Hailing from Douglasdale, Johannesburg, South Africa, Vanco is a talented and versatile DJ/Producer who is making a name for himself in the world of Dance music. Known for his unique style that incorporates an African influence, Vanco has created a sound that sets him apart.
Photo credit: Vanco – Facebook
Having released successful tracks on his own label ALGRA, as well as on renowned labels such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Get Physical, Defected Sondela Recordings, and more, Vanco’s music has been well-received by audiences worldwide. He has gained recognition from industry leaders and has received support from notable DJs such as Black Coffee, Themba, &ME, Pete Tong, and Louie Vega.
In a recent interview with EG, Vanco discussed his latest single ‘Kitchen’, offering a glimpse into his upcoming album and the exciting projects that lie ahead.
EG: Hi Vanco! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?
Vanco: Hello, I am feeling fresh & super grateful to be doing what I love the most – watching sunset in Ibiza at Sunset Ashram.
EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your new single, ‘Kitchen’! What has the initial reception been like? Do you remember the first time you played this one live?
Vanco: Hands in the air, eyes wide open, and by the time the drop kicked in its game over. The crazy thing is everywhere I play I always get special feedback from the people and that’s so motivating.
EG: So, what can your fans expect to find on ‘Kitchen’? Is there an emotional trigger or concept driving this cut?
Vanco: Time to put on those dancing shoes on and hit the club/festival kind of mood.
“A reason to live for, because If we don’t carry that in us then there will be no point in living & striving to reach our goals”
EG: ‘Kitchen’ follows up on the release of ‘HOYA’, which also stems from your forthcoming ‘iThemba’ EP. Where does the name ‘iThemba’ come from? Is there anything you can anticipate regarding the EP?
Vanco: Derived from the Zulu language ‘iThemba’ means hope which explores emotions, evoking longing, determination, and unwavering optimism. A reason to live for, because If we don’t carry that in us then there will be no point in living & striving to reach our goals. I definitely want to spread a positive meaningful across through the music to unite, transcend boundaries, and awaken the flame of hope within us all.
EG: What was the recording process for ‘iThemba’ like? How does it differentiate from your previous body of work?
Vanco: The longest I have worked on a project in my music career, also because of my surroundings. The team I am working with currently, which gives me challenges & a different ear contributing to the product and ideas on how to move forward. I had to create this piece of work during the Summer where I had to focus on being on the road, playing music, and being present in creating music. This one definitely took me out of my comfort zone. However, I am happy and so excited about the sound and confident in it. I just would appreciate if the same energy is being conveyed and received by the listeners. It would mean the world to me, just like any other creative.
EG: Now, let’s take it back to your origins…How and when did you first come across electronic dance music? Are you still attracted to the first genre you got into, or did your musical taste evolve over time? How does South African music seep into your sound?
Vanco: Fun (laughter)… I come from a background and a culture that embraces soul music. As a nation, I think looking at our history which has been embodied in us for most, somehow when we cry, we sing, when we are happy, we sing and music has been a tool for expressing our emotions in South Africa until today. We communicate our message in that way. Back to your question – a lot has changed since the time I started, however, I strongly maintain my love for music to date, and it’s just a matter of adapting to the new sound, still being true to myself & having a balance of current times. Music evolves, as we as people also evolve.
EG: Social media seems to play a very prominent role in an artist’s development. But is it taking too much away from the actual music and making it more about numbers and the visual aspect?
Vanco: We’ve just got to adapt and see what works for us. Imagine when music software came into play, I wonder how that made musicians who play organic/ live instruments felt. So many layers to these but I choose to look at this way. This is a phase too, that shall evolve but we have to carry on adapting as much as it’s a controversial topic.
“A lot has changed since the time I started, however, I strongly maintain my love for music to date”
EG: Have you come across any good books, movies, or records recently that you’d personally recommend? Where do you look for inspiration?
Vanco: The movie ‘Ray’ will always be my all-time favorite. I get so inspired and on top of it, Jamie Foxx is the main actor in the movie doing a perfect role.
EG: What’s next for Vanco? Where can your fans catch you next? What new milestones are you looking forward to in 2023?
Vanco: What’s next is for me to continuously stay grounded and highly motivated to see beyond, have a bigger vision. Walk the path, and leave it better than before, so it’s easier for the next generation to come. My short-term goal is to expand the base of people knowing my music and get more platforms to listen to what I have got in me, from festivals to clubs, to press/blogging to the music itself.
Vanco’s ‘Kitchen’ is now available via ALGRA. Stream and download here.