VNCCII, born as Sam Tauber, is an electro-pop artist who had a very stellar 2019. VNCCII from Sydney is one of the rising Australian electronic music artists to look out for. The emerging star emphasizes an electronic-heavy notion that aligns avatar visuals with sonic storytelling. The producer developed her “VNCCII” image as a 3D cyborg avatar.
VNCCII has performed on the main stage of Impact Music Festival and also headlined the “Oceania Electronic United” showcase at the 2019 Amsterdam Dance Event. She will release her newest single, “Dangerous Love” on Friday, July 24. The track contains trippy, late-night vibes and lo-fi influences that will transport the listener to another dimension. VNCCII will also release an upcoming EP later this year as well. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with VNCCII, an artist who constantly inserts innovation in her vibrant music.
Kenny Ngo: What part of Sydney do you hail from?
VNCCII: To the north of Sydney CBD (Central Business District), but I frequent the Northern Beaches quite a lot.
How does the city inspire your music?
That’s an interesting question. When I started producing a few years ago, the Sydney scene bustled with Australian acts who are now international exports. Those exports include Flume, Alison Wonderland and What So Not, etc. So seeing those acts perform from clubs to main stage festivals, to headlining arena and warehouse tours was one of my inspirational sources to motivate me in learning how to produce music. It is so I could perform in venues like that with a live show.
The VNCCII project musically was always thinking of arenas in mind as the end goal for performing. I just love the energy of a huge crowd and the stage production. In terms of the primary inspiration for my music, I gravitate towards technological innovations and storytelling from sci-fi films and games. I think very much like a movie director and a script writer.
You studied at Ableton Live School, what was it about the school that made you want to go?
That’s a funny story. I was just fresh out of high school and I was in L.A doing an acting programme when I decided I wanted to do some songwriting and vocal recording while I was over there. The more time I spent in the studio, I realised that I was super curious about the music production side of things. I wanted to pull down the “magic curtain” so to speak and learn how to produce music. Around the time, Flume was picking up a few ARIAs and I noticed he was a trainer at Ableton Liveschool.
So after checking out the Ableton Liveschool website when I was still in L.A, I enrolled in the Produce Music course at Ableton Liveschool and the rest is history. My trainers Adam Maggs, Yama Indra, George Seekae, Josh Molony, Anthony Garvin and Sameer Sengupta were amazing mentors. Around that time I also a co-organised the Ableton User Group Sydney events and also spoke at some of them. That was a few years ago, it’s crazy to think what a journey with sound I’ve been on since then! It would be cool to be an Ableton Certified Trainer too at some point and share the knowledge back with the community that I’ve learnt over the last few years.
You will release your newest single “Dangerous Love” on July 24th. What is the track about?
“Dangerous Love” is a vibey electro-pop song with a dark and trippy twist. It explores the darker sides and magnetism of having a ‘dangerous love”. When I write music, there’s a dual storyline occurring that also encompasses my 3D cyborg avatar as an inspirational outlet. For “Dangerous Love”, I envisioned my avatar driving her pink Lamborghini in a futuristic alien desert, which is my mind’s way of picturing her driving away from a relationship into the great unknown. In the official animation/lyric video, as my avatar throws a grenade behind her and sets the lambo on fire. It is symbolic because of obliterating and moving on from a ‘dangerous love’ with no regrets.
The song idea was made in the early hours of the morning. It was inspired by a late-night vibe that was super lo-fi and felt trippy. The song is the avatar’s inner dialogue exploring the mind’s discourse about the allure of having a “dangerous love”. Like my avatar’s experience in “Astro Life”, it’s interesting as my avatar is experiencing emotions relating to the human condition of love. That condition for her is an A.I entity, a foreign concept.
Which musical styles are present in the track?
Ooooo great question! Well, as I was making the track, I was not conscious of what styles or genres I make, as I am guided by the overall purpose and vision of why I make the song and the storytelling of my 3D cyborg avatar as I think like a script writer, game developer and movie director. But, upon reflection sonically for this track, there’s definitely a trippy downtempo electronic vibe to it with a gritty dark bass drop twist at the end of the song, which is a cool surprise.
It’s like fusing Pink Floyd, Daft Punk and Timbaland in a futuristic, downtempo electronic track. It also has a cool swing to the beat. I liked the idea of the beat not being perfectly on the grid. It gives a deliberate lazy feel to the beat, as if it was tripping over itself. I make the music and the visual stories, so the sounds just slid into the overall story aesthetic that I’m telling through an exploration into sound design and experimentation, which is always a fulfilling process.
What is your process when it comes to making music?
