PRE-SAVE MRI HERE
+ NEW SINGLE “COLOURS” CO-WRITTEN WITH 1975’S ROSS MACDONALD OUT MAY 3RD – LISTEN HERE
FESTIVAL APPEARANCES ANNOUNCED FOR LATE 2023 INCLUDING THE GREAT ESCAPE, SECRET GARDEN PARTY AND BOARDMASTERS
PRAISE FOR VC PINES
“Right new music now from VC Pines, if you like Jamie T, or you like Ezra Collective, or James Blake, I think you are gunna like this tune, it’s called Dangling, VC Pines.” CLARA AMFO, BBC RADIO 1
“VC Pines just keeps getting better and better with every new track he releases” JACK SAUNDERS, BBC RADIO 1
“VC Pines, something very special going on here” HUW STEPHENS, BBC RADIO 1
“A smooth and mellow slice of indie magic, with a jagged edge in its lyricism detailing disempowerment and loneliness, “Running” acts as both an intersection of sounds and influences, as well as a new direction for VC Pines.” THE LINE OF BEST FIT
“”Dangling” is the singer-songwriter’s latest single. Free-falling through outbursts of loneliness and social anxiety, the track’s punctuated by Pines’ charmingly truthful lyricism. Tied together by his vocal idiosyncrasies, it touches many cornerstones of the 28-year-old’s influences, from sonorous electronica to poetically delivered punk. A whirlpool of emotion, the tune is more calculated than previous tracks, allowing him to tell his story more expansively than ever before”. NOTION
“Soul Pioneer” WONDERLAND
“Songs that speak of self-doubt and self-reliance in a constantly fluctuating world, it’s perfect for these anxiety inducing times” CLASH
“His tunes are huge, emotional stories that have the power to both devastate and reassure” DORK MAGAZINE
After the enormous support for his recently unveiled singles “Dangling” and “Running” earlier this year, which have since been supported by BBC Radio 1’s Future Artists w/ Jack Saunders, premiered on BBC 6Music, and received regular rotation on BBC Introducing, VC Pines has now announced the details behind his long-awaited debut album ‘MRI‘ set for released on September 8th via Believe, alongside the vibrant new single “Colours” and announces his debut UK headline tour – tickets on sale 10am Friday 5th May.
With images of brain scans and x-rays becoming a symbol of his latest material these last few months, the title ‘MRI’ comes as no surprise to those paying attention. Recently diagnosed with epilepsy, having suffered with seizures since he was seventeen-years-old, the sound of an MRI has been omnipotent throughout his recent years, and now becomes the inspiration behind his new full-length release.
Speaking about the new LP, he said, “MRI encapsulates the shifts and the scoops that my brain goes through on a daily basis. It covers themes of neurology, love, jealousy, addictions, confusion, nurture and most of all nostalgia. I wanted the opening track, ‘Chamber’ to feel and sound like a seizure. It’s warm and welcoming and soft, much like the pre-sensations I have, but stitched to it is the huge juxtaposition of an MRI scan, stabbing into your ears and carving mental scars like some aggravated, untamed beast until it eventually falls asleep. The album rises and falls, a bit like growing up in London. Sometimes you feel like jumping out into the world or out the window, and other days you need to dive down and be alone in your thoughts. As an independent artist, creating this was a difficult but rewarding process, especially being able to retain full creative control. It’s tough exposing yourself and your insecurities on a record, but I really feel like a weight has been lifted.”
Showcased by the new lead single “Colours“, this new outing perfectly reflects the broad and inventive direction VC Pines has been pursuing since the start of 2023. Bringing together a delicious mix of indie, R&B, and soul influences throughout, he looks to continue his luxurious sound once again with this dynamic new effort.
Adding about “Colours”, he said, “Colours was written between myself, Ross MacDonald (The 1975) and songwriter/producer Ed Thomas. It takes the piss out of drunken calls to your ex. The mid section hits like a sudden wave of regret that you’d feel the morning after, until inevitably you get drunk again and your cares are thrown back out the window.
