VC Pines

Playlist: VC Pines

Following the release of his fantastic new single Smoke Without Fire, we asked VC Pines to make us a playlist.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 5 Feb 2021
  • min read

London-based artist Jack Mercer aka VC Pines is back with his intoxicating new single Smoke Without Fire, the follow-up to last year’s acclaimed EP Skully.

Premiered by Jack Saunders on BBC Radio 1 earlier this week, Smoke Without Fire makes for a vibrant return.

Speaking about the new single Mercer explains: ‘Smoke without fire is about hearing various rumours and not knowing whether or not to believe them, but being sure that rumours wouldn’t have started without some kind of spark - ‘No smoke without fire’. This song was written at the height of the first lockdown which made things more frustrating being locked down and not being able to tackle rumours and problems rising up around me. I think that’s why the lyrics are so jagged at points ‘now I bleed where the cuts don’t show, another toothache that grinds the bone’. This song was also a turning point for me, discovering a new sonic avenue to delve into.'

Give Smoke Without Fire a spin below.

Following the release, we asked VC Pines to make us a playlist for the weekend.

Talking Heads - Born Under Punches

One of the first albums I listened to after discovering my dad’s music collection when I was around 8? The instrumentation is out of this world… I couldn’t believe what I was listening to. The whole album is a work of art, I’d dance around in my room like David Byrne to this and Once In A Lifetime for hours.

Outkast - Vibrate

I love the vocal layers and smooth instrumentation juxtaposed to the grating reverse beat. Anything on this album could have been released yesterday and it’d still slap harder than anything else. This was one of the first albums I discovered myself, without influence from my parents, and it changed the way I saw music.

MF DOOM / Madvillain / Madlib - Accordion

R.I.P MF DOOM, I love all the different projects he had going on and I think this tune in particular shows how talented he was with his rhymes and ideas. The man was a sonic adventurer and worked without compromise. A true lost legend.

Baxter Dury - I’m Not Your Dog

This song is a mood. As with a lot of his songs, he captures an emotion with his words and ‘throw away’ delivery that kicks you reluctantly back into reality, but a weird reality, where you’re in miami, and dying on a beach, like the video to this song.

VC Pines - Smoke Without Fire

'Smoke Without Fire' is my new single out now. The track is about hearing various rumours and not knowing what to believe, but being sure that these rumours couldn’t have started without some kind of spark. It was written during the first lockdown when I wasn’t able to handle things in the way I wanted to which added to the frustration. I think that’s why the lyrics come out so jagged at points ‘now I bleed where the cuts don’t show, another toothache that grinds the bone’.

Tyler The Creator - EARFQUAKE

I think this album proved to me that albums are still respected and worthwhile even in today and the way that we consume music. The fact that Tyler explained to his fans that this is not your usual rap album and to listen to the body of work from start to finish before it he released it was a huge turning point in the respect that fans have for artists and their works.


This is one of my favourite hip-hop albums, the blend between BADBADNOTGOOD as a live jazz band and Ghostface Killah is something I don’t think any one ever thought of or asked for? But we all needed. Even as an instrumental this song still hits the spot.

Isaac Hayes - Walk On By

Best version of this song IMO. The heavenly string arrangements and bvs juxtaposed to the fuzz guitar is sick and then Isaac comes in and just floats on top, yeah, nice.

Jeff Buckley - So Real

The whole album amazes me, he’s definitely someone who I idolise as a vocalist, he was acrobatic in the way that he sang and I think it really shows in this song.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street (Live in Copenhagen)

The best live version of a song? Possibly? The way the song rises towards the end and bursts open is the reason I love playing live so much. You can really expand your ideas and throw the song at an audience from all angles.