Music & clubs

Moderna: The time is now

Seven years in the making, Moderna's debut album is finally here: The Future Among Us.

Photo: Ink Agop

DJ and producer Moderna is braving a new world with the release of her debut album, The Future is Among Us. Across the seven tracks that have been seven years in the making, LA-born Moderna weaves together personal narratives with pulsating electro beats and grooves. The dark-wave electro record typifies Moderna’s approach to sound and features some of her favourite artists as collaborators. To her, it’s “a declaration that the future is not something to wait for, but something we are actively creating together on the dance floor”.

For those that might be new to your music, can you tell us a bit about where your style originated from?

I am a product of the 80s and, fortunately, I was heavily inundated with 80s culture, especially music, so new wave and electro were a huge part of that. I gravitated towards the darker, more post-punk sound, like [that of] Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Later, I discovered dance music, but again, the weirder and darker the better – Aphex Twin was a revelation. Yet, I also loved the playful energy of electroclash with artists like Peaches, Fischerspooner, Miss Kittin and The Hacker. My fascination with dark and playful sounds is what led me to produce music.

LA and Berlin are two cultural epicentres. Do you feel that living in these cities has impacted The Future is Among Us in any way?

Berlin absolutely had a huge influence on the sound of the album and the overall way it came together. This city fosters such a vibrant and experimental music scene, and that creative energy permeates the record. If I didn’t live here I’m not sure if the album would be exactly the same but yes I think it would have still happened. Ultimately, it’s this combination of influences that makes my music unique. Every place I’ve lived and every artist I’ve encountered shapes my sound in some way.

The dark disco scene in Berlin seems to be very tight-knit, and the style has now spread across the globe. Would you say the scene has been a catalyst for you?

Berlin proved to be the perfect breeding ground for my sound. Here, I’ve found an incredibly supportive and thriving community. We’re all pushing boundaries and creating exciting music on our own and together. Artists like Local Suicide, Curses, Franz Scala, Jennifer Touch, Skelesys, Tom Peters, and so many more are all shaping the city’s vibrant electro and dark wave indie scene. It’s an inspiring environment to be a part of right now.

In 2020, you beat cancer after a year-long battle. How much of that experience was channelled into your record?

It’s been five years since the diagnosis and almost four since I was cleared. Going through that experience definitely instilled a new sense of purpose in everything I do, which may have subconsciously influenced the creative energy of the album. I never held onto my illness or used it as something I was inspired by. I was never a victim or sad about what I was going through. At the time, I was in 100% warrior mode, I had absolutely no time to fuck around with it, so I got through it and left it at that. Of course, now with my health fully restored, it makes seeing this album finally come to life after such a long time that much more significant. 

‘Lost at Heart’ for me is a real stand-out track from the album, and it’s a collaboration with another dark disco pioneer, Skelesys. Can you tell us a bit more about how it came to life?

It’s interesting how different tracks resonate with different people. It was actually a track I started working on many years ago as a solo piece. Then, one day at my place with Damian [aka Skelesys], we were flipping through some tracks to potentially collaborate on. ‘Lost at Heart’ was already slated for the album, but I always felt it needed some guitar work. So I asked him to see if something came to him, and of course the first riff he played was what we ended up using as the foundation. After a few weeks of working on it, I had the idea for him to add vocals on top of it as well. That really took the track to another level and solidified it as a standout piece.

Releasing your debut album is a huge milestone. What’s next?

Well, for starters, there will be a massive remix album to follow up, coming later this year, featuring some of my all-time favourite artists like Peaches, Joyce Muniz, Jennifer Touch, and Warehouse Preservation Society. And to celebrate we’re throwing a huge release party here in Berlin on May 9th at LA Flor.