Free to Dance: Vintage Culture, Fancy Inc, and Roland Clark talk “Free” and more

Vintage Culture, Fancy Inc, and Roland Clark, a perfect trio that undoubtedly creates magic. A lot can be said of all three. Vintage Culture is arguably one of the most sought-after DJs in the world in the midst of a global tour and a recent appearance at Lollapalooza that looked like an absolutely raucous party for those who caught the live stream. Fancy Inc is also in the midst of a similar explosion from their home nation of Brazil that has included countless inclusions in radio mixes and DJ support rivaling the best. I soon suspect they will venture across the Atlantic on their own tour. Roland Clark needs no introduction. The man has a multi-decade career and is nothing short of legendary status.

Released in June, the three of them came together to create “Free”, a brilliant, explosive tune that seamlessly blends the sounds and talents of all three. It has gone on to record millions of plays on DSPs and scored a number one position on the Beatport charts where it still has an enviable chart position. Considering the talents of all three and the success of “Free”, we decided it was the right time to ask them some questions and learn more about the song, plus some other interesting tidbits. Here is our exclusive interview with Vintage Culture, Fancy Inc, and Roland Clark.

First, how have you handled the pandemic?

VINTAGE CULTURE (VC) – Over the past year I’ve thrown myself into my music. The writing and creative process has never been better. It’s been a rough year but I believe I’ve come out of this a better songwriter and producer. To stay in touch with the fans, we did hundreds of hours of live broadcasts on Youtube and other networks. Of course, nothing can replace a live audience, but this provided the opportunity to showcase new material for the fans. In 2020 I released 39 new tracks – both originals and remixes. For a long time, we were averaging 1 release per week. But now it’s time to get back on the road and see the fans.

FANCY INC (FI) – Thanks for having us. Since the pandemic started, we are extremely focused on producing new tracks in our studio, looking forward to coming back to the dance floor and show this fresh new material to the crowd. We’ve been working very hard every day, pushing our creative boundaries, living the best moment so far as an artist, and improving even more the quality of our own tunes. We are definitely missing the vibes of a great festival season!

ROLAND CLARK (RC) – I like most of us took the extra time to work on different aspects of my creativity. I took time to learn a few programs that was sitting on my hard drive such as FCPX and several other video plugins, all the while writing and producing new music, waiting for that magical moment when we would once again be able to play for the people.

How did you connect and get to the point of “let’s make a track together”?

VC – I first met Fancy Inc in 2018 when they remixed my track, “Pour Over.” I was impressed by their creative ideas and musical ability. We’ve collaborated on nine total tracks since then, including the Billboard number #1 Dance Club hit, “In The Dark.” Fancy Inc have become good friends. And Roland is a legend in the dance music community. His classic tracks still appear in my live sets. I’ve admired Roland’s work for years. “Free” was the perfect opportunity to combine our efforts.

FI – In the past three years we’ve been working a lot with Lukas, it’s been an amazing experience to showcase our music to the world with such an expressive energy. A curious fact is that the initial idea for “Free” was actually born with a different acapella from Roland Clark, as a first draft. When we showed the idea to Lukas, he made the approach with Roland, so we could work on a new vocal for an original track from scratch.

RC – Lukas and I have a mutual friend by the name of Elena Pavla, a wonderful Russian Dj, and she mentioned to me via IG that she had a friend that was interested in working with me. In a short time, we were in contact with each other and talking about the direction of where the tune should go..

Walk us through the process of how you created “Free”

FI – The main thoughts for the theme of “Free” were based on what we, artists, are feeling at the moment, facing this huge crisis in the industry and looking to express ourselves through our art. We all want to be “Free”, especially now. We want to feel again all the energy and color that music brings to our life. It’s an anthem that represents our life style and our love for house music, with a special touch of hope so we can all meet and live these great moments again. Surely, it’s a very special track for us!

VC – I was impressed by the first demo of “Free” but felt it needed something. Together we worked on the instrumental. But then we needed a vocal that could match our new track- Roland was the perfect choice. We sent him ideas about the message we wanted to communicate. I must say, Roland really knocked the vocals out of the park.
Roland came back with lyrics and a performance that is really inspiring. The reaction from fans has been overwhelmingly positive. And “Free” has reached the Number #1 spot on the main Beatport chart.

RC – I always approach music by my personal experiences, in this case most of the world was having the same experience so it didn’t take long for me to harness the energy to write the lyrics. Everyone seemed to be feeling shut in, and forgotten and not connecting with the ones they loved. So I begin to write about the time when all of the madness would end and how we would once again be free.

Vintage Culture & Fancy Inc, what was it like to work with Roland Clark who has been a dance music mainstay and a trailblazer on the scene?

VC – Roland is such a positive force. He’s filled with energy and a pleasure to work with. We’re already talking about doing another track together. I’ve been a fan of Roland’s work for years. And what is truly surprising is how fast he works. Once he has the idea and a feel for the track there is no stopping him.

