INTRODUCING: VC PINES


WORDS MAISIE JANE DANIELS - PHOTOGRAPHY ALEX RORISON - FASHION ROMA MITCHELL - MUA EMILIE LOUIZIDES - FASHION ASSISTANT LUKASZ KOSTECKI






Jack Mercer, otherwise known as VC Pines, is the London based singer-songwriter and producer who brought a burst of colour into the room. Not just because of his freshly dyed lilac hair, but for his cheeky grin that you can’t help but mirror back, and infectious energy.

After a fun day shooting in the F Word studio and coffee in hand, we chatted about VC Pines’ latest single Satellite, an emotional and sensory provoking track that’s both reflective and renewing at the same time. Alongside a special and personal project on its way that we can’t wait to listen to and much more!

LISTEN TO SATELITE HERE



Maisie Daniels: Hey Jack, thanks for coming today! Did you enjoy the shoot? I love the energy you put into it

Jack Mercer: Yeah, it was wicked! It was nice to push things out a little bit and experiment with stuff.

MD: You have been so involved on the creative with this shoot, getting properly stuck in with makeup looks. How important is that to you?

JM: It’s definitely something I like to be involved in! I like to have an idea and push that as far as I can. And it’s nice when there’s a team of people that are also on board with it, and everyone feeds off each other.

M.D: I love that you dyed your hair lilac! Have you ever dyed your hair before?

JM: Never done it, no!

MD: Do you like it?!

JM: Yeah! I want to do something for the Jazz Cafe show coming up and then knowing that I had this I thought let’s do it now.

MD: Would you want to experiment with other colours now? JM: Yeah! I’ll never have normal hair again [laughs]

VC PINES wears blazer FRED PERRY; shirt DOLLY; trousers WEEKDAY; shoes PARABOOT; socks CARHARTT; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM




M.D: Speaking of Jazz, you’ve got a lot of Jazz and Soul within your sound. Did you grow up with these genres of music?

JM: Yeah so I found all my Dad's old CD’s when I was younger and it was all a mix between Motown and Soul - Isley Brothers, Bobby Womack, Sly & The Family Stone and stuff but then there was also a huge punk influence. I was also listening to Iggy and the Stooges, The Clash, and this was like when I was 7 or 8, and I loved it. And then when I was 10 years old that’s when I started finding my own music; I’d listen to the radio and I’d ask Mum and Dad for a CD. The first CD I got was Outkast Speakerboxxxx/ The Love Below and I listened to that non-stop. So I like to think my music is a mix between the older punk and soul influences but then hip-hop based grooves and alternative production.

MD: Yeah you can see this coming through in your latest track Satellite, where you bring in more dance vibes…

JM: Yeah! There’s loads of percussive elements in there that skip the beat forward.

M.D: It’s nice to mix genres. There’s always the question ‘how would you describe your sound’ but I think that’s quite hard for artist's to answer…

JM: Yeah, that question's getting harder, and harder to answer. I think the most exciting contemporary music is genre-less. You get artists that put out a punk track and the next single might be RnB…


MD: And I guess it’s about not being put into a box anymore…

JM: It’s because so much of what you have to do these days is algorithm based. So any label or AnR person is going to be like ‘what’s your sound?' Or ‘What playlist will this go into?’ But thankfully I think we are passed that now as streaming service offer alternative playlists like ‘the other list’ or ‘pollen’. There are big playlists that are genre-less.


M.D: Yeah like even with fashion we used to have our subcultures, right? Whereas now that’s not really a thing, it’s all interchangeable

JM: Exactly! Like you will get rappers like Slowthai that will wear like a blazer with safety pins all over it, that’s a punk thing, and it’s wicked.

VC PINES wears tee UNIQLO; cardigan MANATASH; trousers STUSSY; shoes SALOMON; hat BEAN BABY; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM




MD: Your new single Satellite dropped yesterday! What has the response been like so far?

JM: It’s been cool, we got spun on Radio 1 last night.

MD: Amazing - it’s such great song for radio!

JM: Thank you. Yeah people are loving it. I wrote it last year with Bad Sounds (two guys in Bristol) and then produced it with Ant Whiting who’s really exciting to work with and he definitely understood what I wanted to do. But what I love about working with him is that generally it’s all analog. He uses all old bits of equipment, and new, but we got really experimental with it and ran all the vocals through this old harmoniser that took my vocal passage and really fucked with it. And we put that in as much as possible, without detaching from the song.

M.D: That’s what makes it all encompassing from the narrative of singing about heartbreak to the way the track is produced

JM: Yeah, we wanted the song to sound like a broken relationship… and it sounds like a broken toy and I love that.

M.D: Is this a personal song to you?

JM: Yeah. I think it’s more personal than I thought it was but I think I’ve realised how personal it is in the fact that, looking back, the song fell into place straight away. I was in Bristol producing other music with Bad Sounds and then we had one spare day on the last day. And we were like ‘fuck it let’s try and do something new’ and we wrote the song in like half an hour. And the rest of the day was building on it and making more of an impact.

