Closing out last year with debut EP Are You In My Head, Austrian-Brazilian London-based artist Viji – aka Vanilla Jenner – is fast establishing herself as a multi-talented name amongst her generational peers, seeing her adopt disenchanted ‘90s/‘00s ennui midpoint between the angst-prone grunge of Hole and Avril Lavigne’s yarned pop-punk.
Spurred by her stateside teenage upbringing, the Dirty Hit-signed singer-songwriter invests a collective coming-of-age experience into a split between slow day slacker-wrung balladry and fuzz-siphoned indie rock – an emotional and sonic scale unified by an ever-constant surface noise. Therein which lies the laid-back yet varied appeal of Viji’s work, a latitude that tore through previous singles such as “Cherry” and “Unfair” – winding through bittersweet turf, bridging despondence and gentle irony with rippling guitar riffs and shuffling tempo.
Tying in with the same-day release of five-track offering Suck It, latest single “BFS” serves as a reminder of Jenner’s knack for capturing the reality of relationships, resisting a drive to sugar-coat through an emphasis on the disillusionment that can entangle enduring bonds. Pivoting from a backbone of slow-moving acoustic and keys, the song’s lyrical message unfolds with a self-effacing charm that finds weight through its coasting vocal delivery – reaching to crossover noughties alt-rock for inspiration.
Remaining true to the confessional form of her material to date, the track avoids shying away from the complexities that can undermine close connections. “‘BFS’ (short for ‘best friends’) is another personal one,” Viji explains. “It’s about friendships and growing apart from someone you were close to. I think everyone can relate to this in one way or another. The song isn’t spiteful but faces the reality of not wanting to stay in touch”.
“To add to the melancholy, I decided to make my own stop motion video. Shacked up in my storage room, I made a miniature studio set from which I worked during this last lockdown,” she adds. “It was a big learning process, but somehow I came out the other end with a music video. The main character in the video (‘viji’) sets out on a journey to find a best friend, which turns out not to be too easy either. I even added a dance choreography for the little characters. It means a lot to me, and I hope you like it.”