Contrast. It’s the narrative that flows through Avalon Emerson’s biography. From the bleak backdrop of the Arizona desert, to the urban metropolis of Berlin by way of liberal San Francisco. Avalon’s life in music is one full of contrast.
Born in San Fran, her parents relocated to the sticks to shield her from the sins of the city. As a teenager, it was intrigue – peaked by experiences of desert raves – which lured her back. She engineered the music of her friends’ bands from their suburban garages, whilst simultaneous honing her craft as a DJ in the city’s notorious gay warehouse scene.
Musically, you can expect Avalon to canvas from the points of house and techno, touching on breaks and acid and always moving up and down the tempos. Throw in a fistful of her own edits and you have some idea of what an Avalon Emerson set encompasses. On the release front, she is known for music on Whities, Honey Soundsystem and Spring Theory.
Another fascinating insight into Avalon, is that despite her impressive personal haul of records, when it comes to DJing, she is a vinyl-sceptic, as discussed in recent discussion with Resident Advisor. Citing the importance of being a good technical DJ ahead of the tools you use to do so, her brain is just wired to logically gravitate towards the flexibility, convenience and potential of digital format play.
Away from music, she’s a qualified software developer. Silicon Valley could have been on the cards. They might seem like two distinct disciplines, but Avalon’s curious nature for maximising the potential of her hardware and her software, not to mention her fastidious cataloging of music, are obsessions that lend themselves to her inner computer geek. Emerson’s stance that the marriage of technology and electronic music has endless boundaries could be comparable to that of another infamous technophile, Richie Hawtin. But her execution is less clinical. It’s organic, evoking a hippy spirit. Contrast, again.
Years later, after the EDM explosion had taken hold stateside, she took flight herself. Europe, more specifically Berlin, was calling. It offered a sanctuary where she could live amongst peers and rub shoulders with industry bigwigs. Nowadays she is more likely to be found spinning in her adopted city’s Panorama Bar.
Returning to her tech background, a year ago Avalon launched Buy Music Club. The online platform was an attempt to kick-start sales of music. The concept being that listeners may be encouraged to buy more than stream, in exchange for bandcamp lists - the store she partners with. The website was developed by herself, of course, and early contributors included fellow J2 2020 artists Four Tet, Ben UFO and Pearson Sound.
Back to the music, and another accolade was rearing its head. Her 2018 August debut entry into the hallowed Essential Mix archives was well received amongst listeners and scene-commentators alike. The 2-hour mix would feature music from Luke Slater, Special Request and Avalon herself, but most poignant of all was its dedication to the victims of the Oakland warehouse fire, understandably a tragedy that played a little too close to home. It left such an impression, that it was shortlisted in the EMOTY end of year award.
Contrast, like Junction 2. Nature and synthetics. Inner city and countryside. Industrial and green. Water and earth. House and techno. These parallels run through Boston Manor Park in harmonised co-existence. Junction 2 is a paradox. Avalon Emerson, therefore, was the ideal candidate to spearhead 2020’s landmark fifth edition as the weekend resident. Playing multiple sets across both days, Emerson gets to spread her wings and explore the full spectrum of her musical identity in several of the venue’s unique locales.
Confirmed to be joining her, Four Tet, Hessle Audio and Honey Dijon are set for the Friday with an exclusive live set from headliner Jon Hopkins - his only London gig of all 2020. The following day, Avalon lines-up alongside Amelie Lens, Ben Klock, Dax J and festival ambassador Adam Beyer for a techno onslaught.
Junction 2 2020 takes place on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th June.
First release Friday and weekend tickets and second release Saturday tickets are on sale now.