EN.V – aka Natasha Vomit (GlamouRatz, Cheap Present) — is one of SÜK’s original muses. A composer, producer, bandmate and performer, her musical output ranges from film scores to synth-pop to techno. On the cusp of completing her social work degree (with Distinction!) we sat down with Natasha, who composes all of SÜK’s campaign music, to learn about her evolution as an artist, her creative process, the equipment behind her sound, and important lessons from working life.
Tell us about yourself, where do you live/work/play/love?
Hii, I’m Natasha. I live in Naarm/Melbourne. I recently moved to Maribyrnong after living in Footscray for ages. It’s cute, I have unofficially declared that Maribyrnong is actually Footscray North, looking forward to hearing what the council has to say about it ;)
Tell us about your journey to becoming a musical artist…
I played music growing up, I was really into it. I played in band, orchestra, choir, you name it — but when I hit puberty I thought everything sucked really hard and ditched classical music cause I decided I was a punk haha. Later down the track I was going to shows and would be itching to get up there to have a hoon but I was so stuck in “classical mode” that I couldn’t jam, I would freeze up. I had a friend who was adamant that I should just play around on their synths which was really fun and freeing and the beginning of my musical journey. Then another friend asked if I wanted to be in a band, The Angel and Baby Chain. It was so fun and silly, I don’t think I fully realised at the time how funny and cute it was. I played bass and I was pretty shit at it but my energy was impeccable. Then I met Luis (from Zanzibar Chanel) and he was so encouraging about playing synths, he would just let me let it out and was so patient. I guess that's when I really embraced electronic music and we started Cheap Present, we’ve also been in Dungeon Master Posse and Glamouratz together. I started EN.V because I wanted to fully control the sound. It’s a very specific musical outlet for me and almost a confessional process.
Tell us about your creative relationship with SÜK, how did it start?
I met Mimosa through her cousin Dom, and when my friend Elliot asked if I could help on a photoshoot for SÜK I was really excited about what Mimosa had been up to. Plus Elliot was wearing some SÜK pants when we met up and I’m *really serious* about pants so I was genuinely excited just to be there to witness it. So long story longer — I ended up doing some of the OG e-commerce photos, and when Mimosa asked if I would be interested in making some music for SÜK I was like, "Yes please I love these pants and you are amazing”.
Outside of SÜK, I had been really impressed by some video works that Mimosa had made. They were put out through the same label as my music, Dero Arcade, so when she asked about music I felt like I had an upper hand. I knew Mimosa and I’d seen her aesthetic in those videos and there was a lot of crossover for me in her imagery; things I am visually/intellectually/aesthetically interested in were in these video works too. In terms of the collaborative process though, Mimosa will describe what she wants to hear usually through photos/videos/vibes/feelings, and then I try to encapsulate that imagery into sound. I think we have a unique and special way of communicating. I love hearing her descriptions and trying to create a sound-scape that responds to abstract and non-musical thoughts and feelings. Mimosa will say, “Dusty cowboots and the sun is setting and there’s a break and you hear a whipcrack” and I’m like, “Yes some slide guitar, some dusty sounding drums and a literal whip crack”.
What is your production set up like? What DAWS and hardware do you have in your studio?
It really depends on what I’m working on. Sometimes I use garage band just to play around with ideas but if I am going to record: MPC for beats/looping, computer with Logic for recording, and different synth packs, which means sometimes running the synths/keyboards through midi or sometimes the sound bank on the synth. Keyboards: old Casio, Micro Korg, Alturia.
Favourite piece of equipment/instrument?
I think this might be a faux pas in the electronic music world but I love the micro Korg. It’s really fun and not as intimidating as some of the bigger and more complex/hands on synths. I also love this weird Korg module rack computer thing that has a sound bank, so you can midi through a keyboard, apparently they were really big in the 90’s. It looks like a CD drive and you have to go through every sound with the up or down button. It’s really cumbersome which is why I think I love it so much.
Have you been producing in lockdown? What can we look forward to from EN.V in the future?
