Follow Me: Virginia TALKS


Virginia certainly has many strings to her bow. On one hand she's an experienced DJ who's held down a longstanding Panorama Bar residency. On another, she's a songwriter/producer/vocalist who's had success in both mainstream and underground spheres.

Fierce For The Night, released earlier this year on Ostgut Ton in the wake of two solo EPs, is a stunning synthesis of these many talents. Undoubtedly her greatest work to date, it's an album-length love letter to club culture and the transformative power – social, political, romantic – of the dancefloor.

A marriage between Virginia's intensely personal songwriting and impeccable pop instincts, and wide-ranging yet cohesive production courtesy of Dutch trio Steffi, Martyn and Dexter, the album works equally well as a collection of songs as it does a set of club tracks.

With a headline performance at Chapter 10's Village Underground rave this very evening, what better time for a quick catch-up?

How did you first meet Steffi and become part of the Ostgut Ton setup?

We met through a mutual friend and started working on some music together for a 12" on Underground Quality, and for Steffi’s debut album Yours & Mine on Ostgut Ton. Steffi invited me to play a DJ set at Panorama Bar for the release party and to perform the songs live that featured my vocals. That was basically the kick off. Since then I've played at the club regularly, become a resident and also released my own music on Ostgut Ton.

Fierce For The Night is one of my favourite albums this year. You’ve spoken about how it was important to have ‘songs’ rather than ‘tracks’ – how did you approach the balance between such personal songwriting and the pull of the dancefloor?

That is great to hear, thank you! I sing about personal stuff that happens in my life or to someone close to me, and it’s really important for me to stick to proper song structures like in early 'dance' music rather then making a loopy track with some vocal elements that sound sample based. I really wanted to write an album that works as good live on a stage as on the dancefloor in a club.

Tell us about how the project came together. Where was it recorded, and were these songs all written with the album in mind?

Steffi and I had worked together before and it was clear to me that I wanted her to be part of the writing team. Steffi and Dexter go way back as they are running the label Klakson together. Martyn and Steffi are releasing music under the project name Doms & Deykers. So, Steffi was clearly the connection between all of us. Over the years we became really good friends, and the idea of a fusion between all of our individual musical trademarks sounded very interesting and challenging for this album. The writing process was very diverse; some of the songs were written years ago but somehow never finished, while others were written last summer. Eventually during the album production phase everything fell into place.

In terms of the album’s sound and textures, were there any explicit reference points that were discussed?

My initial idea for Fierce For The Night was to produce a very diverse dance album, so I decided to collaborate with Dexter, Martyn and Steffi because they all come from very different musical backgrounds and we brought a lot of those influences to the drawing board. So automatically we had a wide range of ideas to choose from actually.

Tell us about the artwork – was it important for you to have a portrait?

The album features eleven pop songs and it was really important for me to give the music a face. My friend Lukas Julius Keijser screen printed a picture that Steffi took of me, and made lots of different colour combinations. The blue and pink one stood out for me straight away.

Who are some of the singers that have inspired you?

I am a big fan of Sade, Prince, Tracy Chapman and Tina Dico, just to name a few.

What’s your relationship with modern pop music – is there anything that interests you?

I have very little affection with modern pop music to be honest. Unfortunately most of the music has no depth or character, simply a lack of soul. Every once in a while I get a tip from a friend and there might be something that catches my attention, but overall I am quite disappointed about the lack of quality and longevity.

How have the live shows been going so far? You’ve recently played Dimensions, and then there’s Village Underground this evening!

We had an amazing record lounge party at Berghain to kick off this tour, and we played great festival stages over the summer. It has been a super fun experience so far to share a stage with Steffi and Dexter to perform all the songs live. These days most of the festivals are DJ dominated and it has become more of a rare thing to play as a band. People are actually really excited to see a different kind of performance and energy on stage.  

As a Panorama Bar resident, could you give us a pen portrait of Berlin nightlife right now? London clubbing has been taking quite a few hits recently, it feels like a difficult time. What can we stand to learn from Berlin?

It is very tragic that fabric was shut down, and it is horrible to read all these twisted and untrue statements from the press about why it had to close. It is the same old story – artists and cultural spaces need to leave an area for the sake of "premium living" etc… all my the best wishes go out to the crew!

To be honest, I don't go clubbing that much anymore. When I have a weekend off I hardly ever spend the time in a club, but in general we are very lucky in Berlin to still have such a diverse and open-minded club culture with a lot of freedom and possibilities.

What’s next for Virginia?

I got a new studio space in Berlin, my first priority is to settle in so I can work on some new music!

Thank you very much, and looking forward to the Village Underground show 🙂

And to you, let’s have fun!!!

Fierce For The Night is out now on Ostgut Ton.

Virginia plays Chapter 10 at Village Underground tonight (Friday 16th Sept) w/ Steffi & Dexter. Buy tickets here.

Image credit: Stephan Redel

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