Techno music blossomed from a solid foundation of disco and house in the 1980s – both genres spearheaded by marginalized DJs and musicians looking to create new spaces for fearless dancing and expression. Philadelphia-based musician W00dy is part of a new vanguard of dance upstarts coming out of the experimental noise underground finding new ways to honor that original mission.
Through a series of self-released cassettes like last year's This World Has Rendered Me and a hard-core regimen of DIY touring, W00dy is turning heads with a spin on techno that is equally based on rock-solid grooves as it is on left-field sound samples and adventurous compositions. Live, she's a dizzying and compelling whirlwind of pure emotion and pure precision.
"I strive to create a cathartic experience on the dance floor with the music I write. Two winters ago I went through a really hard time in my life, and I started going out to dance music events in Boston. I found an incredible source of healing through dancing and moving my body, and it became so clear how effective it is in healing trauma," she says. "I'm sure I look really ridiculous and extra when I perform because I really can't control my body movements, which in itself is an very healing experience."
W00dy's presence at the International Noise Conference in Miami is part and parcel of an event that is proving every bit as fluid and malleable as the underground itself. This year's INC lineup takes in boundary-pushers from across countless genres. Noise becomes more and more about new voices making their presence felt ... loudly.
This dovetails neatly into the music community-building work that W00dy is currently busying herself with in Philadelphia's DIY fringes. "Creating space for marginalized artists is very important to me as someone who struggled to get booked in the past," she explains. "I started playing live electronic music in 2012 and it was really hard to get booked – I felt like a lot of the men I was surrounded by were constantly dismissing me. It wasn't until I started meeting other female and queer artists that I finally started to feel validated and supported. I feel like collectives such as Discwoman, Sister and a Boston-based collective that I used to co-organize with – Evlv Tech – really paved the way for female, queer and POC voices to be heard; the groups I mentioned are only some of many, by the way."
This will be W00dy's second year of playing INC and her enthusiasm is undimmed: "When I got into Miami last year and went to my first INC night, I walked in to the performer puking all over the mic and stage. So I love that tons of unexpected and weird things happen along with wild and disjointed sounds. I also love how it's free all week, which makes it super accessible to all walks of life."
W00dy plays Orlando's Pre-INC event this Monday with a stellar cast of out-of-towners heading toward Miami (Gyna Bootleg, Heat Death) and locals (Rot Guts, Bacon Grease) alike.