I’ve been a little bit, but I’ve also been really busy with uni and just taking time to process what’s going on at the moment. I feel like I tend to make music as a way of processing *after* intense experiences, because it feels clunky and forced when I’m not in the mood and I just don’t bother. Once I’m finished uni though I will be able to be more creative because I will have more time and resources to really focus on what I want to share with the world. Lately I feel like I’m hibernating, getting ready for the next chapter. I feel like so much is media saturated and music is such a self-promotion game — I don’t have an interest in that, I make music purely to express myself and for others, so I need to be patient with that process. Luckily Mimosa has given me this very appropriate way of patiently, and slowly maintaining this expression through SÜK.
You mentioned modelling for SÜK. Having worn all the garments, which is your favourite piece from the collection and why?
I would hands-down say the Relaxed Work pants. They are revolutionary. Like I mentioned, I am very serious about pants. I hate it when pants are so tight I can’t squat or when there's no room for hips and it squishes ya bum. Does not happen in [ Relaxed Work pants — use new garment name?]. For a fun and casual summer look I looooooove the workers bib — currently out of stock, but perhaps there will be a summer resurgence — and Relaxed Work Shorts combo. I am in constant awe at how functional, practical and sexy (if you want) SÜK garments are. Like, WOW.
(Pictured above: Text messages between Natasha and SÜK founder Mimosa)
Which artists are you most inspired by right now?
Music-wise my friend Claudette [@claddyood], she is an incredible musician and artist. It’s sad but a lot of the people I am inspired by have passed away recently — K-Hand, Anita Lane; both very different but really important artists in their own right.
I once heard your music described, way back when the "Ur Future Is Bright” EP came out, as a ‘a dark, twisted Kylie for the club’. Is that accurate? Which artists do you hear in your own musical DNA?
Yes, absolutely twisted Kylie is my genre lol. I love Kylie and I love Impossible Princess, it’s such a dark pop album and she really wrote some incredible lyrics. “Lured into this den, it's bitter, and I want sweetness again.” [‘Too Far’ – Lyrics]
I would say the top five in my music DNA are: Kylie, Psychic TV, Drexciya, Malaria! and Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex.
- It’s always ok to take a toilet break.
- Just because someone is the “Boss” doesn’t mean they are the smartest person in the room.
- If you love doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to make it your job.
Let’s talk about identity and electronic music production. What are some of the ways you see the old, tired BS play out. How does the industry need to evolve to support artists across the gender, racial and class spectrum?
The whole thing is too much for me. Like some of the stuff I’ve experienced, watched and heard is partly scandalous but more importantly very, very wrong. There are so many psy-pop manipulative identity tactics used by people, bands, record labels and events to smokescreen reality. It's boring. However, in my opinion, it’s also a dangerous game which can set people up to constantly compare themselves to others, who might have better access to resources which are needed to create, release and promote music — especially in a social media landscape. Yes things go viral, and yes you can ‘make it’, but that’s like winning-the-lottery chances. I think what I really mean is: I don’t care about how some record label in Europe who had a problematic name changed their name, and now have a ‘diversity agenda.’ Platitudes are nice but at the end of the day, it doesn’t make accessing music any easier or more inclusive, labels can’t write inclusivity statements and think “job done”. I want people who work and profit from music to also support FREE music programs, so people who don’t have a spare couple thousand dollars can make music — because more often than not, poverty and a lack of access to resources intersects with gender, disability and race.
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively? What methods do you use to push through creative blocks?
I try not to think of it as a creative block. If there is no deadline I like to re-frame my thinking, so that when I am not being super productive I’m in a gestation period. I’m absorbing and observing, and I remind myself that I’m more creative when I feel relaxed. I also try to record music and make demos when I’m feeling the urge and then come back to it later. Sometimes there's absolute gems in a tiny handwritten note or a 1 minute recording that’s been totally pressure free. But also deadlines, lmao that’s a great motivator to push through the creative block. I just keep going until it’s what I want, I bang my head against the creative-block wall and just do it. One or the other.
Check out Neon Cowboy and more EN.V tracks at the links below.