Throwback Interview: Rene LaVice

As seen in DJ Mag

Take 10: Rene LaVice

Canada’s next big producer gives us the lowdown on his top 10.

Fresh from touring with UK act Spor, the Toronto-born DJ is currently touring Europe promoting his debut album ‘Insidious’ and his latest double-sided single ‘The Calling’ (feat Ivy Mairi) / ‘Freudian’. The 2013 LP set the tone for his unique approach to beat sorcery, which involves a melting pot of dance music flavours from DnB to jungle.

Rene first arrived on the scene in 2009 under Canada’s Stride Recordings with his four-track EP ‘The Future’, which led to various remix projects with Gremlinz and an appearance on DSCi4’s ‘Amen Warfare’ LP. The subsequent years were a blur of single and EP releases under the wing of hotshots like John Rolodex. But it was only when he hooked up with Ram Records in 2012 that his music really began to blow internationally.

The skateboard aficionado’s biggest single to date was ‘Headlock’, taken from his ‘Dimensions 5’ EP, which showcased his eclectic sonic direction to critical acclaim. Not only has his impressive catalogue caused a storm with fans worldwide, but industry heavy weights like Nick Grimshaw, DJ Andy C and Total Science (to name a few) are also lining up like Oliver for some more of whatever Rene LaVice is serving.

Stay tuned for the artist turned filmmaker’s second album, which may put Rene in the doghouse with his fans if it doesn’t make an appearance soon. In the meantime, here is his top ten…

  1. Squarepusher ‘Do You Know Squarepusher

“I was already a huge Squarepusher fan before this was released, but when a clip leaked, followed by the release of the track, I was floored. Even today it seems to represent UK culture, merged with sounds and techniques, beamed in from the future. Jenkinson hints at vocal hooks and loops [while] the track progresses, edits and [almost] destroys them. [Its ability to] occupy such a beautiful line between technicality and expression makes this a masterpiece.”

  1. Prodigy ‘Break & Enter

“I was the first person in my family to get a CD player, and I remember them being interested to see what I’d bought to play on it. This kicked in from ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ and I remember my mom scrunching her nose in distaste, in response I thought ‘brilliant’. I was a fan from that moment on really, but this and subsequently ‘Fat of the Land’ are both timeless in my opinion.”

  1. Tenebrae ‘Miserere’ 

 “I don’t really get on with contemporary radio, but I drive a lot with Classical FM on. I headed out one morning just as this started and it totally changed the tone of my day. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and execution, and it’s basically a repeating motif. I like repetition. Apparently, as a seven-year-old, Mozart transcribed it without mistakes from memory.”

  1. Placebo ‘Nancy Boy

 “I watched Placebo being broadcast from Glastonbury in 97 or 98 and was hooked. It stood so strongly in opposition to the culture around me at the time and the tuning they used, combined with Molko’s sweet but nonchalant drawl, was a symbol for apathy and disenchantment to anyone who felt as isolated as I did throughout my teens. I worked in a bar and hotel for a few years, I remember drinking after my shift, playing darts and singing along. I went to see them at the Coronet in London in 1997 too, one of my favourite shows.”

  1. Queen ‘Who Wants To Live Forever

 “This seems [like] a fitting life-soundtrack choice. ‘A Kind of Magic’ was given to me by my Dad when I was very young on cassette. I think I almost wore it out. Soaring strings and classic Yamaha DX-7 back a song that provokes a lot of philosophical questions. It’s actually a topic that has fascinated me my whole life.”

  1. Radiohead ‘Everything In Its Right Place

 “Me and my friend bought ‘Kid A’ when it came out in 2000 and both went home to listen intently. I miss that jarring feeling of committing to a record so fully before ever hearing it, and from the very first cascade of ‘Everything’ I was unapologetically pulled into a world I didn’t know existed. I didn’t enjoy my school life at the time and struggled a lot emotionally in general; ‘Kid A’ quickly became something I would fall asleep to every night, a real means of escape.”

  1. Red Hot Chilli Peppers ‘Other Side

“I took this with me on a school trip to Canada [in] around 1999. ‘Californication’ was my musical anchor throughout the whole experience. I’m instantly reminded of looking at snowy Toronto through smoked coach windows, or the blast of crisp air as we walked towards Niagara Falls. This track was a standout to me.”

  1. Burial ‘Archangel

“This track is the rainy night bus window, or the pale sky as you step out of the rave, skin like sweat and cigarettes. It’s the orange fade in [and] out of passing streetlamps that stubbornly refuses to synchronise with the beat. That smudged half-reality viewed almost from the third person – I think anyone that has been a part of the UK dance culture in any sense can have these feelings evoked from this record. Beautiful.”

  1. Jai Paul ‘Jasmine

“When I moved into my house we installed Sonos gear all over it, and I did the majority of the decorating with Jai Paul playing. As I understand, he was really upset by the leak of this record. Who wouldn’t be when there’s so much innovation and raw talent crammed into it? Either way it’s all synonymous with change for me; it was my soundtrack to that.”

  1. Drake ‘Marvin’s Room

“My good friend was drunk ranting and said something to the effect of “you can tell through someone’s music whether they’ve been through much [and] had their heart broken, no matter what the genre.” I think there’s some truth in that. If you believe his lyrics, then by this definition Drake must be in really tiny bits by now. Humour aside, in more recent times these records have been a totally different direction that I’ve learned a lot from. I hope I keep finding more in the future.”

Like this interview? Check out my interview with fellow Toronto natives Melanie Fiona and The Airplane Boys.

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