TVD Recommends: Technophobia Cassette Release Party with Void Vision and Curse at the Black Cat, 7/19

Ever since they popped onto the larger scene somewhere around 2010, the Philly based minimal synth sounds of Void Vision have been a tour de force for stone cold electronic music fans.

Fortunately for those of us here in the nation’s capital, Void Vision will be gracing Black Cat with their very first DC appearance, as part of Technophobia’s Bleeding Hands Remixes, Cassette Release Party (along with the electro doom sounds of Baltimore’s Curse), on July 19th. As such, the fine folks in Technophobia thought it only fitting to ask Shari Wallin of Void Vision a few questions, to get DC better acquainted.

You have a lot of gear when you play live, how do you deal with that logistically?

Well, I’ve managed to cut things down a little over the years, but what really helped was getting a large case for some of my smaller synth modules and drum machines. Most of it fits in there and then I use velcro to secure it all into place. It saves a lot of setup time. It’s hard though because I keep buying new gear and wanting to add it to the live setup.

What originally inspired the sound of Void Vision?

I’ve always been drawn to the piano and electronic sounds ever since I was very young. Video game music and dance / techno music were the first things I got into since that was what was immediately around me. As a weirdo kid in 1994, you really couldn’t avoid being influenced by NIN in some way of course. I suppose that was one of the first bands that really opened up my mind to the ways in which any kind of sounds imaginable could be used to make music.

Synthesizers were exciting because they weren’t like the typical rock band instrumentation and the possibilities seemed endless. So I started playing around with keyboards and sampling and making my own sound libraries when I was 12. Then I started reading a lot of musical biographies and discovering the electronic music of the past. I found the early experimental electronic music especially inspiring since I was from a culturally devoid suburban environment. I sincerely felt like I had been born in the wrong place and time. I think a lot of my music may be an attempt to experience what I feel like I missed out on, and to find a place of comfort.

How has your experience with Mannequin Records been? How did that relationship come to be?

It’s been good so far! I like the label’s output and I feel like they do what they do because they love it.

I also like their willingness to venture beyond the “minimal wave” and “coldwave” genres. I was a bit nervous at first that they wouldn’t like a few of my songs because they were different, but they really embraced it. Originally, I had planned to be on Wierd Records but my album got held up for a few years for personal reasons.

It’s hard to record an album when you’re living in chaos and fear, but it certainly aids the writing process. When I was finally ready to release it, I decided to write to Alessandro, and he was already familiar with my work because of my association with Wierd and had actually wanted to write to me, so that was that!

The cold wave/ minimal synth sound has been around for a while now. Do you feel like Void Vision is changing over time, and if so, in what direction?

Well, it’s definitely changed from a few years ago. I think it probably sounds a little more modern, production-wise. It’s hard to say what direction it’s going because I feel like every new song I write is a different direction in some way. It often just comes out in some weird way that I don’t expect. That being said, I do think I have been experimenting more with the vocals and some of the things that have been coming out during my experimental sessions have been a bit harsher sounding. I’ve thought about possibly incorporating some sampling, in a Severed Heads sort of way perhaps.

What is your process like when you’re making music?

I like to let the sounds dictate the direction of the song most of the time. I tweak with knobs and when I hear a sound that’s interesting, it will usually inspire me to create a line and then I build things up around it. Occasionally, a tune and words will come at the same time, almost instantly, but that’s rare and usually requires me to be in the midst of some kind of emotional trauma. I try to write lyrics/ poetry as often as possible, even though I don’t use 90% of them. I find it keeps me sharper and constantly forces me to be introspective. I think a lot of people have intense emotions, but they don’t take the time to sit and figure out what these emotions mean or where they came from. Daily writing is good practice.

What is your fanbase like?

My fanbase is lovely! And that’s saying a lot because I am absolutely disgusted by a large portion of humanity. They’re wonderful, loyal, eclectic, and supportive people of a high-caliber! I am always amazed at how much people promote and support me without any prompting. I feel lucky, and I honestly want to do more for them! If I could sing them all to sleep every night I would.

How do you feel about the current shift towards the harder, more driving EBM revival?

I really like EBM and I like dancing, but with every “revival” comes a wave of mediocre bands trying to imitate the few good ones.

Personally, I don’t really care too much what other bands are doing because it doesn’t affect me, but the kind of band I like the most is a dynamic one that can elicit a variety of feelings, and doesn’t stick to a strict label. But, all I can say is if you’re going to do one thing, then do it well! Craftsmanship is more important than genre.

What artists are influencing and inspiring you right now?

Mostly my friends bands.. Bestial Mouths, Xeno and Oaklander/ Martial Canterel, Ssleeperhold, Cult of Youth, Silent Em, Futility, and a million others. There’s seriously too many to list. I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing Delphic Oracle perform live. It was a very spiritual experience and her stuff reminds me of times spent with my old violin player. Destroying Angel is also a great newer band from Philadelphia in the neo-folk realm.

I’ve also been in a Julee Cruise mood a lot lately. It all depends though. My mood changes a lot and I don’t like listing bands. I think it’s easier for me say that there are certain elements that inspire me. I am attracted to bell sounds and percussive metallic clanging, haunting sopranos and rich baritones, doleful strings, warm analog synths, solid beats, meaningful lyrics, intelligent structures, atmospheres with personality, cold deadpans and wild outbursts, etc.

What are you working on, and what would your ideal future be for Void Vision?

Right now I’m trying to work on new material for the next album while I’m waiting for Sub Rosa to be released. The single from the upcoming full length is being released this month, July 19th, via Mannequin Records. I also just finished up work on a new album for my other band, Hot Guts, and that album entitled ‘Wilds’ will be released in the fall on Avant! Records. In September I’m headed to Canada for a few Void Vision shows, and I’m in the midst of trying to figure out a European tour.

My ideal future.. Well, I suppose it would be nice if making music was my full time job. Maybe I could get a gig on a doomed cruise ship.

Void Vision Facebook | Soundcloud

Cassette Release Party

Saturday, July 19
Black Cat (backstage)
Doors at 9pm, $10
1811 14th St. NW WDC 20009

(Darkwave/Minimal Wave/Synthwave, Mannequin Records, Philadelphia)

(Electro-Doom, Realicide Youth Records, Baltimore)

Facebook Event | Purchase Tickets

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