If there's anything Marie Nyx understands about the rave community, it's that it was created as a safe space for queer people, people of color, and people that would otherwise feel ostracized from the world. As a co-founder of Delusional Records, Marie Nyx is focused on curating a music scene that emphasizes that inclusivity mentioned above. We chatted with Marie Nyx about music, Delusional Records, and her latest EP release Elysium, which dropped on October 20th.
After the chat we had Marie pick out some of her favorite pieces from iHeartRaves. Check them out below as you read about her music, her production process, and what festival fashion means to her.
iHeartRaves: Tell us about what inspired you to found Delusional Records?
Marie Nyx: Delusional Records was founded by my partner Maude Vôs and I with the intention of cultivating a community inclusive of all race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation/identity in a cis-male dominated industry. As individuals before founding the label, Maude and I had always been working hard to push underrepresented artists, whether it was her working at a nonprofit teaching incarcerated youth music production and mentoring female producers and LGBTQIA community in the studio or me booking multiple all-female, LGBTQIA, or inclusive lineups. Maude and I connected pre-pandemic at one of the events I hosted that was curated by a mutual friend and Delusional artist, Trovarsi. Throughout the year, we kept in touch and realized we had a similar vision in our music careers and a reciprocal taste for the mysterious sounds of the underground; sounds that were created to push sonic boundaries into new sensory territory.
iHR: Where do you see that project going in the future?
MN: Our fundamental goal with the label is to revive the roots of dance music culture; when there were no rules, just honest expression. In the future, we want to cultivate a global community of artists that align with our core values.
iHR: Tell us about your new EP, Elysium:
MN: Elysium is my debut three-track EP on Delusional Records. Elysium is defined as a place or condition of ideal happiness and bliss. Each track represents a step along my own personal journey of reaching a state of elysium. The first track, "Occult Reveries" is a hard-hitting techno track that includes a driving bassline, dreamy melodic keys, sinister growls, bright pads, and gritty synth lines. This first track represents the darkness and shadows interfering with my ability to reach my highest self. My daydreams of releasing these inner demons were coming to an end, as I realized what needed to be done in order to manifest these desires.
"Out of the Shadows" is the second track on the EP. It is a techno piece with haunting polyphonic melodies, heavy sub bass, and simple drum grooves layered with unique textures. The process of writing this track was a struggle for me. The track started as an abstract collage of sounds and it felt near impossible to see the light at the end of the finished project. The shadow of self-doubt was holding me back and causing some serious writer's block. My partner and label co-owner Maude Vôs believed in my work and motivated me to create until the project was finished. She was a huge help in breaking down the wall of self-doubt and giving me the confidence to put my best work out into the world.
The third track "Up for Air" is a minimal groover with crisp claps, hints of acid, a deep bassline, and ominous pads. It's a reminder to come up for air in the process of self-work. All three tracks hold an equal balance between dark and light and are each a genre of techno that you would hear in my versatile DJ sets.
iHR: Can you tell us about the production process of that?
MN: I started Occult Reveries and Up for Air about a year ago after taking a few production courses over the pandemic. I wrote a basic arrangement of each of them within the same month, but never sat down to finish either of the projects. Once we started the label, I was feeling very inspired to finish some of the work I had begun. Occult Reveries was the most fun to rework. The growls were made with the VST synthesizer "Diva," the gritty bassline with the Moog Matriarch, the dreamy melodic keys with the Moog Subharmonicon, the arpeggiated sound with Ableton's Operator instrument, the drums on the Push, and the lead bassline on Elektron's Digitakt.
Out of the Shadows was a project I started from scratch a few months ago. The melodies were made on the Moog Mini VST, the Roland JX-3P, Sonic Livein, and Moog Matriarch. The lead arpeggiated sounds were made on the JX-3P and the sub bass on the Moog Matriarch. Up for Air was made mostly on the Ableton push except for the acid lasers in the Moog Mini VST and the sub bass in the Moog Matriarch.
Throughout the process of writing/finishing these three tracks, I had sound design and engineering help from Maude Vôs and one of our label's mastering engineers, whoistheMETRO. I was so grateful to have them in the studio to teach me different techniques of production, how to properly engineer hardware into the DAW, and to share their more extensive knowledge of synthesis with me.
iHR: What are some of your favorite rave and festival styles?
MN: I think rave fashion of the 90s and early 2000s was most iconic. I will always think of OG ravers in JNCO Jeans, crop tops, and sneakers with kandi up their arms. For me personally, I'm a chameleon with my festival style. The only thing that remains constant is that all of my outfits are based around comfort. At a festival you can usually catch me in my Doc Marten boots or platform sneakers. My styles range from modern goth to rocking a psychedelic print, a fun vintage two-piece outfit, neon mesh, or a bodysuit with a fun kimono over it.
iHR: What does festival fashion mean to you?
MN: Festival fashion is special because it gives you the creative freedom to express yourself with no judgment from others around you. For me, it's always been the funkier the outfit the better. I love that people are able to just let their freak flag fly.
iHR: What does rave and music culture mean to you?
MN: Rave and music culture will always hold the most special place in my heart. There is an authenticity about the community because people are not afraid to be unapologetically themselves and they still feel accepted. I love that most people are involved for the sole purpose of celebrating their love of music and creative expression through dance and fashion.