Tech by VICE

Analog, USA

Picture the epicenter of electronic music. Does Durham, North Carolina, come to mind?

by Meg Neal and Evan Rodgers
May 25 2016, 11:00am

A man explains one of the many technical implications of the knob he is pointing to at Moogfest's Modular Marketplace.

Picture the epicenter of the future of electronic music. Does Durham, North Carolina, come to mind? Probably not. Yet the down-home Americana town recently played host to what's essentially the UN of synthesizers.

This past weekend some 30,000 people descended on downtown Durham for Moogfest, a four-day festival celebrating the future of music and technology, named for Robert Moog, who developed the first commercial synthesizer in 1964 and with it changed the face of popular music.

The festival showed off the latest in music tech, like multi-instruments, smart drums, and user-friendly modular, and many, many synths. It hosted headliners like Odesza, Gary Numan, and GZA, and keynote speakers like virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. This was all backdropped by the up-and-coming city, which is in the process of growing its downtown from street gangs to startups.

Here, a selection of photos showcasing the wonderful juxtaposition between quaint small-town USA and the technological creative future.

A solitary woman smoking outside of the Moogfest VIP event. iPhone in one hand, cigarette in the other.

Our Uber driver taking us from the Durham-Raleigh airport to our hotel a few miles outside of town.

He said his name was "Neo." You can't see in the image, but he's wearing some choice bellbottoms.

The cutest couple I've ever seen was hanging out near the Motorco Park venue's exit. They said they were huge fans of Motherboard.

A Durham local who swung by the event. He said he just wanted to get out of the house and, with any luck, get laid.

Moogfest was previously held in New York City and Asheville, North Carolina. This is its first year in its new home in Durham.

A fishing pole in the back of a pickup truck outside the Modular Marketplace.

A group of Moogfest volunteers and attendees. They were loud and seemed to be having a good time.

His shirt says "Witchcraft 2000." I don't know what the significance is.

An attendee at the Modular Marketplace tunes and tweaks a modular synth.

This man, eating his soup and sandwich, sat quietly and alone. He had a fantastic look and a great vibe.

These kids were hanging out in the square, dancing their asses off. They're a local crew called Raleigh Rockers, and they asked us to find them on Facebook.

A peek into the Durham that came before.

After the first day of Moogfest we decided to get breakfast. The place shall remain nameless, but it was the worst. We missed breakfast by two minutes and they refused to serve us avocado toast.

"Instrument 1" by Artiphon. This ambiguously shaped multi-instrument can be played as a guitar, piano, or violin.

An attendee at the ODESZA show. She saw me taking pictures, then immediately returned to being turnt.

A highly fashionable couple at the Moogfest VIP event on the first day.

This pedicab was blasting oldies at an electronic music show and the irony was not lost on me.

"NO HEADPHONE JACK ON ON THE IPHONE 7???"

A man struggles with his phone outside the port-a-potty at the Motorco Park venue.

Flowers.

Dude outside the Carolina Theater, a vintage movie palace that served as the festival hub.

Vibing so hard.