Louis Carnell aka Visionist came up releasing tracks inflected with the rhythms of UK funky before moving onto energetic, 808-heavy tracks, but it was when he turned his hand to making grime that Visionist seemed to come into his own. Driven by faultless drum patterns and the forward energy of garage, Visionist’s music has earned plaudits from the underground dance music community with releases on great labels like Left Blank, Keysound Recordings and Leisure System.
While a lot of young producers approach grime by taking hallmarks of early classics like “Pulse X” and “Ice Rink”, an experimental flare underscores Visionist’s music. This can be heard not just in his own music but in the acts that release on his label Lost Codes, which has housed releases by producers who operate on the outer reaches of grime like Bloom and Filter Dread.
His EP for Lit City makes the most overt link between his take on grime and avant-garde music, with one track being a collaboration with Fatima Al Qadiri. We’re premiering a new track from that EP, the dread-imbued “Pain”. Stream it below and read our Q&A with Visionist exclusively on Dazed.
DD: How did you start out producing?
I used to sing and was given the opportunity to record in a studio. From there, I decided I wanted to learn how to make music. I made one R’n’B tune but then quickly took up MCing and started making grime from there. That was from the age of 15.
DD: Coming from the UK, how did you end up hooking up with Lit City Trax?
I hooked up with J-Cush in NY last year after looking for gigs when I went to America. J also loves grime. He heard this coming through in my sound. Right after the trip, I made some music and sent it to him and we began talking about a release, as he explained Lit City Trax was not just simply a footwork and juke imprint.
DD: A lot of people who come from experimental/avant-garde backgrounds really responded to your music and this EP seems to fully embrace that side of things. Did you expect that when you started out?
To be honest, I hoped this would be the case. This EP really draws on a lot of the emotions I felt last year and those feelings can speak to people on that level. It's not uncommon to me that people who enjoy different types of music were enjoying my tunes - maybe because it comes from a true place.
DD: What sort of sounds are you feeling most right now?
I'm loving the new variations taken on grime, and trap like Future, Young Scooter etc. On the techier side I'm liking people like Andy Stott and Actress. I either like really hype music or the complete opposite with a lot of emotion that makes you sit back and reflect. I prefer writing the latter, it comes more naturally.
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