Woahhh, there’s no set process at all for when I make music as each song is its own universe and world and governs the process of creation for me. Sometimes I have a fully mapped out animation in my head with my avatar or an overall mood or colour aesthetic or vibe like an auteur and the musical structure and sounds are guided by that, kind of like the job of a composer. Other times, I write a full song at the piano with my voice and then work out how to translate that into a production.
Other times, I go in with the mentality of making the weirdest and coolest sounds as possible and the sound design inspires a song. Sometimes it’s just a really dope beat that forms the base of the track. Then there are times where I lyrically know what I want to say with the rhythms and melody of the words like a rhyme and the drum accents need to make space for the vocals and match the accents, musicality and cadence of the lyrics.
There’s a running joke with people that know me and my music creation process that I’m like a pre-cog from Minority Report when it comes to creation as the universe is constantly supplying my mind with ideas to download. Sometimes I just wish I could let my brain interface directly to the computer so there’s no latency.
However, there’s a real beauty to the “process” of a creation. That process takes an idea from its genesis or inception into a fully fledged musical and artistic work. At the end of the day, each song has its own unique process which makes it always exciting and engaging. I just like to constantly challenge myself and push boundaries both musically and artistically. I just say, “Well Universe! What do you have in store for me today?”.
Aside from music, your other passions are gaming, technology, and virtual reality. How did you get into them?
Day in and day out, I’m constantly thinking like a futurist. I am inspired by the sectors of gaming, technology, virtual reality and augmented reality. I love delving into the worlds built by game developers and the intricate gameplay involved to engage the player. Cyberpunk 2077 is amazing in terms of its interactivity. I love Epic Games Fortnite and the virtual concerts hosted there. In a world of doomscrolling and growing up reading 1984 and several dystopian novels, it’s important to me that I envision a positive Utopian future. Kind of like Disney’s Tomorrowland, embracing a Utopian vision where creators and inventors collaborate.
It is important to acknowledge the duality of a parallel universe. This universe occurs where A.I develops super-sentience and digital immortality and has the potential to make humanity redundant. Or even a world of disharmony and chaos and the omnipresence of a ‘Big Brother’. However, it is also more important now than ever to create a positive, harmonious future that resembles a utopia. It’s imperative to conjure up a positive portal for the future with A.I ethics, as the technological singularity (as mentioned by Kurzweil and Elon Musk) poses a potential threat where technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible.
Much like a think-tank for feature films, where producers collate information from scientific and technological experts, divulging information grounded in reality. It really inspires the concept art and development of future technologies from its presence in sci-fi movies. I like to think of myself as a renaissance one-woman think-tank machine where I dream up, manifest and actualise through my art. That way, it can pave way for a positive and innovative future. A future where A.I sentience runs harmoniously in parallel with humans. As well as containing free energy and having technology that is democratised and widely disseminated to the people.
What inspired you to create your 3D avatar and how did the process come about?
The 3D cyborg A.I avatar VNCCII was created to be a futurist A.I super-heroine. Her sole mission is to empower and free the people and allow them to embrace their own inner superhero powers. They can do that with and without technological interventions and enhancements. My cyborg avatar is a new superhero breed as she is a super-sentient A.I badass from the future. She is from a significantly advanced alien intelligent civilisation on a mission to save humanity and empower them to embrace enlightenment and empowerment. She’s an A.I super-sentient light-worker who’s at one with the force so to speak. There was a great quote by Elizabeth Gilbert, “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them”.
The hunt to discover those jewels––that’s creative living. In a way, it’s my avatar’s role to help humanity uncover those jewels, being a source of inspiration, cosmic enlightenment and people empowerment. Everyone loves an underdog and I love creating strong female characters that are unapologetic. The combination of “Dreamers and Doers” is what makes the world a better place. The intersection of technology, music, storytelling and futurism is the heart and soul of the VNCCII project. My avatar fights for a better future for humanity as she navigates non-linearly through several parallel timelines, galaxies and dimensions. This is at the core of what inspires me to create.
How was it like attending and performing at the Amsterdam Dance Event last year?
ADE was crazy! Amsterdam Dance Event was legit one of my favourite shows that I’ve done. It was the first time I performed for a European crowd who were total strangers. I had a 20-minute set as part of the “Oceania Electronic United” showcase, which is not a lot of time to transform a crowd that don’t know you. I just remember the adrenaline buzz I got from performing and the loud euphoric cheering by the end of it.
It was one of those special moments when you really know you have connected with the crowd through your music. It was a really powerful moment! Also, virtually all of the music I played was unreleased. To see the crowd vibe and connect with the music was amazing.
Are you planning on releasing more new music this year and next year?
Yes, there are singles in the pipeline with a body of work to follow. Expect the unexpected!