On paper at least, Vaal is the complete Afterlife artist. An androgynous aesthetic, sexual-fluidity and a penchant for emotionally deep techno. She seems to tick every box. So it should come as no surprise that the British producer has wound up on the label.
Inspired by the music of Detroit techno pioneers Moodyman and Theo Parrish, it may come as some surprise that Vaal began experimenting with her own electronic productions before she had even set foot inside a techno club. These early productions eventually found their way to Tale Of Us, by way of mutual friend Luca C (of Infinity Ink fame). The Italian duo knew they had stumbled upon an artist will unlimited potential, and soon put the cogs in motion to meet this illusive new producer. This culminated in her appearance at the Life & Death showcase at Sonar in 2013. Not bad for a first DJ gig. Vaal had arrived.
Having previously been holed-away in self-exile in an isolated cottage in the Lake District, the time was now right to spread her wings and relocate to world capital of techno, Berlin.
In 2016 when Matteo & Karm splintered from Life & Death to form their own imprint and party series, Afterlife, it was a given that Vaal that would become part of the fold. Indeed, it was Vaal who was handed the honour of having the debut solo single on the label – the eerie Wander To Hell. A collaboration with Tale Of Us themselves followed this year – the colossal double-header Monument/The Hangar. With a remix package in the pipeline with turns from Stephan Bodzin and Adriatique, it might end-up being Afterlife’s biggest hit to date. And then there’s her rousing contribution to the Afterlife Voyage mix series.
Vaal’s journey is made all the more remarkable because she’s self-made. She put the hours-in and did things the hard way, when she could have easily taken the short-cut. In an industry where having friends in high-places is a pre-requisite to success, forging her own path is all the more admirable. Instead of piggy-backing off her father’s fame, she felt that following in his footstep’s might prove to be too big a burden. Or perhaps she merely felt more at ease adopting the anonymity of the shadows. Keeping her identity secret may at first have been an attempt at self-preservation. But, like Daft Punk and Claptone, her anonymity would go onto form part of her persona; her alluring mystique.
That cloak has helped cultivate a dark, brooding style which has made her right at home on Afterlife.
Vaal is part of the mammoth Tale Of Us Presents Afterlife show at Printworks London on Saturday 4th November. Also on the bill are Kiasmos (Live), Mano Le Tough, Patrice Bäumel, Recondite, SHDW & Obscure Shape, Woo York (Live) and more. Last remaining tickets are on sale now.