Ghost Hardware has announced a brand new label this week – No Reality.
A development from her existing, extensive and highly captivating creations and discussions as a multi-disciplinary visual artist, the No Reality label is a new place for Vanessa Loera to continue her exploration of the night and inner city, urban and industrial and abandoned environments known as liminal spaces.
Both familiar and eerily alien, her work is characterised by powerful contrasts of natural and artificial light and is likely to resonate with anyone who spends more time in the later hours, especially those of us in underground rave culture due to its nocturnal nature and creative subversion of spaces. Already established in various mediums from painting to short films to photography, if you’ve listened to any Ghost HardwareNo Reality mixes, you’ll have already experienced her art.
The label will develop this relationship even more as London-based Vanessa brings more kindred artistic spirits into the collective fold and lures us all deeper into the unknown. 1 More Thing sent Ghost Hardware a few questions about her forthcoming plans and her art in general, she came back with some inspiring concepts and ideas. Real talk…
No Reality as a label is brand new but it’s been around as a concept for a long time hasn’t it? Both your photography, your art and your mix series. Take us back to the very start of the No Reality concept…
I have been a fine artist for over a decade now and the focus of my work is Nyctophilia (love for the night/darkness) and documenting liminal spaces. From a very young age, I always loved getting lost in unknown places – exploring urban spaces, edgelands and abandoned buildings. I then started to express myself through these escapist adventures, documenting them through different media. I got into the study of psychogeography and psychoanalysis of nightwalking and liminal spaces, in an attempt to understand and explain my love and desire for it. Once I found my theme, I kept experimenting and pushing it through different media, from painting to photography to filmmaking and now to sound and installation art.
My art is quite otherworldly, even though it’s a documentation of everyday spaces. My visuals are always devoid of people, but use anthropomorphism to express human emotions through inanimate objects and landscapes through the use of colour, space and contrasts. These feelings of isolation, anonymity and getting lost, not knowing of your whereabouts but identifying familiarities and almost Deja-vu through the spaces create this essence of non-reality. The concept also derives from losing yourself in the dance at a rave, fully immersing yourself in the lights and sound, completely dissociating yourself from reality where everyone is escaping through the music in a collective way.
It is blurring the lines between realism, surrealism, light, dark, fiction and non-fiction. It’s being totally unrealistic and delusional; it’s celebrating the beauty of being able to change your reality at your will. It’s the constant human battle between escaping from reality to grounding yourself in the present moment. Once I had the idea of the No Reality title it really stuck and felt it perfectly described everything I was doing both visually and sonically. In drum & bass, my mixes tell a story and almost take the listener/audience to another reality, which is what initially started off the No Reality Mix series. I really aimed to make that a series of mixes where I really expressed myself and take the listener to my dreamworld. With my immersive installation art, I am doing this in more of a 4D way where the audience is taken to another world through the use of light, sound and moving image.
In the end, it felt right to call my label No Reality because I am combining my art and music practise, making my artworks the face of the label and events. I also wanted the same euphoric, liminal and dreamlike themes that run through my artworks to run through the label.
I love the description of the focus on breaking societal norms, boundaries and pushing individual creativity. What can you tell us about that right now?
Over time I realised that my art and artistic approach is quite controversial, I wrote my dissertation on women walking the night for creative purposes and argued that there are so many of us creatives that do actually enjoy the night and use it to express themselves- from DJ/Producers in the rave scene to fine artists, photographers, writers etc.
My work challenges gender stereotypes in public space and the stigma of women and the night in capitalist society. My practise was breaking the assumption that people who identify as women are victims of the night and it is almost activist in my attempts to rather, express and portray the beauty of the night and darkness. There’s so much that I could say on the topic but that’s just one example of how the No Reality concept is breaking rules and pushing boundaries as the artwork will be used for label releases and events.
No Reality will also not be sticking to one style of drum and bass and branch out into other genres. This gives the artists in the collective an opportunity to really express themselves in any BPM without any limits. As an artist, I understand how creativity can be and would never want to limit anyone with any rules or boundaries. I am really pushing the originality and uniqueness of the artists and welcome music that may not fit in anywhere else. I also understand not everyone will understand my concepts or even agree with them, but that will always sort of come with the vulnerability of truly being yourself and unapologetically showing the world who you really are.
Can you tell us who else is involved yet? This sounds like a proper crew / community thing…
Yes! That’s it. No Reality is more of a diverse collective releasing art and music than a business type of label. It is my incentive for the residents of the collective to feel like it’s a community and a safe space to push their creativity and really express themselves to do whatever they like, and be whoever they are, as I really believe in them, their work and their journeys as artists. A lot of us have been friends and supporting each other’s journeys for a long time now, so I find the connection that we have to be quite special as well. I have also carefully curated and selected artists who I feel are not only incredibly unique in their sound and what they bring to the table but are also truly genuine people and talented individuals that stand out in the scene. I am truly proud of and feel really blessed to have these residents on board, and I am so excited to be sharing this journey with them. I will be announcing our residents very soon, so definitely follow us on at @norealitymusic on all socials and keep an eye out!!
Having your own label has been something you’ve wanted to do for a while now. I think it’s quite an artform to run a label…
Absolutely!! That’s hit the nail on the head. I always found everything I was doing in music an artform and I still see myself as an artist, who’s just working on the sound side of things now. I wanted the freedom and to also provide the freedom for artists to be themselves and not worry about fitting into boxes or labels, so diversity and inclusivity is really important to me.
