Vandana Jain is a stunning, experimental Williamsburg-based musician and graphic artist. Born and raised in Bangalore, India and schooled in London, she explains that her varied cultural and sensory experiences awakened certain synergies within her that “stirred a curiosity and awareness of an internal yin and yang.” This sensibility is clearly evident in her fashion aesthetic as well as her musical creations.

Finding influence everywhere and in all things, Jain’s music is a study in polarity, contrasted in its nature and its resonance: at times it seems chaotic; other times, it’s stark. But no matter what, she puts her whole self into her work.

And like her music — a tasteful fusion of synthesized, infectious bass lines and hypnotic yet primal tones — Jain’s personality is full of dimension and depth.  A striking beauty with intelligence to match, she’s constantly striving towards greater evolution and transcendence within herself, her music, and her journey:  “My previous works have taught me a lot,” Jain said. “There is always room for better – past, current, or future, but as long as there’s growth and evolution, I see no use in crying over thoughtfully spilled milk.”

Jain chose Beautiful Savage to premiere this fabulous video as well as highlight two new singles, “Mask” and “Ecstatic”. Her new album Anti Venus will be released this fall. If not already, we’re betting Vandana Jain will be in your daily rotation soon. Enjoy!

Beautiful Savage: Did you go to formal schooling to become an “artist”? 
Vandana Jain: To become a musician? Never! I compose and play by ear. Of course, music has always been an intrinsic part of my life, but to this day, I think everything that comes out of me is by accident. While I was still a full-time graphic designer, I started playing around with GarageBand and it was so exciting that I was losing sleep over it. It became a career choice when I started performing the music I was making.

Vandana Jain Anti Venus

What brought you to Brooklyn?
VJ: I love Williamsburg because it is bursting with energy and creativity.

Does traditional [Indian] music ever find its way into your pieces? Do you come from a musical family?
VJ:It creeps in subconsciously, especially in my vocal melodies, which makes use of several quarter tones.  My family is very musical!

What are your fondest musical memories?
VJ: Spending every other evening with my family singing and playing Bollywood soundtracks; Catholic choir practice at school; being on an airplane over the Alps listening to Moon Safari by Air for the first time. It was perfection.

Whose work do you truly admire or enjoy – simply for pleasure?
VJ:Fashion: Iris Van Herpen, the Dutch haute-couture designer and threeASFOUR, an avant garde design collective – who, by the way, gave me two otherworldly pieces to wear for the Anti Venus shoot. Music: Rainbow Monkey, Fellini, and Jack White.

vandana jain

How does your upcoming album differ from your previous work?
VJ: Anti Venus is very different from previous works. This feels like the first foot in the right quicksand and I hope to get swallowed completely in all that follows. My previous works have taught me a lot.  There is always room for better – past, current, or future, but as long as there’s growth and evolution, I see no use in crying over thoughtfully spilled milk.

When does the new album come out?
VJ: It’s out this fall! I am toying with the idea of giving away a limited number for free in the first weeks. I love buying albums and listening to them as a whole experience. You hear the thoughts unfold and it’s much more beautiful to hear a sonic story that way, in chapters and parts. My album has a sonic story and I’d like for people to hear it intact.

Do you have particular messages you would like to get across in your work or, is it up to your listeners to interpret as they will?
VJ: Most messages are assertive, others are expressionist. The mood is important to me, and that influences the listeners’ interpretation. I think I mostly feel okay with exposing my vulnerability.

Are you able to classify your music into a genre?
VJ: It’s definitely a hybrid. I like to say electronic-synth-noir-post-punk-pop; my music has elements of all of these in good measure.

Do you collaborate with other songwriters?  
VJ: I have been working with Yusuke Yamamoto for almost a year now. He started playing keys in my band last year and our tastes resonated with each others’ – we now perform as a duo. Yusuke has also collaborated with me on the production for Anti Venus. I have recently started collaborating with other really great writers as well and look forward to those projects! The seed of a song almost always starts in my head, then to voice memo on iPhone and then to instruments. I work from my home studio.


Tell us about your technique and process.
VJ: I create better in cluttered and chaotic spaces. The mood is almost always right, unless I have other exciting things on my mind for the day.

You’re also a graphic designer.  How does that artistic outlet affect your music and vice versa?
VJ: Emotion is exaggerated when the right sound and image come together. I want to create a world that I enjoy seeing as much as I enjoy listening to. As a designer, I am able to provide my vision, an intent and dedication that no one else can, simply because I know exactly what I want and these types of messages get lost in translation. I have previously made all my album art. The artwork for Anti Venus, which I’m crazy about, is a collaboration with the exceptionally talented cut-and-paste artist May Lin Le Goff.

What’s been the best day of your life thus far?
VJ: The day my little brother was born.

Who would you like to collaborate with on future endeavors? Why?
VJ:For an added dose of uniqueness, I’d love to work with Jamie xx, DJ Rashad Teklife, Maya Jane Coles, Fever Ray, and Air, just to name a few.

What makes you happiest?
VJ: Excellence.

For more on Vandana Jain, visit her official website and Facebook page.
Photo 2 by Andres Burgos