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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fanciulla Gentile on Her Newest Project "the Creatrix" and the Healing Effects of Deep Dark Techno

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 9:43 AM

click to enlarge JOSEPHINE SHETTY
  • Josephine Shetty
Layering ambient techno beats with sci-fi inspired written passages, local artist Fancuilla Gentile’s newest project "the Creatrix" strives to take listeners on a voyage through a “a multidimensional sonic and literary narrative.” While "the Creatrix" is less than a year old, Gentile has been steadily putting out original tracks for the past couple of months, which will be incorporated into an upcoming release on NYC’s No-Tech label.

Starting her musical career five years ago by making experimental mixtapes, she’s also made a name for herself as half of dream noise duo Felidae. We got a chance to talk about her inspirations, affinity for sci-fi, and upcoming set at Surface Tension. Watch her in action as the Creatrix this Friday [6/17] for Surface Tension at 1192 Folsom

What does the Creatrix look like for you?
The name of my project is homage to a powerful genetrix that exists outside any dichotomy the human mind has ever created. It is at once horrific, gorgeous, wise, and always seeking. It came before us, lives now, and will continue to live on and change.
What attracts you to dark industrial techno?
Industrial music is such an immersive experience. I've seen and lived in many places that hold industrial wastelands. Abandoned factories, crumbling mills, towering infrastructures that only produce rust and shelter for those left behind in the aftermath of collapse. I believe these objects to be haunted by the spirits of those who spent their lives trying to survive a capitalist world. When you think of how much repetitive physical labor goes into industrial slavery and how many people in the world were forced to perform this grueling type of work in all its manifestations, it makes sense that recreating this particular soundscape conjures up something stored collectively in our psyche. And it's not so much about recreating; it's about re-imagining a world that not only expresses the exhaustion, anger, and frustration, but also one in which we acknowledge that most of us have suffered and survived together, and have learned to use technology better than anyone, in fact, so much so that we ARE the technology.

While this genre is often seen as moody and deep, you have said that it could also be healing.
Anything that compels you to move your body and induces a trance is healing. Whether it is dark or seemingly light-hearted, if it’s speaking to you in such a holistic way, then it is saying something true.

In your live performances, you often intersperse passages from a written narrative you're working on. How do you manage to make the two dynamics work together while performing?
A huge factor into what I allow into my performance is the venue. Most places I've performed in I'm already familiar with since I go to a ton of shows and I think about my relationship to that place and what I want to say. Then I'll either make short dispatches or play a sample that’s more wordy. But it’s also all about improvising and knowing what each moment calls for. 

Can you tell us about the sci-fi narrative you're working on?
It's a mythology I've been weaving together. It's from the perspective of a researcher that lives in a very distant post-human society. Part of what they investigate is the downfall of humans and their relationship to the Creatrix. The most exciting and challenging aspect of developing this story has been to not have a linear chronology while simultaneously covering events that have happened over a huge span of space. I center the Creatrix and how she travels through the universe, gives birth to many species and how they grow. How they die. These are the most important things.

Are there any current events that inspire you to write and create?
I really appreciate this new embrace of speculative fiction/sci-fi with social justice politics. It's a dialogue that has reverberated into so many mediums including music. And while there are many artists who have been very much about these things for many decades, it's important that there has been a platform to speak on the current movement of Black Lives Matter, radical afrofuturism, and how powerful it is to be able to re-imagine and co-create an alternate reality for a marginalized existence.

If you could recreate the soundtrack to any sci-fi/horror film, which would it be?
I've always thought of the pieces I make as scores to movies no one has made yet. I'm currently working on shooting some digital footage to make something short. I'd like to incorporate more of a visual aspect into what I do since such a huge part of writing The Creatrix comes from what I envision. A big dream of mine would be to score a movie shot in film, projected onto a screen in a venue with great sound. But to answer your question more straightforwardly, I have always wanted to write a score for Hitchcock’s The Birds. It’s such a beautiful enigma of a film, it lacks a soundtrack aside from those great sound effects, which is part of the magic. I think I would probably add some ambient wind and reed parts with sparse delicate piano.
Your other project is the experimental duo Felidae. How does the name reflect the music you two put out?
I think at the time that we were asked to play our first show as an official duo I was reading about big cats and learned that the Latin name for the big cats family is Felidae. Then I remembered a conversation in which Sharmi said that one of her power animals was the Tiger. There's this great enormity I hear in Felidae live sets in which I picture a region of outer space big enough to hold many celestial bodies (like a plain where lions, tigers, panthers, and all the big cats are hanging out together).

What are you most looking forward to when you play Surface Tension this Friday?
Surface Tension is one of my favorite parties. I love their attention to detail, the quality of records played and the artists they host make for an always fun experience that’s so easy to loose yourself in, it’s been a huge influence on me in the past couple years since I’ve been attending. In addition to all that, I have three amazing people from NYC playing with me, producers and performers whose growth I’ve been a witness to over the better part of a decade. They are holding it down hard in their underground scene which has also had a huge influence on me having lived in the east coast. I think this edition will bring an unconventional flavor to dance music and performing that is a signature of the New York underground party scene. I’ll be opening so I hope to open the space up for that.
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