I wanted to provide a platform and opportunities for people who felt like they never really fit in when they were expressing themselves- a safe space to work and feel respected and included. I also wanted to push artists who are always thinking out of the box and shamelessly putting out a lot of personality and uniqueness in their work. But the main appeal for me was putting together a creative support system and community for our artists to really thrive and grow in. A fun place where we can enjoy our creative journey and support each other to be the best artists we can be. I also find the idea of combining my art and music work together for the label really exciting as well as I can now bring a lot of my projects and ideas to life for it.
A producer launching a label is pretty predictable as they have music to release and you can instantly get an idea of the sound of that label. You’ll be approaching No Reality from a different perspective. This is really exciting. How do you think this will influence the label’s remit and your A&R?
Yeah, that’s so true and I see that happening all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it as people know what to expect and then go to their events knowing the line-up and know that they’ll receive the kind of sound they love. No Reality will be different to that because I have always branched out and enjoyed lots of different styles of music and drum and bass; you can always hear a bit of everything in my sets and I really enjoy doing that. I find it really exciting when I play out and take people through complete U-turns and surprises.
The residents on No Reality produce their own take on drum and bass, you couldn’t say one was like the other, which I love. A lot of them produce and explore other genres of music as well which I really want to get out there. When I run events, I plan to push that through and have No Reality showcase a lot of different styles, I didn’t want to limit the label to just one thing, because I never really listened to just one genre of music or type of D&B, so I wanted to keep this project interesting for not just the audience but myself as well.
No Reality is going to be so unpredictable in so many ways, and as risky as that is, I’m so excited to try it. It just goes with the No Reality concept, nothing is real, everything is what you make of it, there are literally no rules. I used to think it would be better to wait until I started releasing music and get more known to start the label, but the time is now and this way no one really feels that they have to sound like anything in particular and just be. I have recently seen other drum and bass labels really succeed in this multi-genre approach too and I felt inspired to do something similar by not only focusing on one style of drum and bass/genre.
How about your other artistic disciplines as a photographer and visual artist. There’s strong imagery with each No Reality mix and different works you’ve shared. How will this influence the sound of the label?
My visuals are very otherworldly, even though they are everyday spaces. The liminal aspect of the imagery will be echoing and complimenting the artist’s sound in their releases, rather than the sound being influenced by the visuals first. It’s exciting because it’s finally given my visuals a home and a purpose, to compliment and accompany the music. It has also given me projects and ideas for the artworks and opportunities for my residents that are both producers and artists to collaborate with one another. For example, Katon is also a graphics designer and we have been working together on the forthcoming EP artworks.
Working within the collective really gives it that personal feel and keeps it within the community which I love, as its not only pushing the music side but also the artistic side too. However, I feel like with everything creative I do there is a darker undercurrent running throughout, so this might end up breaking through sonically- but I aim to not limit the label to this. I also have special plans to create an immersive, Audio-Visual experience for the audience in my events. I will leave that a mystery for now, but if you’d like an idea of what I do please check out my website and @_noreality_ art account…
I’ve thought about the idea of there being no actual shared objective reality quite a lot since I interviewed Workforce and he explained one particular take on it: he suggests everything we see, hear, touch, smell etc is a reanimation, created in our brains and our own subjective reality. We hear sounds differently; we see things differently. Essentially there literally is no reality.
YES! This describes the notion of No Reality really well. Everything has and always will be subjective. Although there is collective consciousness and we are all inter-connected, we all perceive and experience our own realities and one another differently which is also what makes life so special and exciting. This is quite an awakening concept to grasp and gets super deep and really interesting.
Through my spiritual practise and healing journey over the years I have experienced reality shifts, astral travel, and the ability to manifest/create different realities has been a truly freeing experience and adventure. I love how themes like this also tie into the No Reality brand. I also feel that the collective shares a vision and somewhat taste in the audio/visual arts that we produce so although No Reality will be pushing different sounds, this connection through style and personality will eventually become evident as time goes by.
I get a lot of different reactions to my artworks and sets, as everyone perceives the darkness in their own subjective ways. I guess this is for those who do share our vision through the art and sound that we are putting out and relate to it. I don’t see No Reality following particular trends or doing what others are because it’s ‘what works’ or what is profitable, or what is in demand, but rather following our own path and doing what we love because it’s fun and that’s what we want to do.
When do we find out more? When can we hear stuff? Will there be a label launch event or anything?
Artists will be announced soon, then promotion for our first release will follow shortly after. Expect drum and bass, 140, experimental, ambient, minimal techno and more. There will definitely be a label launch event once we have had a few releases and really got the No Reality name out there. I wanted people to get a feel for what we do and give ourselves the appropriate time to produce the artwork side of the events first.
We will be running a resident mix series showcasing our resident’s DJ skills and sound, and also running a guest mix series alongside this, inviting guest artists whose work suit the No Reality concept. Other than that everything is a big mystery and surprise for everyone and I am really excited to finally make No Reality… a reality!! Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting the label so far, especially those who have believed in me as an artist and my ideas from the very beginning- it really means the world. Please do keep an eye out and follow all our socials for announcements, releases and more information, I can’t wait to share it with you all!