Learning from a young age that you don’t have to follow the system, Mexican producer Alyssa Barrera Auvinen has been following the beat of her own drum for quite a while now. With her musical journey beginning when her brother was in an industrial band in the late 90s, it wasn’t long before Auvinen was infatuated with electronic music and sound engineering. Majoring in both subjects in New York, Auvinen was known as Lady Oscillator throughout her studies and allowed the fact that there were more men in her class to be a challenge or competition rather than an intimidation. It was whilst Auvinen was in New York that she met Bryan from The Bunker New York from frequently attending their parties and earlier this year the label released the first LDY OSC single on their 15 year anniversary compilation. With the next step naturally to be to release a full EP, LDY OSC’s debut is out on the label now and highlights her experimental productions as she plays around with different natural effects in order to create unique textures.
Your musical journey began when your brother was in an industrial band. What was it that made you connect with the rage of the music?
That was in the late 90’s. It was the distorted guitars, electronic drums, and arpeggiated synth leads that caught my attention while I was growing up because I would not hear those sound elsewhere. I was always frustrated with having to conform with the music that was on the TV or radio.
Growing up on the border of the US and Mexico – how do you feel this impacted your perspective on life?
I was born in Nuevo Laredo, MX but since age 4 lived in Laredo, TX. Although Laredo is on the US side, it’s 98% Hispanic. In my family bloodline we are 100% Mexican. My family and ancestors are all proud to be Mexican. There is a connection with the land that is generally not found in the US. The Native Americans do not get the respect they deserve. Compared to how the Mayans and Aztecs get praised in Mexico.
What influenced your decision to move to Vienna?
Love and the need for a change. I moved there to be with my partner Johannes (TIN MAN), he’s lived there for 11 years. We both have a lot of friends in NYC but it made more sense for both of us to live in Vienna. Being a musician/artist in Vienna is esteemed.
Your father was super supportive of you when you started DJ’ing, why do you think this is? And now that you’ve started LDY OSC, do you still keep him up to date with your music?
My father is a rooster breeder/dealer in Mexico. It is not a common career, but he knows the business by heart. When I started dj’ing and wanted to to travel to Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City for gigs, he would make sure I was taken care of since he knows a lot of people. He noticed I was being a courageous 18 year old who was getting into a business that has a lot of dangerous sides to it. Example: nightclubbing + traveling vs. cock fights + business deals. I always keep him and my mother up to date.
The name LDY OSC comes from your obsession of synthesizers, what draws you to them and what is your favourite synth?
While I was in school my classmate Dmitry Mironeko crowned me Lady Oscillator because during the synthesis part of class I would talk about oscillators as if they were living creatures. Favorite synth… dirty and vintage: Univox MiniKorg700. New, clean and lush: (CS-80 clone) Deckard’s Dream 8 voice polyphonic analogue synthesizer.
Majoring in Music and Sound Enineering did you ever feel like there was a gender imbalance in your class? If so, did this ever put you off studying the subject?
There was 5 women in the entire Sonic Arts program. There were about 15-18 students admitted each year. From the 90 students in total five were women. I never got put off by this, because I was so enveloped by it that I never let it bother me. I try not to empower the fact of women in tech being are a minority because I don’t want to continue giving that light. If women want to become engineers then they should do it! Saying that it’s run by mostly men is very true, but it is no longer only controlled by men. I like the feeling that there IS more men in the industry, it makes me feel like I am competing with an archaic way of thinking. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that LDY OSC released her first single which was on The Bunker New York’s 15 year anniversary compilation.
Now onto your debut EP ‘Magic2 of 8’, most of it was recorded ‘on the fly’, why is this your preferred way of working?
‘On the fly’ refers to a recording style in which tracks are recorded for the length of the entire track. For example, recording a 5 minute bass line with cutoff and resonance parameters, and then adding other elements on top of it. You’re forming the arrangement of the song on the fly. I’ve worked with tape before and this one time tracking method I enjoy because decisions are made quickly and it can lead to some good experimentation.
On the EP you experiment with mixing vocal recordings with the natural air, what effect does this have on the vocal? What other unusual combinations do you like to do with your productions to manipulate the sound?
When I was recording the vocals for ‘Nenechant’ and Chekechant’ I wanted them to sound airy… so I would record the vocals open the window and I would listen to it from another room. I wanted to try and recreate that space. As if you were hearing a spine freezing spirit cry- singing in another room. For ‘Pushed All’ I read some of my text messages and it turned out that most of what I was reading was anxiety related conversations…“pushed all the signs away”, “I devoured his beautiful soul”, “don’t worry he’s going to call you”. A story was made by reading the last message as I scrolled through my texts.
It’s being released on Bunker New York, how did your relationship begin with the label?
I’ve known Bryan for 8 years. I attended Bunker parties when I first moved to NYC and eventually began to cat sit for him. While in school I would sometimes work the door at Bunker parties. I also met my partner because of the Bunker. Bryan had been interested in my music production for sometime, but it wasn’t until he asked me to make a track for the 15 year Bunker compilation that I made the leap into producing for the label.
You also perform live shows, how do you prepare for these? Where will you be touring next?
For the tour in October, I had a simple live set up. I created different arrangements of prerecorded tracks with some transitions in between tracks, I used them as backing tracks through my Octatrack, and sang over them by processing my vocals with my favorite Lexicon LXP5. In some set ups I would use a Dj mixer like the Xone 92 or DJM900 and for others analog mixers. I am easy and will just use what is available. It’s a good way to learn different set ups and mixers. As for touring, I will be in Europe Nov.2018-Jan.2019 and open for bookings. At the moment only have a gig lined up in Vienna in December. February 2019 will be back in the US/MX and will set up a tour.
What are you aiming to contribute to the music industry with your productions and live performances? What do you hope to achieve?
To sound like your own identity. Because we all get placed in some kind of genre, it’s hard for myself to place my music somewhere but I think it runs more along the techno left-field side. Which is a good place to be in since I like to experiment and not keep things too serious. Music is a form of healing, and my emotions resonate through through the recordings. Maybe someone can identify themselves with the songs and have a deeper connection. Ideally grasping that their is a lot of pain that we go through and music is liberating.
Outside of music, what are hobbies do you have?
I have been building synthesizer kits for about 4 years now, and recently got into synthesizer repair. It’s a hobby that I am working to turn into a career path. I have enough knowledge to fix broken PCB’s, and do other maintenance and testing work. I am currently working on a Farfisa Compact Duo from 1965. I would like take advanced courses in Electrical Engineering but I have to learn German first, which I am currently doing.
With mental health being an important issue in the industry, how do you like to unwind? Do you have any self-care rituals that work well for you?
This is a huge issue. I wish everyone could grasp the importance of self care. I do hot yoga about 4 times a week when I am home. If not, I stretch. Lots of backbends and being upside down! I tend to go for a long walk everyday to let everything i’ve done sink in. Having the Vienna forest nearby has been incredible because I get to be around the trees, dirt and observe nature. We love to go wild mushroom hunting as well. Every full moon I acknowledge her and give her thanks for all the energy. I have an altar with Mayan artifacts, crystals, incense for special occasions and feathers from my dads roosters.
One last thing, with only 3 months left of the year, is there anything left to tick off your 2018 bucket list?
Most important thing for me is to spread into the scene in Europe. I have a lot of friends, but since LDY OSC is a new project it’s like starting from scratch so I have to build it up and get out there. I have an album to wrap up as well, it’s 80% complete.
‘Magic2 of 8’ by LDY OSC is out now on The Bunker New York – buy here