M.D: So writing it so quickly you didn’t have time to really recognise how you were feeling?

JM: Yeah, so now, looking back I can realise I was feeling like that. I think more and more, I’ve realised that the song encompasses a broken relationship and spending your time and energy on the wrong person. But I think in a greater sense it’s helped me realise or stopped me wasting time on the wrong ideas or how I want to go about my career and making music. And it’s made me go actually I’m going to stop wasting my time putting out alternative music and hoping for mainstream success straight away. It doesn’t work/ happen. So it’s given me that boost of confidence to say I’m going to do this my way and people can either be on it or not.



M.D: You need to be authentically yourself! I love how this song has had different levels for you, and it’s grown with you and I’m sure it will for so many listeners/ fans

JM: Yeah and that’s what makes a great song, when it means so many different things to different people. And it means something different to me 6 months on, than it did on the day.

MD: Has it been a big release getting it out?

JM: Absolutely. As a song but also in a production sense, I’d say more so. As this is the start of where I’m going with my music and I’m currently sitting on a bigger project for later this year so it’s all like that… and then some more!


M.D: Exciting. You can feel when watching your performances that you put so much emotion into them. Do you find it challenging singing them?

JM: I’m definitely really in the song when I’m performing it. I just try not to cry when singing [laughs].

M:D: What was your first post-lockdown gig? JM: I did St. Pancras Old Church last summer, which was really cool and that was the first gig back after the last lock down. And then some shows last year, I did a solo gig in Manchester… and I’m supposed to be on tour now but we had to pull it. But we kept the Jazz Cafe show. It’s frustrating because we are right at the end of Covid restrictions now but at the time there were still safety concerns. So many tours are still getting cancelled.


LEFT VC PINES wears shirt DOLLY; vest & trousers WEEKDAY; shoes PARABOOT; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM

RIGHT VC PINES wears jumper ADAM JONES; trousers OLIVE; shoes KLEMAN; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM



MD: That’s such a shame. How does it make you feel?

JM: If anything, I’m thinking that by the time I do these shows later this year, I’m going to have more new music out, so I’d rather have a reason to play all these songs.

MD: Is playing live a big part of it all for you?

JM: Yeah! That’s always been the reason that I make music. I was in a band for 4-5 years before VC Pines and we were just touring non-stop, up and down the country and around the globe. And we would have 2 gigs every week for 4 years and I loved it!



MD: It’s the heart of it, right?

JM: Yeah for sure, especially for bands but what I’ve really enjoyed is keeping that up but also really getting into writing by myself, and then producing and getting more involved. When it’s a solo thing, everything is down to me, and I have to make those decisions and I love it.

M.D: Who do you listen to when you’re feeling sad?

JM: I’ve been listening to Slauson Malone. So, at the moment, experimental stuff there’s definitely a vibe. Music that makes me nostalgic so it could be anything from an old Jerry Butler song, it’s actually quite a happy song in that it’s called Only the Strong Survive and it’s about picking yourself back up, but I find it sad because it’s the song that I would listen to when I was sad. And Bon Iver’s first album I was listening to loads at college and that’s one I can’t listen to unless I’m sad because if I’m not sad, it makes me sad!


M.D: I love your style. Do you think fashion and music come hand-in-hand?

JM: 100% If I’m feeling a certain way, and I’m going to the studio that day, I’ll dress to what kind of music I want to make that day. I’ll feel what I’m wearing and go and do that in the studio.



VC PINES wears vest ADAM JONES; trousers 194 LOCAL; shoes ADIDAS X WALES BONNER; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM



M.D: Let’s talk about social media. I read you being appreciative to everyone who digs your art but also giving some sound advise to other artists as to not get too stuck on the numbers

JM: It’s when everyone that you’re talking to as a musician that is in charge of the business side of things, they are just about numbers. So the first thing they will look at are your numbers on Spotify, or TikTok and it’s like come on man, can’t you just take me for what I am and let’s do something with it. Numbers has become such a barrier when really, it has never mattered. I just think as an artist, it’s so easy to focus solely on the numbers and not enjoy the process anymore because you become a content creator over becoming a musician. And it’s like fuck that…


MD: You’ve got the Jazz Cafe coming up on the 9th March and you mentioned the new project earlier. Can you spill any beans on that?

JM: I’ve got a bigger project I’m sitting on based on Neurology and how relationships are affected. It’s called MRI and it’s inspired by my journey with epilepsy… and that’s all I’m gonna say!

MD: I look forward to hearing it. It’s clearly incredibly personal to you

JM: Yeah, every now and again I can feel like I’m lacking inspiration and then suddenly something clicks and I’m like okay, now I can encompass all of this around it.

M.D: And I’ve got to ask, what’s your favourite F Word?

JM: It has to be fuck! Everyone growing up in my house; my mum, dad, brother we all have the foulest of mouths! [laughs]





VC PINES wears balaclava BEAN BABY; jewellery BLEUE BURNHAM