Leading up to the Ram Records night of this years Bass Week I stole some of Toronto's own Rene Lavice's time where we spoke about Bieber, inspiration, Toronto and his debut album Insidious which was just released on the mighty Ram Records. Take the time and get to know this Toronto raised and internationally recognized drum and bass head before he touches down on Guv's stage on March 22nd.
Can you tell us a little bit about your roots in the Toronto music scene and how you got into producing music, and why specifically Drum and Bass?
I grew up in the city and I liked drum and bass because it reminded me of the sound of skateboards cracking off the pavement.
Your debut album Insidious just released on RAM Records and the tracks show a great blending of genres and sounds. What was your goal with this album, was there an overarching theme you were wanting to portray?
This album is about being expressive and rugged and shaking things up. I was tired of hearing constipated sounding drum and bass so I made something big and bashy and unforgiving. I suppose Insidious was an analogy for how I felt about life at the time, sometimes the way things look on the outside aren't always as they seem. My hope is that people will listen to it on their headphones and intuit their way through a story they can identify with. When they go out, I hope those same people will feel the energy of the bass and the energy of the drums and rejoice in the knowledge that whatever they're going through in their lives, they'll come out the other side and just loose control for a night!
In making music do you find inspiration in specific places?
Inspiration is a really complex thing, there are a lot of different things that factor into being inspired. Sometimes I feel like I can't stop it though... I don't believe in writers block, I don't think it happens. When I'm sad, it turns into music. When I'm elated, I make a song about it. I just express whatever is there and if you're true to the craft than you can find a way to express anything... even numbness can be expressed. In this way I end up making more music that I know what to do with, but I also get to reach places I didn't know existed. It's a form of exploration really. But when making an EP or an album sometimes you need those missing pieces of the puzzle that make everything fit together and you do have to do specific things to channel the right inspiration. The funny thing is that sometimes it works in reverse. Like lets say I need to write a song that's uplifting – If I'm in a hospital or somewhere really depressing it might channel something that's fighting for a chance to live and have a bittersweet twinge to it which makes it a bit more involving. I treat my songs like Quentin Tarantino treats his characters, “I just let them be” and try not to impose any moral values on them. I think that's why sometimes when I'm feeling elated I write the darkest stuff I've ever written. It's like finally being 'ok' with things finally gives me the headspace to deal with whatever's still lurking in the shadows. It's funny how sometimes it works in reverse like that. I've been writing a lot on planes and trains, I think being in transit can help toss you into a more reflective headspace too. Being 35,000 feet in the air can give you some perspective (see what I did there!).
Let say Beiber and One Direction just released a drum and bass track and the world is clearly ending. You’re on stage playing your last set ever while an inferno of fire begins to consume everyone and everything. You have time to play one last track before everyone dies.... what would it be?
I'd tease the first 16 bars of Gymnopedies no. 1 and then rip the needle off and drop straight into Ice-T Original Gangsta while I blow air horns and spray the crowd with silly string (as usual)
If you could choose any DJ to do a back-to-back set with, going tune for tune, who would it be?
Your tour schedule has blown up like crazy in the past year, what has been the craziest thing to happen to you on tour so far?
I've been running around on stage a lot and giving people high fives and recently people have been pulling me into the crowd to crowdsurf. It's really funny because I never intend to do it but often end up surfing around like a rockstar. Last time in Plymouth there was a really low ceiling and when they carried me half way out into the crowd i was like “shit! I gotta get back to the stage somehow!” so I looked up and grabbed onto this beam on the ceiling and started swinging around on it like a monkey, turned 180 degrees, landed back on peoples hands and pointed to the stage and they floated me all the way back in time to mix the next tune. It might be hard to beat that one.
How does it feel going abroad to play shows and then to come back and play for your hometown fans?
If I have fans I'm stoked, period. There's always that ratio of people in the crowd that have never heard of you before too, so I just try to give people the best performance possible for the fans up front with their hands up and try to win over the rest in the process! When we go out it's all about having fun and having a good time, the fact that there is good music is just what makes it all worth while. Toronto knows how to let loose and have fun, so I like that!
Any shouts to some of the Toronto crew?
Gremlinz, Lush, Marcus Visionary, RickToxic, A.U.X., Artifice, Schematic, Adrian Go, Kapulet, the Soul In Motion gang, DJ Prime, the 89.5fm crew, Frankee Gunns, Traj MC, Play De Record, DNB Culture clothing, torontojungle.com, the whole thebasscollective.com team, MC RaZe, Esq., MC Frequency, Lucky G, Marites & Will, my dog, my cat, and more...
Also want to send a quick shout to GRAM Agency, Circle Talent Agency, Dephect Clothing, New Era, my homie Dioptrics, RAM Records, Andy, Scott, Sarah B, Sarah C, Emma, Ray, Jim... and Tim and Jenny (hi guys!)
Tickets now $89 for a wristband.
Buy Online at: www.ticketweb.ca
Or at local retailers:
PLAY DE RECORD : 357 Yonge St. – Toronto, ON – 416-586-0380
ROTATE THIS : 801 Queen St. W – Toronto, ON – 416-504-8447
SOUNDSCAPES : 572 College St. – Toronto, ON – 416-537-1620
CULTURE RISING : 139 Queen Street – Streetsville, ON – 905-826-9165
CULTURE RISING : 143 Lakeshore Rd E. – Port Credit, ON – 905-274-9165
DR DISC : 20 Wilson Street – Hamilton, ON – 905-523-1010
or reach out to any of your favourite Destiny Promoters.
Stay tuned on the Destiny Blog and Soundcloud for some great mixes to get you ready for the best week of the year!