Based out of Los Angeles, California, Vanilla Sugar dares to push the envelope of unprecedented and bold sounds. The eclectic mixtures is the release of Jessica Perry (JP Vanilla) on vocals, synthesizer, and guitars, a proposition which combines comprehensive alternative/electronic sample infused music with an electrifying stage presence. We craved to learn more so with big thanks to JP we explored origins, music, songwriting and more…
Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Thank you for having me!
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
I am Vanilla Sugar – I started this project on a midi keyboard and iMac. I wanted to get the songs in my head out and into my car’s speakers.
Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
I have been performing in different bands since I was 12 years old. I have done Industrial, Punk, Metal, Pop – you name it! I learned from each band, and playing different genres has definitely helped craft what Vanilla Sugar is today.
What inspired the band name?
The PG13 version is that Vanilla Sugar seems like such a dainty name – when the music is actually very in your face and powerful. I love throwing off new audience members. They never know what to expect. The R rated (and completely true) version is this…I wanted a name for this that somehow had my name tied in all at once and not at all. My nickname is JP Vanilla. Hence the “Vanilla” in Vanilla Sugar….the “Sugar” comes from the term “Kitty sugar” (Feel free to Google when you’re not at work). Put those two meanings together and you’ll know what Vanilla Sugar means!
Was there any specific idea behind the project and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
I wanted the sound to be a mix of everything I enjoy listening to – which is Metal, Electronic music, Pop, etc. I blend my favorite aspects of each genre all together.
Do the same things still drive you from when you started up Vanilla sugar or have they evolved over time?
I would have to say the same things still drive me. I write lyrics from the heart – things that I have been through, things I overcame – I want to share it with the listener. You never know what someone is going through. Music helped me through a lot while I was growing up and I want to be able to return the favor.
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
The sound is much more structured now – in a great way. Songs are smooth, clean and on time!
And that has been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?
A deliberate change – I am always trying to better the sound.
Presumably you haves a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your personal approach and ideas to creating it?
I love Grimes – she is a huge influence on me. I respect that she does everything DIY. Love that – and Mindless Self Indulgence – they taught me to be brave and not care what the formula is “supposed” to be when writing a song. They taught me to write what feels right.
Is there a particular process to your songwriting?
Typically the song is made, often times starting with a synth melody. I write the lyrics from the feelings the music gives me.
You touched on lyrics earlier; the major sparks for that side are?
Life experiences. It’s a way for me to get things off my chest. I have a very bad habit of holding onto bad experiences and let it eat away at me. When I write the lyrics around the issue, it’s as if I am releasing it from myself and it’s a very freeing feeling.
Give us some background to your latest release.
This new album is my first one! I am very excited to share it with the world. A lot of blood, sweat, and glitter have gone into this.
Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.
I am trapped inside of my head a lot. This album dives into that, and I confront myself for the first time through lyrics. The music videos give a wonderful view into the insides of my brain.
Are you someone that goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
I prefer to develop songs as I record. I record little ideas at home, but ultimately my producer and I work songs out at the studio.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
I love playing live shows! It is wonderful to be able to connect with fans. My favorite part of the live show is when I get to go crazy with my keytar. I love feeling the music that way.
It is not easy for any new band or artist to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
I think there is always a place for opportunity to happen, you just need to work to make it happen. I tour often, and wide – from Los Angeles to Florida, and venturing out into Brazil, Japan, and the UK within the upcoming years. It’s important to keep touring so you can grow your fanbase.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?
I absolutely love social media when it comes to music. Before social media, promoting shows and your brand was difficult! Now, I can just create an event on Facebook and invite anyone all over the world! It’s a great way to keep in contact with your fans, and allow them to see the real you.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
Thank you again for having me! I host a Facebook & Instagram Live every Thursday night at 8pm PST. Please join – I would love to get to know you!
Pete RingMaster 09/07/2019
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