Music Features

Popdust’s Exclusive With VNSSA

Her latest remix, TikTok, touring, and advice to all you DJs out there


Photo by Maddie Liner

VNSSA’s remix of Claude VonStroke’s song “These Notes In This Order” drops September 9th. Be sure to check it out - and more - on her Spotify.

Last weekend, Popdust hit the ground running at Electric Zoo - NYC’s end-of-summer EDM bash. Thousands made the trip to Randall’s Island Park to jump, dance, and sweat it out under the laser lights of music’s biggest players.

Lucky for us, our exclusive access to EZOO didn’t end with a final song as we got to sit down with VNSSA.

The Southern California native is a resident on our list of top DJ talent, hitting the stage at some of this year's largest festivals including Coachella and Bonnaroo.

VNSSA answered some of my burning questions about all things house, collaborating, producing, and being a woman in yet one more industry where the lineup is full of men:

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Photos by Meghan Marshall
Interview by
Jordan Edwards

VNSSA is at the top of her game. The SoCal native just played Coachella (with some sick visuals), she has a ton of big sets planned for the summer, and she just released an EP, Music4TheMasses, on Diplo's Higher Ground label.

We talked to her right before she headed to the desert.

You have a busy summer coming up. In general, do you prefer outdoor festival gigs or indoor club sets?
I don't have a preference. I love both. They are both such different vibes. With outdoor festival gigs I usually tend to go for a more disco, fun, house vibe. Whereas with indoor clubs, I can get a little darker. A little more techno. Both are fun in their own different ways.

Tell me about your recent single “In The Dark” and your association with Femme House.
Femme House had told me they were doing a comp for International Women's Month and I had been sitting on "In The Dark" for a minute. It was a great fit, and I'm truly honored to be on such a rad compilation with so many amazing women!

You just released an EP on Diplo’s house label, Higher Ground. How did you become acquainted?
The first release on Higher Ground was my track "Rave Grave" with Walker & Royce, so I have been part of the Higher Ground family since day one. It feels great to release with them again, because it's such a cool label. They're always putting out great music, and I'm happy they wanted to sign this EP.

You grew up in Newport Beach, which makes me picture surfboards and BMWs. What was your childhood like? I know you were really into music at a young age.
For me, it was surfboards and surf rock, not BMW's. I grew up riding my bike to the beach and surfing everyday, then going to rock shows in skate warehouses or wherever we could find them at night. I grew up playing the cello, and then played clarinet in the school band up until high school. Ditched my clarinet and took up drums. I was taking drum lessons every week and eventually started a band with some friends. It ended up not really working out, and my music taste started shifting towards electronic music. I started going to festivals and clubs, and the rest is history.

Your music has a darker edge, but there’s usually some element that gives the track a little levity. Do you ever scrap songs or mixes because they’re too dark?
I don't really release any of the really dark ones. I just think, "Man this is depressing and would totally kill the dance floor." But I also believe there is a time and place for everything. So who knows, you may hear them eventually.

When someone gives you a track to remix, where do you start?
I usually skim through the track to see if I hear any parts I definitely want to use, but a lot of times I only use the original vocal. So I'll start with a simple drum beat and then create a bass line. From there, I'll add the vocal parts I want to use, then add some synths/melodies.

What’s your favorite way to discover new sounds to use in songs?
I usually just play around with my synths and plugins. Right now, my favorite synth is my Novation Peak and my favorite plugin is Diva by U-he. There's at least one of those in every single one of my tracks. I've also been sampling a lot more lately.

What are you listening to right now?
Right now I'm Listening to the Tasty Techno Volume One comp that just came out on Trick. Every track on the comp is so good.

For more from VNSSA, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.