RENDEZVOUS: A Quick Catch Up With V
“I have no idea what I would do with myself if I could not channel my psyche in this way.”
Melbourne-via-Berlin artist V creates moody, synth driven beats that constantly drift between a feeling of pure chaos and hypnotic escape. It’s not just a sound, it’s an experience. We caught up with V to chat about the brilliant forthcoming debut album (set for release tomorrow, Feb 15), their immersive live shows and the timeless sound of ESG.
As always, please press play below to enhance your reading experience.
Last month you released your excellent new track ‘So Pure’. Can you tell us a bit about what that song is about?
Thank you. So Pure is a eulogy of sorts, and it was the hardest song on the album to write. I tried to write it from the hypothetical perspective of another person, but not surprisingly, the end result says much more about me. The lyrics tell a story about the search for something ungraspable, eternal and pure. It’s about true love, belief in magic and destiny. It also tells of ugliness, drugs, sadistic visions, struggle, death and an afterlife.
It’s been six years since you released music as V. Assuming there were no strict deadlines to complete the album, how did you know when it was ready to share with the world? How do you know when a song is complete?
It was important to me not to rush the process and end up with something sloppy or unfinished. This was my first attempt producing an album from start to finish by myself, and being the perfectionist that I am, I could have kept tweaking the songs for much longer. There was a point where I recognised I had to let go and move on. This was after about two years of ‘tweaking’, including during the mixing process with my engineer Ruby Burns. The songs continue to evolve in their live form, and even after being pressed into vinyl, they will continue to evolve. I learnt a lot producing this album, and armed with that knowledge, I'm sure the next body of work will come in a more timely fashion.
What does the V creative process usually look like?
It varies greatly. Sometimes I’ll build a song start to finish, starting with synth or bass guitar, then electronic drums, adding the lyrics and vocals at the end of the process. Sometimes I start with an almost fully formed song and all I have to do is crack onto bringing it out of my brain and into reality, which is harder than it sounds. Sometimes I’ll be noodling around on the synth and get an idea and record it. I often look through my demos, of which I have a graveyard’s worth. Sometimes I can find the inspiration to finish them. I use music to process complex emotions, but mostly the music making process is a kind of reigning of the chaos and following my gut instinct.
What impact does creating darker music have on your mind - do you find it therapeutic?
I do find writing, producing and performing my music incredibly therapeutic. At the same I have also performed the pieces so many times, their deeper meanings in the context of the performance have been somewhat dissociated. I have no idea what I would do with myself if I could not channel my psyche in this way. It definitely helps me process things after the fact. This being said, I’m looking forward to changing the scope of my focus outwards, to the world, instead of inwards for the next work. Sometimes making music this personal can be confronting, I want to be careful to not reveal too much.
How important is it to maintain a level of theatrics in your live shows?
Theatrics are part of the show, I’m not just a recording artist, I’m a performing artist. I want to entertain people. I love it when I see artists dancing along to the music. I want to entice the people to engage with me, and the music, to feel it. I am essentially emulating the pop stars I admired from my youth, but a punk D.I.Y. version. Who knows what the future will bring for the V live show, but I can’t see myself doing a sit down acoustic set. I want to bring the fire, the passion, the excitement.
What do you want people to feel when they walk away from a V show?
I’d like them to feel entertained, to feel like they have witnessed art, and I’d like women and queers to feel empowered.
What was one of the weirdest instruments or recording techniques you used on your new album?
I used a variety of analogue synthesisers, probably the most unconventional was the Korg Monotron. It’s a tiny ribbon synthesiser the size of a cassette tape. It has a very simple interface, and I love the sounds it makes, I've used it in nearly all the songs for build ups and texture. I also sampled single drum hits from a 1960s pre-Korg Keio drum machine called The Mini-Pops which I picked up at a flea market in the EU for 2 euros.
Your music is reflective of the past, present and future. What’s one album from the past that you always find yourself coming back to? Why?
It’s very hard to narrow it down to one! In terms of songwriting and mood, ESG ‘A South Bronx Story’ is a classic that never gets old. Absolutely effortless, timeless music, this is an album where every song is the hit. I will never get tired of ESG. Production wise and genre wise, for my interest in synths, Dave Ball’s ‘In Strict Tempo’ is something I listen to and reference often. The production and synth work is impeccable. Genesis P-Orridge sings and is sampled in the song ‘Man in the Man’ which is a killer track - a distorted futuristic synthetic wasteland with heaps of layers and detail, all while sounding crystal clear and not muddy.
2019 is kicking off with a bit of a bang. What’s plans for the rest of the year?
I am going to release a few more music videos in the lead up to my Australian tour in March with the fantastic experimental synth drone duo Ov Pain. I have plans to tour NZ in a few months, and if I’m lucky I’ll fit the EU later this year. I’d love to tour more, play more festivals, see more of Australia and the world this year and next. I am releasing an EP with my other project Dark Water, which I drum in, and we will tour and play some festivals. I'm always busy with music in some form or another.
Finally, you obviously have an ear for music. How do you go on the dance floor?
Depends on the music. If there are some good tunes, not Top 40 (excluding the 80s) I can bust a move
You can purchase V’s debut album here. Tour dates below: