Van Bobbi is as mysterious as he is undeniably cool. Equal parts coffee, coconuts, pineapple and rum, the man embraces an island vibe while simultaneously marrying his soul-pop and r&b roots. His music’s smooth, enjoyable and hugely individual. We caught up with this talented new producer to find out a little more about his work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Van Bobbi – the musician – and how would you describe your sound?
I’m originally from the Bay Area, but moved to LA a year ago. I’ve played in various projects before, ranging from Nu-RnB to indie rock. Besides singing and producing, I’m a daydreamer who loves bathing, coffee and anything that smells or tastes like coconuts. I’m a foodie of sorts.
What motivates you to create music and inspires it, your aesthetic and vibe?
A passing conversation or a compelling image can inspire a song for me. Also a dope drum track can really get me going. My aesthetic is sexy but playful and thought-provoking. I like lush synths and silky vocals.
How do you write your songs – what’s your process, organic or do you have a structured approach?
Rhythm is king for me … so drums or a solid groove come first. Then I lay chords and bass. Once I have a good instrumental I start mumbling vocal ideas or start playing guitar. After a bit of that I’ll go take a bath or make really strong coffee or alter my mental state. A concept or theme will usually reveal itself through this process. Everything is organic, but with structure.
Your music’s a huge mix of genres – what’s your trick for making them fit together and keeping a consistent vibe in your tracks with such a diverse range of influences?
Thank you, that is very much a compliment to me. I think the trick with genre-blending is making sure that the songwriting is solid, number one. That way you still take people on a journey, but you just change the way they take that journey. The second thing is to make sure that the tones i’m using live in the same world … I also tend to lean on the similar chords/keys song to song. There are a couple elements that I make sure I use in every song that subliminally tie the music together.
Could you tell us about your most recent track, Morro Bay? What’s the inspiration behind the song?
A while back I was on tour and we stopped for a night in this beautiful, hidden little nook of the California coast called Morro Bay. It’s dramatic landscape and blue-green water stuck with me. It was like a lover that I spent one night with … who made a lasting impression. We often romanticize people and places we don’t know too well. The song is a metaphor of longing for someone or someplace that is lodged in your emotional memory.
Finally, what does the future have in store for Van Bobbi – gigs, releases, new ventures?
I am currently finishing up an 18-date US/Canada tour with “Dance Yourself Clean.” I recently signed with a really cool label out of Echo Park, Los Angeles called “Lights & Music Collective.” We are working on an album … release date tbc. In the meantime we will be releasing singles, remixes and videos. I also have a series called “Lunch with Van Bobbi” on YouTube and Instagram where I eat weird food and party with boxed wine and weed.