Interview: Vanilla Sugar
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? My dad is a musician and I believe that is what got me started. I began piano lessons at the age of 4 and kept going from there. If I wasn’t playing music, I would most likely be working somewhere in the medical field. I am actually a CNA!
What do you like to do when your not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? When I am not playing music, I like to take photos of other bands. Being exposed to all types of different performances and genres can be incredibly eye opening when it comes to thinking about how you create things.
How long has your band been around? A few years!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? I am based out of Los Angeles, CA. There’s always something happening here music wise so it pushes you to do your best.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you. The PG13 version is that Vanilla Sugar seems like such a cute, fun name - when the music is in your face and powerful. I love throwing off new audience members. They never know what to expect. The R rated (and completely true) version is this…I wanted a name for this that somehow had my name tied in all at once and not at all. My nickname is JP Vanilla. Hence the “Vanilla” in Vanilla Sugar….the “Sugar” comes from the term “Kitty sugar” (NSFW). Put those two together and you’ll see what Vanilla Sugar means!
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. The best show I played was in Anchorage, AK for Warped Tour. There were thousands of people there, vibing along to the music and appreciating it. My merch line was 2 hours long after the show. Truly amazing! The worst show would have to be somewhere south of LA. The venue wasn’t open on time, and when the bands got there to load in, the owner came out and said the show was canceled. Horrible experience considering that some bands drove 12+ hours to get to the show. I felt really bad for the fans too.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? My favorite venue to play at so far would be Scout Bar in Houston, TX. The sound there is incredible!! The light show is also the best I’ve seen. I would love to have a chance to play at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Such a huge stage and awesome sound!
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket? I would have Grimes, Sleigh Bells, FKA Twigs, and Billie Eilish on the line up.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band? There are a lot of road blocks on the path to success but you have to remember that this is YOUR dream and what YOU want. Push past it, and don’t give up. You can be successful as long as you put in the work. It’s not easy.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be? To not let people steer you away from what you believe in and what is true to you. To not be afraid to try something new.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? ThisDarkPlace means the most to me off of the new album. It’s about me on the outside, what you see, versus me on the inside, the Darker Part of me. I’m constantly in a fight with myself inside of my head. I have never talked about it before, so this was very relieving for me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? I love playing “So Pretty”. It’s very fun and upbeat - full of energy! I get requested to play Lost My Mind a lot - also a fun song!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? It usually starts with the music. Typically a synth melody. The vocals are added last! Life experiences inspire me. That’s where I get all of my lyrical content from. I know an upsetting situation could make for some great song lyrics that other people could also connect to.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? I like for people to know they are not alone. There is someone else out there, like them.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? I fight with myself a lot on music, but generally come to terms with it. It’s hard for me to say anything is actually truly 100% finished. Songs are always evolving.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up? I am going on tour this Fall, with my new single and video dropping in September, followed by the album in October! I am so excited. I also host Facebook / Instagram Live every Thursday night at 8pm PST. Please join me, I love to get to know my fans!