INTERVIEW Floyd Lavine

Masala‘ by Floyd Lavine is the first release on Berlin based label RISE and depicts the warmth of African influenced House Music in a world that is becoming colder in terms of humanity. Ahead of the worldwide release Torture the Artist had the chance to speak to the man behind ‘Masala‘, Floyd Lavine, who is bringing back a little sunshine on an interpersonal level and additionally has a track for every situation in life.

Torture the Artist: You just released the first EP on Hyenah‘s label RISE, how did that come about?

Floyd: The label has been a natural progression from the African House Music event ‘Rise‘ that Hyenah, Dede and I run at Watergate in Berlin. We came together because we shared vision that we would like to showcase new cutting edge African inspired music. First there were our events and now there is the label. I had been working on some music over the past 18 months and Masala Jungle Boogie and African Techno were some of the tracks that we decided would be fitting for the first release on the Label RISE MUSIC. The vision has grown and shaped itself organically.

Torture the Artist: Why did you move from Cape Town to Berlin?

Floyd: Berlin was calling my friend <laughs> and when Berlin calls you have to respond. I moved to Berlin in search of new experiences to challenge myself and to be inspired and explore both musically and spiritually. Berlin is one of the few cities on Earth that explores and breeds electronic music whilst continuously expanding on the possibilities of how it can be consumed within spaces that allow the magic and freedom of electronic to shine.

So in a simple way, I gravitated towards Berlin because it truly is a special place – wild, beautiful, limitless, unpredictable and uncompromising. I have also had the pleasure of meeting, connecting and being inspired by some incredible people in this enigmatic city.

South Africa will forever hold a unique special part in my heart and Africa is my home and runs strong in my DNA. It’s funny because every time I travel I feel more and more African. It’s hard to explain. I can never lose that pulse and fire, which builds character and gives me strength.

We are only truly alive when we share and create experiences – everything is meaningless until we create it and give the creation a meaning.

Torture the Artist: Having released music since 2011, what was the most beneficial release to further your career and why?

Floyd: Some people write diary entries about their lives or even capture moments in notebooks. For me my milestones have been music. I have come to appreciate the process of expressing and growing, accepting that life is a journey and there is no destination – just moments.

My philosophy is: We are only truly alive when we share and create experiences – everything is meaningless until we create it and give the creation a meaning. We need to create the life we want to live and give that meaning and value. So to answer your question, every release represents a feeling in time – a personal journey of life and tribulation which I am eternally grateful for.

I can only create what I feel and even in my limitations I can find peace in creating.

Torture the Artist: How much of an influence does your hometown, Cape Town, still have on your current productions?

Floyd: I believe that we are who we are because of our environment and the experiences that influence and affect us in those environments. Cape Town was and still is very much my inspiration. I feel there is a paradox in the city – it is beautiful but also tortured. I find that as a human I am also, and as I grow older I have come to acknowledge my humanness even more. I can only create what I feel and even in my limitations I can find peace in creating. I feel Cape Town, South Africa and Africa in its entirety are all a part of me and they continue to influence me daily.

Torture the Artist: What are the headphones of your choice when you use public transport?

Floyd: <laughs> My choice are the iPhone headphones, they are pretty good actually. I use them as reference and they are also convenient!

I’m a nomad, so over the years I had to learn to create the feeling of home which for me is being in an environment where I can truly be myself.

Torture the Artist: What aspects make you call a place your home and is there any track that covers this feeling for you?

Floyd: A place where I have family and friends. I’m a nomad, so over the years I had to learn to create the feeling of home which for me is being in an environment where I can truly be myself. I think Sade‘s ‘By Your Side‘ covers this feeling.

Torture the Artist: What does a track have to have so that you play it?

Floyd: I have to feel the groove, the rhythm and the mood. I have to capture a feeling and mood with the tracks that I like to play, because once you have the dance floor locked into a groove you can shape the emotion, experience and ultimately a journey because everybody is flowing with the same rhythm. That’s when it gets exciting.

Torture the Artist: In a city like Berlin there‘s quite some people that feel separated even though they are among people. What is a track that can break this feeling of separation up?

Bill Withers‘ ‘Lovely Day‘.

Torture the Artist: If you could work with any artist in the future, who would it be and why?

Floyd: Firstly I am very blessed to have some incredibly creative and wonderful friends and people who inspire me and I would like to work with them, some I have already had the pleasure of working with. In no particular order:

Dede, Hyenah, Enoo Napa, Ben Rau, Leeu, Nonku Phiri&Dion Monti, Mey, David Mayer, Lazarusman, Behr, Bruce Loko, Deep Aztec, Lawrence Dix, Marco Resmann, Warren Bokwe, Yeti, Claudia Lovisa, Lady M, Bruno Morphet, Thor Rixon, Dodge, Quintin Christian, Gumz, Vicmari, Dennis kuhl, Bas Amro, Lisa Marshall, Julz Sanchez, Rob Toca, Amrish Shah, Robin Drimalski, Tsepo Soundtrakk, Tonijah, Stab Virus, Dj Okapi, Esa Williams, Kennifer, Ursula Thomas, Pablo Fierro and Minco.

These creatives truly inspire me and I appreciate their work and dedication.

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Torture the Artist: What has been the most bizarre gig in your career?

Floyd: Every gig is bizarre until everything clicks. You know what I mean, you never know what will happen. The vibe could be great or super ‘meh‘ <laughs>. However, I find that the magic you can never really tell makes me excited and scared at the same time about every show. But I have to say after hours are pretty special and what happens at after hour parties stays at the afters <winks>

Torture the Artist: Name a current record or track that has left an impression on you, and why?

Floyd: Esa & NarchBeats – Blast (ft. Pendo Zawose), this track is a beast. Full stop.

Torture the Artist: What artist musically fascinates you at the moment?

Floyd: Esa Williams – The more I listen to his work the more I’m blown away by his creative output.

Torture the Artist: What‘s a food dish you cannot live without?

Floyd: <laughs> I’m a vegan sort of, but a vegetarian who eats fish, so I love fish but I have to be conscious of my consumption of animal products. <argh> Such a contradiction, but you know I’d rather try to be conscious than hyper normalise the brutal killings of animal just for human consumption with thought – I still love my chicken though. Damn life is complex.

Torture the Artist: What is on your playlist when you want to relieve some stress?

Floyd: Sade is always playing at my place, Nora Jones, Maxwell , D’angelo, Mahogany sessions.

Torture the Artist: What‘s the expression on your face after this interview?

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More music from Floyd Lavine here: