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Vars City on their new album, ‘Lost In The City’

(L-R): Von Bruce, Donni Fresco and Don Wonder.
(L-R): Von Bruce, Donni Fresco and Don Wonder. Vars City

South Jersey Hip-Hop and R&B group Vars City recently released their second album, Lost In The City.

Vars City, made up of three longtime friends, deliver a unique sound with their melodic voices and catchy tempos.

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Von Bruce, Donni Fresco and Don Wonder combine their musical talents to form the trio.

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Global News sat down with Vars City in Toronto to talk about their new album, what they want the legacy of the group to be, and much more.

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Global News: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never listened to your music before?
Von Bruce: I think we have a more melodic sound. We go more towards flows and the cadences of the music. Our lyrics are definitely relatable at the same time and I think it caters to a very broad spectrum of different listeners, similar to Drake or Bryson Tiller.

Donni Fresco: Short and sweet, I just think we have a lot of different elements that mesh to what our genre is. I think it goes really well with what’s trending now. We’re in our own lane and I think there’s a different aspect to the market of music that we could bring.

Don Wonder: They said it all. I think we have relatable, good music that people like to listen to.

How do each of you differ from each other?
Don Wonder: I sound like the more laid-back, reserved kind of person.

Von Bruce: I’m in between. I could be aggressive, loud but I could also be more laid-back and cool on the track too. I try to bring the balance.

Donni Fresco: I feel like I’m more on the energetic side.

Well, you did say you were the best out of the group on Instagram, didn’t you (laughing)?
Donni Fresco: I am, I am, I am. I’m the best.

Von Bruce: (Laughing) I literally just seen that too on Instagram.

Donni Fresco: I didn’t want to say that in front of them (laughing). I feel like I have a more spontaneous approach. I could be a wildcard on the music and I could come with a style that I’ve never done before. I like to explore with the music and do a lot of abstract stuff.

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Are you guys nervous that you’re going to be compared to Migos or G-Unit since there’s three of you in the group?
Don Wonder: No, never. If you listen to our music you’d never compare us to the Migos. I get it, there’s three people but there’s a big difference.

Donni Fresco: I think our music is more of the vibes.

Von Bruce: They have the trap sound but we’re not really trap rappers like that.

Don Wonder: We could do some trap but I don’t think Migos would sing R&B.

Von Bruce: Yeah, you’re definitely not going to catch Migos on any R&B track.

Donni Fresco: We are way more versatile than them.

Where did the name Vars City come from? Were you deciding between any other names?
Don Wonder: We had a Facebook chat where we were all coming up with names and they were all bad.

Von Bruce: We came up with Vars because it was an acronym. First we were called Vars Academy but that was back in the day. That one sounds childish now. We kept the Vars though, which is an acronym for verbal art reaping success.

Don Wonder: I think Fresco said Vars City on one of our songs and then the fans went crazy.

Donni Fresco: After that we just started calling ourselves Vars City.

What’s the inspiration behind your new album, Lost In The City?
Von Bruce: It took us a few years but we’re about to start dropping music a lot faster than that (laughing). We have a lot of music packed up but we want to make sure we get that quality product. We like making our projects really cohesive.

Don Wonder: I felt the inspiration for this was to make listeners feel like they were in this fantasy world. You’re literally lost in a city. If you listen to a song, it really describes our perfect city situation and what you might go through in your own little world. I look at it as I’m trying to get money, I’m trying to get what I want in life and get ahead. You go through all the trials and at the end of the day you realize all you have is family and friends.

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What’s been the reaction from the fans?
Von Bruce: They’re rocking with it.

Donni Fresco: We’ve been trying to get this album out now for a while because people say we don’t drop enough music, which is changing. We’re no longer Vars Hiatus City. But releasing this has made us realize that we need to drop more music because people really appreciated the album and we got really good feedback.

Don Wonder: People are saying it’s our best work yet.

Who would your dream collaboration include?
Don Wonder: I think if we could get on a song with Drake that would be crazy.

Von Bruce: Yeah, a song with Drake would be ridiculous or a song with Young Thug would be really cool too. Any artist that is versatile and does a lot of different stuff on the track.

Donni Fresco: A song with Young Thug would be fire.

What’s the writing process like for you guys?
Donni Fresco: We write all of our lyrics. We do this thing where, I’d say eight times out of ten, we get the flows and the melodies before we get the lyrics. Once we get that, we’ll make a reference track and it might not even have any lyrics in it. It might just have melodies and how we want to sound on the track. Then we’ll go in and throw words in there and tell our story. We want to get that sound that will resonate in people’s ears perfectly.

Don Wonder: I think it has to resonate in our ears perfectly first. If it doesn’t sound good to us, we can’t do it.

Von Bruce: During our selection process we float through a bunch of different beats and we’ll see who had the best cadence or the best flow on a specific beat and that person will take the lead on that song.

Don Wonder: Sometimes if someone has their own personal song, we will come in and throw a verse on it. There’s a song on the album called, They Know, and I’m not even on — they are on it. Fresco came up with the hook.

Donni Fresco: Wonder got left off Bad and Boujee (laughing).

Oh no, Take Off is the best from Migos though. Don’t let them treat you like that (laughing).
Don Wonder: (Laughing) No, they wanted me to get on that track. I just decided I wasn’t going to do it. I didn’t want to take up his second verse and if we added a third verse the song would be way too long.

Donni Fresco: He let us be great.

What do you want the legacy of Vars City to be?
Donni Fresco: I want us to be seen as that group that broke a different genre. There was never a group like us. I think the market needs us because there’s nothing like us right now. There’s no three-man group that fits our mold.

Von Bruce: He’s probably thinking the closest thing to us is if you put Drake, Young Thug and…

Don Wonder: Don’t say that. I’m not trying to put my name behind that. I’m only trying to be like myself.

Von Bruce: We’re basically like an all-star group coming together. We’re not like other groups that kind of do the same thing or sound alike. We all sound different and bring something different to the table.

Don Wonder: We all have distinct voices and you can tell who is who. It blends well together.

Von Bruce: We want to change the narrative of New Jersey because we don’t really have a lot of artists coming out of there. We have Fetty Wap.

Don Wonder: We want to represent for our part of Jersey. There’s North Jersey, New York and Philly and then our area. We want to be the ones that open things up for our side and be the Drakes of our city.

Donni Fresco: We motivate ourselves because, in terms of sound, we create our own ladders. We inspire each other.

What can your fans expect from you in 2020?
Von Bruce: A lot more music being released.

Don Wonder: A lot of videos off this album because all our fans are rocking with it.

Von Bruce: We’re going to be a lot more visible now too.

Donni Fresco: You’ll be seeing a lot more of us in a lot of different places.

What’s your favourite song on Lost In The City?
Donni Fresco: I love all the songs but I’d probably choose Wipeout.

Don Wonder: I think I’d say Close.

Is that because you’re on the track (laughing)?
Don Wonder: (Laughing) I’m on every song except for They Know.

Von Bruce: My favourite is They Know because it has mostly me on the track (laughing).

Is there anything else that you want your fans to know?
Von Bruce: There will be more music coming out and I feel like it gets better every time we release something.

Donni Fresco: I want them to realize that we’re actually better than their favourite artist.

Don Wonder: Listen to our album, Lost In The City.

(This interview has been edited and condensed.)

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Lost In The City is out now on all streaming platforms.