Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Jeremy Vancaulart

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Jeremy Vancaulart

Don’t ask me how I know him, because I have no idea. Did we meet on Facebook? Maybe… I’m not sure. I don’t really care where we met, I am just glad we did. We have been meaning to do an interview for a long time, but for whatever reason I kept pushing it aside. Then I heard he was going to me in Miami for Miami Music Week, and I figured now was the perfect time to feature him on the blog. We are friends on Facebook, and looking at his photos on Facebook, he had a great time in Miami. I wanted to get this up before Ultra Music Festival, but just glad that we were finally able to connect. It’s been a long time coming, and it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Jeremy Vancaulart.

You jut got back from Miami. You were performing down there during Miami Music Week. How was it?

Miami is out of this world. I played two separate shows, one in the main hall of the conference center and one in North Beach at the Sandbar Lounge. Both shows were great and I got a lot of response on the tracks I dropped. A collective of Toronto DJ’s and indie labels organized the Sandbar Lounge show. Had lunch with DJ Mateusz, from Tangle and Mateusz, and his crowd. Later that evening we all partied at the Max Graham show downtown. The Miami scene, during MMW, is much bigger than I anticipated. Patios are all packed with clubbers, DJs, promoters, and music professionals completely submerged in the scene. It’s a feeling of connectedness that I haven’t been able to experience anywhere else.

Tell me about your relationship with Black Sunset Music.

Black Sunset Music is my independently owned and operated label. I had kicked around the idea of starting a label a few years ago but felt it was too much to bite off during my work life. Last summer I sat down with myself and asked myself what I really wanted in life. I questioned if my day job was what I wanted my future to look like and the answer was clear. I started Black Sunset Music, quit my job, and focused my energy full time on Black Sunset.

How do you know Rebecca Nazz?

Rebecca and I hooked up online in August. I was scouting a female vocalist for some tracks and she dropped me some demos. Her voice stuck out of the 30+ demos I received.

I really like your sound. It is very progressive. Has your sound always been like that, or do you see it changing over the years?

In the beginning I sat down at a DAW and tried to re-create industrial music. I was a big fan of strange music. Nine Inch Nails had led me to industrial from my teenage years. I found sounds like Front 242, Skinny Puppy, and KFMDM to be oddly interesting. It caused me to dig a bit deeper and I found EBM (electronic body music). EBM is danceable industrial music. It closely resembles trance and dance but with a darker harder addition to it. I began creating EBM music and playing it live. I still felt something was missing from it. I felt it was missing a deeper emotional level at times. I found that emotion in Trance music and began my journey with it. I still incorporate some darker vibes in my current music because of the impact industrial music and EBM music had on me.

Who is your favorite DJ?

Super8 & Tab. Those guys KILL IT. I also really love Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, and Deadmau5.

Speaking of Rebecca, tell me more about the hit single “Eternal Love”.

“Eternal Love” is a track Rebecca and I created over the span of three months and three versions. Rebecca nailed the vocals and lyrics very quickly but I wasn’t happy with any version of the song. I created three full tracks around her singing and finally I was happy with the third. When the song was nearing completion I sent it out to Cold Rush, from Estonia. They loved it and began remixing it. I also sent it to Ariel & Danilo, from Argentina, and Dan Chase, from Toronto. The remixes I received were all amazing. Black Sunset sent the track out to the promo list and the support started pouring in. The track received support from Arnej, Beat Service, Store N Forward, Karanda, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Matt Cerf, and more. Quickly it was featured on a Toronto radio show named Feel by KP London and The Karanda Show in the UK.

Jeremy Vancaulart – Eternal Love

Your first instrument was a toy drum set. Do you still have that drum set?

I honestly wish I did. I used to smash that thing when I was two years old and I have a feeling I smashed it to pieces. My dad bought me the set to inspire music in me. He’s a musician and naturally I understood immediately.

I am sure this is hard to talk about, but in 2004, one of your friends was murdered. Can you tell me a little bit more about that friend, what happened, and how that affected you and your music?

I used to live in the suburbs outside of Toronto. We had a deep community of young adults that stuck together and usually partied and socialized outside. There’s nothing to do in the burbs except just that. One night a bunch of us were hanging out and a random traveler showed up telling us he had got on the wrong bus and was lost. He was incredibly friendly and full of life. I asked what he was traveling to and he told me he was going to meet a girl in Hamilton that he loved. Hamilton is about thirty minutes away from the suburbs I lived in. He told us he was from out east (Nova Scotia) and gave everyone a beer. We sat and chatted with him all night hearing stories of traveling and life. By the end of the night he was about to be out on his own so I told him he could crash on my moms couch (I kept a close eye on him). The next few days he stuck around helping my mom with house work, cooking, and cleaning to earn his keep. He eventually started a small life for himself in our suburbs.