FI – It’s truly an honor to work with one of the most classic vocalists of electronic music history. Roland Clark has his unique signature that marked house music and its own roots for life. This was a great opportunity to create something timeless that can echo for decades and we all put our soul into this track.

Vintage culture & Fancy Inc, how does it feel to represent Brazil on a global dance music scale? What have the responses been from your home nation?

VC – I’m very proud that the music is working so well for international audiences. The Free Tour has been a sell-out across North America. Now I’m heading to Europe. And last week we sold out the London show in 24 hours. I’m hoping this is opening doors for other talented dance producers from Brazil. The fans in Brazil have been very supportive. I believe they are proud of these accomplishments. I’m currently developing and guiding other artists from Brazil and hope to bring them on the road for select shows in 2022.

FI – We are living an incredible moment in our careers, reaching higher grounds through our music and expressing ourselves as true as possible. It’s a huge responsibility to break the barriers of electronic music, being able to raise the Brazilian flag around the world. Our nation can be assured that we are very well represented around the world, knowing that we are getting the best of us to the dance floor. The response of our public in Brazil is growing a lot and we are very grateful for it.

How has Brazil influenced your sound and overall artistry?

VC – Brazil is my homeland. I’m very proud of the artists who have come before me and those who are coming up now. The influence of the music and culture is in my blood. Audiences in Brazil are known worldwide for their enthusiasm, energy and overall positive vibe. I want to bring this vibe to audiences on every continent.

FI – There are plenty of talented artists in Brazil’s history, such as pioneers of Bossa Nova, MPB, Samba and many other genres that echoes widely in the whole world. Our country is very rich in terms of musicality and it’s amazing to represent and communicate with the world through our music. This works as a fuel and makes us go further, pushing up our boundaries as music producers, always trying to innovate and create something fresh and authentic. When the subject is music, we like to think global and open-minded, because today there are no limits for where music can lead us.

Roland Clarke, you’ve had a multi-decade legacy in dance music. What was it like watching and being a part of the evolution from the and to the “EDM” boom to now?

When it comes to the commercial aspect of the music, I understand we as producers and writers separate the genres, but as a creator, it is all the same to me, I approach music with a broad brush because it comes from within.

Roland Clarke, what are some pieces of advice you can share with younger acts about navigating the industry, as well as, developing their art? 

My advice is to be creatively open, listen to everything, and apply those differences to your music, also to stay hungry.

In your opinion, What makes a great DJ Set?

VC – a great DJ set takes the audience on a journey. It can make you move, sing and be inspired. A great DJ set also creates a feeling of community and can actually change the mood of the listeners. To make people forget their problems and enjoy themselves for a few hours is a great feeling. The world has been through so much this year, if I can supply a few hours for the audience to escape their problems and lose themselves in the music, I’ve done my job well. I personally love playing extended sets for as much as possible.

FI – A great DJ Set is composed of important ingredients. It’s all about the connection with the dance floor, exchanging energy and creating unforgettable moments in a remarkable environment. Doesn’t matter what style do you play, or even which kind of DJ you are, the art of DJing is based on delivering the best vibes for the crowd out there. We always give our best in our gigs!

RC- The freedom of not knowing what I’m going to play makes it very exciting for me, I like to be as much surprised at the selection that the people dancing.. This keeps me on my toes and make for an interesting party as well.

If you could choose a specific place for someone to listen to your records where would it be and why?

VC – I’d say there’s no better place than a live performance. This is where the music and the energy from the crowd all come together. After working on music in a dark studio for days, there is no better feeling than to watch the songs come alive in front of an audience. I watch their response- the audience’s reaction to each track- and seeing this is very exciting and satisfying.

FI – It’s a curious question. At the beginning of our career, we
produced a lot of stuff aiming to play on the clubs we love, and over time, our sound has been transformed and evolved to suit big festivals and bigger dance floors. Everything was a natural process. Now, we are back to the roots, seeing our music working well on different platforms, with a wide range of the public enjoying our tracks both in large festivals and in more intimate club parties.

RC – No particular place but def want it to be in a venue where the people are actually dancing and not just staring at the deejay with their phones.

What else is on the horizon for you?

VC – I’m currently in the middle of a North American tour. At the end of the month the Europe tour begins – London sold out in 24 hours. On September 3rd I’m releasing a 2021 version of the classic track, “Domino.” This is a collaboration with my fellow friend, Alok. 

The release schedule is booked solid into 2022 with some very special collaborations and remixes. I’m very proud of the upcoming music. This year is just a taste of what is to come.

FI – During the pandemic we’ve been working very hard on new songs, improving our skills in the studio and preparing a lot of new stuff that will come out in the next months, including solo tracks and collabs with incredible artists. Also, our fans can expect a massive tour that our team is planning. We are looking forward to telling you all the news we got pitched!

RC –  I am always writing in different genres, so seeking to place a few things with music supervisors for the purpose of sync licensing, and just to put the icing on the cake I’ve written another tune with Vintage Culture as well as a separate one with Fancy Inc, lightning def can strike twice if you believe.