Photos by The Selby, theselby.com
“How do I make it as a DJ?” is, without doubt, one of the biggest questions young producers ask themselves. Unfortunately that question usually doesn’t come with an answer as simple as making your mother’s chicken noodle soup. Luck is typically the biggest factor in that equation.
However, we found a set of DJs (Marylouise Pels and Vanessa Giovacchini) that have been making a name for themselves and you can replace “luck” with the word beauty.
The DJ duo known as Posso (meaning v: “I can”) have really been turning heads, especially those of men, in most recent months. The first time the duo caught our attention was while they were performing at the EDMBiz Conference in Las Vegas and then again on the Discovery Stage at Electric Daisy Carnival and most recently we had the duo at our one-year anniversary party here in Los Angeles, which gave us a chance to catch up with the duo and ask them a few questions.
It seems that Posso are one of those Cinderella, Disney stories where dreams really come true. They explained the reason for their success was just being yourself. “The biggest secret to any kind of success is to dream up your own standards and fulfill them. The universe is a mirror of self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Posso. “When we started doing this we were so completely obsessed and moved by the exciting direction of dance music that we just had to DJ.”
We never made sacrifices…we didnt play top 40, we just cared about curating a sound that was 100% ours...
Posso didn’t buy into club promoter BS when they were getting started, instead they knew they wanted to be associated with a certain image and they truly have stuck to that by not playing what someone thought they should play or sacrifice their vision in hopes of quicker recognition. They didn’t succumb to top 40 pressure, “We just cared about curating a sound that was 100% ours and wanted to do creative justice to the music we worshiped.”
Waking up one day and saying that you’re going to make it on your own terms, and do things your own way, isn’t the easiest thing to see through. Posso explains you have to create reality based off a dream and once you start living “that dream” you create magic. Seems easier said than done but whatever the case, it is something that has worked… We predict good things to come for these two.
So, growing up in Sonoma, how does that play into your influences?
Sonoma is an incredibly small, mostly rural wine country town where the awareness of dance music was pretty much non-existent. Everyone listened to country and classic rock. We knew each other our whole lives but really became best friends at 14 when we bonded over a mutual love of Led Zeppelin. We both listened to the classic Chicago blues masters, psychedelic rock, but Zeppelin for us was like a personal cultural movement. We both never really felt like we fit in anywhere—we cared about progressive fashion (Russell Athletic sweatshirts were in style at school) and music. Music was the glue that held us together in our fantasy world of design and culture where we wanted to belong. It's freeing to find someone that is moved by what you're moved by when you think you're the only one.
Having style is about being fearless in how you want to present yourself to the world…an effortless way of putting things together which ultimately becomes a signature look.
What do you think the secret is to the success you’re currently finding?
The biggest secret to any kind of success is to dream up your own standards and fulfill them. The universe is a mirror of self-fulfilling prophecy. When we started doing this we were so completely obsessed and moved by the exciting direction of dance music that we just had to DJ. We never made sacrifices or played what someone else thought we should play or be—we didn't play top 40, we just cared about curating a sound that was 100% ours and wanted to do creative justice to the music we worshiped. When you start to see how your idea of reality is completely constructed by your dream of what you want life to be, then you begin to understand magic. Respecting that law and being true to your heart's purpose is success.
Does character invent style or does your style invent character?
Both are true. Having "style" is about being fearless in how you want to present yourself to the world. Style is one of those things that is an ever-evolving animal. Each day your style is subjected to influences and activities going on in your life. Posso style has changed greatly over the years and been influenced by so many things that we have gone through on this journey. When we designed spats and our leather accessories there was definitely an empowering energy when we wore them. I think different people have different relationships with style whether they are playing dress up to become a character the have created to play in their lives or the people you have an effortless way of putting things together which ultimately becomes a signature look...
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
Marylouise: There are two for me as a fan. The first was when I was living in Europe hopping around between a few countries and I went to Ministry of Sound to see Junior Jack and Fabric in London. The energy was incredible—I'd never seen anything like it. Mylo's album Destroy Rock and Roll came out right then and it was everywhere. I was a house music head then but I'd never heard anything like that, that album changed how I saw music. The second was seeing Daft Punk at Vegoose in 2007. Everyone was dancing, not too packed but just perfect under a blanket of stars...no words.
