Bryce Vine Talks ‘Carnival’ Album, Headline Tour, and Movies: Interview
‘Cause you’re the next Drew Barry… and now we all want more of Bryce Vine.
With over 100 million Spotify streams, “Drew Barrymore” is the breakthrough, Gold-certified single by rapper, Bryce Vine. Shortly after its release in December 2017, the single soared on Top 40 radio, peaking in the Top 15 and leading to performances on Late Night with Seth Meyers and the MTV VMAs pre-show in 2018. Now, with his debut album, Carnival on the way, via Sire Records, it’s exceedingly clear the rising LA-based artist is ready to claim his rightful territory.
Born Bryce Ross-Johnson in New York, Bryce Vine is a genre-bending singer-songwriter on the brink of an illustrious career. His years at Berklee College of Music led to a lasting friendship with producer Nolan Lambroza aka Sir Nolan and the creation of Vine’s debut EP, Lazy Fair in 2014. The EP included his anthemic single, “Sour Patch Kids” — which laid the foundation for a flourishing fanbase and picked up over 25 million streams in the process. Night Circus followed in 2016 and proved to be more addicting than Vine’s debut. Tracks “Glamorama” and “Bang Bang” stood out prominently, giving fans more reason to keep a pulse on Vine. Since then, he’s shared the stage with G-Eazy, Big Sean, MAX, released some fire singles, and is now gearing up for his very own U.S. tour. Read on.
We caught up with Bryce Vine ahead of his first ever headlining tour to discuss his forthcoming debut album, Carnival, touring, movies, vinyl records, and more. See our conversation below and don’t forget to re-watch the video for “Drew Barrymore.”
M: Your breakthrough single, “Drew Barrymore” arrived right at the end of 2017 and has been unstoppable. How does that feel?
Bryce Vine: I’m extremely grateful for all of it, it’s been a really crazy experience. I’ve been working on my music for a while and this is just the first song that opened the floodgates for me. It’s unlike anything I’ve made before and just a huge, fun song for me to perform as well.
M: I was watching the music video for the track earlier and it’s really interesting, it has a bit of an A.I. theme. What can you tell us about it?
Bryce Vine: In the video, I portray a guy who has lost the love of his life. He’s trying to reanimate her, but she isn’t really able to remember or do much. In a few scenes, he’s trying to show her how to do different things — like smile, play tennis, eat food — and she’s just not getting it. In one scene, I’m trying to show her how to swing a tennis racket, in another we’re dancing, so it’s just a fun video we made for the track. I love the twist at the end, though. Just as the scene is closing, she looks into the camera as if she were in charge the entire time and knew about everything going on.
M: Yeah, the last scene is really what made me think of A.I. and romance films — I know you’re a bit of a movie buff. Do you ever watch A.I.-related films or were you at all inspired by them for the video?
Bryce Vine: Maybe a little, actually. I haven’t seen that many recently, but definitely into sci-fi, A.I., and all of that — Ex Machina and Attack the Block — those were both great films. I just love the idea that there’s a chance she was aware of it all.
M: Would you say your forthcoming album, Carnival is inspired by that same notion of romance as “Drew Barrymore”?
Bryce Vine: With “Drew Barrymore,” I wanted to make a song for the underrepresented women of the world. The girls who aren’t necessarily clubbing every weekend, but are instead having wine dinners with their friends. I wanted to make a different kind of song for them because they aren’t always written about in rap or pop music. I’m inspired by every day things, good people, and just events around me. I just recently went to Mexico with three friends I’ve known my entire life and it was amazing. I get really inspired by real people, so the album will be inspired by that.
M: What else can you tell us about your upcoming album, Carnival?
Bryce Vine: Carnival is really going to be a body of work, I’m really excited for it. It’s not going to be just eight radio singles somewhat put together. I want someone to pop this on vinyl while organizing books, doing things around the house, cooking, and just being normal people. I want people to really enjoy it. There are definitely some love songs on there, and another called “Foghorn Leghorn” that talks about the world as it is right now, or at least how I see it. It talks about how Facebook is now considered the news and it touches on gun control. That song is sort of unique from the rest of the album, because I wouldn’t say the album is by any means political. I don’t really think music is the right platform for that and people often mistake being well-known with sharing facts and the two just aren’t inextricably linked at all. They’re all opinions.
Aside from that track, I have another that I wrote about screwing up a great relationship, and a few other similar tracks, so I think really the album is just about release. With Carnival, I was envisioning a lot of colors and there being a lot going on around it, a festival of sorts. I’ve included interludes and have really tried to make it a cohesive body of work, so definitely excited to share it soon.
M: That sounds amazing and we can’t wait to hear it. I always enjoy an album that considers how it’ll sound on vinyl since I like crate digging and collecting. Do you collect vinyl at all?
Bryce Vine: I wouldn’t say I necessarily collect but I have a few that I listen to somewhat frequently. One is a Paul Simon album, then Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. What’s in your collection?
M: I have a pretty vast collection and really enjoy crate digging for random items. I think Adele’s 19 sounds great on vinyl, FKA Twigs’ LP1, and I was recently given a Kanye album via secret Santa that I liked. I like collecting vinyl from countries I visit and a friend gave me this vinyl from India that I listen to randomly.
Bryce Vine: Oh, I really love that!
M: Thanks. I think you’ve mentioned that you collect movie tickets? What’s the last movie you saw?
Bryce Vine: <laughs> Yeah, I do — they just retain such strong memories for me, so I’ve just always held onto them. I just saw Venom with my mom. Tom Hardy is in it and he’s great, I thought the movie was really good too. I’d say I’m a pretty tough critic. I also just saw Molly’s Game and that was an incredible movie. You need to see it.
M: Cool, I’ll definitely watch it. I’m also definitely catching your next performance in D.C. You’ve got a sold-out show set for February 8th at Union Stage. How does it feel to see so many dates sold-out already?
Bryce Vine: Honestly, it just blows me away. Even though I see that, I still feel unsure and wonder if anyone will show up. I used to perform any chance I got, on top of cardboard box stages at colleges for five or so people, or at a party, or really just wherever I could. I’m used to people not caring about the music I was making, and they shouldn’t have, but I’ve kept at it and it’s crazy to see a crowd showing up now, them singing along and knowing the words, and their reactions to my tracks.
M: You played a great set at 9:30 Club recently while opening for MAX. This must feel different given it’s your first headlining tour.
Bryce Vine: It really does. I’ve never played 5 sold-out shows in a row, so that’s huge for me and an amazing way to start the tour next month. I’ll be playing a lot of the new material and the venues are more intimate, so really wanting the shows to be more personal and to connect with my fans. I really want it to be an inclusive environment for everyone.
M: It should be a great time. With an album on the way and a sold-out tour just weeks away. Can we expect a new single soon? If so, what can you tell us about it?
Bryce Vine: Yeah, I have a new single coming out at the end of February and I’m really looking forward to dropping this one. It has a really cool feature on it, but I can’t say much about it just yet. I’ll give you a hint though — their name is just a combination of random letters.