That’s right, Best DNB’s own Nvrsoft has dropped her very first internationally signed digital release, a free download on Germany’s Saturate Records. You can listen to and download the track for yourself here, and below we have an in-depth one-on-one with Nvrsoft to discuss her origins, practices, and hopes for the future.
For some readers, this will be their introduction to Nvrsoft. Could you introduce yourself? What’s your background to music, and your ultimate goals?
I started to type stuff that was really boring, but you know, I think what’s important to know about me is that I’m not perfect, and don’t want to be. I want to make the sounds in my head real. I want to make the soundtrack to my life. I want to make music for the underdogs, for people who need it— because I needed it to survive for a long time. I want to make music that gets people through whatever they’re experiencing.
Powerful stuff. You’re a student, right? What’s your field of study? Any day jobs you work that you don’t despise? Any hobbies to soak up your grey matter when it’s not all music, work or school?
I am the super-est senior you have ever met. I’ve been to 4 rounds of college— Penn State University, then University of Maryland, then the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and then back to UMD again. I study communications now—rhetorical studies. I don’t like school at all, but want to get that piece of paper for myself and my parents. I’m smart, but my mental health is a huge obstacle in my life, and I’ve struggled so hard trying to get it—I just want to finish, and know that I can.
I’m honestly not sure what I did before music came along. But I’m very creative— I write, I draw, and I made some KILLER street art installations in DC back in the day. I would spray paint 15-20 foot tall angsty political stencils. That was a fun period of time. I called it “The Art of Hiding In Plain Sight”.
What served as your introduction to electronic music? Be honest about your chubby-cheeked kandi kid years, no matter how grossly humiliating.
I started sneaking into raves in high school because I had no friends— I really felt the most socially comfortable around the colorful, compassionate people I met there. But man, I really used to get made fun of for going to raves… Now some of those same people hit me up for guest list to shows, which is a little wild.
I fell in love with drum and bass when I heard Friction’s radio show. Never will forget that moment. That dude’s voice and his show carried me through a lot of dark times. I’d say that introduced me to where I am today.
What sort of music did you listen to before electronic stuff? Maybe you’d like to describe your first album, or first favorite act?
If I had to choose one artist to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be Bloc Party. Or Pendulum. I remember watching them play “Crush” live, and I cried like a child. I’m really embarrassing. It’s fine.
Congrats on your first release. What’s it feel like to have your work signed to a label?
I remember words from a peer of mine from when I was just starting out that haunt me to this day:
“Kat, just promise me that when you do it, you’ll do it right.”
How the fuck do you do it right? I thought about it for ages. I’m not good at sitting on my tunes— I demo’d things early, just to get solid feedback. I think honestly I’ve done a lot of things “wrong,” but it’s working for me. Every week brings me huge news, shit I never dreamed would be happening to me, especially so early.
I know I wanted to wait for a label I respected, that wanted MY sound, and not their version of my sound. Another peer of mine told me, “Wow, you need to show these guys what you’re doing,” and I had the courage to say “So what if you’re new, Kat? Fuck it. Send it.”
Having a set of balls paid off for me— you never know what doors are open to you until you try them.
This isn’t the first song you’ve made; you’ve got a bunch more demos out there just waiting to get signed. Did you have a feeling while making “Strung” that it would be your break out track? Are there other demos on the way that you feel even more excited about?
I do have a lot of work— I churn out a full arrangement every 2 days or so, but a lot of them are forthcoming now! It’s important to be able to let ideas sit, or to let them go. It’s so important to keep yourself moving.
Strung was a tune I arranged really quickly and settled on really quickly. Mixing it down took forever, but the idea was very concrete from start to finish. A lot of the times I have no idea where I’m going until I get there, so that was different for me.
What’s funny is I honestly thought people wouldn’t like it!
If I had to describe this composition, I would liken it to halftime dnb and trap music; where might you place it stylistically? Would you prefer not to be so straightforward in describing the genre/style of this song?
You hit the nail on the head. I feel like I made this taboo halftime/trap lovechild, but I’m really proud of it. It’s experimental, which I’m discovering is more and more of who I am as an artist. Drum and bass is my heart, but you’ll see more than one genre out of me.
