Levon Vincent’s profile rises and falls like the tide. We’re currently at the top of one of his arcs given the release - on his own Novel Sound imprint - of Impression Of A Rainstorm, as well as plenty of on-point DJ sets across the world. The musically trained (and obsessed!) Vincent’s latest 12” is a grey skied, razor sharp journey into the nether regions of house and techno as are many of the man’s productions.
Alongside Jus-Ed’s Underground Quality stable, Levon and his labels are responsible for rejuvenating the NYC scene and laying down a new school house and techno sound which has been lapped up across the pond in more traditional European hotspots. As such Levon is a top booking for Londoners secretsundaze on New Years Eve, where he will play alongside Âme, Kyle Hall and of course residents and promoters James Priestley and Giles Smith.
Dazed Digital: So musically what’s got you most excited recently?
Levon Vincent: I think it's a great time, I'd say the revivalist stuff peaked. There is very inventive music coming in the past 6 months. It's a serious time for dance music- make or break!
DD: How much do you make music for yourself as against with an audience/situation in mind? Is that how you work, do you have a finished track in your head and then try get it down or…?
Levon Vincent: Sometimes. And other times it's just experimenting... I'm the same as any other; I have different mindsets and moods, so each time I sit down it's pretty fresh.
DD: Is there anything which ties all your music together would you say? A certain vibe you aim for, a certain bit of kit, a certain emotion or?
Levon Vincent: Well, I hope so. I try to convey a singular sort of personality across all the records, but I'd say it's more ambiguous. I think the last 20 years has been about style over dexterity...the dexterity gets handed to the machines more and more... So, that’s probably more important to me than being a great keyboard player or whatever; doing what you do in a stylistic way. As they say, "Concept is King"
DD: Do you think there are certain ties between a certain sound or instrument and certain emotions? Is that something you consider when producing or is it a looser process than that?
Levon Vincent: Timbre usually is the culprit as far as emotion is concerned. Why can you play the same note on a piano and a saxophone, and yet you can tell the difference between the two of them? They have different builds and therefore, different timbres. I am obsessed with grouping sounds that compliment each other. I like sexy sounds. I want there to be an element of static. Or, chaos works nicely for fun parts, too.
DD: You’re clearly someone with well-formed views about music; production etc, how important is it not to over-intellectualise it though? Or do you think house/techno needs to be more serious like that?
Levon Vincent: I believe in everyone and every thing, to the fullest.
DD: And how important is it to you and your famous associates to be a part of a New York scene? Is it important at all or, or do you just do your own things or…? I mean the fear is it could become another Berlin, and I'm assuming you guys wouldn’t want that!?
Levon Vincent: Berlin is cool. They are all cool - London, Paris, New York. Most musicians are happy to be part of the current era. Movements are happening beyond local areas for the first time - a scene can develop in more cities than one these days, thanks to the internet. It's the best time to be making music for 250 years – the last time there was such a boom in the technology was when the piano became available as standard... I am very happy with things and I feel that I am meant for this era.
Photo by Sophia Drevenstam