The Venus in Scorpio is a sonically eccentric talent who crafts music that is both nostalgic yet current. The singer’s latest release “Roam” exudes an electric 80s air with shimmering synths and colorful keyboards. Detailing leaving their hometown for greener pastures, it’s an exhilarating track of adventure that resonates deeply with anyone who has ever felt a need to break away.
Maxim Faster the brainchild of The Venus in Scorpio is a queer, agender and sex-positive artist. Creating personal offerings with profound themes of self-empowerment and freedom, listeners are instantly attracted to the artist’s musical honesty. A fearless performer that is outside the box, The Venus in Scorpio’s genre-defying hits break the barriers of sound. LADYGUNN spoke with The Venus in Scorpio, discussing their unique sound, moving to Berlin and more.
You possess an eclectic sound of 80s Goth fused with New Wave and early 2000s music. How did you develop your signature sound?
Thanks! I’ve definitely spent years studying the greats but truthfully, I don’t actually know how to play any instruments, and everything I do is programmed with synth patches, all by ear, so a lot of this sound is just derived from my production capabilities and by working with what I have. I just choose the sounds that I find most enjoyable and I guess it often produces eclectic results. The electro/synth pop sound totally works for me because my visual aesthetic has always been heavily influenced by the 80s and 2000s. I personally appreciate so many different styles of music but it just feels like the most authentic way to represent myself musically, because I’d never try to cop a phony vibe from a culture I didn’t come from. But if I had the leverage to produce a band in the future there’s other styles I would be down to explore. I guess this is just the most I can do on my own!
Your latest single “Roam” narrates your escape from your small town in order to truly feel free. Can you explain this message in more detail?
Sure! As a queer person I never felt much of a connection to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. There’s nothing going on there culturally, and even to this day it represents where my struggles originated. It’s a beautiful landscape but I never felt safe to be myself growing up there. It’s also impossible to grow or heal in the same place where your traumas occurred so I was really ready to exit, and start living my life. I left as soon as I could and spent the last 11 years in LA. I absolutely loved the decade I spent there but in that last year I felt really stuck at my day job and the relationship I was in. I finally decided as a New Years resolution to end all that and run away to Berlin to find a new chapter of myself. So this song is about that too!
In addition to singing, you are also an electronic producer. What drew you to also producing?
Yes! Singing is my first love but even from the beginning I wanted to control the way the music sounded that was accompanying me. It was difficult to ever trust my visions with other people, I felt like what I wanted to portray was really particular. Not to mention, the music world I grew up around was very cisgendered, and male, and super straight. I was never comfortable around all the misogyny that went with that scene, and I had so much fear of what kind of homophobia would ensue if I opened up and tried to be myself around those kinda guys. Then when I moved to LA I had a really bad experience with a producer that left me feeling hopeless and grossed out, so I just said fuck it, and learned how to do as much as I could on my own.
On the topic of producing, I understand you recently moved to Berlin to focus on producing and engineering. What has that transition been like? Major differences between LA and Berlin?
Yes! I’ve only been here a month but I absolutely love it. You can tell the people have really eclectic tastes, and everything everyone is doing feels so outside of the box compared to the music scene in LA. It feels like femmes and queers are not only more included here, but we’re embraced. The music scene is LA is overrun with these frat guys who make mediocre music and sexually assault people, and everyone is cis as hell. I’ve also noticed it’s a much higher standard of living here. I could barely afford to live in LA anymore. You gotta have rich parents and be super well-connected to do anything with your music in that city. It’s become less accessible for the artists who are doing anything truly innovative. I’m so glad I left.
Your music oozes with sex-positivity. What led you to become so open and confident sexually?
