Insight Interview – Vagrant (Producer)

Thursday 18th May // Back on Monday we released a very special 9 track album from New Jersey based future-garage producer Vagrant, an album inspired by the rural setting of his hometown. It’s an album that carries a lot of raw emotion, the piano intervals in particular are a very beautiful addition which certainly have an impact on me. They are haunting, yet very delicate and calming, especially the single ‘Polaroids’ which is one track on the album that certainly speaks to me. This album has everything you want in a well balanced underground electronica album and it’s currently out now on digital and limited edition cassette (pre-order). We spent some time with Vagrant to find out a little more about the artist and the album.

 
Hey Vagrant, first off, where are you currently based?

I live in a small town in New Jersey. It’s partly rural, but I live in a normal suburb.

When did you start writing and producing music?

It’s been just about 6 years now. I was 13 and staying at my dad’s house in the summer, and I remember really digging into electronic music for the first time. Just surface level stuff, but that idea of making music on a computer really grabbed me. I played video games and I liked to mess around on computers. I didn’t have the confidence in myself to pick up an instrument but making stuff on a machine felt doable.

What do you feel has been your biggest inspiration?

Video games and films have probably been my biggest inspiration, especially their soundtracks. I grew up playing games and watching movies. I never really played traditional kids games. I had stuff like Shadow of the Colossus and Oblivion, these games with really big worlds. I would get soaked up into them and the atmosphere. My current favorite games are Dark Souls and Bloodborne, especially the latter. It’s that bleak beauty that those games portray so well that gets me. The history, the story, the world, and the quiet.

How about your proudest experience?

When my first EP came out, Center City on Endless Plains Records, I was over the moon. Sangam contacted me asking if I wanted to release something, and I was so excited. It isn’t my biggest release now by far but it was a big deal for me back then.

Any upcoming shows you’re playing this year?

I’ve never played live. I honestly don’t know what I’d do onstage. I’m not a DJ, but playing shit off a laptop or whatever is boring. Maybe someday I’ll figure something out.

Favorite record right now?

I’ve been rinsing Rykard’s albums Arrive the Radio Beacon and Luminosity a lot. They’re seriously brilliant.

Favorite record of all time?

Way too tough to pick one, but some of my all-time favorites are Aphex Twin – Drukqs, Massive Attack – Mezzanine, Burial vs Massive Attack – Four Walls / Paradise Circus, and Boards of Canada – Geogaddi.

Tell us a little about your latest album release ‘Unrest’ and the concept behind the music?

I wanted for Unrest to sound organic, which is sort of contrary to my earlier stuff. I fought for so long to capture this grimy urban sound I’d fallen in love with, but this album needed to feel natural. That rural side of my town was kind of the model for the imagery for the music. That connection I think made it a more personal album. Lately, there’s been no end to negativity seemingly everywhere. It sucks. I’ve seen a lot of people I know or am close to affected by it. That’s why I wrote the accompanying poem, too. Just to say it’s alright, and you can do it. You can get through this.

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A distress signal. Emerging cries meet cool air and untimely misfortune.
A Wreck. Drowned and beached. Flocks of birds come, then make haste in early hours.
Memories, held dearest to the heart, fade fast like blood in seawater.

Troubles remain, hardships aplenty. Survival remains a stark duty.
The work is difficult in darkness and isolation. Fire makes for
Yearning. It is needed.

Hack the trees, tie the wood, and prepare the oar.
Row onward, and push forward through the torrent,
Through your Unrest

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How do you feel about the project overall?

Pretty good. It’s my first project that I feel I completed as best as I could.

Are you set to collaborate with any other producers in the near future?

Hopefully. I’ve had a few in mind and I’ve talked to some. I made a track with my friend Sangam and one with a really great guy from soundcloud called derrick boo. I’d like to do more with them.

What’s your musical goal for the next few years?

I’d spent so much time making EPs of longform tracks that I forgot how complete and full an album can be. I’d love to do more albums. Ones that cover different facets of life that I haven’t explored before. Unrest is sort of a sunrise album, I think. It starts a bit dark, but it reaches a hopeful brightness by its end. I’d like to do something bleaker, colder and more confrontational toward our day to day lives. A clinical work that says this is how it really is.

Any life goals?

If I could live off of doing what I love, that’s enough for me.

Share with us some of your top picks. Which music would you love for us to go and check out?

t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者’s album星間性交 is amazing. Gives me chills every time.

Wax’s 30003 (B side) and 50005 (A side) are two of my favorite techno tracks ever.

Subaeris – Transcendent God.

Dwaallicht – Welkin EP.

Klasey Jones – Foreign Buyers Club EP.

Celer – Shima.

No Death x Sangam – Waiting at the Gates.

Loewen – FU EP.

Has there ever been a piece of music or an experience that shaped you to become the musician you are today?

Burial’s Massive Attack remixes, Four Walls and Paradise Circus. I can’t stress enough about how incredible they are. Untrue was my introduction to underground moody music, but the Massive Attack remixes really opened my eyes up to the scope to which you can take music. I listen to them usually only a few times in their entirety every year, and each time it’s an experience.

Be sure to purchase your copy of the digital album or pre-order the limited edition cassette here.