VWAM is the sound of 77 synthesizers being switched on all at once

The Vancouver Women’s Ambient Music Collective (VWAM), is the first ever experimental electronic quartet formed from renter activism in this city. With the release of its debut album Amphibian Star on Washington’s Right Brain Records, VWAM is also an international recording group.

Pretty awesome for a unit that only began in the spring of 2018.

That was when residents of the Belvedere Court, at 2543 Main St., began meeting twice a month to make ambient music as a way to welcome friends and neighbours and empower residents. The iconic brick building, a hub for local artists for decades, is the site of an ongoing tenant’s battle against renovictions. VWAM is affiliated with BRO, the Belvedere Residents Association.

“I have lived in the Belvedere for the past 22 years and initially had the idea to build community through an art project, and that was how it started,” said Alice Hamilton. “Initially, it was in my building, but then I opened it up to all women and allies and it’s sort of carried over to what it is now. The core group are all really active in a lot of different projects and some of us have played in bands together before as well.”

Besides Hamilton, VWAM includes Courtenay Webber, Cole Alexandra and Carolyn Sophia.

In a genre of music that is even more male-dominated than most, a women’s experimental electronic group is both rare and exciting. It’s also fun as the group’s Facebook site proclaims, VWAM is “the sound of 77 synthesizers being switched on all at once.”

“It’s really been such a blast getting so much positive feedback,” said Sophia. “None of us really expected it at all.”

“It’s funny that a lot of us have been involved in rock bands, worked really hard and it’s so hard to make anything happen,” said Hamilton. “But then we do this electronic thing and it has been amazing. Everybody digs it and jumped right on it. I guess it’s the zeitgeist”

Hamilton is a long time synth-head, but each member’s experience with synthesizers varies. Sophia can talk intricate details of the mobile app Animoog, while Webber enjoys the noise choices on the JMT. Alexandra is a recent convert to electronic instruments and her enthusiasm for it supports VWAM’s thesis that breaking down gender barriers in the genre is a great idea.

“I’m very new to electronic music and I’ve been using some Korg Volca keys, and

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment


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