It’s funny because all of that still feels so recent! I had a really hard time accepting and loving myself as a queer person when I was younger. And the world of gay men is not very inclusive unless you’re super hot and worked out, so I never felt like I fit in there. I really struggled with my self-esteem when it came to sex and my body image. For years I would bury all those feelings with partying, just get as fucked up as I could so I didn’t have to look at myself, or my sexual partners, or anyone else. It was dark! I finally just hit rock bottom about 5 years ago and I’ve committed to being totally sober since then. I got really connected to my spirituality, and my true personality, and with that came more confidence. I was able to wake up in the morning and actually look in the mirror and say “I love you”. I started getting into astrology, and tarot, and gravitated towards people that promoted more positive and self-empowering ideas. I started doing a lot of excavation around who I was and started experiencing radical shifts of perception. I want to promote an image of self-love and sex positivity for other queer people who share similar struggles, because I never really felt like I had that kind of role model as a kid.
You first gained exposure from selling underwear online to fans. How did that start and what was that experience like?
Oh man! I was working out a lot at the time and presenting really butch, and finally feeling like kind of a stud, and people were being really flattering about it on my Instagram. I wanted to stop wearing underwear and was going to throw all mine away and then the guy I was dating at the time jokingly suggested I peddle them to my “fans” on Instagram, and I didn’t know it was a joke. I started advertising, made myself a BigCartel website, and I guess word started to get around because a producer at BuzzFeed reached out and wanted to shoot a day-in-the-life of my experience. That video attracted all kinds of attention to my Instagram and from then on I was paying my rent with my used gym undies! It was so fun but also so bizarre at times. The customer service aspect alone was so hilarious, all the weird emails I would get that I had to take seriously and handle professionally… It was largely so stupid, but I learned that sex work is really hard work! You have to hustle, and really not care about what others think. Some really mean-spirited and rude people came out of the wood work after that video. Anyway, I’ve mostly stopped the underwear biz, it’s too exhausting to keep doing and I started to feel so silly after a while. It was fun when I did it but I think I’m over it now.
Finally, I know 2020 has not come without its challenges. How have you been navigating through the year and where do you see yourself in the future?
2020 has been a full nightmare indeed! I’ve really just taken it a day at a time. But when I look at my own life with perspective there’s really not that much I can complain about, so I’ve tried to focus my energy on being of service to people who are more vulnerable, and having a more difficult time. At the end of the day I want to feel good about what I’ve done, where I’ve helped out. I recently had a lot of opportunities to be a part of the uprising that took place after George Floyd’s murder. I’ve been doing my best to educate myself and activate wherever I can, to do my part in dismantling white supremacy and fighting for justice. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to make some reparations here and there, and use my platform to direct attention to petitions, and organizations. It’s important to me that I use whatever resources or privilege that I have for the good of others.
As a queer person, I simply would not have my rights if it weren’t for the Black and Latinx trans women who fought the police in the Stonewall Riots. It’s important for me to honor those queer ancestors and fight for the equality and safety of our BIPOC brothers and sisters. All Black lives matter, and it’s widely apparent that Black Trans Folx and Black women have experienced the most violence. So I’ve done what I can to help out and raise some awareness for those causes, and that’s been a really good use of my time. Before the movement really kicked off I was also doing a tremendous amount of songwriting and producing at home, in quarantine. I wrote my third EP and my first full length album, and released a bunch of covers. Creating really kept me going in that time and it still does today. Having all this time off from my day job to focus on what I’m truly passionate about has been a major blessing.
I’m really fortunate to have spent the last several months of this on unemployment, living in my parents basement and just saving up so I could get the fuck out of there. And none of my loved ones have gotten sick, or been murdered, or gone missing, so there’s literally nothing I can complain about. It’s definitely been delightful to watch the failure of capitalism and the patriarchy happening all around us, and I truly do believe we’re collectively heading towards a very important and very liberating shift as a society. We have to. White men have ruined everything for everyone, and there’s no space left for them to continue what they’ve done. My hope is that this pandemic ends soon and the momentum keeps going, and we can rebuild a safer and more sustainable world that actually benefits the people living in it and making it function, and not just the ruling class. I could talk about this forever so I’ll end with this: abolish the police, punish the murderers of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, and VOTE. Get Trump out of office so we can all just live and let live before this planet is destroyed!
CONNECT WITH THE VENUS IN SCORPIO
photos / courtesy of the artist
story / Chloe Robinson