Interview: Five Minutes with Vraell

Vraell has just released his latest single, ‘Expanse’ today. UK based artist, Vraell released his debut single, ‘Fall’ back in November last year. His second single, ‘Grain’ followed behind in February this year. Both songs were well received, gaining over 26 thousand plays on Soundcloud between the two of them. You can listen to it below.

The single continues his ethereal musical presence with the soothing sounds coming through providing the perfect chance to simply breathe. It’s rare that a song that genuinely encourages the listener to care for themselves with the simple comforting tone.

“This song is the echo of our collective pain, but also the hope that we can find peace and quiet in the daily noise within ourselves and come out of it better people.”Vraell discussed his latest single.

Tell us a little about your background. Where are you from?

I’m a producer and composer based in Leeds for the last 5 years or so. I moved up from London to study and decided to stay after graduating.

How has your past influenced your music?

The same way it influences most artists I suppose. I think we write to create this lens so we can peer through at our pasts in an attempt to make sense of it. For me specifically, I guess a lot of my writing is influenced by my constant struggle with isolation and dislocation with other people – and myself.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

I guess folk? I mean, there are guitars somewhere in there, but I often just call it ‘alternative’, because at least then I don’t have to stress out when I’m creating. I use a lot of electronic elements to create my sound so it’s pretty hybrid.

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

I love RY X – I think his choice of arrangement has allowed such a wide range of folk and electronic music to come through, and I think the next 5-10 years is gonna be really exciting because of it.

I also listen to a lot of IDER – I think they’re some of the best songwriters in the industry right now and I always take inspiration from them when writing.

Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver are two other major ones – I think they’re pinnacles of musicality and every artist should aspire to be as innovative as them.

If we gave you the budget to put a line-up together for a mini-fest, who would you book and where would you play?

RY X, Rhye, Novo Amor, Angelo Augustine, Sufjan stevens, Bonobo, Elder Island, Kiasmos, Krakow

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks in the studio?

I do pretty much everything in the box, apart from guitars/woodwinds and strings. A lot of the time I’ll layer my violin parts with samples to thicken them up a little bit, but it depends on how big I want the track. My violinist Chloe Hayward has such a good ear when she records with me and I usually just let her do her thing. She likes layering loads of variations on melodies and harmonies. Then I’ll go and chop it up in post. I’m big into resampling, and also have a lot of digital emulators. I use the prophet REV2 8 Voice and the Juno DS61, but most of my synth work is done in Massive. 

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

No, it’s stayed pretty small still, I obviously want to get to the point of having lots of analogue gear, but that’s a bit of a way off yet!

What has the feedback been like for your first single, ‘Fall’ released in November last year?

Surprisingly good you know, I put it out as a like “let’s see what people think” and it wasn’t until January that it started to get attention from people, and it was nice to have such positive feedback on my first release.

Tell us about your new single, ‘Expanse’. What inspired it?

It’s basically inspired by the struggle of everyday life I guess – and trying to find your inner sanctuary within that noise. My family have always been all over the shop and moving about all the time. So I’m now only getting to the point where I’m starting to get grounded in myself, and also my creativity.

What are your plans for the future?

I wanna keep releasing singles for a while and I’m also in the process of getting a band together so I can start to realise this project for live. We’ll see what happens from there!

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