I think he forgot about the girl in Hamilton because she may have been one of those Internet weirdos but I don’t know and I’ll never know. Time passed and he became restless of staying in the burbs. It was a destructive lifestyle of alcohol abuse. He called home and arranged his trip back. The night before he left a few guys took him out drinking in a forest. They stabbed him in his throat and back, beat him, submerged him in a shallow river, and sat on his back until he stopped moving. No one knows why this happened. There are hundreds of theories and stories but to be honest none of them matter. Our community lost an incredibly kind, friendly, and big hearted friend, his family lost a son, cousin, and nephew, all at the hands of drunken violence. His murder created a deep dark hole of rage and sadness inside of me. I was so confused that something like this would happen to someone so peaceful and happy. I didn’t know where to turn with my emotions so I turned to music. I created music about the murder, the community, the pain, the sadness, and the regret. It drew on so many different emotions at once but it worked. I was finally feeling a sense of peace and rest. I shared it with people and they cried to it, danced to it, loved it, and supported it. I realized how powerful music was. It was therapeutic. I continued down that path of using music to express myself and to help people express themselves.

The loss cut me deep but the pain I felt enabled me to feel and create expression through music. To me music is more than a slamming track to ignite a room. To me music is a look into someone’s soul.

You are originally from Mississauga, but moved to Toronto at an early age. Are you still living in Canada?

I was born in Mississauga, moved to Toronto, moved back to Mississauga, and then back to Toronto. I currently live in Toronto in the East End (Beaches). I’ve been talking a lot about moving shop somewhere else lately but I’m not sure yet.

Armin is at the top again. How important is the DJ Mag Top 100 to you as a DJ?

It’s important to follow trends; see what the public is into.

Have you ever made a mistake on stage?

I sure have. When I was doing live P.A. stuff back in 2005 I had no clue what mixing was. I just played one track after another like a rock band. I also had no clue what studio mixing was. The track went live and the bass was so loud the music wasn’t distinguishable at all. I tried to follow along but it was a four minute mess.

I started DJing with really terrible belt drive Stanton turntables. I would always play the small rooms of shows because train wrecking was normal. I finally invested in my performances and bought some 1200’s and later CDJ800’s and since then I like to think I’m alright.

Where do you find inspiration for a new track?

Most of my inspiration comes from situations and emotions I’m feeling at a given time. I like to walk on my own with no music, only my thoughts. I’ll start thinking of musical hooks and I’ll record them into my phone. Those thoughts will become the start of a track. By the time the track is done those thoughts usually don’t exist in the track anymore but they have inspired what is now a finished track. I take inspiration from everywhere. If I hear a bass line I like on a television show I’ll quickly record it and allow it to open some doors for me.

Do you have a job outside of music?

Nope. I make all of my money off of music. Selling tracks, playing shows, teaching, producing, and whatever else comes up.

You are all over Facebook and Twitter. Do you manage all of those accounts? What is your favorite social network?

I personally manage all of my accounts and all of Black Sunset’s accounts. My writers manage Black Sunset’s Facebook when I’m swamped but I do most of the work. To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite. I love Facebook for doing major stuff and Twitter for everything else.

Tell me about all your tattoos. I am afraid of needles, so you won’t be seeing a tattoo on me anytime soon!

When I was younger I was into rock, metal, industrial, and EBM. Tattoos are very normal in those scenes so I took to them. I do regret some of them just like my parents said I would. Now I use them in my image and I’m not done just yet.

Paul Oakenfold and Tritonal and Armin all have a podcast. Do you have one? Do you listen to any podcasts on a regular basis?

I listen to Armin’s podcast but I have not set up my own just yet. I do have plans to do one very soon.

I was listening to your music earlier toady on Spotify. What services do you use to consume music?

I use Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Beatport.

Tell me more about “Lies”.

“Lies” is an instrumental single I did a few months back. It has a cold darker feeling in the verses and a deeper emotional feeling in the break and chorus. I created the track with thinking about the emotional journey someone that is being lied to experiences. At first it’s a bit confusing and dark and then comes the sadness and sorrow. The cover art on that single is out of this world. It is exactly what I wanted. These little lies add up and hurt people more than we think and that’s exactly what you feel when you look at the single.

When you feature someone on a track, do you get to pick, or does the label tell you whom you are working with?

It depends. If the track is being created before the label is on board it’s up to me. If the label is producing the track then it’s up to both of us. Because I own Black Sunset Music I generally choose my own vocalist. This may not be the case soon though. Black Sunset is becoming too big for me to manage on my own and it may be a collection of minds that help choose the best artist for the track.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

Nine Inch Nails at the Kool Haus and Deadmau5 at the Rogers Centre. Both of those shows were unbelievably good.

In your opinion, who is the best DJ in the world?

I believe Armin is the best at playing what the crowd feels, Kaskade is the best at telling stories through music, and Deadmau5 is the best at creating an experience.

Do you have any more big shows planned for this year?

I’m playing the Hard Dance Festival in Toronto this summer. I may possibly be doing a show in Europe. I’m also lined up to do some boat parties here and there. I’m already booked to play Miami again next year.

What’s next for Jeremy Vancaulart?

More shows and a studio album. There are also some talks of building a studio with Black Sunset Music somewhere.

Thank you so much for doing this. I know it was a long time coming. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.

Indie musicians need to earn a living. If you don’t want to buy music get Spotify and stream it. It helps a lot.

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