Vincent is the recently rebranded moniker of the Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based producer formerly known as XVII. The classically trained pianist from Winnipeg has gathered up substantial support in the past year thanks to a quality-over-quantity methodology along with a willingness to inject beautiful melodies into otherwise bangarang trap anthems. In the past year, Vincent’s originals and remixes (Flume, Alison Wonderland, Meek Mill & Drake) have taken the Soundcloud community by storm, stacking up millions of plays from a diverse lineup of hip hop, electronic, and pop-inclined listeners.
This week, Vincent will be checking off his next milestone for the project, playing his first shows in the United States (and ever as Vincent) with a supporting performance in Detroit with RL Grime and another in Chicago with Dyro. To coincide with the busy week ahead, we’ve asked Vincent to take over this week’s MiniMix, and he’s delivered with a half hour of bass-infused tunes from the likes of Rustie, Jack Ü, and Ricky Remedy along with a grip of his own originals and edits.
Listen in to the MiniMix below, and read on for a Q&A with Vincent where he chats about his name change, musical background, and how he feels about playing his first shows this weekend.
Thanks for taking some time with us man. To start out, can you fill us in a little bit about the name change from XVII to Vincent earlier this fall? Do you foresee the Vincent project to have a different direction than that of your previous moniker?
I was going by XVII as I was searching for an identity. I was experimenting with different sounds, and constantly going through new musical experiences, I didn’t want to put a name or label on anything. XVII was just a variable for me as I began developing as an artist… but when my identity came to me, I went with the most authentic name I could think of, which was simply my own middle name, Vincent. So as far as the direction of music goes, my energy will still be evident, but first and foremost it’s going to be authentic to the period of time that I’m creating in.
What is your musical background? What was the musical path that lead you to where you are now artistically?
I’ve been playing piano since I was 4 years old, hours and hours each week even from that young age. So by the time I was 10 or 11 I had developed a taste for all kinds of music, then going from millennium rap to electronic music and current hits. Through those eras, playing piano through high school and naturally moving into digital production, that’s what brought me to working on the space I’m working on today.
Your productions have clear cut hip hop influence. Who were some of your favorite rappers growing up as well as any that you’re especially into today?
There were only a few rappers I used to consistently listen to because, as a listener, I kind of tend to tune out the vocals – and they essentially become an accessory to the production, for me. The rappers that have become my favorites, have been the ones on the most complete records. Lately though, I’ve been listening to a lot of the OVO roster (PartyNextDoor, Drake, Roy Woods) as well as some one-off tracks from the likes of Kanye, Mac Miller… like G4SHI’s track with Starrah (which I’ve included in the mix).
The first official gig for the Vincent project is this Friday with RL Grime whom your music vibes with quite closely. What does that mean to you to have the first DJ set with somebody like RL?
Honestly, It’s really crazy when I step back and think about it… RL Grime, is someone I’ve looked up to for years, and has created some of the biggest tracks that have influenced me. Surreal, would be a good word for how I feel right now. Friday is definitely going to be a “pinch me” moment.
Your latest track, “Only“, showed some clever use of The Weeknd’s vocals. Did you build the track around those or did they come in later? Do you prefer working with vocals as a sort of creative base?
“Only” started with no vocals at all, and then nearing the final stages I added The Weeknd sample. I felt like it added a lot to the track by giving it a bit of backbone and a sing-a-long hook without having any actual words. The majority of the time I work best without vocals and then I like adding them in as a final touch, but there are definitely times where adding them in at the start can help me to shape a more rounded-out track.
Give us a few producers who you’re really vibing with right now.
There’s a big spectrum there, for sure. Lately, I’ve been digging everything from guys like GTA and Jack U – over to guys like Graves, San Holo, Pham, Ray Volpe, and Ekali.
Finally, what’s the vibe of this mix you’ve put together for us. Any gems in here we should keep an ear out for?
The mix is pretty much is everything I’ve really been feeling lately, with a couple of surprises mixed in to keep it interesting… a couple unreleased tracks and an untitled project of mine somewhere near the end. Hope you guys like it!
Rustie – Slasherr (Flume Edit)
Jack Ü – Febreze
KRNE – Propane
Skrillex & Wiwek – ID
Zomboy – Terror Squad (Bro Safari & Ricky Remedy Remix)
Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now (Marshmello Remix) [Skrillex Flip]
G4SHI – Switch Up (feat. Starrah)
HeRobust – ID
Barely Alive – Stomp
Dillon Francis – Bruk Bruk (I Need Your Lovin)
Meek Mill – R.I.C.O. (feat. Drake) (Vincent Remix)
Ricky Remedy – Hit ‘Em
Alison Wonderland & Drake – U Don’t Hotline Bling (Vincent Edit)
LOUDPVCK & gLAdiator – Tony
JWLS – JWLS Is Bored pt. VI
Hudson Mohawke – Chimes (Demo)
RL Grime & What So Not – Tell Me (Vincent Live Edit)
Dillon Francis & DJ Snake – Get Low (Aazar Remix) (Vincent Live Edit)
Vincent – Only
NOAHPLAUSE – Runnin’ (Ray Volpe VIP Remix)
Cesqeaux – Wylin’
Graves & Aya – Truth
Vincent – ID
Vincent – Mercy Me
Vincent – Mercy Me (VIP)