Upon first glance, the massive state of Texas may come off as flat farmland with a music scene dominated almost exclusively by dubstep and riddim. However, just a bit of digging into local scenes of the several major cities proves that there’s a spectrum of music communities vibrantly decorating Texas. In this first installment of the anthology diving into the vast Texas underground, artist Aura Nox shares her experience with the label, Science Cult, in their techno corner of the scene. (Note: what is written in italics are all direct quotes from Aura Nox).
“[Aura Nox] is a persona cultivated from my emotions, psyche, and creativity through music, while remaining in the shadows.“
Aura Nox aims to create a completely enveloping sonic experience with her music. In turn, she removes her personal identification from association with this project and remains anonymous. This furthers people connecting more with her creations and visions, as opposed to her appearance or disposition.
When she finds a path of inspiration, Aura Nox follows it as deep into the forest as possible. She analyzes all the sensory input she experiences. Then, she hones these observations and discoveries into a song or a body of work. It is this creative process she used in order to create her latest EP, Levana’s Tears.
A look into Levana’s Tears
Akin to a Michelin star chef, Aura Nox dives deep into her subject matter and fuses many different elements across techno to create her sound. In her most recent EP, Levana’s Tears, she combines flavors from acid, industrial techno, minimal techno, and warehouse techno with her own artistic flair. Aura Nox creates soundscapes that are both completely enveloping, while also being haunting and tense. She shared some background that went into synthesizing this body of work.
“I wanted to prepare something diverse that showcased different flavors yet maintained overall connection through certain sounds or elements. After being stuck on this one sound for a few days, I spent a night watching horror films. That night, in particular, I re-watched Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, and got to thinking about how he conveyed such an eerie omnipresence to his viewers.“
Listen to “Suspiria” by Aura Nox below!
“The same skin-crawling sensation… I thought the Nicaraguan term coined it the best: yuputka. Next morning – boom. I had the basis and finished “Intuition.” Everything else kind of fell into place after that.”
Yuputka can be best translated as: “A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.” This vaguely paranoid tension is something primal within humans, rooted deep in our evolutionary ancestry. Aura Nox drives to achieve this synesthesia in all her songs; to use sound in order to invoke emotional and physical feelings and sensations.
When she finds inspiration, she works toward encompassing everything about that vision into her tracks such that, simply by listening, the listener can share her experience stemming from that original source. Aura Nox believes that these powerful visions, in addition to her fine-tuned production, speak for themselves more than her appearance or off-stage identity.
She strengthens this distance between the Aura Nox project and her personal life by minimizing her social media appearance. Instead, she has faith that her music as Aura Nox stands stronger than an online presence. This mission, coupled with her love of techno, are just the beginnings of her relationship with the record label, Science Cult.
“Science Cult is a collective of musicians who cut their teeth in the rich electronic music scene of Dallas, Texas.“
The point of creative intersection from three artists, Science Cult is a techno-focused record label; they also showcase a smattering of more experimental/IDM genres, all having roots in a variety of techno subgenres. With minimal social media presence, Science Cult focuses more on grassroots growth. Perhaps exhausted by the overwhelming digitization of music and the associated communities, this label insists on using vinyl records for all their releases.
“It’s the conceptual creations of Syrte (Stefan Weise), Visions of Glosters (Jimmy Freer), and Red Eye (Scottie Canfield), who choose vinyl records as their medium to express the beauty of music on a tangible format that can re-unite people with the joy and collection of physical art.”
Reinvigorating a love of hunting and cherishing vinyl records.
It’s true, there’s an undeniable attachment felt when holding a vinyl record, or another physical form of recorded music. The record/disc itself, the sleeves, and the cases – all meticulously crafted and selected for that specific body of work. Time can be taken to appreciate all of the creative work that went into every aspect of that final product. Furthermore, this love of vinyl spans through generations, and it’s well-known how that shared passion brings people together. Despite the first vinyl record releasing in 1948, one week in December 2020 saw the most vinyl records sold in history. Indeed, Science Cult is part of the ever-growing movement back to vinyl records.
Focusing on strong grassroots connections to grow as a label.
Science Cult capitalizes on organic growth through people sharing their love of music. Although this label and its artists still occasionally use social media to gently push the latest releases and shows to the masses, it is not the primary medium for the label. Word of mouth plus people’s appreciation for the underground appear to be the preferred forms of organic growth.
“Being an underground label is about as scrappy as you can get and about as far away from operating at a corporate level as you can imagine. They’re on the ground treading every single day to help spread the word. They’re focusing on the quality to promote itself, and not spending too much time with the façade of social media itself. The same translates [for me] as an artist.”
Fill your home and your heart with sounds from Science Cult Radio.
With this grassroots campaign, Science Cult creates a strong sense of community for its artists and fans. Additionally, they also host a radio show called Science Cult Radio. This series showcases artists from across the world, thus sharing a cornucopia of techno subgenres. Furthermore, the selection for Science Cult Radio is curated by Aura Nox herself.
“Each are vital players in the scene as well as being incredible artists respectively; I really admire them. I’ve had the pleasure of releasing two EPs on their imprint now, with plans for a third. They’ve simply made me feel at home within Science Cult.“
While there are innumerable factors that artists and labels have to consider to strengthen their following, the power of a supportive community cannot be understated. The founders of Science Cult recognize that, as well as Aura Nox. A warm, welcoming community uplifts when their friends are down, and hypes up new work. That kind of love and reinforcement offers both comfort and confidence. It is far more valuable and fulfilling than vying for that next follower on social media.
Listen to Aura Nox’s latest release below!
And if you’re looking for new music, keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts. Or follow us on Twitch! Whether it’s the newest drops from Aura Nox, Science Cult, all your other favorite artists, some old school, or underground—we just want you to hear it.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we at Electric Hawk understand just how hard life can hit. Part of the beauty in this magical journey we call life is the bliss we feel from music. If you’re in the dark, When The Music Stops is a non-profit organization with a mission to support and uplift others through the power of community, music, and love. Believe in yourself, Electric Hawk loves you, and you are never alone.