A few weeks ago, hot pink, vaporwave-esque posters, featuring a soda can and flash drive, could be seen scattered across campus advertising an event called Pink Noises. Sponsored by Vassar’s independent radio station WVKR, this event, according to WVKR’s website, exists to celebrate femme and nonbinary artists who work in electronic music. Similar to but not the same as Tara Rogers’ 2010 book of the same name, Pink Noises seeks to bring to light underrepresented demographics through this annual event. This year, it took place on March 3, with two parts: a music workshop at 5 p.m. in Rockefeller Hall with a subsequent show at 10 p.m. in the Shiva.
Since 2014, Pink Noises has enchanted Vassar’s campus with an evening of music that brings a new lineup to the table each year. This year’s lineup included Nkisi, BEARCAT, s0ln0va and Ariel Zetina, all electronic musicians based in locales from New York City to London. Gathering in the Shiva to share their sound, the performers— bathed in colorful lights—entertained crowds of people with their music. WVKR’s website states that the performances by the artists following the interactive workshops is akin to a godsend: “This two-part event begins with a series of workshops led by 4 incredible visiting artists. Later that evening these very same artists will showcase their skills, blessing us with set after live set.”
To have a show that is this successful, the visiting artists must go through a rigorous selection process. Promotions Director Delphine Douglas ’18 wrote in an email statement about how artists are selected for Pink Noises: “We each reached out to artists we thought would be a good fit and liked personally and coordinated so that we had a cohesive sound, but also a variety in terms of what workshops they would offer, geographic location, and amount of experience/ notoriety in the genre.”
Douglas continued, regarding how planning for the event has been active from the beginning of the year: “We all started meeting early fall semester to talk about who we wanted to book, and then sent out emails to artists we wanted. Then we all sat down and agreed on a lineup together and the people who initially reached out to each artist took on handling the logistics for that person. We all shared a lot of tasks and putting on the show was definitely a team effort.”
As an event, Pink Noises has morphed and changed over the years; Douglas explained, “At some points it was Hip Hop and Electronic music, while this year we just focused on Electronic music. Different people have taken the lead on organizing it each year and that means it ends up being slightly different, but overall I think the main idea is still there.”
Earlier in the day, the workshops provided a casual space for attendees to speak to their mentors as well as the other artists who would be performing later. As Douglas elucidated, “It was really cool to see the artists chatting with each other and get a sense of their relationships— some of them were excited to be meeting for the first time, or happy to be reunited, and it was really cool to see those connections happening at Pink Noises.”
Later at night, the Shiva was, one could say, alive with Pink Noises: lights and live music bounced around the room, creating a distinctive energy that befit the name of the event. Attendee Miles Thibodeaux ’21 encompassed the various different feels that the room had throughout the night: “The light show mixed with the repetitive music created a trance-like atmosphere. It was cool that the DJ was mixing the music live so that it could better match the mood of the room, although it did get pretty intense at points. All in all it was a fun experience.”
Abigail Davis ’21 related a similar experience: “Pink Noises brought booming bass, electronic beats, and electrifying lights. The live mixing made every song feel endless and new all at once. My favorite part was the atmosphere of the event, particularly the flashing lights, which had a rave-like effect. I wasn’t a huge fan of the music—at least, I wouldn’t listen to it on my own—but the event was pretty neat.” Audience member Isabel Braham ‘20 [Full Disclosure: Braham is Assistant Arts Editor of The Miscellany News] shared her opinion as well: “It was empowering to see female electronic DJs and the music was very catchy. Everyone was dancing a lot; it was a party.”
Douglas was very pleased with the turnout of the event. She commented, “I think WVKR is also really committed to music, and this lineup to me is some of the best of the best and fits in musically with what plays on a number of WVKR shows. This was our one big event this year and it’s cool to see that all the energy and resources went into an event that we really stand behind with artists who we most wanted to support.” As an annual event, Pink Noises has succeeded in bringing talented guest artists to Vassar’s campus, and will likely continue into the future.