Coming from drum and bass, how do you feel about the way that scene ends up as compartmentalized as it is? Some people are really serious about sticking to their element, be it neuro, jump-up, liquid, etc.
Some people are, but I want to thank and say how grateful I am that labels like 1985, and 20/20, and Saturate! helped the halftime movement to branch out and grow. I really feel like we’ve been seeing more forward-thinking music across the board, and that’s so refreshing to me.
What’s something that DJ’s/producers/promoters say that immediately outs them as pious, clueless, or otherwise unworthy of your time?
“I don’t go out.”
If you care about what you’re doing, you support it. Studio time is immensely important. I was on an 2+ hour every-day streak for 8 months before I took a chill pill for a week, and I still found time to go out and support my local promoters and djs/producers. I don’t show up for my set and leave because that’s rude to me.
It’s like people who don’t listen to “smaller” people’s tunes because they’re “too busy.” Take some time out to give back. Use your talents and presence for someone else’s benefit. Think about someone else besides yourself.
Hope it’s not sexist to say that you’re a woman in two particularly male-dominated fields, DJing and producing. Some folks feel compelled to speak out, while others feel it’s an overanalyzed, tired topic. Anything you’d like to say in regards to that?
I am so happy you brought that up. I don’t think it’s a “tired” topic. If you can’t handle a topic that usually gets swept under the rug coming to light for a week, I’m (not) sorry, but you’re probably part of the problem.
It’s no secret. Women go through unique, real, and difficult struggles in this industry, and in our larger societies. The first step in dealing with the problem is accepting that we have one. The freedom for people to speak about their experiences without being shamed for them is so important to addressing our issues.
I really could rap about this, but here’s the bottom line— It doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” you are in this scene; everyone is important and is worth being treated with respect. I wish we remembered that, or let that attitude guide our interactions. I think we’d be in a radically different world.
If your country called upon you to take control a major cabinet-level department, one for which you realistically have no qualifications to oversee but no choice in the matter, which would you select, and how would you run it?
Department of Veterans affairs. Whatever your opinions are of the military, I think we can all agree that our treatment of our veterans is deplorable. In DC homelessness is so real, and It breaks my heart… You see it every day, and a huge part of the homeless population are veterans. If I could change anything via our cabinet, I’d make the change in the VA.
Some artists like to talk politics while others steer completely clear of it. Let’s completely ignore that and get your take on why Tide Pods caught on as a meme this winter. What brings people to eat them? How do you wash your clothes?
I have two theories on why people eat them. First, they look like brightly colored booty. Like, that film wrap needs to cover itself up and go to church. Second, they smell like dreams. I would want to eat a dream too.
If you must know, I wash my laundry in a bucket on my apartment balcony with a rock and a scrubbing board. I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint.
You got a sports team you like, or a tv show or movie which inspires you of late?
I hate sports even though I played a ton of them for years. The BBC changed my life. Downton Abbey and Sherlock stand out.
You recently DJ’d at an anime convention, did you not? You’ve played other conventions in the past as well, have you not? What’s it like? How do you land bookings like that?
I played Katsucon with Jude (Lokshot!). We played j-core and were so excited for that— very rare Judy and Kathy things.
Cons are a completely unique experience and I think every DJ/producer should try to play for one. The people are SO kind, and the environment is insane— I played Otakon once for THOUSANDS of people. It was a sea of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever seen at a rave. It was heaven.
I will be playing others, but I am pretty sure I can’t announce them yet!
Con bookings can come from demos, word of mouth, or by making connections, just like club gigs! Don’t be shy!
You’re pretty chummy with NYC DJ Lokshot. If he held you at gunpoint and made you choose an anime waifu/husbando, who do you think you would select and why?
Jude is basically a breathing anime character, so I’m pretty sure he counts. If Jude were an anime character, he’d definitely have a magic bike that would help him fight demons and get us to shows on time.
What does the future hold for Nvrsoft? With a signed release under your belt, do you feel anything’s changed with regards to your outlook on producing, or what you’re doing?
I’m someone that’s struggled with self-confidence and happiness for a while and making music has really helped change my state of mind for the better.
All I’ve ever told myself is, “I just want to get out of this place.”
I think I finally am.