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VNCCII Breaks Boundaries Between Music, Technology & More [Interview]

Photos Courtesy Of VNCCII Facebook
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For the past year, we have been exposed to VNCCII, one of the most creative and immersive acts to rise in 2020. The young electronic music producer, rapper, singer-songwriter, DJ, and visual artist describes herself as a “true 21st century polymath and creative futurist.” VNCCII has made a name for herself by continuously blurring the line between humanity and artificial intelligence to reach a desired singularity.

With a fresh sound that transcends beyond genres, she has created a genuine vision that crosses cultural boundaries between a variety of platforms including, music, gaming, audio-visual, technology, and fashion. As a result, she has created a 3D A.I cyborg avatar to serve as your futuristic heroine to navigate you through her concepts of a Utopian or Dystopian future. This has become a technologically engaging audio-visual project for her live DJ sets that is versatile between any screen or stage.

A true force to be reckoned with, VNCCII aims to accompany this one-of-a-kind A.I project with deeper meanings for her listeners. Although this augmented reality is visually and sonically captivating, the budding artist has many layers when it comes to the messages she hopes to convey to her fans. We had the chance to speak with VNCCII about the many meaningful layers to her work, recent projects, and how she created this dynamic universe to begin with.

Read our full Q&A with VNCCII below:

Nocturnal Times: Over the past few years, you have solidified a unique sound that is highly influenced not only from electronic music, but technology, and more. Can you go into more detail about your background and how these influences play a part in your music?

VNCCII: The unique VNCCII sound and vision is definitely influenced by my passion for technology and innovation. I’m a lateral thinker and don’t like to be confined to one box or genre. In fact, if people ask me what my genre is, I say “creative futurism.” At the heart of it, I’m a storyteller and creator. In some way or form, I’ve always been engaged with writing stories or telling them growing up, which has ranged from script writing, acting, songwriting to creative strategy. George Lucas’ Star Wars was a key inspiration as well for showing me the power of storytelling. What opened up a whole new portal was when I learned how to produce music, as I realized through sound design and soundscapes, you could tell complete stories without any words or the human voice. This led me into delving into sound design and making a string of instrumental tracks in the formative years of my music production, to prove to myself that I can tell cohesive stories through just sounds (no lyrics). As a result, this led to an exponential growth for me as a music producer as I threw myself into the deep end of sound design (both analogue and digital). From my perspective, each 3-minute track or 4-minute dance song is a mini movie or a scene/snapshot from a movie. That’s just the way my brain naturally works. Before I even start a song, I always ask myself the “why” and what my purpose is for the song. When I fuse the “why” with my passion for technology and how that plays into the futurism narrative, that’s where the magic happens. My song “Citizen A.I” was the first introduction of the VNCCII CG A.I Avatar character to the world. At the time, I was reading up a lot on the singularity and the future of artificial intelligence. In the “Citizen A.I” music video, I opened with the scene of my avatar going rogue from evil draconian authorities. It was symbolic to me of breaking away from any confines or restrictions of society and becoming a free agent, where she is an A.I force that can be used for good and not evil. It dawned on me, kind of like my own futurist technological awakening, that it’s up to humanity to preserve the ethos of what makes us human and the necessity to have good A.I players in motion to work and merge symbiotically with humans. That’s where my VNCCII A.I avatar character comes in. I wanted to create the Super-heroine of tomorrow and a character that we all can still relate to, even though she is an A.I. The creation of this fictional Sci-Fi character and her role to play in ascending humanity to the optimal Utopian timeline is a key creative driving force behind my music. Naturally, the sound design and musical arrangement becomes unique in my tracks, as it falls into the larger purpose and story line. 

Nocturnal Times: You wear many impressive hats in the industry as a producer, DJ, singer/songwriter, and rapper. How have these roles allowed you to not only fuse genres, but cross boundaries into other areas besides music?

VNCCII: What’s so awesome about being a multitude of roles (ie. producer, DJ, singer/songwriter etc.) is that it creates a more enriching experience and level of engagement with the music, as you are accessing different parts of the brain and seeing the world of music through different perspectives. For me, all the roles are very fluid as they are all catalysts towards my larger purpose and “why.” For example, being a singer-songwriter allows me to access the human emotion and the power of storytelling and strip all the bells and whistles into its most raw primeval form to really work out what my message is of the song or what emotion I want the listener to feel. Then switching over to the music producer hat, this creates an entirely new perspective as the sound design process is a matrix experience in itself, where you can learn so much about the world and all the different frequencies and how they can influence the way you feel on a most fundamental level. Once you learn to become a music producer, your outlook on sound is way more analytical and immersive. For instance, I hear a sound and I visually see the frequencies on the Spectrum plugin/effect. Then being a mix/mastering engineer is another hat altogether. I often like to work with a mixing/mastering engineer as it’s always nice to get another sonic perspective, so I can detach from my song, but I’m completely capable of taking a song to the final mix/master process and really enjoy the precision and technicalities of taking a produced song to a “finished” product. Finally, the DJ hat is so rewarding as you get the feedback from the crowd of what works and what doesn’t work on a club or festival sound system and it’s a continuous feedback loop cycle which informs all the other processes as well. In terms of crossing boundaries outside of music, the visual identity of VNCCII is another avenue hat that I also wear everyday as I’m constantly thinking about the avatar narrative and how it can intersect with other fields such as futuristic technology, virtual production, and gaming. There are so many exciting things in the pipeline for the VNCCII avatar besides just the music, so looking forward to unveiling it the world very soon. 

