July 23 2015

Volvox and Umfang, Nothing but Future

New York-Le Bain
Detroit, cyper-punk, and techno-feminism: the future comes to Le Bain, Saturday July 25th with the Brooklyn underground party 'Level', featuring Volvox and Umfang

LE BAIN: You two have been making a name for yourselves in Brooklyn’s underground scene. Volvox, you were just featured as one of Bullett’s Brightest '15. Umfang, you're about to release your OK album on Vancouver label 1080p... Is 2015 your time?
Volvox: A lot has been going on and it's all been very exciting. Already this year, Emma and I have played in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Detroit; and Montreal thanks to Discwoman. Just this summer I've played at Output, Good Room, and now Le Bain all for the first time - all high-profile clubs with superb sound. I hope to keep pushing things in this direction through the rest of the year.

Umfang: 2015 has been a great period of growth and change for a lot of people - it's been a total shift for me. I stepped down from managing a clothing store in Manhattan so I could pursue music more fully. My first two releases came out this year, and I've DJ'd more than ever. I've explored playing live and I've recorded more than ever. I've never traveled this much in my life.

Umfang OK (1080p)

Regarding the Brooklyn techno scene, it seems like the big clubs and warehouse parties look up to the Berlin scene. Do you think it’s time for the New York party scene to grow up on its own?
Umfang: New York's scene is seeing some really exciting times, but we're always living in the shadow of closing venues and bureaucracy. The legal system makes it difficult to pull off parties in the way that many of us like. A lot of things about the Berlin scene are great but people tend to forget that everyone is really looking to Detroit, always. Detroit is the foundation.

Volvox: There is a really tough situation going on here in New York where many artists are growing up and getting more national and international recognition, while on their home turf the very spaces that allowed them to grow and hone their skills continue to be shut down. I think this has a very real possibility to undermine the explosion in creativity. We all need regular support from established clubs and venues to keep things moving forward.

Volvox Brooklyn Bass 055 (Live At JackDeptNYC)

You two are not only DJs but also producers, party promoters, fashion consultants … How would you both describe the vision that drives your different (art)works?
Volvox: My vision has always been strongly influenced by Industrial and cyber-punk culture of the 80's and 90's. In 2015 we're still revisiting sounds and styles from that generative period and I think there is something to that. Rather than just calling it a rehash, I view this as a deeper exploration of a time when humanity and technology were freshly fusing together. The honesty, intensity and the athleticism of that the early electronic era are all touch-points of what I do today.

Umfang: I think every aspect of what I do is an expression of my point of view - an attempt to genuinely present myself aesthetically and communicate in different mediums. A lot of it has to do with encouragement, unstuffiness, positive outlook, diversity, approachability, and minimalism. Being your weird self and discovering your own methods.

Tell us about Discwoman. Would you describe it as ‘technofeminism’?
Volvox: Discwoman has been instrumental in helping me reach new audiences on a global scale. The concept is simple: promote women in dance music. Many times I have seen this handled the wrong way (remember that DJ Girl movie trailer from 2013?) and I am pleased to be part of a group that promotes female-ness without echoing tired tropes and reductive slogans.

Umfang: 'Technofeminism' is the name of my residency with Beta Librae at Bossa Nova in Brooklyn. It's a safe space for female identified people and conscientious men to perform and explore new ideas surrounding the techno genre.

Umfang Everybody Dreaming Detroit

"Nothing but future” says DJ Volvox’s motto. How does ‘No Future’ inspire you?
Volvox: A unique vision for the future has always been the foundational element of Techno. These days I feel like Techno's sleek, utopian vision has been supplanted by a cacophony of social media marketers and 24-hour negative news - psychological terrorism in my opinion. I hope to reclaim the future as a place of hopefulness and deep connectivity.

Emma, what would be Umfang’s motto? ‘Everybody Dreaming Detroit’?
Umfang: "Everybody Dreaming Detroit" is a mix I made before I went to Detroit during Movement. One of the songs in the mix is called 'Dreaming Detroit' - it's about the collective techno consciousness feeling an attachment to this place even though we span different backgrounds and birth places. My motto is probably some propaganda about how the future doesn't see genres and a good DJ can utilize music from every culture and spectrum - no boundaries.

Saturday July 25th, Le Bain presents 'Level' featuring Volvox, Umfang, Blu Jemz, Andrew Devlon and Andrew.NY. Doors 10pm. The Standard, High Line.