INTERVIEW: ECCA VANDAL
Ecca Vandal is a genre defying artist from Melbourne who has created a unique fusion of rock, hip-hop, punk, pop, ska and electronica. For the past couple of years she has been intriguing listeners on Triple J and impressing audiences across Australia with her energetic live sets. Today she releases her debut self titled album which is an honest, bold and captivating collection of tracks that doesn’t hold back. On the eve of the release I chatted to the singer-songwriter about embracing her vulnerabilities and channeling her roots for this record and found out why jazz is a major inspiration for her. Check out the chat below;
TB: Your debut album officially comes out tomorrow, so on the eve of this massive release how are you feeling, have your nerves fully kicked in yet?
EV: *Laughs* Yes they have! I have a healthy mix of nerves and excitement and just happiness that we’ve come this far I think. It’s a combination of all those feelings but mainly I’m excited I’ve got to say, that emotion has taken the lead at the moment.
TB: How are you going to celebrate it finally coming into the world?
EV: Well tonight we are actually doing a little listening party with a few special people who have been amazing and pre-ordered the album from my website so I’m just throwing a massive party.
TB: I wouldn’t expect anything less to be honest
EV: *Laughs* Exactly, you got to celebrate with people that care and I want to celebrate them from supporting me, it’s gonna be great!
TB: The only previously released song that made the record was “End Of Time”. What connected you with that song in particular that made you want to re-release it for the record?
EV: Well “End Of Time” I thought was a good one to pop on the record mainly because I thought it fit sonically. I think it ties in with a couple of the electronic elements on the record like “Cold Of The World” and even “Cassettes, Lies & Videotapes” to some extent. And I just thought it fit in with the story of the album and also because it was released now that too long ago that it fit within the framework of this period of my life. There’s a couple of reasons there but I think it just ultimately felt right to include it.
TB: Your music is very genre fluid and sees you experimenting with multiple different sounds and influences while having some strong rock roots. When creating this record did you go into the studio knowing how you wanted the album to sound or feel or was it very DIY?
EV: I knew I wanted it to sound and feel like me and I think that started the conversation of “okay who am I and what makes up my musical DNA”. I had to go back to my roots as there’s so much I have absorbed along the way from South African traditional music because that was where I was born to the Sri Lanka heritage in my household. So my parents raised us in a very Sri Lankan home, from the food to the music and the conversation. And then I absorbed my sisters record collection for years and years and I just fell in love with anything from hip-hop to jazz to punk rock. So I had to make the decision whether I was going to stick to just one particular thing that I loved or could I include all of these little pieces that make up who I am. When I went into the studio I was like I want to capture me so I knew to share all of these different sides of my sonic personality.
TB: What were you listening to at the time that inspired the bold and experimental sound and what artists from your childhood did you take influence from?
EV: I’m really influenced by jazz at the roots because I studied it at University and that was something that really inspired me to look beyond the line and the framework. Jazz is in essence always on the outside of the lines, it’s playing on the outside of the scales. So that concept is something I’ve always resonated with. Jazz is in particular something I drew influence from and you may not be able to hear it specifically but thats the philosophy that I connected with. But I’ve taken influence from anyone who was bold like Missy Elliott to the Beastie Boys to Radiohead to Bad Brains who were one of the first pioneers I came across as a young person. Seeing what they did with combining punk and reggae was the most punk thing they ever did. So things like that, but there’s so many artists I’m inspired by, basically anyone who is bold and risk taking I’m drawn to.
TB: I found that the second half of the album had a bit more of an emotional vulnerability while the first half had these raw and honest statements on society, the state of the world and refugees. What was harder for you to write, the heartbreak-love tracks or the politically confrontational ones?
EV: That is a good question! I got to say the hardest part is probably the vulnerable side because it’s really difficult to allow yourself to share those pretty intimate moments and sometimes it’s almost easier to be loud and raucous and quite abrasive because you abandon all your fears and inhibitions through that process. Whereas in the vulnerability and the delicate moments you really need to allow yourself to be in that space of vulnerability, quiet and delicacy and all those intimate feelings because that’s what captured on the microphone. So I think that was a tough one for me because I don’t usually show that side but I’m glad I did because I think it really rounds out the mood and feelings I’ve expressed. It really captures who I am.
TB: Production wise this album is flawless and has so many cool little unique moments. What song are you most excited about performing live from the record when you hit the road next month on your massive national tour?
EV: OHHH! I have two. Number one would be “Cold Of The World”, I think we will have to work out how we are going to do that one live because it was all recorded on analog synths and we can’t really tour the analog synths because they are quite expensive and precious and I don’t want them to be ruined *laughs*. So we are going to figure out how to do that one live. And then I’m really excited about doing “Cassettes, Lies & Videotapes” because it’s just fun. I really just wanna dance to that one and hopefully other people will too.
TB: I’m super pumped to see you perform “Dead Wait” because that little breakdown towards the end is EVERYTHING
EV: YES! I really love that breakdown, how good is it?! That was another genius moment from my producer I must say. That was his little moment that he wanted to keep because to be honest we did a couple of different variations of that song and he was like “Nah we are going to have to keep this little moment and make it something” so the whole back half of that song is his and he did an incredible job.
TB: Okay so let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions, are you ready?
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
EV: To fly
TB: My guilty pleasure song is…
EV: “Say My Name” from Destiny Child
TB: Most people think I….
EV: Most people think I am really extroverted, out going and out there but really I am quite shy. Okay maybe shy is the wrong word but I guess I’m introverted.
TB: If I could form a supergroup with any other band or artist it would be…
EV: Tom York, Zack De La Rocha, Dave Grohl on drums, James Blake on keys and Jeff Buckley on guitar if he was still alive.
TB: Ooooh very interesting, such a strange mix and it would honestly work perfectly for you
EV: *Laughs* Yes, let’s make it happen. Bring Jeff Buckley back!
TB: We will find a way to do it for you, let’s use a hologram
EV: *Laughs* Yes!
You can catch Ecca Vandal this November on her national album tour which sees her playing her biggest headlining shows to date!
ECCA VANDAL TOUR DATES
Friday November 3rd – Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle
Saturday November 4th – Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Thursday November 9th – Cambridge Small Room, Newcastle
Friday November 10th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday November 11th – Rad Bar, Wollongong
Thursday November 16th – Shark Bar, Gold Coast
Friday November 17th – Sol Bar, Coolum
Saturday November 18th – Brightside, Brisbane
Friday November 24th – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Saturday November 25th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne