Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Toronto’s art-rock duo Vox Somnia. Together we discussed their origin, their influences, their EP “The Broken Lights”, and most recent single “Sins.” Check out the interview below!
1. Mustard would like to thank you for joining them! How are you doing today?
Anna: Thank you for having us, Mustard! I’m doing great, enjoying the summer in Toronto and looking forward to dancing the night away at Mikes DJ night at a local spot.
Mike: I’m lovely, thank you.
2. Humans love a origin story. Could you share how Vox Somnia came to be? How did you decide on your name? Is it a reference to anything in particular?
Mike: Anna and I met back in 2010. I had been making music for a while and didn’t even know she could sing until a few years later at karaoke one night. She brought the house down singing a Bjork cover. I figured we should start making music immediately.
As far as the name is concerned, we had a bunch of ideas but they had already been used for other bands. I knew the type of image we wanted to convey but it seemed like every possible name in the English language had been used already, so we went with Latin instead. It roughly translates to “the sound of dreaming”. I’d like to think it works.
3. Who (or what) influences Vox Somnia? Where can these influences be heard within your music?
Mike: I think most of our musical tastes are all over the place. As far as what has influenced me musically so far, it’s whatever sounds good. I’ve found inspiration in everything from video game music, to 19th century French composers to a super obscure band from the UK called The Beatles, or something like that. Also a lot of The Cure.
Anna: I will echo Mike and agree that as a duo, our music tastes are eclectic. I worship at the songwriting altars of Tori Amos, Bjork, Kate Bush and Fiona Apple. I could probably enjoy a song from literally any genre if it hits me the right way (in the feels).
4. Is “The Broken Light” a metaphor? Or a symbol? What does the broken light represent?
Mike: The Broken Light is a lyric from Shadowpasser, I mentioned it would sound good as an EP title and we went with it.
Anna: The fact that Mike picked out that lyric is kismet because it absolutely is a metaphor. A lot of the themes that inspired the EP were about trauma, breaking down, the despair of depression and illness, but also about healing, forgiveness, closure, love. A broken light is our mascot, it may be smashed up by life, but still flickers and illuminates despite it all.
5. “The Broken Light EP” was featured on CBC radio along with being on a syndicated true crime podcast. Can you recall the moment you found out about both?
Mike: I don’t quite remember being approached for the CBC but I do remember the day it aired. I had to work and didn’t know if I’d be able to make it home in time to hear it so I jumped in an Uber and asked the driver to switch whatever music he was listening to over to CBC. Thankfully I made it home with enough time to throw my old Simon and Garfunkel cassette in to tape over with our song (apologies to Art and Paul).
Anna: I was over the moon when The Nightime podcast used our instrumentals as the background music for several of their episodes. I’ve been listening to true crime podcasts for years and was deep into Dateline, 48 Hours and Forensic Files by then, and felt amazing to have our music embraced by a creator like Jordan Bonaparte.
6. You were invited to play Indie Week in Toronto. What was that experience like?
Mike: Playing Indie Week is always a lot of fun. We got the amazing opportunity to have a great chat with the legendary David Marsden about music in general. I’d like to think we did alright.
Anna: I have terrible stage fright so it was equal parts horrific and exhilarating. Making it to the semi-finals and playing a venue like Mod Club was an honour.
7. “Sins” is your latest single. It explores generational trauma of growing up in Soviet era Ukraine which allowed for both reflection and introspection. Could you share more about your latest single? Will the current unfortunate situation going on be a factor in your next record?
Anna: I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression and PTSD and after years of therapy I got curious about my family history, was all this fear and feeling of doom rooted somewhere further down the line? What made me this way? I was born in Kiev around the time of the Chernobyl disaster and bought every single book available on the topic and read them over and over. Paired with stories from my grandfather, Misha, about life in Soviet Ukraine, surviving WWII and giving up his dreams of being a cellist in addition to following the situation in Ukraine before Russia invaded…all these topics were brewing in my brain for years until the magic ingredient, reading “It Didn’t Start with You”, a book about epigenetics and how you can inherit trauma from your ancestors. “The terror of being alive” was a phrase that sparked the rest of the song which just poured right out of me.
I think the current situation will inform a lot of our next record. I don’t think I’m done exploring this topic quite yet, there’s too many stories to tell.
8. Mustard loves the atmosphere that your songs create. Is there a specific landscape you envision your music fitting?
Anna: I think our music is best suited for a meditative walk through some misty woods.
9. What can readers expect next from Vox Somnia?
Anna: We’re working on new songs and hope to have a music video to share soon!
10. Where can readers listen to your music? Do you have a preferred platform?
Mike: We’re slowly trying to become TikTok famous. Until then, Spotify works well.
Anna: Support our music directly through Bandcamp <3