Touching Bass: Rene LaVice

Errol Anderson

rene 300x225 Touching Bass: Rene LaViceAmidst what protrudes as a barren D&B existence in Canada, filmmaker and producer Rene LaVice has crafted a gritty fusion of early 90s, Dilinja-esque material that had the likes of Andy C purring. Since late last year, he’s been hard at work churning out an album parallel to the energy of his tracks. We caught up to talk Rodney Mullen, saving beautiful girls and documentaries.

Also, check out the Touching Bass mix series, which continues alongside all features via Mixcloud.

So I understand that aside from music, you like to make films or have done?

Yeah, filmmaking has been something that I’ve always liked doing. It just started as me goofing around with friends and running around with a camera; then as I got older I started filming skateboarding so we would make little skate videos. Then I went to art school school thinking I would be a filmmaker but ended up getting into music as a means of procrastination to not do the film stuff. Now I’m here and I do a bunch of things but music is definitely the main focus.

What is your favourite film genre?

Documentaries. A good documentary just tells a great story, first of all, and then it can make you see the world differently and the fact that its about something true makes you realise how interesting lives can be. I saw this documentary called Searching For Sugarman which about this singer/songwriter who never made it big in the States but down the line found out that he was super big in South Africa. Now he’s this old guy from Detroit but he gets flown over there to play in front of 20,000 people and when he gets asked about how he feels about this hidden success he just shrugs and says ‘that’s life’. It really hits you after that.

So back to music, Canada isn’t always perceived as a breeding ground for drum and bass. What exactly drew you to the sound?

It’s just so engaging; it would just grab you by the brain cells and make you pay attention. Other types of music never did that. I really like rap beats because they would really make you feel something and there was uniqueness to the samples used, same way I liked the movement of jazz and classical. Drum and bass seemed to take bits from all of those things and to me it reminded me of cool rap beats with the breaks speeded up. It would take all those elements from jazz and techno and make them sound like they were coming straight out of the future.

I’ve read that Andy C came onto your unnamed demo before getting in touch for RAM. When did talks of an album begin to emerge?

We did a few singles that went down really nicely and I had been making so much music. Andy wanted to do with all this music because we were putting out stuff faster than ever. I really felt that I had so much to get out of my system and the album was the way to do it. Talks probably started around August last year and it just felt like a great time to fit it in.

There’s a sniff of early 90s drum and bass about it?

It’s certainly something that was germinating in my mind but a lot of it was 90s hip-hop. The people who retained that sound throughout the 2000s have had this way of taking that gritty vibe and still updating it with modern production. These days, it seems like everything’s just dropped in volume about 10dB so for me I wanted to make something that sounds like jump-up but totally grimy and raw. A lot of drum and bass seemed too clinical to me in the wrong way. I spend days doing mixdowns but I don’t ever let it get to the point where it sounds like there’s no energy. People like Dillinja were a massive influence.

What’s the best trick that you’ve ever pulled off on your skateboard?

Well… I was out on the street and this hot chick was about to get run over by a car because she was on her iPhone 7. So, I was skateboarding along and I shot my board out because I saw this happening and hit this fruit stand with a bunch of bananas and they flew over and I caught one in my hand. I had a little nibble because I was feeling under the weather before I tossed it onto the road. Just as a massive, transporter truck went by and hit the peel and spun out. It just missed her by a hair’s length and I just sauntered over and she just fell in my arms. I thought she would be happy, but she was just like ‘aah, you screwed up my tweet’. That trick’s called the’Banana Peel Flip N Dip’.

Not even Rodney Mullen could pull that off…

Mullen’s OK, it’s not like he invented the ollie or anything. He’s so good and now he gives talks at universities about physics. There’s a lot of stuff on the Internet with him doing TED talks and other things.

What can people expect post-Insidious?

There’s some summer stuff in the States for sure; Las Vegas, Chicago and other bits. There’s also Outlook. Release-wise I can’t say right now, but there’s lots to come.

Touching Bass: Rene LaVice by The Independent: Touching Bass on Mixcloud

Rene LaVice releases his debut LP ‘Insidious’ on February 11 via Ram Records, which can be pre-ordered here. You can listen to the last mix from Mike Delinquent on the Touching Bass Mixcloud page.

Download the ‘Touching Bass: Rene La Vice’ mix here.

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