and make music full time. They’ve got to that point by making a certain type of music and when they want to evolve a lot of their fans will say “What are you doing, we’ve subscribed to you because you did this part of music” and then you’re in sort of a conundrum because you want to both please those fans that you made and you also want to not constrain yourself creatively. You want to keep growing and that’s always a very fine balance, and for a lot of years we’ve learned how to walk that better. I think ARMIN VAN BUUREN said it best, which was “Never be a prisoner of your own style,” which means even though you do this for all your songs and it’s always worked and it’s the safe route, never be afraid to experiment, and never be afraid to show something different to your fans, even though not everyone will like it. It’s far more important than people think it is.
Victor: It’s a very fine line like Ruben said, but I think in the last few years we really got more [courage] to try some different stuff and I think people really appreciate it as well and respect that. But we can make the old style again, we can make something completely different like Landslide and still walk that line and make stuff that’s more in between like Nevada. And I think that’s the key to have your fan base keep listening to your stuff and to get new fans as well.