Drum&BassArena 18: Rene LaVice
Rene LaVice is working on a new album. Those words alone are enough to generate an air of intrigue and excitement. Following Insidious, his huge debut album on RAM Records last year, the talented producer assures us he has a huge amount of material to play with and that he is constantly toying with new ideas.
Considering the originality and sheer badassery of Insidious, we can only imagine what he’s got cooking in the studio. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long to find out, as the Canadian will be dropping some dubplates when he steps up to the decks at our upcoming 18th birthday celebration at Ministry of Sound in London. We caught up with Rene to chat about his new album, the past 18 years of d&b, and skating through the Louvre naked…
Ez Rene! You’re playing at our epic 18th birthday bash at Ministry of Sound at the end of this month – got any surprises up your sleeve for the night?
Yes, I’ve got some dubplates to test out. I think they might take some people by surprise!
That’s what we like to hear! How did you spend your own 18th birthday?
Probably skateboarding or making music or something. I don’t make a big deal of my own birthday. Probably went to a d&b event with friends, haha!
Naturally.. If you could do it all over again where would your dream 18th birthday bash be?
I’d go skateboarding through the Louvre naked with an entourage of interpretive dancers.
Ha! Perhaps an idea for your next video? Back to business – What have been some defining moments for you in drum & bass in the last 18 years?
There are so many, it’s hard to rate one over another! Dillinja’s album ‘Cybotron’ made a really big impact on me personally. Seeing Nicky Blackmarket play ‘Truly One’ at the first rave I ever went to was an eye opener. Seeing DJ Fresh get a #1 pop song… So much cool stuff has happened. It’s been amazing to see Drum and Bass settle in as a staple genre like house music or techno. It just keeps getting better!
Was Drum&BassArena a brand you followed back when you were first getting into d&b?
Yep. I always enjoyed reading the interviews or watching the videos. I’ve also bought a lot of music from the store.
Nice one! Some huge names on our lineup – do you still get ‘fan boy’ moments when you’re on the same bill as d&b luminaries such as Fabio & Grooverider? Any examples of that happening recently?
Haha, yeah that still happens I guess. I can’t think of a specific example. If I’m on a bill with BSE or Fabio & Grooverider, Ed Rush and Optical, Dillinja, Total Science, Mampi Swift or Andy C or anyone like that, it can still be a bit surreal at times! I have a huge respect for them and what they do. They’re legends, they’re tremendously talented and you can’t help but be a bit awestruck sometimes. I’m not sure that will ever go away, I’ll always respect them.
You’re a film-maker in your own right and have even shot and directed some music videos such as the Homemade Weapons & Gremlinz video for ‘After Dark’. Is this something you’re still pursuing in your own time?
Yes, absolutely. There will be more. Right now I’m producing music hard in the studio, but there will be more to come.
How did you get into filming?
I think it was a combination of watching the chase sequence from ‘Bullitt,’ and making my own skateboarding videos with friends as a teenager. Once I got the camera in my hands I started filming all manner of random things and making weird films. It all took off from there.
You’ve been on the road a lot recently – do you take the opportunity to work on new material when you’re on long-haul flights or are you a sucker for an in-flight movie?
Yeah, I get asked about that a lot. A lot of producers say they can’t work in those conditions. I guess it’s pretty hard. It’s stressful when you’re traveling. Even if you’re waiting in an airport for 3 hours you have to pay attention and make sure you don’t miss your connecting flight or listen for a gate change. There are all kinds of noise and madness from the people around you. Sometimes you’re just too physically exhausted from all of it which can make you really irritable. I still do it though. I find it hard not to at least try to make something every day.
What’s the best film you’ve seen this year?
12 years a slave was cool. I enjoyed that one, I’d recommend it.
What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment? A little birdy tells us you’re currently working on an upcoming album…
Yes. My second album. It’s going in further and further with the René LaVice sound and makes me a bit sick with excitement to see how far I’m going to push the material with it. It’s going to come from the heart, it’s going to be polarizing, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Nor can we! Is it living up to the classic ‘difficult second album’ status?
I think it would have been hard if I had a smaller back catalogue, or a less diverse output. I’m in a position where I literally make whatever I think is cool, I produce it in a way that sounds like me, and generally it’s really well received. The real challenge has actually been narrowing it down to just 12 tracks. I’ve got so much material, I just can’t stop myself from writing new ideas, but it’s a great problem to have and as I whittle it down I know I’ve got 12 tracks which I’ll never get tired of performing or listening to. It’s about getting the theme right so that the album as a whole can say what I want it to say. I’ll reveal more about that later as we get closer to the release date.
Any idea when that might be?
It’s almost done. We’re slotting in release dates soon. Not long now!
Everyone at RAM Records. Shouts to my friends and family back in Toronto. Thanks to all the promoters for booking me for the shows, they’ve been incredible. Thank you X1000000 to all the fans who regularly show their support online and at the shows, it means the world to me!
Catch Rene at our massive 18th birthday celebration at Ministry of Sound in London on the 25th of October. Tickets available here.