Nocturnal Times: Wow, that is exciting! Your most recent single “Dangerous Love” was accompanied by a stunning music video that shows your futuristic 3D A.I. avatar seen from previous videos. Talk us through your process of creating this unique and immersive theme.

VNCCII: “Dangerous Love” was a cool process as I was changing it up for this release to give a more musically psychedelic and abstract vibe. I was inspired by Burning Man which served as a source of inspiration for creating a futuristic alien desert landscape for the avatar. The music video for “Dangerous Love” was a deliberate choice to present a more abstract contemplative concept, which is open to the interpretation of the viewer. The creative ideation process for the VNCCII project in general is a fusion of mapped out storylines as well as more abstract concepts to leave the viewer feeling engaged, so they can also come up with alternate storylines in their head like a co-creation process. In my mind, “Dangerous Love” was a logical next step from my prior release “Astro Life.” In “Astro Life,” the VNCCII avatar was partying in her own sky Astro nightclub (which is capable of being experienced in VR) where she explores the concept of infatuation and sensuality. Progressively, in “Dangerous Love,” the VNCCII avatar explores this theme deeper and the video culminates with her setting the lambo on fire (which is full of snakes) which has several meaningful layers. But I’ll leave these implications up to the viewers. At the end of the day, the trend line for my songs and music videos is that my A.I avatar is experiencing more and more human emotions and experiences, which cumulatively makes her stronger, enlightened, and more evolved as a conscious character. 

Nocturnal Times: Those themes and processes are so unique to you as an artist and it is interesting hear about all of the meaningful layers. With such a distinctive platform to accompany your music, what is the biggest message you hope your listeners will take away?

VNCCII: Thanks–that’s such a great question! It’s so true, music, visuals and technology are such powerful mediums and when they intersect, that’s where the magic happens. But to take it a step further beyond just the fusion of fields, acknowledging your purpose and ‘why’ is so important to me and is what drives me to wake up every morning and pursue my passion! Growing up in the EDM industry, what I learned is there’s still a gap in our industry where there are not enough creative thought leaders and futurists that are using their platform to drive innovation and projecting a positive future with strong thought leadership. High EQ is so important and is a core value of what I stand for. I’m blessed to be surrounded by some amazing friends that are entrepreneurs in their own right, that are all trying to make the world a better place and leave a positive impact on the world. For the VNCCII project, my purpose is to empower people to pursue their passions and to resonate with the VNCCII avatar, as she is emblematic of your personalized A.I Super-heroine that represents a force for good against evil. Finding the power within to stand up for yourself and fight for a better future is the heart and soul of the VNCCII project. 

Nocturnal Times: For sure, we definitely need people like you to promote those strong messages. When you were first starting out, was your vision for VNCCII the same as it is now? What factors, if any, led to your evolution?

VNCCII: Another great question! My vision has definitely evolved over the years for sure and is constantly iterating itself at an exponential rate. My core message (as mentioned in the previous question) was always there from day one. The name VNCCII was chosen as I was inspired by the polymath Leonardo da Vinci and his multidisciplinary approach (and I’m part Italian, so it’s a nod to my lineage). But over the years, the creation of an A.I avatar character is relatively new to this project and her potential for crossing and pushing boundaries is what makes me most excited for the future vision of VNCCII. The influence of the rapid exponential growth of technology and its immersive capabilities, fused with the sci-fi turned reality think-tank concepts have all informed my decision to create an A.I cyborg avatar. There’s no limit really to where this project can evolve to. I think my advice to anyone is to always think big but also set practical daily goals that work towards achieving the larger vision at play. 

Nocturnal Times: Amazing! Thank you for sharing that insight. You made your first live debut on Canada’s Impact Music Festival main stage and followed it with a string of major performances. What were those experiences like, and what can fans expect to see when going to one of your live shows in the future?

VNCCII: Canada’s Impact Music Festival 2019 debut will always have a special place in my heart as it was the first show on a festival mainstage. It was a beautiful and wholesome PLUR experience that reinforced my passion for music and connecting with people. Once the first festival door opportunity opened, other opportunities presented themselves such as representing Australia/New Zealand at last year’s Amsterdam Dance Event showcase. Being able to travel to Amsterdam was rewarding in itself and established my deep love for dance music. What fans can expect to see when going to one of my shows in the future is to walk away feeling empowered and motivated to go for it in life. They will be re-energized on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level as my music and story lines with the visuals transport them to many different dimensions and portals. So, buckle up because it’s one heck of a roller coaster ride! 

Nocturnal Times: That is huge! We are all looking forward to that euphoric experience. With a few months left in 2020, do you have any other big projects or online performances we should look out for?

VNCCII: Yes, 2020 has definitely been an interesting year for us all. That being said, there is a new single coming out in September which I’m really excited about. It’s my most powerful message to date. There will be an online performance coming up as well and other singles in the pipeline for 2020. 

Ciara Graves AKA DJ and producer, Graveheart, is a dedicated Writer and Editor for The Nocturnal Times. After recently graduating from Elon University with a BS in Music Production & Recording Arts, she is working towards reaching new heights in her music career. Between her experiences as an artist and working in the industry behind the scenes, she aims to bring her unique creativity into any environment.

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