Ecca Vandal Good for a Girl Interview

Interview: Ecca Vandal (@BIGSOUND)

ECCA VANDAL IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS RIGHT NOW

ecca vandal good for a girl interview

Infact, she played five, FIVE, showcases at BIGSOUND this year, and I – along with my partner in crime – attended ALL OF THEM. Her live show is so energetic and addictive, we needed to see it more than once..twice…thrice…everyone we bumped in to at the festival was forced to attend at least one show, too. And it was a quick conversion from a forced attendee to a full-blown fan.

Ecca Vandal is definitely a force to be reckoned with and I have no doubt in my mind she is going to be huge. On top of that; she is fucking lovely. Such a sweetheart, so when I text her on the morning of our interview with the time and location, she replied ‘Emma!! I cannot wait to meet you – see you soon!” followed by a whole bunch of emojis which is the language of my people. I knew we were going to get along well.

During her live set, it’s really hard to pull your eyes away from her performance. She’s got the moves, the attitude, the fearless aggressiveness, and the voice. But pull your eyes away you should, because her band are NEK LEVEL. Made up of crazy talented dudes; Kidnot, Dan Maio and Stacey Gray, ECCA VANDAL the band undoubtedly form up the rest of the pieces of the puzzle that make up a truly great artist and are solo artists in their own right, all adding exponential value to the overall musical picture. Absolutely killer.

Ecca Vandal Interview Good For A Girl Bigsound Live Show Pandora

An experienced and gifted producer in her own right, Ecca Vandal also works closely with band member Kidnot who is an incredible songwriter and producer to collaboratively form these industrial/punk/hip hop tracks that have (seemingly) quickly developed in to some of the most unique, headstrong, confident and grounded-in-what-they-truly-believe-in music that I’ve (and all the other raving music lovers and critics) have heard in a very long time.

A beacon for self-expression, Ecca Vandal is hugely inspiring to me to push my own boundaries, explore new sounds, be confident in who I am, and experiment with fashion (she has probably the most enviable personal style ever, I really needed to make that clear 2 u).

I could go on about Ecca forever, but our chat is much more informative of who she is, what she’s about, and what’s coming next for her!

WATCH MY INTERVIEW WITH ECCA VANDAL HERE:

ECCA VANDAL LINKS

Website
Facebook
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iTunes
Spotify
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GOOD FOR A GIRL: ECCA VANDAL (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma: 
I came to Bigsound a couple years ago and saw you wandering around alot. But I don’t think you were playing shows were you? You were just hanging out?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I was just hanging out.

Emma:
I kept being like “who is that girl? She looks so fucking awesome I want her to be my friend.”

Ecca Vandal:
(laughs) that’s hilarious

Emma:
So the first thing I want to talk about is what your influences in music growing up were – your role models and inspiration. What got you in to it from a young age, or a teenager.

Ecca Vandal:
What got me in to music was probably my family. My family is pretty much all musically talented. They sort of all sing, and play an instrument and music was always in the home. So that was sort of where it started – I started singing as well. I guess it was a thing that was in my blood. I only kinda started taking it seriously at the time of Grade 10. Like mid teenager. So I had a great music teacher who was like “you should consider doing it seriously” you know? “You enjoy it!” So i had a great teacher to say keep doing it – so I listened to him.

Emma:
Yep. So do you have brothers and sisters?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I’ve got two sisters!

Emma:
Two sisters – so what do they do with music?

Ecca Vandal:
They were both great singers. And they’re both a bit older than me so I always would watch them sing and go to all their gigs and stuff. Just admired them like “I want to do that one day!”

Emma:
And did they play rock music? Or what did they do?

Ecca Vandal:
No! They did more like Jazz and Musical Theatre…

Emma:
Wow cool

Ecca Vandal:
And you know, pop music. So this is definitely not stylistically the same, but they were definitely performers.

Emma:
Yeah! Your style is really unique, I would kind of call it punk but industrial punk but there’s quite a lot of electronic theatrics in there. Did you have any musical influences in your teen years that were from those genres that made you wanna go that way? Or did you create that yourself?

Ecca Vandal:
Well I find in each genre I have strong influences and bands that I love. In to the punk world I’m a massive Bad Brains fan, Fugazi fan, Minor Threat. You know, that kind of, the original. Living Colour, fishbone. Like the original kind of punk pioneers. I was really influenced by that. And then I love electronic music, I love hip hop. I love beats. I love jazz. So I kinda thought, I love all of them equally!

Emma:
How can I combine them?

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah – I’m influenced by all of them. And when I started writing I found myself going in these directions. And I went “Oh no but I’m going that way! No now I’m going that way!” And I thought hang on, this is all working ok. There were parallels between a few of them, I found. And I thought, let’s just do a combination of it all and it felt right to me!

Emma:
And it sounds fucking awesome.

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you!

Emma:
So do you think growing up, or even just now, are you conscious of having women artists to look up to or sideways to? Like was having other girls doing music a big deal for you? Cuz I know for me I only really  started thinking about women in music when I decided to start talking about my own experiences. And then it was like.. I don’t think I ever really had women influences and role models to look up to growing up. Do you think you did?

Ecca Vandal:
That’s a good question because I’ve only looked at it in hindsight now as well. Like now that I’m in music, now that we’re in the industry. You know, all that kind of stuff. I actually never thought about it but I guess some of the artists that I actually love, I love female artists. The strong female artists that I love, I love Bjork, I love M.I.A, I love some of the amazing jazz vocalists from the 50s and 60s like Ella [Fitzgerald] and Sarah Vaughan and stuff – they were all tough as fuck back in the day. So I love those guys. But in terms of this kind of genre, there weren’t that many. And it’s really interesting because I haven’t found many that I can look up to or aspire to be like. I listen to a lot of male artists. It’s interesting when people go ‘you remind me of M.I.A!’ or you know. Santigold or something like that, which is awesome because I think they’re great, but actually I’m more influenced by male artists.

