Music, as an art form is beautiful and fascinating in its own right. Yet, what elevates music into a deified force with the power to change the world are the bonds it creates between human beings; the communities of people that come together because of it.
Community is the reason LA-based producer, composer, DJ, and co-founder of Delusional Records, Maude Vôs fell in love with music. Every new idea she manifests in her vast array of synthesizers (which she equates with aquatic plants and animals) is in service to a larger community.
“Music to me is community,” says Vôs, “Whether it be sharing my own work, feeling that the artist is trying to tell a story or take you on a journey when I’m listening, or collaborating with vocalists or friends, that’s really for me what it’s about.”
This idea of community emanates from Vôs’s singular relationship with music. For her, music creates a space, a realm free of judgment, welcoming to all. It is within this space that communities can form.
“Music is my sacred space. The space I go for expression. The space I go for release. The space I got to feel whole,” say Vôs.
Throughout her life, Vôs has learned a lot about herself within this space, becoming a part of many communities herself and even creating her own.
Photo Credit: Luka Fisher
One of Vôs’s earliest memories of music was listening to oldies with her father in his classic car as they drove down by the beach in LA. As enjoyable as it was to share that with her father, though, she recognized that oldies were not her style of music. Rather, it was not the kind of music that created a space for her.
Vôs first found herself in that space when she was gifted a CD from the English electronica duo, Orbital. Within that space, a newfound curiosity was catalyzed.
“That cracked open a whole new realm for me. I was like ‘What is this sound?’ And then I found The Prodigy, and then I found Crystal Method,” says Vôs. “I was on Napster downloading all the things, and that’s when I started wondering how this music was made.”
As her connection to electronic music continued to flourish, Vôs frequently traveled between Los Angeles, Utah, and Germany, where her father’s family originated. She started making friends from all over the world, joining communities of like-minded individuals, and becoming exposed to a wide variety of genres.
“Utah at that time was heavily drum and bass. I found a lot of friends in that community and we were doing a lot of really cool events on the salt flats. I found a harder, darker, industrial when I was in Germany because that was more prevalent. Then in LA, there were some DNB and jungle heads in that community as well. There was also more underground dance music at that time. So I really was being influenced in so many ways. I was all in with electronica,” Vôs says.
Vôs’s affinity for electronica carried her to the career she has now which touches on all aspects of production. She’s released original music on impressive labels—for example, her latest track, “Opulence” came out on the new Desert Hearts Black compilation, Gateways Vol. II—but she works in various other fields as well.
She’s produced for vocalists, film shorts, art galleries, fashion shows. She’s even curated her contracts for getting sync placements for her music.
“It’s really just realizing that you can’t always pigeon hole yourself in dance music,” says Vôs. “We can all make art all day, but we have to feed ourselves and put a roof over our heads and buy more synthesizers.”
The foundation of Vôs’s work in production is her arsenal of synthesizers. She pretty much always uses hardware regardless of the project, including in many of her live performances.
“When I get obsessed with something I get really obsessed and I need to know everything,” Vôs says. “It became semi-modular. Then came the effects. I wanted all the effects and started learning about all the reverbs and different types of delays. Then I got into modular with my eurorack and my arp. Having something tangible is so lovely and special to me.”
Over time, her interest in synths grew along with her studio, and Vôs found another community of people who shared that interest via SoCal Synth Society.
Started by fellow LA-based synth artists Trovarsi and Space Racer, Socal Synth Society helps educate artists about synthesizers and analog production. All skill levels from complete beginners to seasoned veterans are welcome. Throughout the pandemic, they held various virtual events including panels and performances, both of which have included Maude Vôs.
“It’s really just a super inclusive space for underrepresented people in the industry who are into hardware,” says Vôs.
Vôs felt a deep connection to that intention not just because of the hardware aspect, but because she is underrepresented as a queer artist. Back when she was a teenager, the electronic music community was where she first felt at home, where she first felt accepted in her queerness.
“Let’s be real. House and techno is Black and gay. It’s crazy where it’s gone, but its roots are Black and gay, and so feeling like finally I found a place that I feel aligned with, and I can be me, and that I’m home is so lovely,” says Vôs.
Vôs found that home within the house and techno community and is adamant about creating a space for others to find the same via her new record label Delusional Records, which she started with her partner and fellow LA-based queer artist, Marie Nyx.
One of their main values is creating a catalog with a 60/40 ratio of female and non-binary artists to male artists, and having music itself be equally diverse.
“We are trying to really break the industry that is 90 percent or more white male, and trying to share a lot of different music from different parts of the world and the country in a super inclusive, meaningful way,” says Vôs.
Music can connect people from all over the world, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and bring them into one community. Maude Vôs feels at home in that space, and she invites any and all to join her.
Words by Harry Levin. Follow him on Twitter
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