Whether we like it or not, the advent of A.I. has turned the electronic music scene into a technological tinderbox in 2021. And before it really takes off in a scary and exciting direction, VNCCII is here to educate.
The rising producer, rapper, and singer-songwriter is fresh off the release of her latest single "i-LIBERATE," a velvet-smooth house track that furthers the through line of her unique story, which is centered on her eponymous "superheroine" avatar.
VNCCII penned a sprawling op-ed on EDM.com in 2020 wherein she waxes poetic about the complicated relationship between AI and electronic music. "We need builders, dreamers, fixers, and doers," she wrote at the time. "Whether we like it or not, AI is here and it’s here to stay."
In celebration of her sultry new dance record, we reconnected with VNCCII to chat about the conceptual origins of the track and how she plans on expanding her efforts as a futurist in the electronic music space.
EDM.com: It’s been a minute since we last spoke with you. How have you evolved over the last 18 months?
VNCCII: Over the last 18 months, the world has evolved on a macro and micro level. People have become more self-aware.
Personally, all my new music has undergone a complete evolution. I’ve really dug deep to mirror what the world is going through, but also to project futuristic storytelling featuring my super-sentient A.I. "superheroine" character, VNCCII.
EDM.com: Which brings us to your new single, “i-LIBERATE.” Tell us about it.
VNCCII: Musically, I will be propelling my voice and songwriting to the forefront of my new songs to highlight my love for being a front persona. I’ve evolved over the last 18 months with a full-fledged, debut album.
I’ve composed a complete arc of an A.I. Space Opera storyline—and a whole world in which my character is situated with other characters. The result is a dynamic, emotional and empowering narrative. I draw upon futurism, sci-fi, artificial intelligence and the "open metaverse" as creative fuel. Those elements, plus technological singularity, form the fictional storyline of my VNCCII alias and its universe.
EDM.com: So, you consider yourself a futurist? Can you explain what you mean by that?
VNCCII: I’m not a technical futurist, but rather, what I’d call a creative futurist. A lot of my friends are what I’d call technical futurists and I’m inspired by them every day, knowing that they’re helping build the future we want to live in.
I don’t make predictions about the future, but I study trends across different industries and explore the evolution of how technologies such as artificial intelligence, the blockchain, 5G networking, and extended reality—comprising virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality—will impact the future. I’m an optimist and I believe technology can be used as a force for good.
EDM.com: You’re very technologically savvy. Where are you connecting with your fans?
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VNCCII: For my first vodcast episode on my YouTube show, Future Humans 3.0, I spoke with the amazing Cathy Hackl, a leading futurist and thought leader. She’s known within the tech community as “Godmother of the Metaverse.” It’s people like Cathy who inspire me to combine my love of futurism with music and multimedia storytelling.
EDM.com: Back to your single, “i-LIBERATE.” What does the title refer to? What’s this single about?
VNCCII: It’s a futuristic dance anthem about intrinsic empowerment, self-expression and humanity’s liberation. The song’s a transition from “POWER 2 LOAD” as I progress towards vocal-driven songs. The song was born in the heart of lockdown in Australia and I wanted to create a timeless piece.
EDM.com: How are you connecting with your fans? How do they respond to your part-human, part-virtual existence?
VNCCII: Since 2018, I’ve embodied the VNCCII avatar but it wasn’t until this year that I became a “V-Tuber” as a medium to create content in character and connect with my fans. To achieve this, I bought a Rokoko SmartSuit Pro motion capture suit and used broadcasting technologies with Unreal Game Engine and AR iPhone face capture to broadcast and stream live from what I call VNCCII’s “holoship,” which is a virtual futuristic music studio.
This setup is really cool, as I can create content 24/7 in character as VNCCII while livestreaming. For my Future Humans 3.0 vodcast, I’ve spoken with some really cool guests, including Cathy Hackl, Teddy Pahagbia, CitizenMetaOne (a.k.a Matt Workman) and Spottie WiFi (the king ALPHA CryptoPunk rapper).
EDM.com: Intense! And we assume you’re livestreaming DJ sets, too?
VNCCII: Yes, I’m livestreaming Ableton Live music production sessions, and on the virtual mezzanine, I’ve got a virtual Pioneer DJ booth where I livestream DJ sets as VNCCII. My goal is to make these streams more interactive, like Code Miko, but I’ll be approaching this from a music and futurist perspective.
EDM.com: Are fans diggin’ it?
VNCCII: Yeah! Fans have responded positively to this part-human/part-virtual existence, as I feel people want to explore and be challenged with their imaginations. It also allows them to contemplate their own future identity and how they’d like to be perceived by other humans and AI entities in the “open metaverse.”
EDM.com: Do you feel that your mode of existing as an artist is the future of how all music entertainers will go?
VNCCII: Definitely. I call this a “phygital” (physical and digital) approach for music artists. Having an online identity that can be experienced in the 3D world is crucial in order to connect with fans on a whole new level. People can reinvent themselves. I also do in-person meet-and-greets—inspired by the TwitchCon world of cosplay—where fans can align with virtual characters for IRL (in real life) meetups and shows. That’s the future.
EDM.com: What’s next for VNCCII?
VNCCII: The VNCCII story and other characters will be revealed soon, along with an interactive roadmap for how fans and community can experience this and grow together in Web 3.0. I’ll release my debut full-length album, which is what I’ve been working on this year; it’s the best music I’ve created in my life.