Moogfest 2018 is just around the corner. In the weeks leading up, we'll be showcasing and highlighting some of the artists and news we are most excited about. We were fortunate enough to have a little chat about what it takes to create a movement with one of New York-techno's finest exports, Discwoman cofounder Umfang.
Hi Emma, really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. The big news is that you will be performing at Moogfest this year, but before we dive into that, first, tell us about your origins. How did you even end up as Umfang?
Big question but basically just got in to techno in college through a group of friends, one friend got me in to virtual dj, playing raves and then it kept going when I moved to Nyc. I got in to records after my computer got stolen and it really changed things.
As one of the founders of the inimitable Discwoman collective, how does it feel to be a leader of such a positive and inclusive movement? Has the growth and success come as a surprise?
It's pretty overwhelming, I've had to back off of any admin at this point which feels strange but necessary with the amount of travel I'm doing now. I really just want us to keep evolving and actually help others and progress. It's really challenging building something all on our own. Yes it's all a big surprise and still feels like an amazing thing that moves really fast. We have to remind each other to take care of ourselves while maintaining a mission to spotlight others.
Discwoman first started off as a music festival. Was the intent always to expand into artist management and beyond? What has been the core belief since day one? Have your goals changed?
The intent came more out of a need than a mission. Agents and labels weren't picking up on some of the most talented musicians we knew which can be really disheartening. We decided to fake it until we realized everyone was faking it, and being an agency is something we really CAN do. The core aim is and was to push for underrepresented talent and those who's hard work has been overlooked. The ways to do this best keep changing.
Being associated with such an important company like Moog is something most people could only dream of. How did this partnership come about? What was your initial reaction when asked to provide demos of the DFAM synth?
They found us. I think it can be hard to accept attention from something that has always felt out of reach or inaccessible but meeting the team and understanding that they are trying to change their image and give young artists more access was really heart warming. I also have come to realize that the vision of Bob Moog was really futuristic and inclusive but the fanbase that had latched on, mainly middle aged white men, had always put me off a bit. I'm happy they let us change the narrative with them. I love the DFAM so much and I'm so excited to have more time with it.
Moogfest may just be the top music and technology festival on the planet, with keynotes from some of the top minds in both industries. In your opinion, why is something like Moogfest such an important event? Who or what are you personally looking forward to most during the event?
Unfortunately I'm only able to be there one day. I really hope to catch as many performances as possible. I think it's a cool coming together of worlds, old and new nerds.
We live in times of drastic change and uncertainty. For those of our readers who want to make a difference in the scene like you and Discwoman have, what is the best piece of advice, or lesson you've learned, that they can take with them on their journeys?
Engage others in your work as much as possible, have a selfless intention and listen to people and how you can help them. Amplify Each Other is our main slogan and I try to think about it with all of my decisions. I'm really put off by people that are too ego driven in a sense that they won't listen to others and want a lot of credit. I struggle with this as an introvert, I do need to make a lot of time for myself and my art but working on setting a pace has been really important to have energy for myself, my work, and other people. Basically pay people, try not to be an asshole, try to make others feel valued.