For 24-year-old musician Angelique Jacquet, the pandemic induced lockdown in 2020 proved to be incredibly productive. In the span of only a year, Angelique has displayed their versatile musical talent through their debut album ‘Insequeer’ and their latest release ‘VHS’ (Vagina, Heart and Soul). Musically inclined from childhood, Angelique is a self-professed musical theatre nerd who grew up playing multiple instruments that vibrantly come together in ‘VHS’. Their experiments with synths and percussion during the lockdown gave birth to ‘VHS’, an album that is intriguingly distinct from their debut ‘Insequeer’.
While ‘Insequeer’ relied heavily on the piano, VHS mixes things up with a variety of sounds to evoke a range of emotions. Discussing the kind of mood they set out to create with VHS, Angelique says: “The idea behind VHS is to take the listener on a journey that brings back the vibes of campy sci-fi movies and video games of the 80s and 90s. I also wanted to make my listeners feel like (if I may appropriate gen-z terms for a second), a ‘Main Character’. The name VHS actually came before the songs were ready. I had a vibe and feeling in mind when I thought of the name.”
VHS successfully manages to do just this. Each of its seven tracks conjures nostalgic images that evoke a distinct feeling of a time from the past. It’s often difficult to pinpoint what you’re nostalgic for as you listen to VHS, but the emotion is powerful and resonant and leaves you with a sense of catharsis as the final track ends. The opening track ‘Delhi Girls’ beautifully blends the piano with its synth pop elements making for a perfect introductory track for an actual ‘main character’ on a film or television show. ‘Tides’ starts with a strong and powerful beat and continues with an almost hypnotic rhythm aided by the drums.
‘The Next Station’ feels like it belongs on the ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack with its stellar musical arrangement. A stand-out track is ‘Condiments’ that creates a feeling of melancholy and hope, all at once. The closing track of the album ‘Zoe Kravitz’ is a foot-tapping, upbeat and vibrant sound that perfectly encompasses the theme of ‘VHS’. It is also a personal favourite of Angelique’s, “Zoe Kravitz is one of my favourites because I tried a new way of composing, where I had a specific sound in mind when I created it, but the way it turned out still had the vibes that I most recognise as my own, which made me feel like damn I have a Sound now.” Spacey and atmospheric, each track on VHS sets a palatable mood for the listener.
In ‘Insequeer’ and ‘VHS’, Angelique leaves lyrics behind, focusing entirely on music and rhythm to help bring their vision to life. Their aim is to have every listener build a personal connection with their music. They say, “The way I make music is not to try and pen down how I’m feeling at the moment, but rather how I’d like to be feeling at the end of it, and how I’d like my listeners to feel after hearing it. Especially with instrumental music, since there are no words and there’s no verbal story being told, it’s so subjective and open to interpretation. That’s obviously a part of its beauty.” Does Angelique plan on adding their vocals to future music? They say, “I’ve fallen in love with electro-acoustic music over the past couple of years, and plan to keep on producing. Maybe one day I’ll even have the confidence to add my own vocals to the mix. For now though, I’m comfortable in the instrumental space and want to keep on making as much music as I can, and if the world allows it, play live.”
As a queer person Angelique wants other queer people to be able to relate to relate to the emotions they are trying to bring out through their music. Angelique says, “Even though all my songs are instrumental, I want queer people to be able to relate to the emotions I’m trying to bring through my music. I’ve received a lot of support from the community and other queer artists, and love being a part of the environment where we support each other and build each other up. Insequeer was also kind of a way for me to come out to my extended family. It was like, hey I make music now, also it’s called Insequeer, make of that what you will.”
Angelique also believes that music by queer artists is defined by the power and strength they bring to the world. They add, “There’s just something different about listening to music by queer artists. The power and strength they bring to the world by telling their stories in a heteropatriarchal society makes me feel safe and seen. This was especially important during my coming out, and even more so when I’m going through a breakup.”
‘VHS’ is now available on all major streaming platforms.