Jose Vanders [Interview]

We bloody love talented, passion fueled musicians – especially if their name sounds a little Mexican – so we really love Jose Vanders. She was kind enough to take some time out of her day to talk to us about her music, her tendency to procrastinate and umm… her loins!

Hi Jose, why don’t you start off by giving us a brief tour into the world of Miss. Vanders?
Hello! I’m a 21 year old non-Mexican, piano-wielding writer and performer who likes to think she has good on-stage banter, great hair and an unhealthy fascination for beards.

Your latest EP Blue Notes is rather beautiful and it features a clarinet amongst other things, what inspired you into this EP?
Thank you very much! I’m very proud of it. The clarinet was purely inspired by me listening obsessively to Jonsi and trying to suss out his elaborate use of instruments. His album is beautifully produced, and I wanted to see what a clarinet would sound like stripped back. The songs were inspired by the events of last Summer, when my boyfriend broke up with me on the M4 motorway by voicemail (tragic but true) and I started seeing another guy – and then the original boyfriend wanted me back! Each song relates to one of those moments, and the EP explores that agonising decision between the boy who said he loved you but didn’t treat you right, or the gentleman who took you out for mussels and chips but didn’t, y’know… excite your loins. Aahaha! Am I even allowed to say that? But I ended up going back to the original guy. Everyone deserves a second chance. But not a third, mind.

One thing that struck me was the care and length you obviously put into creating the package; individual track artwork and postcards, all contributed to a lovely EP. Do you think providing the extra detail and care is what so many bands/labels are missing these days?
Well, all I know is that if you’re a consumer supporting an independent artist, particularly in this climate of dwindling sales, buying something that has been lovingly crafted is that little bit more special. Bands and labels seem to be all over the place at the moment, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what the solution is. But when I receive friends’ albums and merchandise in the post, and someone has gone that extra mile to make a lovely poster and sign it for me, or produce high quality and well-thought out products, I feel like my money is well spent. Moreover, I’m not sure how you can do something you are totally passionate about half-heartedly. You’ve either gotta do your best or do nothing at all.

You’ve recently been commissioned to write an original soundtrack for ‘On Love’, a play by Mick Gordon. How exciting was that?
Yes! It was awesome. I’d never done anything like that before, and when the director approached me I was so excited. I’ve always imagined myself ending up as a film composer (that’s the dream isn’t it?), and so I seized the opportunity with both hands. It was a devised process; I was present at the rehearsals and kind of made stuff up on the spot, and developed the ideas to provide a soundtrack that underscored the scenes. I’d love to do more.

Not only that but you have another awesome project coming up with Luke Leighfield, do you want to give us a heads up about that?
Yes, Luke and I have just created a split EP; I’ve covered two of his songs and he’s covered two of mine. It sounds totally rad. The EP is out September 19th, and preceded by a FREE single of Bon Iver‘s ‘Blindsided’. We made an awesome video for it too, in the midst of the London riots. Terribly exciting. You should watch it.

You seem to like the summer, so much so you wrote a song about it, but what are your plans for the rest of this summer? Are there any shows we should be coming to?
Hahahaaa I do love the Summer. Summer means friends, family and creativity, the three best things in the world right? But yes, this Summer Luke and I are taking our EP on tour round the UK and Europe for 21 dates starting on September 20th. Check out for more info (and to watch the video) and hopefully see you at a show!

Who would you most like to collaborate with to make the ultimate pop super hit?
Ahh the ultimate pop super hit… I’d probably get a young Elton John, Greg Kurstin, Guy Sigsworth and Dr Luke all in a room. That would be EPIC.

Which song do wish had been written about you?
‘Your Smiling Face’ by James Taylor. Total self-indulgence, but if someone had written me that song, I would definitely get down on one knee and beg them to be with me forever.

What is your worst habit?
I’m a terrible procrastinator. Yesterday for example, when I should have been sorting out tour stuff and answering these questions I decided to bake a cake. I mean, COME ON.

How would you describe your music to convince my Grandpa (who only listens to Elvis and Buddy Holly) to listen to you?
Well… I can’t really compete with Elvis and Buddy, but my music will help soothe your troubles, put a positive spin on every small thing in your life and help you sleep easy at night. It’s apparently very sleep inducing!

What is the strangest place you’ve ever played a gig?
Oh God, I played this terrible gig called Viva Diva in this small restaurant somewhere in North London. The idea was that they wanted all your friends to come and watch you and buy their food. But I had no idea being the naive 17 year old I was. So I invited lots of friends and fans to come and watch, I even invited the bloody head of EMI down to watch me. And it turned out to be this tiny restaurant, where if you weren’t eating you had to sit outside (away from the music), and they only let you play three songs because they’d invited down about twelve bands and had to fit everyone in. And when everyone shouted to hear one more, the sound man pulled the plug and feigned ignorance when his sound desk mysteriously “stopped working”. Oh it was horrendous.

Finally then, this is the part where you get to say whatever you like. Anything. Go for it.
Go and watch our Blindsided video and check out the tour dates over at And always say yes to things. You never know what might happen…

-Scott Kerr

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