With rabid fans and internet acclaim DJ/Producer, Vanic, has breathed new energy into electronic music with his pop-perfect yet indie-minded future bass. Known for his powerfully melodic and gracefully composed remix work, the musician born Jesse Hughes achieved breakout success with his 2014 take on machineheart’s “Circles” (a track that earned over a million SoundCloud plays within a week). Newly signed to Disruptor Records/Sony RAL, Vanic is now set to deliver his first original productions, further revealing the breezy ingenuity of his brightly textured twist on electronic dance music.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Hughes began playing piano at the age of three and spent his childhood studying classical and jazz piano, despite his divergent musical tastes: “I grew up as a metalhead, I liked everything fast and heavy,” he recalls. First introduced to dance music via the breakneck tempos of hardstyle and happy hardcore, Hughes started experimenting with production in high school and soon delved deeper into the electronic world. Although he headed off to college to study business, a family tragedy ultimately compelled him to change direction. “I realized that music was what I really wanted to do with my life, so I got a job and saved up to buy everything I needed to build my own studio—and then I just dove right in from there,” Hughes explains.
As he sharpened his vision and refined his piano-driven artistry, Hughes began to hone in on the melody-heavy sensibility and impossibly feel-good dynamic that would come to define his sound. In 2012, after adopting the name Vanic, he released a remix of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which quickly gained massive attention online and greatly broadened his following. He continued breaking new ground with the release of “Circles” and then maintained the momentum by remixing the likes of CHVRCHES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Lana Del Rey. At the same time, Vanic used his remix work to support up-andcoming left-of-center artists (including Zella Day and K.Flay), an endeavor that remains a passion for Hughes today.
With “Samurai (ft. Katy Tiz)” marking his Disruptor Records/Sony RAL debut, Vanic continues to create remixes and, in the summer of 2016, released his reworking of F.Stokes’s “Shaka Zulu” (praised as an “unbridled emotional affair” by Your EDM and an “exuberant work with a stimulating atmosphere” by Earmilk). In addition to expanding his repertoire by producing for other artists, Vanic brought his genre-blurring vitality to the major festival circuit with sets at Coachella, Electric Zoo, Firefly, and Fashion Meets Music Festival.
While Vanic’s summery synth lines and airy arrangements are worlds away from the death metal of his youth, Hughes realizes that his metalhead inclinations have closely shaped his sound through the years. “I’m really inspired by vibrato and all those crazy things that musicians can do with just their fingers on the guitar, and I try to bring those sounds into the electronic world by translating them into synth,” he says. “In a way, it’s like I’m re-creating a band in electronic form, and one thing that connects the two is it’s all completely based on raw emotion.”