Bryce Vine Dishes on Opening for Ludacris, Missing The ’90s, and Creating His Music
GALO: I understand what you mean about artists not caring about their lyrics. I recently read an article that discussed how most songs nowadays are written on an elementary school level. Some [artists] don’t even bother to write to an intelligent group of people anymore.
BV: It’s not necessarily the artist’s fault. [It is based on] supply and demand. If people demand good lyrics that are more than two-dimensional, then artists are going to pump that out. It’s about where the money is. It sucks, but it’s true. These days, very rarely does a song come out that means something and is a radio hit. It does happen, but elementary is more acceptable.
GALO: Yeah, that is understandable from a business perspective. Quite frankly, it has been that way for decades. Still, one can argue that artists create the trends and can open people up to new things (ones they didn’t expect to like or simply had forgotten about), creating a new chain of supply and demand. Moving on, though, being who you are as an individual does not seem to be the “big thing” in Hollywood (sorry Iggy Azalea). You, however, are owning who you are with your music and image. Have you ever felt pressure to conform?
BV: Definitely, all the time. [Actually, I feel like that] every time I hear a song that means nothing and makes an artist huge — songs that I even love in the car with my friends and that I can get drunk to. It is fun and I know why people like it. It makes me feel like I don’t have to work as hard as I am working to make good songs. I feel pressure to conform all the time. I tried it [during my writing], but I can’t do it.
GALO: Speaking of conformity, you frequently refer to hipsters on Twitter. What is it about them that you find fascinating, and would you describe yourself as one?
BV: I’m definitely making fun of myself [there]. I’m just another person that talks about [how] “the lyrics matter” and “nobody appreciates art these days.” I recognize it, too, and I’m like, “God, I sound like such a hipster.” I’ll have cigarettes sometimes when I go out and I’ll drink American beer.
GALO: Does such a label affect you as a rapper?
BV: Not at all. Labels are just an easy way to describe something. It doesn’t mean that you are all of those things. For instance, I’m fashionable and I wear dark clothing. I [also] rap about good stuff, try to stay away from the normal stuff and try not to listen to the radio too much, and I have tattoos. All the things that fall under the hipster category.
GALO: Your Instagram tells us a lot about your great sense of humor, especially through your use of memes and funny cartoons. How does wit and humor help you in life and in music?
BV: It’s how I get through everything. That’s how I was raised. My mother was a very funny, witty woman (I don’t know why I’m saying “was,” she’s still alive). That’s the kind of person who raised me — someone who used humor in all aspects of life, just to make things easier, and [made it] seem like you didn’t have to take everything so seriously. That’s just who I am because of that. It helps a lot to pull yourself away and make things funny. My friends and I are ruthless toward each other. We say whatever we want to each other, but it’s okay because we’ve built up a thick enough skin. It can burn and it can be funny.
GALO: Well, you need thick skin in the music industry.
BV: In the music industry, you see people every day writing YouTube comments just to be mean, hoping to get likes. Some of them are actually pretty fun. I don’t respond to anything in an argumentative way. I remember one kid [from] when I was on tour [because] it was the first time I ever had anyone talk shit to me on Twitter. He kept writing: “Bryce Vine, get off my Pandora. You’re terrible.” [He kept writing that] maybe for about two and a half weeks while I was on tour. I would tweet back at this kid a picture of an animal with a celebrity’s head on it. Every single day, he would respond for the first week. “You have nothing to say, you suck,” [he’d write,] and I would send him another [picture] the next day. After about a week and a half, he [said], “Please stop sending me this stuff.” After a couple more days, he stopped responding. And that’s how I dealt with it.
GALO: In an interview with Rhapsody, you said that your all-time favorite album is the first one by Third Eye Blind. I know you said that they’re one of your musical influences, but is there a reason why you chose that album in particular?
BV: That’s been my favorite album since 1997, when it came out. If you actually listen to the lyrics, they’re amazing. The lead singer who writes [the] most, he comes up with the most interesting ways to talk about things, like narcolepsy on a whole song. That’s something I would’ve never heard anyone write a song about. And “Semi-Charmed Life” is my favorite song of all time. They were talking about meth addiction and you wouldn’t even know it if you were listening to the lyrics. So, [just] like that — that’s what I take with me. And the word choices, the literacy, it’s just amazing.
GALO: What other types of music or artists would we find on your playlists?
BV: Right now, I have this British rapper called Jamie T, Rancid, Wallpaper (who I opened for), The Weekend, Frank Ocean, Lupe Fiasco, [and Childish] Gambino. I’m [also] into this rapper Sol, stuff like that.
GALO: I saw on Twitter that you’ve been using Periscope. Before that service Vine and Meerkat were quite popular, but Periscope seems to be the winner in that category now. What are your thoughts about this particular broadcasting app, and how do you hope to continue using it in the near future? Do you ever use it when traveling on the road or perhaps backstage at concerts?
BV: I think it’s awesome. I just found out about it. I was at my best friend’s wedding last weekend, and one of our boys does social media for a company. He told me about Periscope, so I started using it at the rehearsal dinner table, before the wedding when we were all sitting there. I said, “This is amazing.”
I can’t wait to use this when I write a song in the studio, and [when] people just want to know what I’m up to. I think it’s awesome. I want to figure out how to use it live at a show.
GALO: Do you think that it helps bring fans and artists closer together than ever before? What in your eyes are the benefits of it (and are there any shortcomings)?
BV: It’s so new to me, and I don’t think it’s that big yet, but it has the potential. I think it can be “the next best thing” for artists to get close to their fans, and fans can really get close to the artists. I don’t mind it if my fans know what I’m doing 24/7. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ll message them back. I never understood why there really has to be distance.
GALO: Jumping back to your social networks… I noticed that you’re quite outspoken about current events. Given you’re in the limelight, there’s always a bit of a spotlight on you, which gives you the power to guide and inform fans. How do you think your views influence your fan base?
BV: I don’t know if I do that often. I never want to preach about anything to people who care about me because of my music. It’s not fair. They love you because you’ve given them a feeling, and if they disagree with me, I don’t want to have to push kids that just love my music to agree with me socially, economically, or politically. I just think it’s a little cheap when artists do that. I understand if you have a message, but to push it onto people to the extent that they have to choose between continuing to be a fan and agreeing [with you] or not being a fan because they disagree is ludicrous. It should be obvious. If there is a tragedy, you should care.
GALO: Going back to your creativity and vision for a second, your songs are laidback, mood boosters. What should we expect from your sound moving forward?
BV: Now that I have built a fan base, it gives me a chance to try new things and go for different styles and utilize more of a rock background, [even] punk. I have a song coming out that’s called “Street Punks on a Freight Train” that doesn’t really sound like any of the other songs that I’ve put out. I just want to make songs that I’m feeling in the moment, regardless if they’re rap, indie, [or] whatever. It means a lot of different things.
GALO: You have over three million streams on Spotify, which is pretty incredible, but as much as we’ve been enjoying your EP, Lazy Fair, we’re craving more. Are you working on any new songs? And when can we expect a full album from you?
BV: I’m working on a bunch of new songs, stuff that I’ve had for about two years. I think that it’s time I put it out. The “Thug” song is [officially coming] out this week as well as the music video [for that], and I think toward the end of summer, we’re aiming to release another EP of songs. I’m actually working on the album art right now.
GALO: Well, we can’t wait to hear it, Bryce. Thanks for talking with us!