Rapper Bryce Vine. Photo: Nikko LaMere.

Rapper Bryce Vine. Photo Credit: Nikko LaMere.

Bryce Vine is a good example of how quirky people can often be hipper than the average Joe because of their unique traits; therefore, proving that what makes you different can in fact make you all the more beautiful. Making us laugh and think one tweet at a time, this rapper and songwriter who longs for “the good ‘ole days” is riding the sound waves of the current music industry and making quite a splash wherever he goes with hits like “Sour Patch Kids” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

But don’t be fooled by his silly nature or the playfulness of his tracks. Vine is serious about his craft, and he works long, hard hours to perfect it. This is most evident in his new single “The Thug Song.” Although it has a lively beat mixed with some punk rock vibes that might come off as an easily crafted piece, underneath, the song is a musical display of his intelligence and emotional consciousness.

With only six songs to his name, the self-described hipster already has over three million Spotify listens and a loyal fan base, and is currently working on new material that’s said to be months in the making. However, don’t expect hardcore lyrics or an unnecessary toughness from his sound. According to Vine, he’s here to make you feel and think instead of following mainstream styles or succumbing to what record labels crave to put out. Fresh off his tour, including a show with Ludacris, Vine spoke to us about his last EP, feeling nostalgic for the ’90s, and what he finds absolutely amazing about Third Eye Blind’s songwriting skills.

GALO: Apart from playing colleges, you recently had a show with Ludacris. Can you talk a little bit about that — what did you make of Ludacris and how did it feel to share not only the stage with him, but also his fans, which surely must have opened your music to an even wider audience?

Bryce Vine: The Ludacris show was rad. He’s like a legend; it’s kind of like opening for the Wizard of Oz in a way because I know every one of his songs. It was funny seeing young college kids and realizing that these kids have heard his songs, but they didn’t grow up with him the same way that we did. The crowd was great. It was super fun. He gave an amazing performance.

GALO: In the song “Sour Patch Kids,” you refer to the old days and how things used to be. For instance, you refer to Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996) and Road Rules (1995-2007). What are your thoughts on the current direction of music and TV?

BV: There seems to be a lot less creativity these days. People like to watch real people doing things that make them look dumb, more than they like watching a show about friends who are going through the struggles of their lives. I wish there were more shows nowadays that actually were written and meant something, and I wish I was watching people who were going through problems that I’m going through. I still watch the show Friends and it parallels with my life — it makes me feel better, whatever I’m going through. There are not really that many shows like that anymore. The last one I felt that way about was Entourage, and that ended like four years ago. There are no shows based on human condition and everyday people, unless it’s a reality show about a group of people you don’t even like.

GALO: Would you say that the longing for the so-called “olden days” is what initially inspired this song?

BV: 100 percent. I’m very nostalgic, that’s who I am. I’m always looking back on memories, and almost to a fault because I don’t sometimes realize I am in the good ole’ days until I’m out of it.

Video courtesy of Bryce Vine VEVO.

GALO: Apart from what is already in the song, what else do you miss about the ’90s?

BV: I miss the way I felt when I was younger. I was happier and I felt like the world was at my fingertips, like you really [could] do anything. I’m a part of the last generation that remembers what it’s like to be 15 and not have a cell phone. We used to have to find stuff to do and have to talk to each other, and go to each other’s houses and play tag. That’s a lost thing nowadays. I actually get now when my parents used to say, “Back in our day.” It really makes a difference.

GALO: You are on your own on your EP. Who is your dream collaboration, and what kind of sweet music would the two of you make?

BV: I have a few dream collaborations. I love Kid Cudi, J. Cole, and Childish Gambino. I love Kyle. He’s really a comical dude. I like his style. An old friend of mine is blowing up now, too: G-Eazy.

GALO: Let’s change course a little bit and talk about your music. So, “Guilty Pleasure’s” title is misleading. In all honesty, I totally expected raunchy music, but instead I heard a fun, mood boosting, sunny day type of track. This appears to be commonplace in your music. In fact, your singles are devoid of certain themes that often permeate the rap world, like sex, love, anger and a type of “hardness.” Why did you choose to stay away from such motifs and what is the message you hope to convey in your music? 

BV: That’s just not who I am as a person, like the hardness. I’m an emotional guy, almost to a fault. I take things personally and seriously a lot of the time. I like to be playful and fun with my friends — at that time, nothing is taken seriously. I’m just not that kind of person that can just write about nothing and feel like I completed a song and feel confident about it. I wish I could sometimes. When I make a song, I have to feel like I released a little bit of my own stress and tension and [that I’ve] let others feel that, too.

“Guilty Pleasure” is kind of a sad song in a way, because not all of the memories are good ones. I just miss when good music mattered and good people mattered. It was just easier.

GALO: “The Thug Song” has a punk rock feel to it. Why did you choose this particular style for this piece — are you a fan of any punk rock bands that could have inspired this track (either from the past or current age), or do you just enjoy the sound? What other styles do you think could work well for your music?

BV: I grew up on a lot of rock music. My dad is the one who introduced me to jazz and rappers like Tupac back in the ’90s, but I was in a punk rock band when I was 18 [and] in high school and [when I] started writing my own songs. That is a lot of my inspiration — old punk bands like Rancid, and even the pop-punk ones like Blink 182 and Motion City Soundtrack. That’s where I come from a lot.

When we did this one, it was really like I got a chance to establish who I am as a rapper and as a person. I’m a songwriter. So, I’m a rapper, but I write songs. I’m not just trying to rap because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re a pop artist. I wanted to think of a comical, satirical way to make fun of myself as well as a culture that has been defined as “cool.”

Video courtesy of Adi Shankar.

GALO: On Twitter, you said that writing lyrics is as fun as it is frustrating. What frustrates you about it and what makes it fun?

BV: It’s frustrating because I have to find the right thing. I can’t settle. I can’t even move past where I am just to finish a song — it has to be “right.” It bugs my manager and my producers, but then again, I come up with the songs that I do because of that. It takes me longer to write, but when I finish a song, it’s going to be “right.”

It’s frustrating because I see people pumping out songs daily, gaining fans and recognition, and writing faster than I am. Many [of these artists] aren’t putting out music that people really love. I put out five songs and people are still quoting them on Twitter.