Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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VagueEightySix On His Love For Skateboarding, Dream Collabs & His Thoughts On The UK R&B Scene

His influences range from Classic Motown, and R&B to Deep House, which gives his music the versatility to keep his listener wanting more. 

Can you tell us how you came up with your stage name?

It came about because I consider myself the slightly odd and quiet character in the background, the guy who likes to hold my cards close to my chest before feeling comfortable enough to reveal. I’m a chilled dude who doesn’t say much or give much away, so that’s where I get my vagueness. A lot of my friends call me an introvert and a bit of a recluse which I guess is kinda true. The “EightySix” comes from my birth year, but I also spot the number 86 everywhere I go, so I just saw that as a sign.


How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before? 

It’s like the blissful feeling of the cool breeze on your face whilst cruising on your skateboard. I think my heavy influence of late 80’s and 90’s music production and songwriting gives the music a nostalgic vibe”… well at least that’s my aim. As far as the sound goes, I like to mix up all my influences: 90s Hip-Hop, Old-School Garage, Contemporary and Classic R&B and a touch of Motown. 


You recently released the final track from your VagueTape series; how do you develop the inspiration behind your visuals?

My inspiration simply comes from watching and analysing the 90’s Hip Hop and R&B-era videos and visuals in general. Also, I’ve always felt a bond with anything slightly vintage that gives me a sense of nostalgia. You could say my soul has been pulled towards that feeling, always giving me the inspiration to push it to the full front whilst still keeping things slightly vague.


You say that the VagueTape series is a homage to the artists who came before you; who are the artists that inspired you to make music?

Several artists have inspired me, from Roy Ayers, Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Janet Jackson, and Jodeci to A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, Pete Rock, Madlib and just 90’s Hip Hop in general. I feel like there were a lot more raw R&B singers singing over raw Hip Hop in the 90’s, and I think that’s what I love the most”… it’s the combination of the two, all while keeping it raw and authentic.


We hear you are into skateboarding. Have you got a favourite skateboarder? 

My favourite skater is Kevin White. He seems like the type of chilled dude who will listen to the VagueTape whilst he’s just cruising and coasting along”…


Have you got a favourite Tony Hawk game?

I mean, I still play and love Skate 3, but from the Tony Hawk series, I’d have to say Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. You know, the original version. Like I said before, I’m all about nostalgia, so yeah, it’s got to be 1+2.


You have worked with fellow R&B rising star Jupiter Grey; how did you guys initially link up?

What’s crazy about Jupiter Grey is we used to sing together as a group! In our early 20’s we formed an R&B group, and we were Jupiter Grey together; I was our producer, singer & songwriter. Life outside music happened, and we went off on our own journeys, only to work with each other again, which is crazy that we’ve come full circle. I don’t work with just anyone. There must be a real vibe there, but working with him made sense. So yeah, shout out to Jupiter.


Does your creative process differ when working on projects that aren’t your own? 

Well, as I said, I don’t just work with anybody. I’d rather just kick it and chill with them first and get to know the artist’s true character and learn his or her intentions for this music we love. So yeah, if the vibe is right, I can channel that energy into the writing and see through their eyes as well as mine and find a cool concept to work with.

I’m always inspired by the talent around me, which helps me adapt to their style and sprinkle glimmers of my magic to mix it with theirs.


Have you got any methods for getting over writer’s block? 

I think the fact that I don’t say much in general and can sometimes be a recluse makes it all come out in my songs. So it could be things I’ve been holding in for a while or just constant waves of emotions that I need to get off my chest. If I’m not inspired by my surroundings or have self-doubt (like we all do because we’re human), I like to switch it up and throw my headphones on and go skate or go for a walk to get inspired by nature or just good people around me. Things like seeing couples in love or families being carefree while getting some fresh air usually help my ideas flow when I’m listening to a beat I made earlier that day. 

What are your dream collaborations?

I’d love to work with artists like Navy Blue and KeiyaA. The Alchemist, Lord Apex, Sampha and James Blake to name a few more.


Recently, Queen released an unheard song with Freddie Mercury; if you could dig into any artist’s vault  -dead or alive – and hear all their unheard music, who would it be? 

I’m going to have to go with Marvin Gaye on this one. Not only is he my favourite artist, but when you hear his songs, you still feel like he had unfinished business in this world, like his love stories, and not just love in relationships but for the love of the world and humanity in general. The pain and the emotion in his voice still gets me every time.


There have been a lot of conversations over the last several years about the UK R&B scene. What are your thoughts?

I think R&B in the UK is huge right now, and it’s only going to get bigger and better as we are now emerging with US artists and collaborations, yet we’ve finally found our own identity, and it’s a beautiful thing. There’s so much great R&B coming out of the UK right now, and I’m happy to be a part of it, however small.


Now that artists are back to touring, are you looking to start performing your music live?

For sure, I’m definitely looking forward to touring the world after the album is finished and getting a show on the road. I really want to spread some love and connect with the people who listen to my music.


What would be your dream festival to perform at? 

That’s easy: Coachella.


Are you working towards an EP or Album? If so, when can we expect it? 

You can expect a full-length album from me early next year, 2023. This will be my first of many, and I’m hugely grateful to work with SUN/MGNETK, the executive producer. We’ve worked hard to create a journey that expands on the singles I’ve been putting out so far, as well as containing a lot of the influences you hear on the VagueTape. I’m just excited to finally share with the people something that we all can relate to: the journey of self-love.


You can find VagueEightySix on his socials here:




Words by Jack Shephard

Posted On 4 November, 2022