Vanessa: Coachella 2008 side stage for MIA right before she blew up. I’d loved her since her very first album came out. I remember she wore a neon and reflector tape dress... don't know how I wound up on the stage but being so close to her explosive performance energy and feeling the energy from the crowd was something so powerful and something I had never experienced before.
Is there a specific event in your life that is linked in your mind to a song or album?
M: Those six months I was traveling around Europe when I was 20. I went to visit my family in Amsterdam and my cousin who's a film maker opened me up to incredible music of all genres I'd never heard of before. He showed me one of his favorites: K&D Sessions. It's a Kruder & Dorfmeister classic and if you don't know it you gotta check it out. I walked around Amsterdam by myself a lot listening to that and I felt changed forever.
V: When we first started Posso and basically flung ourselves into the vast unknown I remember we would always listen to Daft Punk Alive 2007 live album... somehow all uncertainty and doubts would wash away. Everything was OK. Listening to Daft Punk will always bring me back to those raw feelings of reaching for a dream I didn't quite understand.
It’s been frequently discussed how music influences fashion, but what influence do you think fashion has on music?
Everyone dresses in a way so that they feel good. Feeling good makes you feel sexy. When you feel good and sexy other people notice, it's contagious. Feeling sexy and feeling good inspires the core element of what music, especially dance music, is all about. The moment that someone connects to music that inspires them, they connect to their highest, best self. Powerful shit.
Who are your top three musical style icons?
Gwen Stefani | Lady Gaga | Cher
Whose fashion sense do you most respect and why?
Running the gamut from nonchalant cool to completely put together, we both love the sexy laid back California style of Erin Wasson (below right) and also the avant-garde artistic expression of someone like Daphne Guinness (below left).
Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your sonic aesthetic.
We got really into old disco and funk late 2007 early 2008. Disco more than anything has changed our core understanding of where the roots of dance music came from and the philosophy of what dance music, for us, should always strive to be. There's a book by Vince Aletti called "The Disco Files" that's fascinating if you're interested in a real account of how the movement really started. We think dance music should be uplifting, it should move you in a way that brings everyone together.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
What's the hardest lesson you've ever learned?
The hardest and best lesson everyone on this planet deals with is managing their ego. Taking care of yourself, staying grounded and having constant faith in what you want. Keeping faith is always the biggest challenge but immensely rewarding when you do.
What is the most colorful incident you have involving a fan?
We DJed in Bali at Cocoon Beach Club last December for the launch party of our Posso x Volcom capsule collection in Indonesia and while we played some people in the crowd made a human pyramid! It was a madness...it wasn't a small one either it was about five levels high!!! Later on in the night another group of people dropped to the ground and pretended to be rowing a boat! Definitely don't see either of these kinds of things on a dancefloor too often.
Can you walk us through your various musical phases?
M: I grew up playing classical piano at about age 6 and played flute—my parents listened to a lot of opera, classical, big band, and Cuban music. When I was about 10-11 I discovered rock and roll and blues...around 18 I started getting heavy into house music.
V: I think my first real experience loving music was when I was five years old... My parents had gotten the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail, soundtrack on cassette tape and I played that non-stop jamming in my room and playing with Barbies. My dad played jazz trumpet and listened to a lot of jazz when I was growing up—I'd sing some of the jazz standards while my dad played the trumpet (neither of us were all that amazing.) I didn't have cable so I kinda had to rely on my friends’ older sisters taste to get any piece of what was cool at the time. My first cassette tapes were Paula Abdul, New Kids on the Block and Aerosmith. I listened to oldies and country music in my parents’ cars until I changed all the programmed channels to cool "alternative" stations. In middle school I got really into 80’s music because I thought it was just pretty ridiculous and funny. In high school I discovered Led Zeppelin... Sonoma was all about classic rock greats like Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band and all that good ol’ boy music which will always be in my heart of hearts. I started listening to house music at the end of high school when a co-worker used to play a DJ Scribble CD when we were closing up and continued to dive further into that world from there.