“One time I went home with this guy who had this big ugly tattoo on his thigh that literally said “CAPITALISM” and I almost left but then he put on this music video for Beach House’s ‘Lazuli’ and I fell in love... with the video!”
Agender queer synth-pop artist The Venus in Scorpio, also known as Maxim Faster, is based in Berlin by way of LA. Opening with a screaming, poignant message of “the revolution has come / the revolution is love”, new single ‘Blissed’ feels like an ode to 80s synth-pop. Redefining twenty-first-century notions of gender, Faster states “I don’t really think traditional gender roles make sense anymore.” We wholeheartedly agree. FUZZY spoke to TVIS about the decreasing relevance of gender roles, Beach House, and astrology.
FUZZY: Describe your music in three words! Damn Good Times!
FUZZY: I love the name! How did it come about?
Thanks! I originally had a song called ‘The Venus in Scorpio’. It’s based on my personal astrological chart, where the planet Venus is in the sign of Scorpio. I thought it had such a nice ring so I ended up changing the title of the track to ‘Retrograde’ and started using The Venus in Scorpio for the project name.
FUZZY: ‘Blissed’, your brand new single, was released on the 18th of August. Congrats! How has it been received?
It’s a song I’ve been revising since 2015 so it’s nice to finally have it out. My friends really love it! And my mom especially likes it because it’s more upbeat and not as dark as my usual stuff. It’s also received some positive press and that has felt really nice. I wish I could shoot a music video for it! That would ice the cake for me.
FUZZY: What were the main influences driving it, fashion, art or music-wise?
It definitely has this underlying inspiration from the 80s, like you’re watching John Hughes or Amy Heckerling films. The soundtracks of those are so classic and that’s the overall vibe I envision.
FUZZY: The track is about “the struggle of learning to love yourself.” How do these themes manifest in your work?
When I first started writing the song I was feeling the high of this new relationship I was in. The initial inspiration came from all that new love energy and feeling like you met your soul mate. When we broke up, I felt this clear choice, like I could be super Scorpio Venus and keep obsessing over this person or I could just carry on and learn to love being with myself. The song contains all of these elements but in the chorus when I sing “I’m having a damn real good time”, it’s started to sound almost sarcastic. Like I’m trying really hard to smile when I feel crushed inside.
The whole up and down experiences we have with our mental health, this idea that we have to make everything look okay when it’s not. There’s a little of that in there.
FUZZY: You’re based in Berlin, which is certainly a hub for the arts. How does the city influence your music? What’s the music scene like?
All the live action is still kinda shut down, because of COVID. But just even being here, feeling like I escaped from my other life, has been its own injection of inspiration. I feel this weird freedom here, there’s so much less pressure. I was in LA and it just felt like a popularity contest, but in Berlin, you can feel the energy all around you and it’s really electric.
FUZZY: The Venus In Scorpio has been described as “agender queer synth-pop.” How do things like sexuality and gender manifest in your music?
For the longest time and still sometimes today I’ve written from a perspective that felt more female. I remember a few years ago I would write songs before I had really leaned into a persona of my own and I felt like I was really channelling all the female artists I was listening to at the time. Lots of Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira, Haim... I just really connected to their energy. I’m sure many gay men my age have similar experiences.
Over the last few years, I’ve started to step into the more masculine parts of my personality and weave it into my aesthetic. For a while, I was really vibing with that but the more I experienced myself as that, the most I just felt like I was transforming into something more neutral. There’s a lot of people out there transcending the binary and redefining themselves and I’m on that train myself. Gender roles are so outdated. I don’t really think traditional gender roles make sense anymore. Society has already broken those chains but there are still those dinosaurs out there trying to make everything function to favour the status quo.
FUZZY: Finally: if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I have so many favourite albums, but I’d have to go with Bloom by Beach House. It’s so beautiful and I never get tired of it. Something about having it on really stimulates my daydreams and draws out this perfectly melancholic mood for me, it puts me in a place where I can truly access my fantasies and emotions. It’s wonderful music for exploring a new city, or a new lover. One time I went home with this guy who had this big ugly tattoo on his thigh that literally said “CAPITALISM” and I almost left but then he put on this music video for Beach House’s ‘Lazuli’ and I fell in love... with the video! The guy ended up being kind of a Barney but the jokes on me because he ended up playing a vital part in my own musical tastes.
New single, 'Blissed', is out now.
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
23rd August 2020.