One of this year’s most exciting stories in drum & bass has been the sudden wave of artists who’ve come through with a debut or super-early release and truly made a statement. It’s something we covered in D&BTV News a few months back; acts like AC13, Buunshin, Halflow, Skantia and Nvrsoft flying through the gates and turning heads with nascent releases.
The follow-up releases are now flowing, too. Take AudioPorn’s latest recruit Nvrsoft. Her debut EP Premonitions landed back in March. A deeply personal piece of work – that even featured her mother on the ivories – it heralded her second European tour and a return to the mothership Fabric (among many other clubs this summer)
Now comes the sophomore; Hero’s Journey. Once again characterised by stirring, often-lamenting chords and textures and poignant moments, musically it takes off where Premonitions left us. For Nvrsoft personally, though, it takes us several steps deeper. Inspired by one of her college professors and named after the work of an influential mythologist, writer and lecturer, Hero’s Journey reveals more of the Washington-based artist’s psyche and hints at what makes her tick. Living up to its title it does take you on a bit of a trip, too; from those opening hazy twinkles of Atonement to final dark echoes of The Unknown. We bagged Temptation and asked her some questions…
2019 is nearly over now. With two big Audioporn EPs and another European tour, I’m gonna go ahead and assume this has been your best year so far…
It’s been the most wild year of my life. I’ve seen more countries this year alone than I have in all the years before it. It’s been the most dark, but also the greatest year of my life. I’ve been tested in a lot of ways, grown in a lot of ways, and learned so much from all of it. It’s been an unforgettable year.
Give us some unforgettable highlights…
I enjoyed Holland so, so much. Moonshine with NCT was an incredible time, and I really enjoyed going to Korsokov, Cheeky Monday, We Are Electric and Liquicity while I was around. I had a great time at Fabric with the AudioPorn crew as always (I’m pretty sure it’s my favourite place on the planet,) and I loved playing for the Faster and Hexagon crews. I also randomly played at a big private party at a castle in northern Italy. I just happened to be there during my vacation, and the hosts asked me to play. That was amazing and unexpected.
Baller. So who’s the hero in Hero’s Journey?
It’s kind of a long explanation, but I’ve dedicated the work to two men. First, to the most impactful professor I’ve ever had in my college career, Sam Richards, who has been named one of the “Most Dangerous Academics in America,” and gave an amazing TED Talk on empathy, which I really encourage people to check out. The title of the EP is a direct reference to the work of the second man I’ve dedicated it to, Joseph Campbell.
While I was taking Soc 101 at Penn State, Professor Richards introduced us to Campbell and his immensely compelling novel The Hero With A Thousand Faces which defined his theory of a cycle of adventure, growth, and transformation that is present in nearly every great story and myth we know. The cycle and stages Joseph Campbell outlined can be seen in the Bible, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, King Arthur, and beyond. Campbell theorized that the reason for the prevalence of this cycle in our stories is simple; it is the cycle of human life. So the Hero’s Journey truly belongs to each and every one of us.
We begin in our home— the realm of the known— but one day, we are called to adventure. At first, we refuse the call, but eventually, we accept it, and leave, crossing the threshold from the known into the unknown, starting the cycle of the Hero’s Journey. During the journey, we face monsters, challenges, and temptations. We find mentors and allies and enemies. We encounter spiritual guidance and help.
At some point, we fall into the abyss, the lowest point in our journey; a symbolic or physical death, where we choose either to succumb to it, or to be reborn. If we choose rebirth, we are transformed and atone for our past mistakes. Finally, we return to our home to share the knowledge we have gained on our journey.
This is something you’ve taken a lot from personally…
I spent a long time struggling in life before I studied and understood Campbell’s theory. The darknesses in life— the unknown, its temptations, and our atonement for our mistakes— are all inevitable parts of the journey. I get a lot of comfort knowing that these things are not only a natural part of our experience, but that they signal our growth— they remind us that we are truly on our adventure. Instead of dreading them, we should rise to overcome them with excitement— because “death” really only comes when we choose to stop the journey, or as Campbell would say, if we choose not to follow our Bliss (our purpose or fulfillment in life.)
The Call is the most loaded title on the EP… I’m guessing this is part of the journey? Maybe the start?
The entire point of the Hero’s Journey is the call. The call is the first and last step of the journey; our journey to find our bliss never begins if we refuse to answer it, and our journey means nothing unless we fulfill the final call to return to where we began with all we gained.
The most beautiful thing about the call is that it represents the endlessness of the hero’s journey. When one journey is complete, we will always be called to adventure again.
What’s been the maddest, life-changing call to adventure you’ve ever taken?
The night I played fabric the first time, I decided to abandon using set lists when I played. I played completely on the fly that night and haven’t looked back since. I’m so grateful I took that jump at such a big moment, and that I did it in a way I feel has real integrity.
Nice. Obviously I’m going to riff on the whole hero thing a bit here. Give me three all-time Nvrsoft heroes.
I’m going to cheat and give you three categories of heroes in my life. There are too many people I need to thank, so bear with me.
The first and greatest heroes I have in life are my family. My mother, Linda, my father, Lynn, and my brother, Michael, have given me the greatest gift I could possibly have in life- unconditional love and support. I know way too many people who don’t have that from their family, and I’m immensely lucky to have that, and them, in my life.
The second are my best friends, Autumn, Jude, Ari, and John, who are the only people in my life (outside of my family,) who embrace who I am entirely, support me at every turn, and give me the guidance I need to grow.
Finally, my teachers are my heroes. Jeff Studds gave me wisdom in all directions and subjects in life. Barbara Johnson and Sam Richards taught me self acceptance. Kathleen Vadala and Betty Scott taught me the foundations of music. Shimon, Harun, and Micke have taught me how to become an artist.
Salute! What comes up next?
Honestly I’m just trying to keep my head down, keep pushing out tunes, and playing in all the amazing places I get called to. I’m trying to focus on each day as it comes. I can say that you may be seeing a music video for one of my favourite tunes coming in the future. I’m excited for that possibly on the horizon.
Finally, I know you studied as a chef for many years. If AudioPorn was a five course meal, what would it be?
This is such a hard question. The items I pick don’t really flow as a meal, but they all have a place.
Pho, which we all had the first night I came for fabric.
Roasted lamb, Harun’s favorite.
Cheap American hamburgers because the boys eat them all the time, everywhere (especially Shim.)
Grilled shark steaks (because you are what you eat.)
Finish it with a cold beer, and that’s us I think.
Understated, but amazing.
Eclectic, but familiar.