Argentine-born Marina Rao (aka VJ Psyberpixie) isn’t the whole show, but she’s a hell of an accompaniment.
Her mind-bending graphics, patterns and images have fired up performances by a variety of artists—from global stars Moby and Paul van Dyk to Israeli trancers Infected Mushroom and alt-rockers Jane’s Addiction—making their gigs memorable ones for their fans.
As her profile and reputation have grown, we caught up with the Miami-based VJ to discuss her processes, inspirations and motivations.
DJ Times: How did you get into doing video?
Psyberpixie: I majored in Video Production at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. My initial start in video was producing and editing independent projects, and music videos. In the mid ’90, I was going to a lot of raves, and also had friends who were producing electronic music events, so I would document with video behind the scenes. Most of the material had no audio, so I would have fun remixing it and adding effects and putting music to it.
DJ Times: Was there a moment that hooked you?
Psyberpixie: When I saw my first visual show—Rabbit in the Moon in 1997 at Zen Festival in Central Florida—I was hooked and it was instant love! I knew exactly what I wanted to do—to provoke thoughts and positive flow through visual imagery. So I took it upon myself to figure out how to start producing and remixing visuals. Software and gear for VJs at that time was still not very accessible. I picked up my first Edirol V4 in 2003 and that was the start to my self-driven VJing career.
DJ Times: Do you ever DJ?
Psyberpixie: I accompany the DJs, but DVJing—audio and visuals—is in my near future. I mix audio for my own pre-recorded visual mixes.
DJ Times: What are you currently working on?
Psyberpixie: I am working with Winter Music Conference’s director Bill Kelly developing exciting visual programs, events, and showcases highlighting the growing visual scene for their upcoming 25th anniversary. We’re taking WMC 2010 into the future with the merge of music and visuals. Also, we’re about to launch ADVERVISUALS, a sub-division of my company Psybervision Visual label—stay tuned!
DJ Times: Gigs you’re excited about?
Psyberpixie: Playing with Infected Mushroom Live in Miami. I’ve also played with them several times in Mexico. Since 2004, it’s safe to say I’m their designated VJ whenever they come through Miami. Also, this past August, I played with Jane’s Addiction in Chicago to my largest audience to date—80,000 people! It was an amazing experience, look forward to more shows like it.
DJ Times: What content do you use for your shows?
Psyberpixie: Anything and everything under the sun. I have a unique visual media collection that’s been growing since 2003. Film, video, graphics for the visual scene never gets outdated, so that’s a good thing.
DJ Times: What’s your approach to visual content?
Psyberpixie: I always try to bring new visual elements to every gig. Sometimes I shoot video, animate content or remix visuals. I use various softwares— [Apple] Final Cut, [GarageCUBE] Modul8, [Adobe] After Effects, ArKaos, [Electric Rain] Swift 3D.
DJ Times: Which gear do you use?
Psyberpixie: I use two Pioneer DVJ-1000s, an Edirol V-8 or V-4 video mixer, Numark NuVJ, ArKaos Grand VJ with MIDI controllers, Mac Book Pro, external hard drive and preview monitors.
DJ Times: How have audiences accepted video?
Psyberpixie: Since my early days of VJing, I have always made it a point to get stage position next to the DJ or on my own platform and riser, so I am known for being the first VJ to push the live visual performance. By being visible, the crowd could understand who is triggering the visuals and that it is done in real time—so it is a much more interactive experience.
DJ Times: Advice for VJs?
Psyberpixie: Research the DJ/musician you will be playing with ahead of time, so you can prepare the adequate visual material. Don’t go too bright! Try to keep your visual jam harmonious with the surroundings.
DJ Times: How would you describe your style?
Psyberpixie: A sexy technological-fetish mix of bio-mechanical-organic-planetary-electronic praise to life. I customize every set and every show to a theme. I’m like a visual Wikipedia.
– Jim Tremayne