In this weeks edition of Behind the Headphones, we spoke to South African born, Berlin based artist Floyd Lavine on his love for Berlin, the dance scene in SA, and his latest release on Frappé.

South African artist Floyd Lavine’s afro futuristic approach to dance music and infatuation with groove is the embodiment of a modern wave of African electronic music that has been taking Europe by storm over the last few years.

A co-founder of the Berlin based event and record label RISE, Floyd has made a name for himself within the scene in Berlin hosting the monthly event at the prestigious Watergate club inviting guests such as Black Coffee, and Henrik Schwarz to name a few, as well as playing at some of the best events and spaces across Europe and Africa including Glastonbury, Berghain, and Oppiekoppie Festival in SA.

Releasing on labels such as Watergate Records, Mobilee, and Cacao Records, Floyd Lavine now has his own imprint Afrikan Tales which he intends to be a vehicle for his own personal story and to expand the reach of African electronic music.

Floyd’s amalgamation of European and African musical influences makes him one of the most exciting artists in electronic music, and the fact that he is always enthusiastic to show his love for his home of SA and champion its sound and musicians clearly shows that no matter how far his travels take him he will never forget where he is from.

Interview & words: Callum Martinez

Hey Floyd, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Who were some of your earliest inspirations?

It’s a pleasure thank you for having me! My biggest inspiration in life is my mother, she raised me and worked hard to give me and my siblings the best possible upbringing and opportunities she could.

Music wise, my earliest inspiration was MAW (Masters at Work), South African Dj Vinny Da Vinci, Dj Fresh SA, Kwaito Acts like TKZee, MDU, Trompies. Nowadays I find lot of inspiration in my daily life from my incredible friends and my loved ones.

What prompted your move to Berlin?

I fell in love with Berlin, when I came here the first time in 2013. I am quite a romantic and it was love at first sight. Even after a few years of living here, the city gives me inspiration and challenges me to grow. But, the winters are cold [laughs] so I try not to be here for winter 🙂

What’s your favourite venue that you have played?

Uh, that’s a tough question. I have had the pleasure to play some of the best events and venues that I could ever dream of. The iconic venues that I really enjoyed playing was Berghain/Panorama Bar, Watergate Berlin and in Cape town I love Playing at Modular Club.

I also love playing at my own events, with all my friends there when the vibe is right and everybody is up for a good time.

You co-founded the event and record label RISE. What is story behind its creation?

Yes, my time at RISE was really special, We founded RISE in 2015 as group of Friends who wanted to bring the Afro House sound to Berlin. First it was a monthly Event held at Watergate and later it became a Record label.

The Rise events are still legendary in Berlin and the following grew organically. We had showcases in many places in the world. Rise is a project I’m really proud of, as it helps spread the sound of Afro house around the globe.

You also have Afrikan Tales too. What was the inspiration for the project and why is it important to you?

Afrikan Tales is a more personal project that I had been envisioning for many years. I’m looking to tell my own story through the label and to introduce beautiful Afro Futuristic sounds and Artists. I want to expand the reach of the African electronic sound and to culture my vision of the future.

Your recent release is part of a VA compilation from French label Frappé. How did you end up on the record, and what was the inspiration for the track?

It was great, the guys from frappe got in touch with me during lockdown. They liked my style of music and were wondering if I had any demos that I would like to send through to them. They ended up liking Creda Mutwa.

Inspiration for the track was the late African philosopher Creda mutwa (you should check him out). He talks about space, about the future and talks about aliens, he talks about life beyond this universe, and already having him as the the basis of the track gave me inspiration and this vivid imagination as to what I wanted to create. I wanted to create something African but yet futuristic, and there’s nothing more exciting than a mixture of African Rhythms and acid sounds.

How does the electronic dance music scene look in Cape Town and South Africa at the moment? 

From afar the South African scene looks more alive an innovate as ever, South Africa keeps pushing boundaries, Styles  like Gqom and Amapiano are fresh youth culture sounds, Afro tech is evolving and many producers are looking to explore new sounds. It makes me excited for the future.

Are there any artists or events that we should be checking out?

There are!! Here are a few artists that I’m excited about:

Deep Aztec – Mind Blowing stuff!

Khulile – coming soon on Afrikan tales

Da Soulprince  – love his work .

Also Check out jacki Queen, Vanco SA, Fred Buddha, Philou louzolo & T.siza.

If you could work with any artist in the world, who would it be?

Carl Craig  – what a master, my favourite producer ever!

What’s on the horizon for Floyd Lavine?

Musically and personally growth and curiosity is and will be important for me. Im also looking forward to be sharing quite a few releases before the end of the year. Next year I will be working on my album & doing showcases to introduce the Afrofuturedelic sound of Afrikan Tales.

You can find more on Floyd Lavine and his upcoming projects here.

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