San Francisco's Vin Sol is a musician who knows his history. He has been honing his craft since he was in his teens and now he commands his sonic career as he hears it and feels it. He knows what he is doing and he is doing it right with his no-nonsense blend of not quite techno, not quite house music.
On his debut "Instinct" EP on the renowned underground label Ultramajic, Vin Sol conjures up a work that is determined to heat any smoke-filled late night party quickly passed a simmer to a boil. All throughout, you can feel tinges of homage, but even more so, a very precise surgical hand with regards to pacing and overall production. He knows what works best when and where, and he has the refined touch to seamlessly sew it all together for something dynamic and vibrant.
Vin may be a very active man in 2016, but we caught up with him to pick his brain on all things Vin Sol, Club Lonely and beyond. Here is our exclusive interview.
Everything's coming up Vin Sol it seems! Your EP on ULTRAMAJIC definitely seems like a match made in heaven. Was this release a long time in the making?
It really just actually happened in the moment. Charlie Matrixxman introduced us, and I had some tracks that both Charlie and I felt were a good match. We sent them over to Jimmy Edgar of Ultramajic. Jimmy was super into it, did a couple tweaks, and they were ready to go.
I think the sound is very cohesive. What Jimmy's been doing and some of the stuff that I do, it really makes a lot of sense.
In the Vin Sol repertoire, where does Instinct sit contextually? Furthering your aesthetic and vision, or how do you feel it is in your catalog?
I think there's been a progression. The earlier stuff was a lot more classic sounding. This stuff, it's getting a little bit more techno, but it's not techno. It's very stripped down but there's a lot more attention to detail than there was before.
If it's not techno and it's not necessarily house, what would you classify it beyond just good music?
There's a gray area, and I think this is that gray area. You can play this stuff in a house set. I think you can play it in a techno set. Just from the feedback that I've already gotten, it's split down the middle. That's who's playing it, techno guys and house guys, which is really cool to me. When I deejay, I like to play a little bit of both. I actually probably play more house music than I do techno, but I do like to slip in a little techno here and there.
If you had to boil down Vin Sol to your essence, how would you simply describe Vin Sol as an artist?
I'm a huge record nerd. I'm obsessed with music and I have been since I was a little kid. I'm just music obsessive. I collect soul 45s just as much as I collect house music. I have a room full of rap records. I've been DJing since I was eighteen. I've been making mixes even before that, so I've just been always obsessed with music and figuring out ways to put it together. When I was in grade school, I would make mixes for car trips for our Walkmans on cassette players.
You are a well-known and respected figure in San Francisco. What do you have to say on the topic of the San Francisco scene, past, present, and future?
San Francisco's always in a state of flux. It's never always the same, so if people are mourning the death of San Francisco, it's complete and total bullshit. It's always in flux. In the past, if you go back, things change. They're always going to change. There's no way in hell you're going to get away with a full moon party on Baker Beach right now. It's not feasible, so that's not going to happen. It's moved on to something else.
Honestly, you see all the clubs getting shut down all over the world. We're actually opening clubs here, so it's not that bad. Everyone tries to make it into a dire situation when it's not. You have Sunset parties. We have Honey parties. You have Housepitality every single Wednesday at F8. You have Lights Down Low. You have Club Lonely. I wish I could get a weekend off. You can't, there's so much stuff to do.
Your latest contribution to the San Francisco community and to music is your Club Lonely Party and the label. What is Club Lonely all about?
I had been wanting to do a party called Club Lonely for a long time, and I'd been wanting to do something with Primo because I love deejaying with Primo. Jeremy, that's my boy. I taught him how to deejay. I raised that little youngin. I wanted to do it. I also felt like there was a void for people who aren't really house music-heads and they aren't really comfortable going into bigger nightclubs. There was that space open. The hard part was finding a place to do it. Once we found the place to do it, we just went full steam ahead. The artwork that Primo does is such a big part of the whole aesthetic. We gave it a shot, and it really, really worked.
It actually brought in people that I wouldn't even have thought would've started coming. It actually merged a lot of different scenes together, which is really cool. With the label, I was making tracks just for our party. They sounded good, so I was like, "You know, I don't think stuff is really for Soo Wavy, and there's only so much I can put out with ... " At that moment, I was pretty much just putting stuff out with Clone, and they're not going to put out five records a year for me. It's not going to happen. It was born out of necessity. Once you see Primo's artwork on the twelve-inch label, it just makes sense. Jeremy and Primo started making tracks, too, and this ended up being at the club, and then it was like, "Okay, put that out." Now we're actually signing people from outside of San Francisco, that are making stuff that is in line with what we play at the party.