Robert Hughes, more commonly known as Vincent, has been making waves in his own career and helping shape the current electronic music scene as we know it. He began his journey into music making extensive remixes for esteemed names including The Chainsmokers and Alison Wonderland, and now the 24-year-old has made a name for himself with his own unique sound after releasing a multitude of original, trend-setting music.
Earlier this year, he started out strong with his debut EP For You back in February, which featured a handful of collaborations. Since then, Vincent has been on tour, and is currently finishing up the last handful of dates this summer with more music on the way.
We were able to catch up with the talented producer and DJ, Vincent, after he spoke during the Vocals & Production panel at the NY Music Expo this past Saturday, July 13th. In addition to his expansive tour schedule, he had a lot to share about his production tips, writing process, and expertise regarding the music business. After the interview, he closed out the evening with a vibey set on the Digital Pool Stage at the official “Summer Music Festival” which ran alongside the Expo all day long.
Read on for our full Q&A with Vincent:
The Nocturnal Times: You had a brief introduction when you spoke at the panel earlier, but just tell us a little bit more about your background and how you got your start producing and DJing?
Vincent: I was born and raised in Winnipeg, a city in Manitoba, Canada, but there is just no music scene there really. I would find live streams of Ultra where people were dancing to this music. I thought that there had to be some way I could make it too. I learned how to produce, and kept doing it for a long time until I had songs that kind of worked out by just posting them online, and then I moved out to Los Angeles to pursue it.
The Nocturnal Times: After speaking at today’s Expo panel, what have you learned that holds true about the industry today?
Vincent: It really has just been the different perspectives that you get from other people because everybody else is going to go through different paths. A couple people touched on some really interesting marketing strategies earlier to make connections with people. Multiple were saying to go into people’s DMs to grab someone’s attention. It’s really good haha, but I’m never on my phone, so that never really work for me! I just know that if I meet someone in person that’s going to be better. For example, if they came up to me said, “Hey, check this out” I’m 99.99% more likely to actually check it out. People handed me their cards today, and now I can decide if maybe this is or isn’t for me. Regardless, I’m definitely going to check them all out and decide.
The Nocturnal Times: As far as branding yourself as an artist, what are a few tips you would give to an up-and-coming producer, especially regarding the Spotify playlist market?
Vincent: Well, the playlist game is so ridiculous. If you asked me this question four years ago, I would have the perfect answer because SoundCloud charts were a huge thing. I tried to figure out how the math works behind it–not that I’m a Mathematician. There was a certain benchmark of plays that you needed to hit in 24 hours and that would get you high up on the New and Hot chart, and if you got enough, then you could crossover into the Top 50. There was a Weekly Top 50 and an Overall Top 50, but now SoundCloud isn’t really that thing anymore, and Spotify is just difficult. You can start your own playlists and build them up over time, you can also do like trades with downloads, similar to SoundCloud with re-post trades. There was a point where we were re-posting with everybody and I put out a remix of The Chainsmokers that reached one million plays in two and a half weeks. It’s sort of down to a science, but everything has changed so much since then. At the end of this, there really is no right answer haha.
The Nocturnal Times: Your fans love you from your start in producing remixes towards the beginning of your career, and now you are building an even more exciting repertoire of originals. Do you sing as well?
Vincent: I do some singing, but it’s super quiet. I sang on the last track on the EP I just put out in February. I did a duet with Pauline Herr for “Can’t Help Myself,” and it was really funny because neither of us had really ever done sessions and we wrote that track in like 14 hours start to finish. I remember she had her vocal stuff written out and there was a point where was talking about herself in a relationship being nervous about her significant other cheating on her. We finished that section first drop, build, and everything was done. After taking a break, I though okay the second verse should be from the other perspective, and she actually thought that I should sing it. I was like no, I am not singing it! After singing a line, she told me, I sound like Eden and my confidence went through the roof. We actually sang it together live at our LA show and it felt really good!
The Nocturnal Times: After hearing about your new music and session experience, talk to us about your collaboration experiences?
Vincent: My managers will set up a session, and I’ll just go in with them. I may have not even met the person. They’ll literally come over to my apartment and I’ve maybe looked up on Spotify the day before to figure out their vibe. I have likely heard of them, but it’s like I’m going to just get to know who they are for a little and then write about something that we relate to. I feel like it’s an interesting way to write, but at the same time, even for right now, I’m trying to write my next body of work.
The Nocturnal Times: Now that 2019 is halfway over and summer is in full swing, what are a few of your highlights from this year thus far?
Vincent: I did a massive tour for my For You EP that we are still finishing up with the third phase. The set really goes all over the place, and I put music in all different genres and span through everything. It is something to really get the crowd moving. I make set lists because I feel like if people are paying money to come see my shows, I should be playing the majority of my songs. I typically make a set list based on moods, and there an overall mood that is just going up. Overall for the rest of year, I plan on just writing music!
Photos Courtesy of Vincent Facebook
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