Interviews

vanityinmindVille Koski, a.k.a “Vanity In Mind”, is an electronic music composer and producer living in Stockholm, Sweden. His main genres are downtempo and trance, but his music takes inspiration from a diverse range of musical genres. Ville's career got jump-started in 2008 with a trance remix of Eddie Sender's "Aliencity" which DJ Dave Pearce featured several times on his BBC Radio show “Dance Anthems”.  This year, five of his downtempo tracks were released on the Purha Records label, fast tracking his entree into chillout music.  

Strong, captivating melodies are the essence of Ville's music, yet his tracks are quite diverse. “Garden” features a sentimental violin theme; “Walk Me Home” includes an electronic, melancholic neo-tango vibe; while “Blue Philosophy” is a laid-back and jazzy noir-inspired song featuring the smooth vocals of fellow Swedish artist and producer Frelow.

Contrast is an important part of his downtempo sound, which often fuses elements of electronic dance music, like the slowed down drum and bass beats in the enigmatic "Heavens Falling" or the intense breakdown in the airy Asian-influenced "Cherry Blossom".  An upcoming chillout EP and several signed trance releases make for a promising 2009!

 



Below Zero resident DJ Jeff Stallings recently interviewed Ville Koski of Vanity in Mind. ibiza_vanity

Jeff: Tell us about your recent life and what's been keeping you busy.

 

Ville: I've been putting the last touches on a chillout track that's going to be out on an upcoming compilation and on my planned chillout EP, both on Purha Records. The track is called "Beams of Sun" and features the vocals of Frelow, who also sang on "Blue Philosophy" which you've been playing on Below Zero. "Beams of Sun" is an atmospheric affair, flirting with a retro new age sound but with a contemporary touch.

Also, I've been shifting some focus to trance recently, getting a few new tracks ready.  Earlier this summer I was in Spain for a couple of weeks with my girlfriend. The nightlife in Barcelona is just crazy, I really enjoy it! We had an amazing night dancing to French house DJ/artist Martin Solveig.

Jeff: Did you grow up in Stockholm?


Ville: I've lived in Stockholm all my life although both my parents are from Finland. I think my roots might shine through as classic Finnish melancholy in some of my melodies.

Jeff: You bill yourself as a composer and producer.  Are you also a musician or a singer?


Ville: A musician – well, I play the keyboard a bit, it's what I use for composing and improvising. During my school years I played the clarinet for about ten years, so I can read notation as well. As a keyboard novice I sometimes wish I would've started with piano instead.  But playing the clarinet was a great experience that I wouldn't want to be without, as it eventually got me into listening to and appreciating jazz.

About singing, I have never considered myself a singer, hardly even a bathroom one! I have been experimenting though, so one should never say never!

Jeff: The five chillout tracks on the recently released Ibiza Chillout Collection are all absolutely stunning. What creative process takes you from inspiration to completed track?


Ville: Thanks for your kind words, Jeff! Inspiration usually comes from listening to music or from consuming any kind of art, like movies and photography. When it comes to composing, I might start out by building a beat and improvising chords on top of that, and yet again melodies on top of that. Or I might come up with a melody that I then construct a track around.

I'd been wanting to do a piano-based tune for a long time, so I researched some jazz chords – that finally ended up as "Blue Philosophy", while the "Walk Me Home" melody came to me in the shower one day!

Jeff: The geographical reference point for chillout music is Ibiza.  Have you been there?


Ville: Not yet, but I definitely want to go there, and as an electronic musician I realize it could almost be considered a pilgrimage.

Jeff: The tracks you have released so far are chillout and trance songs. Your sound seems a natural for deep house.  Any interest in moving in that direction?

Ville: Absolutely, I would love to do deep house. The jazzy and laid-back sound of artists like Kevin Yost and St.  Germain is very appealing to me. I like listening to slowly evolving stuff, but I really have to strain myself to compose it. Some day I'll probably give it a serious try though!

Jeff: What artists most influence your work?


Ville: I'm usually influenced by good grooves or melodies in specific songs by almost any artist or remixer. When it comes to electronica and chillout, I like Massive Attack, Air and Parov Stelar (a very talented Austrian guy), and of course Thievery Corporation. Recently I had a period where I discovered and re-discovered some of the early trip-hop by Tricky and Portishead. It's really great stuff that still holds up and inspires.

On a more general level I have to mention the Greek composer Vangelis, whose songs have influenced me for many years. He makes even the most simple melody so mesmerizing. And finally Michael Jackson – I've been a fan since I was a kid. I think his songwriting was phenomenal and particularly his bridge sections are amazing. It's so unfortunate that he's not around anymore, who knows what material that was still in his head.

Jeff: What do you see yourself doing five years from now?


Ville: Hopefully I've managed to establish some kind of release catalog in both trance and chillout. I look forward to doing more vocal projects in both genres. If I've done really well, I might even be DJ'ing a little!

Jeff: How did you come up with the very cool name, Vanity in Mind?

Ville: I wanted something a bit different so I thought of artist names that I like. Some of my favorite artists and names were (and still are!) Masters At Work and British piano house/disco act Love To Infinity. Names based on three words, and the second being a preposition. It was just brainstorming from there.

The custom in electronic dance music is "one alias per project" so I'm a bit unconventional as I use it for both my trance and chillout projects. But I look at it as my producer alias and hopefully it'll help people to discover more of my songs. I believe that most people – just like me – love and appreciate many genres of music!

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