VC PINES RELEASES NEW EP ‘CONCRETE’ TODAY THROUGH THEORY RECORDS
SHOWCASED BY THE NEW SINGLE ‘COMPARED TO SOMEONE ELSE’
LONDON SHOW ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH JULY 28TH SOLD OUT
“VC Pines just keeps getting better and better with every new track he releases” – JACK SAUNDERS, BBC RADIO 1
“Soul Pioneer” – WONDERLAND
“VC Pines, something very special going on here” HUW STEPHENS, BBC RADIO 1
“Songs that speak of self-doubt and self-reliance in a constantly fluctuating world, it’s perfect for these anxiety inducing times” CLASH
““Smoke Without Fire”, a soulful blast of sax, squidgy synths and an especially groovy guitar line redolent of the one on “Use Me” by Bill Withers. The track comes from his forthcoming EP, Concrete, which you should definitely keep an eye out for.” THE INDEPENDENT
“His tunes are huge, emotional stories that have the power to both devastate and reassure””
Having already made a huge impression with his highly-praised singles ‘Smoke Without Fire‘, and Bad Sounds collaboration ‘See You Soon‘ in recent months, which were supported by Jack Saunders’ on his BBC Radio 1 show, BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, BBC 6Music’s Shaun Keavney, and Radio X’s Jon Kennedy, as well as landing with online tastemakers Wonderland, The Independent, Under The Radar, SPIN and many more, VC Pines has now returned to release his eagerly-awaited new EP ‘Concrete’, alongside the new single ‘Compared To Someone Else’.
Following on from his 2020 collection ‘Skully’, ‘Concrete’ is more of a reflection of his environment after finding himself locked down in the capital over the last year. The months spent in isolation gave him more of a nostalgic and personal outlook on the world, which he ended up channelling into his latest EP.
The release’s final single ‘Compared To Someone Else’ follows a similar vein to his previously shared cuts, conjuring up more of his smooth and intoxicating demeanour. With its shimmering and soulful direction, this new effort sees him in a more heartfelt guise, looking back on past relationships and revisiting the pain of them ending. The track was written with Dan D’Lion, Produced by Jonathan Quarmby and mixed by Bad Sounds.
Speaking about the single, he said, “Lyrically, ‘Compared To Someone Else’ is romantic, nostalgic and fearful. It’s about looking back over times of lost love and having a fear of losing it all and in the end, being compared against something potentially more fulfilling. The song also has an understanding of the general day to day of being in a relationship, which for me feels like it’s reaching boiling point. Something has to happen. The main melody has always reminded me of a time I waited for hours in a hotel in Tokyo that had this 30 second jazz melody on a loop literally all day long. It drove me mad. But I wanted to replicate that monotony in an emotional, nostalgic way.”
While adding about the EP, “The Concrete EP was written during and just after the nationwide lockdown we had last year so it was a period of time for me where I was really able to just stop for a second and think about where I am right now as a person and as an artist, and focus on the things I really yearn for – Where I want to be, the things I want to do and also to reflect on things that have happened in my life and conversations that have shaped me.
“I get a lot of my inspiration from imagery and film, and had a lot of time to delve into that obviously… I tend to watch something or focus on an image and write to what I think fits, even if it’s a total juxtaposition to what I’m looking at (they’re often my favourites). I had this image developing in my head of London at night, towards the end of a night out, when nothing good for you tends to happen… This idea of stumbling round the street lamps and lying face down on the concrete hit me and that’s what I wanted to encapsulate with these songs, the image of London nightlife, following several themes of romance, nostalgia, paranoia and overthought, guilt and forgiveness. I think the fact that we were locked down, couldn’t go out and couldn’t see people really built this idea of busy London nightlife into a stronger visual in my head as a way to try and experience it and block out the cabin fever.
“I looked at some of the eras and events that have really inspired me, and I fucking wish I could have been in London during the 70’s. There were soooo many different looks, sounds, events and ideas going on and I think a lot of it came together and found its way into the music. I want to fit in a space as an artist that makes you listen and think ‘that’s gonna be sick to see it live’ so I wanted to incorporate the huge sounds developed in the 70’s from funk, soul and Motown bands but also use similar instrumentation to my previous work with the Violet Collective so we’ll see if that’s been achieved when we can finally get back to touring eh.”
‘Concrete’ EP Tracklist:
Smoke Without Fire
See You Soon
Compared To Someone Else
VC Pines will be making his live return on Wednesday 28th July for a sold out show at St Pancras Old Church, London.
Speaking about the upcoming show he gave this insight, “I knew I wanted to do an EP launch show to celebrate ‘Concrete’ (just like we all would have been able to do a year and a half ago without question) but there’s still a bit of uncertainty and all that. My team and I have been looking at some weird and wonderful places that could be adapted to any sudden changes but also maintain that intimate feeling and so we found St Pancras Old Church! I’m desperate to showcase the new tunes for the first time and finally play live to you all again. The intimacy of this venue will provide a unique experience for us all and I think the tunes are going to sound beaut in there. Hope you can make it. VC x”
Born and raised in London, Mercer is possessed with an uncanny ability to transport his listeners to completely new territory. On his new EP, ‘Concrete’, he leads you through a labyrinth of side-streets, dive bars and late-night haunts, introducing you to a whole host of characters along the way – Crooning over beats and brass that meander under street-lamps and through fog, searching for something.
Mercer describes the songs on Concrete as “purple” in colour; he has synaesthesia, one of the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy, which he was diagnosed with aged 17. It’s a condition that makes Mercer better equipped than most to delve into those themes of nostalgia, given how it can cause sudden sensations of déjà vu. “I thought I was going mad,” he says, of the period before his diagnosis, when he was studying performance at a local college. “I’d have blackouts, then really strong nostalgic episodes.” It’s how he landed on the ‘Pines’ in his artist’s name. “Me and my parents went to Wolfeboro in America when I was a kid, where those big pines are. And when I started having seizures, I kept remembering those trees.”
His latest material is a showcase for many of Mercer’s talents, not least among them his extraordinary voice. It’s one capable of filling stadiums and festival fields, as he showed with his previous band supporting the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, Patti Smith and Kings Of Leon. While still a powerhouse vocalist, he now offers yearning melodies, beautiful cadence, and a melancholy croon redolent of Grammy-winning artist Brittany Howard.
Fans will recognise Mercer’s favoured themes of romance, confusion and loneliness from 2020’s VC Pines EP, the critically lauded ‘Skully’, which included the sublime single ‘Bluebirds’. Inspired by the poem of the same name by Charles Bukowski, the song saw Mercer attempting to shake off the trappings of modern life in order to return to the best version of himself. Meanwhile Cracks’, which has more than a quarter of a million streams on Spotify, dealt with the fallout from a relationship grown toxic with unspoken resentment. Concrete is an ambitious step up from that impressive debut; the latest VC Pines work is a project that lives and breathes. As Mercer puts it: “These songs are about experiences, hedonism, and the things we learn from.”