This week, I was lucky enough to sit down with electronic musician and DJ Jodie Raygun to ask them about their inspiration, creative process, and musical history. Jodie Raygun, aka Alice Hall, has been experimenting with eclectic crunchy sounds since they were a middle schooler in the early 2010s. Now 22, they’ve become well-versed in production, mixing and mastering original music as well as mixes for collaborative online music festivals held via Zoom.
Raygun, whose professional moniker comes from a love for Jodie Foster combined with a futuristic faux-gun aesthetic, described themself as highly intrinsically motivated and primarily self-taught. Though they never went to school for production, Raygun stated, “I actually will buy [music] textbooks and just read them, pickup new stuff.” They explained that when they became acquainted with these new techniques, they were often inspired and fixated with the idea of exploring and pushing those sonic boundaries. It’s this experimentation that drives their creative process.
Raygun expanded from there to say that much of their inspiration comes from a new and unique sound or approach that causes them to reconceptualize what is already familiar to them. They frequently draw influence from simple sounds that inspire them to rethink something as common as a snare drum with the help of sample software that allows them to download 300 new sounds every month. Fixation on a specific technique or sound keeps them focused on separate and distinct components of production and allows them to make musical progress without getting stuck or overwhelmed, especially in such an ornately layered genre.
While Raygun’s experience and methods are ever-expanding, their interest in musical experimentation is nothing new. Beginning when they were in just sixth grade, they recall “downloading and trying to make dubstep in attempt to impress my brother,” culminating in their first project: a dubstep remix of the Luigi’s mansion theme. A decade later, their creative process has become much more refined but just as experimental and explorative.
Raygun’s most recent project was producing and mastering one of their partner’s original tracks, who is artistically known as Sidya. The pair actually met outside of music and only later discovered their mutual passion but created the track after three months of work despite obstacles such as incompatible music software. The track, entitled “Blood in the Water,” was written and vocally performed by Sidya, who also has experience doing live sound for large shows in Florida.
Raygun will be featured alongside other talented electronic artists and music lovers at an upcoming Zoom “Rat Fest” music festival on Saturday, Sep. 26. This will be the second Zoom festival for this group after its premier in July. Raygun explained that many of the participants may not necessarily make original music themselves, but there is a vast range of artistic involvement, from graphic design to voiceover work and making mixes. Regardless of whether or not every participant makes original work themselves, Raygun expressed that it has been really fun and inspiring to be around people who are so passionate and knowledgeable about music, regardless of their own personal skill set, as they find mutual inspiration and motivation together.
If experimental or electronic music feels like something that’s currently out of your comfort zone, now is the perfect time to dip your toes in. Even if it doesn’t end up being your favorite genre, it pushes the boundaries of what we know and think about music and provides ample opportunity to support small LGBT and BIPOC artists. Whether you are joining us from on or off campus, supporting small artists’ Bandcamps and Zoom festivals are a fun and safe way to expand how we are accustomed to enjoying music in a pandemic.
Most of Raygun’s original work as well as their remixes and sets can be found on their SoundCloud under their current title, “Jodie Raygun” or their former name, “bedhead,” under which they released an original EP entitled, “The Makeshift Universe,” as well as a few other singles and remixes. Information about their Zoom sets can be found on their Twitter but are also saved after the fact on SoundCloud.