On moving to Boston for college, she became a regular at Manray, a linchpin of the city’s gothic and industrial scene. “That’s how I got into DJing,” she explains. “I was there three days a week, and I was like, ‘how can I get paid to be at the club?’”. She started out flyering and subsequently got a job dancing as part of a group that would do coordinated performances to industrial music in latex clothes. This ultimately led to a DJ gig. “I was there all the time being like, ‘play this song, play that song’, then eventually I thought ‘I can do this’.”
In the mid noughties she became a resident at Boston party Make It New, and booked her first gig in New York City at a cyber-themed fetish party called Smack!. After a three-month stint in Berlin after graduating (“I was a starry-eyed young techno wanderer”) and a brief move back to Boston, she relocated to New York where she started a monthly Friday party with former art school classmate John Barera at the newly opened Bossa Nova Civic Club. As Jack Dept the pair have hosted many of electronic music’s up-and-coming names (Chrissy, Eris Drew, and Anastasia Kristensen, to name a few), and the night has blossomed into a label.
One of the things that sets Ariana apart as a DJ is her consideration of visual aesthetics. Before she began DJing full-time she was an assistant to a fashion stylist, who taught her how to art direct and “see herself in a more refined way”. His influence is evident, from her striking press shots to the sleek graphics and flyers she’s designed for Jack Dept and Make It New. This approach links back to her musical roots too: “a lot of industrial and EBM was very aware of its own performative element, and rooted in performance art. I still take a lot of cues from that, in terms of how to be a persona.” And it shows: both visually and aurally, Volvox is creating a new, distinct way of interacting with electronic music.
Nina Posner is Mixmag's bass & club editor, follow her on Twitter