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BGS 5+5: Vetiver

Nov 12, 2019

BGS 5+5: Vetiver

Artist: Vetiver
Hometown: Richmond, California
Latest album: Up on High
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Ange, Cabes

Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?

João Gilberto. It was very sad to lose him this year. He mastered a new form almost from inception. His soft voice, timeless melodies, complexity and brevity inspire me greatly.

What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?

I am always interested in what others are working on or have done. I read a lot… non-fiction, poetry, magazines… much more than I watch movies or TV. I like to work in our garden, planning, planting, and pruning. The art of walking my dog in the park is currently enthralling. All of these things are opportunities for melodies to come, for reflection and listening, and help open spaces for ideas to arise.

What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?

If I’m having difficulty finishing a song, I usually set it aside and come back to it later. Try and forget it and remember it again. Switch lyrics in and out until it resonates and feels part of me and separate from me. It is rare for a song to come easily or in one sitting. Only a handful have happened like this. Most of the time I prune and shape them until they pass muster.

Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?

I like to go on hikes and walks in the hills and parks around the Bay Area. Melodies come to me in those moments, lyrical ideas, ways to arrange songs I’m working on. I like the canopy of redwood trees, the long, twisted branches of oak trees, the sound of creeks, and wind rustling the leaves. These draw me outside myself, my problems and doubts, help slow time down and reorder my thoughts.

Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?

Caetano Veloso playing outside a tiny alley bar while my friends and I share a meal of pintxos and cider.

Photo Credit: Alissa Anderson

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BGS 5+5: Vetiver
BGS 5+5: Vetiver