Her latest remix, TikTok, touring, and advice to all you DJs out there
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:
On her music and how she defines her sound:
VNSSA: That's really hard for me because to me, I feel like I don't even really have a sound. It's hard for me to hear it. I know other people when they hear one of my songs are like, “oh, I could tell this is VNSSA because of this, because of this." But like, I feel like I'm too far in it to know what my sound is, you know? Yeah … I would just say just house, tech house, classic house… just like fun dance music really.
On her own musical inspirations and getting into the House:
VNSSA: I mean, definitely like Walker and Royce, Justin Martin, Claude VonStroke… kind of all the Dirtybird (Records) guys. That's what I started listening to when I first started listening to tech house and house music. They're definitely a huge inspiration.
There are a lot of women, I take inspiration from too - there's the Blessed Madonna, Anna Lunoe, J. Worra. I kind of like a little bit of everything as far as dance music and other music goes… When I'm driving my car, I don't necessarily always listen to house music.
I listen to indie rock and I used to listen to a lot of metal and punk and stuff like that… Maybe my music takes inspiration from everything…
VNSSA got to remix one of her very own musical inspirations: Claude VonStroke's song These Notes In This Order - VNSSA Remix out now!
On going from DJing to producing her own music:
MG: What made you make that leap into producing? Because there are tons of people who just DJ and tour and play locally. What made you take that next step?
VNSSA: I wanted to tour more and I wanted to play outside of just Orange County, you know?
I wanted to play festivals (was the main thing). I would go all the time - like I loved music festivals and my goal was to play music festivals. And I started realizing all the DJs that are playing festivals, they're playing their own music. And they're getting booked because they're making their own music. So in order to play the festivals, I would have to do the same.
So that's basically why I definitely started learning to produce and stuff.
On her dream collaborators:
MG: I know you've collaborated with Walker and Royce, who you’ve cited as one of your inspirations. Who would you want to collaborate with next?
VNSSA: Oh man. I would love to work with Chris Lake, Chris Lorenzo, Anna Lunoe, J. Worra, the Blessed Madonna, Honey Dijon. There are so many amazing, talented producers, everyone like Green Velvet… Calvin Harris…everyone!
Her advice to others getting started in the industry:
VNSSA: I just feel like everybody has their own path. So you might see somebody else, that maybe started after you or something that's surpassing you as far as like set times or festivals or clubs…. My biggest piece of advice would be to not compare yourself or your journey to other people because everyone has a different path.
Like this person might have like shot up to stardom, super fast or something, but maybe you're taking a little bit longer to get to that point. But you have to keep going and just know that you'll get there eventually…
On women in the music industry:
MG: Did being a woman in this industry make your rise up harder or make you take a certain route that your male peers didn’t?
VNSSA: I mean, definitely. I just feel like it's so male-dominated that in order to get the respect and the kind of attention that you want, you have to be the best you can be … You have to be better than the guys just to be level with the guys - if that makes sense.
… Just to stand out and prove yourself and then finally I feel like people start coming around and it's like a boot camp. You have to fight all these different levels to get to the front lines where the guys are … you have to work twice as hard. [And that’s] with anything in the music industry, whether it's writing or photography or DJing or anything.
For women, it's always gonna be a little bit harder. So we just have to go a little bit harder.
Having seen VNSSA’s TikToks about getting ready and going on stage, we talked about that aspect of being an artist:
MG: Are you really into social media or do you feel like it's mostly part of the job? I follow a lot of DJs and I know people like John Summit are on it when it comes to posting.
VNSSA: I mean, I feel like a lot of those bigger DJs definitely have a team behind them. Because it's really hard, you know, with all the traveling and then, you come back and during the week I'm in the studio working on music and stuff like that.
So like there really isn't that much time off whether you're touring or not, you're always working. … It is kind of hard to keep up on socials and I don't really mind it that much…
I don't really get too caught up in the numbers and the likes and stuff. I don't really care about that. I just like to show people what I'm up to because I think that they [followers] like that.
Bts of my first Day.mvs x @crssdfest part 3. The stage manager lets me know what channels I’m on (they don’t always!) I have the v10 mixer on my technical rider which no one uses, so a lot of times at these bigger festivals they’ll have my set up separate. So while Sosa finishes his set, I get set up on the other rig then he either fades out to cut the music or I mix in (it’s up to the fest most of the time) and then they slide my rig over to the middle of the stage (the equipment is on tracks kind of like train tracks) but before all that the first thing I do is plug in my usbs. I have my main usb and a back up just in case, and it usually takes me about 3 tries to get them in the right way lol then it’s show time!
On the topic of touring:
MG: I know you’re on tour right now - how's it been going?
VNSSA: It's been going really good. I mean, the traveling can be a little tiring and taxing, but the shows have been really good. Um, the crowds have been amazing and all the festivals have been really fun and it's been good.
MG: Is there a venue or a city that's been your favorite so far? Any particular crowd hyping you up?
VNSSA: I think my favorite so far has been, I think Sound just like my local LA club. All my friends usually show up and I used to be a resident there, so it's just nice. It's just like a really full circle moment to go back there and be the headliner, you know? Um, so yeah, I’d say Sound and then, just some other clubs I really like It’ll Do Club in Dallas. It's one of the coolest clubs I've been to … used to be an old, roller disco, I think.
Big thank you to VNSSA for chatting with me and if you want to catch her on the road she’ll be in NYC at Elsewhere on Saturday, September 10th, and for more dates (including her first festival in Australia go here).
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