Photo: Press (VONDA7)
Even though her first outing under the name VONDA7 dates back to 2013, the Berlin-based producer and DJ started releasing music frequently only from 2016 on. What’s astonishing about her – seemingly – relatively short career is not only the diversity of her music, which draws from many different corners of the dance music universe, but also how she seamlessly oscillates between bigger labels like Sasha’s Last Night On Earth, underground strongholds like Kneaded Pain or a certified institution like KMS. In fact, VONDA7 has just recently launched her own art | werk, using the opportunity to further diversify her sound. It’s no surprise though considering her path so – one that took her from one dance music hot spot to the other, with each of them leaving an imprint on her musical DNA. Her contribution to our Groove podcast is, in her own words, “bouncy, melodic and bold” – just the way she likes it.
Besides the classic Detroit techno, you have also cited the sound of Berlin’s Tresor as one of your key influences. What drew you to it? Generally, you seem to have a passion for 90s rave tropes.
I actually meant Tresor showcases which took place in my hometown, Poznan during my youth so late 90s and early 2000s. I think it was 2001 or 2002 when I went to the first one. What drew me to it was its rawness and authenticity, the friendly crowd as well as unique sound that I didn’t know before. But yeah, somehow I connect with the music from the 90s a lot. The rave chords, the 303 sound. My first love was and still is hip hop and R’n’B though. So you can hear the heavy 808 kicks and snares throughout my tracks, too, and I do like a bit of a vocal message. There’s so many influences that I draw on… I used to go to Gigolo Records parties as well as more relaxed eclectic parties with sounds of Sonar Kollektiv or Jazzanova. Poland’s music scene is pretty monocultural though, so I moved to London as soon as soon as I had finished high school. There, I was really into Caribbean music, garage and bass. I’ll never forget my first London Notting Hill Carnival. After four years in London, I moved to Amsterdam and got into melodic house and disco. I have been pretty settled in Berlin now for over 7 years, but I think with help of the internet, music spreads worldwide anyway. I was always interested in all sorts of styles of underground music so it’s hard for me to say there’s one key influence – I am an explorer and I do not like to stick to one genre, one city, one comfort zone. I let places, sounds, experiences and my friends inspire me and I process it in my own V7 way. Change is the only constant.
You mostly work with analogue equipment and have stressed the importance of the Prophet 6 for your own work. What makes it stick out for you as a synthesizer?
Throughout the years I noticed there are certain sounds that ignite a spark in me. A lot of times it was the sound of a Prophet synthesizer. I think it was the band Air that first started to get me into synthesizers, then I heard this song by Neon Indian, “Deadbeat Summer”. I saw that they used a Prophet 5 on stage, from then on I knew I had to get one. Also the typical Prophet organ sound is very present in Detroit techno! The Prophet 6 is the modern version of the Prophet 5, it has its very distinctive sound along with great built-in analog effects like reverb, chorus or delay and a VST, which helps you control it in your DAW if you want to work with it from your computer. I usually record live takes, but sometimes I let the DAW play the MIDI notes and automate the rest live on the synth controls.
For The Micronauts‘ Head Remixes, you have recently reworked the track “Share”, an uplifting house track. What’s important to you when approaching a remix project and how did this specific one come about?
I left feedback on a promo for the original version and The Micronauts contacted my management later and asked if I was up for remixing it. I enjoy doing remixes, so as long as there is a cool element that I can work with, I’m down for it. Here, I really liked the vocal so I just played around with it and played some melodies around it. It ended up being this good-vibes, open-air track… right in time for the summer!
Last year, you have launched art | werk with two EPs of your own. The label is supposed to “allow space for movement towards the left and provide a platform for the listener as well as the dancer”. What does this entail?
Yes, two EPs on my own and one EP with remixes. I wanted the label to be my creative outlet without any external pressures. As I am a bit of an experimental soul who doesn’t like limitations or being put in a box, I needed a place where I could fully express it. art | werk isn’t about labelling things, it’s about embracing music with a bit of quirkiness, weirdness that might not appeal at first – that’s what the movement to the left means here. There’s space for club music and powerful tracks but there is also place for sounds you can enjoy outside the club environment. It’s very fulfilling to have something of your own and work with people you feel the right vibe with. To be in charge of artwork, mastering, press – everything is done in the way I can 100% stand for… And that feels very right.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
I included my recent releases and remixes along with tracks that I play in my sets. It’s a club-friendly mix but with a little bit softer, day-time approach. Bouncy, melodic and bold – just how I like it.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as producer and label owner?
Summer will see me play in Lisbon, Portugal, Manchester UK, Krakow, Poland, Ireland, as well as couple Berlin gigs with more to be confirmed.
Stream: VONDA7 – Groove Podcast 212
01. Sam Tiba – Nobody
02. Cromby – Psychoactive strawberries
03. VONDA7 – French Express
04. 9th House – Zodiac
05. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Bombs Away (Myd Remix)
06. VONDA7 – Joyful Rhythms
07. Matrefakt – Radiation
08. Merol – LMDM (LUPE’s Genderneutral Dub)
09. VONDA7 – Werk it
10. MikeQ & Romanthony – Get Sum
11. NRVVS – Hot 4 You
12. Nocturnal Sunshine – U&Me (VONDA7 club remix)
13. Elisa Bee – Travel in mind
14. The Micronauts – Share (VONDA7 own share remix)