Emma:
Yeah – and do you think that comes from your aesthetic as well? I think with women people tend to go ‘you kinda look like this other women artist so therefore you sound like her’ – like there’s this musician back in New Zealand called Julia Deans and she was in this band that was very big in the late 90s/early 00s called Fur Patrol, and I read an interview with her a few weeks ago, and she talked about it a bit saying “when we a started out the media were like oh yeah Julia Deans she’s like Courtney Love” and Julia’s like “I don’t sound anything like Courtney Love. Just because I’m a girl playing a guitar… if I had a dick that comparison wouldn’t happen. I’d be my own artist” you know? Do you think that you get a bit of that? It’s guided by that as opposed to what the music sounds like? As you say, your music is influenced by male artists..

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely. 100% right. And, you know, because of the colour of my skin and because I’m female people go, okay who are the other brown chicks who might have some balls… you all sound like that! And I’m like well I respect – I look up to M.I.A, I look up to Santigold I respect them for their artistry. But at the same time I don’t think my music sounds like theirs. So um, I actually give props to anyone who comes up with their own affiliations with my music. Cuz it feels like people actually like to copy what other people say. You know? People don’t think for themselves and go ‘actually, what does this remind me of?’ if they want to identify with it some way.

Emma:
Yeah or they don’t sit down and actually think about it before writing about it.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! There’s a lot of copy and paste out there, journos! And it’s cool,  I think they’re great artists and I respect them all but I think there are some other things you can draw from it. Last night I actually had someone come up to me and say I reminded them of H.R. from Bad Brains and that’s and amazing…

Emma:
That’s a conscious recognition.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! That’s the ultimate compliment to me. Because I admire him as a performer, but also because it also just broke the molds and the pattern of people saying “this is what you sound like and this is what you are”

Emma:
It’s refreshing

Ecca Vandal:
It is refreshing

Emma:
When someone gets the nail on the head, ay?

Ecca Vandal:
Absolutely!

Emma:
So just more specifically more about your actual experiences being a woman, you touched on a bit about being a brown girl as well

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah

Emma:
Have you had any sort of outrageous experiences where you’re just like “dude, seriously, what the fuck?” – things like maybe they have respected your authority with your art or your technical understanding or.. or any sort of “out there” sexism. Have you had any rough experiences with that or have you found you’ve been quite accepted?

Ecca Vandal:
I feel like I’ve had both worlds in the extreme. I’ve had a lot of support and I’ve had a lot of guys come around an support and acknowledge and say ‘we really dig what you do’ – even other females as well! But on the other side, yes there has been sexism, there’s been you know – if I chose to wear a short skirt one day you see the shift. And you see like.. you know all that sort stuff. And people think it’s okay to cross those boundaries because you decided to dress a certain way or something. That’s not on. And there’s been many times that I’ve had to deal with that. And unfortunately at the time, there wasn’t a lot of talk about that sort of stuff. So it was hard to talk to other people about it.

Emma:
And assert it and be like – this not cool.

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah – or even to just have dialogue like we’re having right now about it. But since then I think this discussion is coming out and it’s okay to talk about it and say ‘you know what? that kind thing’s not okay.’

Emma:
Yeah and just talking about it in a casual manner like this, because people haven’t just heard the conversations you know – a lot of women or men will post aggressive rants about it online or whatever, it just creates that divide where it’s alienating to people to be confronted by just the realities of it. So I think just casually talking about it like this it’s like.. “well yeah, this shit is happening”

Ecca Vandal:
This shit is real

Emma:
“just so you know – it’s happening!” and just changing the casual mind set about it so they’re like “yeah… that is kinda shit.”

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah! Because also often you get, people kinda second guess like. If you tell them about a situation that was un-kosher, they’re like “hang on – what did you do to incite that? What did you do?” it kinda shifts the blame. It’s just this blame game. And those sort of situations make you not wanna talk about it. Cuz it gets assumed you’re involved and it’s like no this is real stuff it’s happening daily. And we’re talking about it now, you know, it’s a cool. The more we can talk about it the more we can just put a stop to it at the time.

Emma:
And those questions you get like “well what did you do to get that attitude towards you”. It’s kinda like “ugh I can’t even be bothered engaging with you about it” but it’s damaging because it will subconsciously make you go “maybe I did do something to bring that on..”

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah, totally!

Emma:
And that’s dangerous because we shouldn’t be thinking that stuff. But it’s hard to stand up and go “no. it wasn’t me.” but that’s the culture – and that’s why this conversation is important.

Ecca Vandal:
It’s so true. It’s good that we’re talking about it!!

Emma:
So what’s next for you?! With your career – release plans?

Ecca Vandal:
Yes! I’m writing new music which I’m loving. I’m loving being in that creative zone at the moment. I just got back from overseas..

Emma:
Saw that!

Ecca Vandal:
Yeah I just sorta soaked up the inspiration from New York, LA, like a sponge. I feel like I’ve coming back with a bit more inspiration and drive to keep writing as much as I can!

Emma:
Looking forward to hearing more music!

Ecca Vandal:
Thank you! Yeah, so hopefully more music out soon by the end of the year. And just get playing again.

Emma:
Any plans to come to New Zealand?

Ecca Vandal:
Not yet, but hopefully!

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