A moment in time with…

Based in Toronto, VERSA entices the eyes and ears of its audience by intertwining the works of process-based artist Monika Hauck and musician Alex Ricci to create an otherworldly audio/visual experience.

As Ricci performs on bass, Will Vandermay on drums, synth by Todd Harrison and Danny B. mans the sax, Hauck wields a subwoofer and liquid bath to create haunting cymatic (Greek for “wave”) visuals capturing each set’s post-rock and psychedelic-inspired vibrations.  

With an impressive lineup of appearances at Canadian arts and music festivals under their belt, including Hillside Festival and Wavelength Music Festival, VERSA will be right at home at this year’s Grickle Grass. Below, the band describes their retro-futuristic style, DIY ethic, and most importantly, favourite donut flavours.

Why do you play the music you play?

Our performance strives to be an engaging, high energy and immersive experience. We’re really focussed on uncovering new possibilities at the intersection of disciplines. In our case, that’s instrumental loop-based music and responsive visual projections.

Photo curtesy of the Grickle Grass Festival

The music we make and the performance we deliver comes from our interest in challenging ourselves to think beyond the boundaries of traditional performance formats. To create a new environment for audiences to be a part of. Each performance is unique as there are elements of improvisation and the visuals are created in tandem with the music during the performance.

As a participant, you’re right there with us, hearing the music and witnessing its colourful vibrations, it’s all happening in real time and you’re along for the ride with us.

What does your style represent? 

Our stage outfits are always white (at the beginning of the set anyways) so that if we get caught in the projections, our bodies can act as additional projection surfaces. Our costumes are usually really good thrift store finds. We’re going for a pseudo-futuristic vibe that is reflective of our equipment.

Our setup is comprised of a lot of really old gear that’s being used in unlikely ways. Our costumes are an extension of that. Is retro-futurism a thing yet? If not, we’re confident it will be. Our hair is collectively long, all the better for rocking out. No conscious decision there, just a matter of circumstance. However, knowing that, we’ll probably keep it that way.

What experience on the road has inspired you most?

Last summer we toured to St. John’s NL to participate in Hold Fast Contemporary Art Festival. It was an opportunity to visit a place we never initially planned to tour, but we’re so glad we did, despite the distance over land (and water).

The community there welcomed us instantaneously and with such warmth and enthusiasm. The arts community there is supportive in a way we’ve never really experienced before, even if it was a temporary state created by the buzz of the festival. We made real meaningful connections. It’s those connections that inspire us to hit the road again, to keep developing our project and going farther afield with it.

Grickle Grass is a DIY festival. What is the most DIY thing about your band?

We love DIY.

Approaching this project from a DIY perspective goes beyond our personal preferences to do-it-ourselves but actually extends into necessity. The most DIY thing about our project is our visual generation station, we built and engineered it ourselves, simply because there isn’t anything like it available on the market to meet our needs.

Whether we like it or not (we like it) DIY is very much entangled in our project and contributes to how we function as a collective. From building our own gear to carrying out administrative tasks, our team is small, mighty, and very DIY.

Every flavour of donut you can imagine are at a counter. What are your dozen donuts in a box?

2 x Paczki (pronounced “ponch-key”, traditional Polish doughnut with plum filling) 2 x Maple Dip (the basic kind) 2 x Bacon (whatever form it comes in) 2 x Chocolate Fudge (Tim Hortons, circa 2000s) 2 x Blueberry (specifically from Bloomers in Toronto) 2 x Jelly Doughnut (also the basic kind). 

You can check out more VERSA on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And while you’re at it, stay up to date on what’s happening and who’s playing at Grickle right here on LondonFuse with ‘Grickle Talks’, every day leading up until the festival.

Get your tickets right here and we’ll see you on the May 27!

Feature photo via Facebook/VERSABand

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