Voia: Memories from the Future
Interview with Voia and Jospeh Baldovin of BtS
In a cozy yet crowded coffee square out in Red hook industrial, I had the chance to shelter myself from the cold with another rising voice of the electric sound world, with a voice to match. Voia, based out of the East Coast, has been pushing his style of Futurism; the concept of the thoughts and ideas of what a future would hold, this forever moving forward moment full of unknown ideas and discoveries.
BtS: So I think a good question to start with is about the fact that your heading to Japan in less than a week, how does something like an international trip like that become possible in the first place?
Voia: Well, the first time I was planning the trip to Japan, I had just realesed an album and I decided to distrubute it there and just import from overseas. I work with the label, Attack the Msuic based out of LA and they do alot of colloborations with Japanese artists, labels and promotoers. So we just decided to ump the gun, hook up with a distrubter over there and then just do an album tour in japan.
BtS: Did that work out?
Voia: Oh, it was incredible. It was a really amazing experience.
BtS: Going back to Attack the Music, they're in LA, so how did you meet them at all?
Voia: So I started getting linked up with this LA-based Soundcloud collective called paper Cranes sometime in 2015. So and so somebody from Attack the Music and asked me, "How do I do this thing with Paper Cranes" and I was like, well if you tell me how to do stuff with Attack the Music we'll exchange that information. At the time, I got really into this producer, Akira Complex, so I was like a really big fan of his at the time and so I was like, "How do I get looped in to his team?" And so thats how the exchange started, they hooked me up with their people and we were just shooting ideas back and forth from the get go, but they really liked the idea of concept art; doing songs and things like that with an underlying story behind it. So they were sold from the get go about doing stuff with me, but I didn't have a plan for an album until maybe a year into our relationship.
BtS: I know that, using Undertale or Sonic as an example, that there's alot of good to pull from those games that have helped you create amazing works from them. But in japan, do you find your videogame work fared better with fans or rather your original work?
Voia: So, Future Song is an English speaking album, its not in Japanese, which I guess is already kind of a disadvantage when your targeting Japan. But, because we'd marketed that way and because of the people we collaborated with, it was pretty well received. And before that, I was working with Capcom, releasing some singles on their arcade platforms and so I think having that lead up to the release of Future Song made it receive pretty well in Japan. I have a small number of Japanese fans into my videogame music, but thats largely a Western audience.
BtS: And that first album, it was your debut and just a year ago and of recent you've released alot of remixed or built up mixes and collaborations. Do you see singing as your primary or did you realize you had a good instinct for working with the mixes you created?
Voia: So I've been singing for I think 12 years now and so I'been in and out of alot of bands and I come form a very musical family. Both my parents are singers, all of my brothers play instruments and then while in college I started studying Jazz guitar and I got hooked up with a bunch of hip-hop producers and I was like, "Oh, dance music is kind of coming into frame, I've gonna figure this out and give it a shot."
BtS: Right, I just find it interesting when singers begin adding on elements of EDM or dance music as they come into their own music; at wat time did you find that dance or editing your music in that style worked well for you?
Voia: I think it was just were I was at that time of my life, being in college and wanting to go out and have a social life, especially when you turn 21, you want to go out to bars and clubs and things like that. So your just exposed to alot of whats happening, in the moment, I love what I'm hearing so much and I love what I'm doing and it just sort of overlapped. Looking at my music and trying to see how to make it work. You kind of have to cut corners both ways, you have to make compromises for the format of how your writing the song.
BtS: Okay and on the point of your music, I noticed online you labeled your music Future song or futurism. What is futurism to you?
Voia: I think the concept of futurism is taking forward thinking technology and art ad culture and applying it to the day to day, so the advances in bio-medicine, the crazy way that social media is interpolating itself into our daily lives. And what that means on a small to large scale. So Futurism is people basically looking forward to those developments and how they apply to daily life.
BtS: Are you afraid that that would ever unintentionally date your music? Because future concepts will eventually become past concepts.
Voia: Well I think that, because I worry about this alot but so, taking a step back. Future Songs is a concept album, there's actually a story behind the entire thing, about something I've been kind of dreaming up ever since I started getting into programming as a kind. So its kind of my realization of that I cant make a game about myself in the format that I want to, but I can do it in a format that I can understand, which is to make music. So that being said, trying to find a place as to hat time that story is going to take place is kind of weird.
BtS: You can't set it in 20XX
Voia: Right, you just kind of take a loss at it, your like, alright well its kind of happening now but its applying concepts we may or may not have seen in real life. I read alot of this author Harakimi Akami, so he writes stuff about various time periods that kind of sound very slice of life and then overlaps it with high-level fantasy concepts. And I do hear this pretty often that, "Art imitates life and life imitates art" so I'm no really worried about dating things like that because if I think of something cool, maybe someone will get inspired by it.
BtS: The one thing I wanted to end on, and I find its a really dumb question to ask, but I love asking it anyway. What's the future?
Voia: So I just did a remix for this pop artist in Japan, Koda Kumi, thats really cool, one of the coolest remixes I've ever done, as soon as I come back that release comes out. And then I'm kind of just doing a bunch of different stuff, to see what I like and I don't like. Because I felt really pigeon-holed last year, because I did a bunch of stuff, and I did a bunch of releases and collaborations but it kind of started feeling samey from what the album was doing and I was like, ah, I gotta do better than this. Like, I can't plateau.