“I also wanted the song itself to sound and move like a London night bus journey on the top deck. Certain elements come in and out like the characters you encounter.We wrote the song at Ed’s studio, and later me and Ross built on the production together. I loved each step of the process and letting the tune grow and grow until it explodes into the fast paced traffic that it is at the end.”
To celebrate the release of his debut album, VC Pines is also planning an extensive run of headline shows – tickets on sale 10am Friday May 5th HERE and festival appearances later this year, including slots at The Great Escape, Secret Garden Party, Boardmasters and many more. See below for the full list of live shows coming up.
VC Pines UK Tour dates:
12/09 Brighton, The Hope & Ruin
13/09 Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
14/09 Bristol, Rough Trade
15/09 London, Lafayette
29/09 Sheffield, Sidney and Matilda
30/09 Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
01/10 Glasgow, The Hug & Pint
02/10 Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
03/10 Newcastle, Zerox
04/10 Manchester, YES
VC Pines Festival Appearances:
12/05 The Great Escape
08/07 El Dorado Festival
09/07 Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul
21/07 Secret Garden Party
28/07 Rock Oyster Festival
29/07 Altitude Festival
06/08 Valley Fest
VC Pines (Violet Coloured Pines) is Jack Mercer, the smart, articulate alt-soul singer-songwriter whose gripping tales of love, loss and late nights in London keep growing in depth and sophistication. After acclaimed EPs Concrete (2021), Skully (2020) and Indigo (2019), Jack’s ready to release his first VC Pines album, which tells the tale of “someone struggling with mental health, juggling relationships, friendships, addictions and emotions, while being a creative person.”
MRI is 10 songs that aren’t trapped in obvious labels and categories, an album that’s in some ways an easy listen, yet displaying a depth and breadth most of his peers can’t match. The tyranny of the playlist can be a prison for artists, but Jack’s determined to furrow his own path, somewhere in the alternative hazy meadows between r&b, indie and soul. He put the album together over a year, from autumn to autumn, finally in full creative control, running in and out of studios with a variety box of producers, each with their own twist on VC Pines, going wherever the muse called.
MRI, of course, is magnetic resonance imaging – the almost-magical medical technique that scans your body with magnets, searching for evidence. You’ll hear its implacable, eerie yet weirdly comforting pulse on the album’s scene-setting opener, Chamber. “You have the juxtaposition of a thing that feels like a seizure – depressing and warm but feels nice,“explains Jack, “with the sharpness from an MRI scan stitched into it.”
Jack was 17 when he started having seizures. “I was panicking a lot about it. I thought it was me going mad. I got sent to a neurology department and had some [MRI] scans and got a [temporal lobe] epilepsy diagnosis.”
“I thought epilepsy meant light sensitivity, but that’s only 3% of epileptic cases. I get triggered by memories and sense, so I have synaesthesia linked to my epilepsy – I’ll associate letters, numbers, sounds or chords with a colour which ties to an emotion. So if I’m writing or producing a song I’ll feel like this is definitely green, or this verse is purple. In my mind’s eye, I’m seeing a cloud or haze of colour. Some people have synaesthesia where they hear something and see a hallucination, a shooting of colour across the room. I don’t have that, but my favourite moments are purple in my head.”
Finally, Jack’s life made a little more sense following the diagnosis. His mum reminded him that he would have odd little spells as a kid where he complained of feeling funny but could never work out why. That persisted into his teens, and what would turn out to be a serious neurological condition got confused with normal teenage exploits – he had no idea his brain worked differently to most people.
“At the time [my epilepsy] definitely was mixed up with drugs and drink,” Jack says. “So after my diagnosis I calmed a lot of that down, but it’s still in my life.” New song Damn Different digs into the toxicity and temporary nature of relationships based on intoxicants. Of course, Jack’s not as reckless as he was when he was a teenager.
“I’ve started telling myself nothing good happens after 3am!” he laughs. But living in a city like London, for a storyteller like Jack, means a trove of experiences to seek out, the biggest mirror possible to see yourself in, indelible memories to be made. And having that creative spark is something which has always kept him tethered to reality.
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