Photo: Press (Floyd Lavine)
As a DJ, producer, label owner, and event organiser Floyd Lavine surely has left his mark on this world in the past twelve years, it’s just hard to say where exactly—but it would be an extensive list of places and scenes. The Afrikan Tales founder and Refuge Worldwide resident, who has just debuted on Innervisions with Wayne Snow collaboration, currently splits his time between Berlin and Cape Town, but has also lived in London and is consistently travelling the world. Musically, the self-described African nomad is similarly boundless and curious. Lavine’s contribution to our Groove podcast is to be taken like a “profound introspective journey,” as he says himself, one that leads you through his manifold influences.
In a recent social media post, you wrote about “trying to figure out my WHY” in regards to your aspirations and the urge to compare yourself to others. What would you, concretely speaking, say that your “why” is as an artist?
I believe that the artist’s ultimate journey is to lead an authentic life, embracing the trials and tribulations that come their way, while continuing to express their true self. The path of an artist is far from easy; it is a voyage filled with disappointment, loneliness, and failure. Yet, in return, it offers profound introspection. Those who possess the patience and courage to persevere on this journey will be rewarded with a profound comprehension of both themselves and the world that surrounds them. Such a gift is one that should be shared with others. As I mature, acquire knowledge, and am exposed to new experiences, I strive to refrain from passing judgment on individuals, instead choosing to open my mind to their perspectives. In the past, I was not always this way; I held judgmental views and was unwilling to consider alternative perspectives. While qualities like stubbornness, single-mindedness, and resilience can be valuable on the path of becoming an artist, it is crucial to temper these characteristics to ensure that compassion remains intact within oneself. My aspiration is to live a transcendental existence, wherein I am kind to both myself and others, diligently practicing patience and presence. For the most precious possession we possess is life itself, and the relationships we forge and how we treat one another hold utmost significance.
When looking back at your output as a producer throughout the past twelve years, what story do you see unfold between your very first records and your latest productions?
As I reflect upon the past twelve years, I, as a producer, perceive that I am only just beginning to discover my true artistic voice. It seems that attaining a distinct and singular sound, one that bears my unique signature, requires an ample amount of time. Throughout the years, I believe that the multitude of influences and experiences I have encountered have left their indelible mark on my productions. If one were to listen to my records, such as “My African Techno,” “Mr Bones,” “My African Acid,” “Black Jesus,” “Vaseline,” “Credo Mutwa,” “Skirt & Pants,” “All The Red Sheep,” and “Blackalious,” they would discern the progression of my sound. It embodies an Afro-futuristic, emotive perspective on electronic music, while still keeping the fundamental of house and techno music. When I compare my initial record to my current creations, I see a producer who is in the process of finding their voice. There is an evident sense of curiosity, playfulness, and courage in my artistic pursuit.
You started the label Afrikan Tales in 2021. One of the last releases was a mini-compilation with the title The Afro-Futurist that also featured one of your tracks. How did you go about putting it together?
With my label, my intention was to establish a platform that advocates for African creatives, the diaspora community, and artists who draw inspiration from the African continent. Thus, I made it a priority to ensure that the artists I choose to release on the label possess a distinctive voice and sound, setting them apart from the rest. Discovering the tracks for the compilation was a process that required ample time and deliberation, as I yearned for each track to possess its own exceptional essence. I sought to curate timeless music that would endure throughout the ages. The release of the compilation, accompanied by the talented artists it showcases—namely Katimi Ai, Arol $kinzie, and ATMokinesis—brought me immense joy.
Whether it’s the title of this release or that of a track like “Credo Mutwa,” named after a Zulu sangoma, your work is full of references to Afro-futurism and notions or even visions about the future more generally. What makes music a suitable medium to address these subjects and convey ideas related to them?
I aspire for my music to serve as a medium of expression, allowing me to share my story, develop my philosophy, and convey my personal experiences. It is crucial for my profound love for my roots and heritage to consistently radiate through my creative work. The African people have endured immense suffering and brutality, subjected to dehumanisation under the shadow of colonialism. Western media perpetuates an image and stereotype that only showcases the worst aspects of the African continent, absolving the Western powers from their responsibility and accountability for their actions. In light of this, it falls upon us, as African artists, to serve as a window to an Afro Future that transcends the limitations of the present. We must envision a better future where Africans can live with dignity, love, and respect. There is much to be proud of when I contemplate my homeland, as it exudes diversity, the richness of the earth, and the profound warmth of its people. This is the Africa I know; an Africa I have experienced firsthand across the entire continent.
Apart from the compilation, recent releases on Afrikan Tales include Cincity’s debut EP. What are your long-term plans with the label?
I have a desire to maintain my label as a bespoke and boutique platform, dedicated to releasing music that is distinct and timeless. I am determined not to rush my releases, but rather ensure that each one holds a special place. I believe in the power of simplicity and organic growth, as I find it to be the most fitting approach for me. Constantly, I am vigilant in my search for artists who possess something truly unique, individuals whose artistry stands out from the crowd.
You have recently debuted on Innervisions with a contribution to their Secret Weapons Part 15 compilation. For the track “Blackalicious,” you teamed up with singer Wayne Snow. How did that come about and what did your working process look like?
I am a huge fan of Wayne Snow. I reached out to him, and we arranged to meet for a coffee, eager to catch up and discuss the possibility of collaborating together. Meeting Wayne in person was an absolute pleasure. One day, he visited my house while I was working on “Blackalicious.” Wayne instantly connected with the vibe and effortlessly laid down his vocals. The entire experience felt natural and organic. I am truly appreciative of Wayne’s contribution and the seamless way our creative energies intertwined.
Collaboration is an important part of your work overall, and it seems like you always try to forge more wide-reaching and sustainable connections beyond one-off creative joint projects. Why is that so important to you?
I strongly believe that through collaboration, we have the ability to create something that surpasses our individual selves. At times, I tend to exist within my own bubble, but I have come to realise that collaborations unlock doors to a world I could never have imagined on my own. Collaboration breathes life into our experiences. It is a profoundly beautiful journey, provided we allow ourselves to be open, vulnerable, and willing to compromise.
You have a residency at Berlin’s Refuge Worldwide community radio. How do you approach programming your shows there?
Refuge Worldwide is an absolute blast! The radio station is operated by an incredible group of individuals, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to host my own show. Through my radio show, I aim to showcase African electronic music and highlight talented artists from the continent. Additionally, I include other records that bear influences from Africa. This approach provides a sense of direction to my show, making it all the more unique and special. I am thoroughly enjoying this experience and appreciate the platform that Refuge Worldwide has provided for me to share my passion and contribute to the vibrant world of electronic music.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
Through my mix, my intention was to allow the listener to embark on a profound introspective journey, which carries the essence of my influences, heritage, and visions for the future.
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
My foremost priority is to prioritise my health, both mentally and physically, as I recognise its fundamental importance. Building upon this foundation, I am diligently assembling a strong team that will support and contribute to my future endeavours. At present, I am deeply engrossed in crafting my album and a new EP. When I express my excitement about these projects being special, I genuinely mean it. I am committed to creating music that transcends genre boundaries and popular trends, focusing instead on unbridled authentic artistic expression.
Stream: Floyd Lavine – Groove Podcast 385
01. Rocco Rodamaal – Still Water feat. Khensy (Lars Behrenroth Remix – Timmy Regisford Edit)
02. K’Alexi Shelby – Kum Face the Music
03. Stefano Renieri – 4 Sounds
04. Melé – Talkin’ Drums (feat. Toure Kunda)
05. Carlos Castro – Afri I Can
06. Bob Sinclar & Africanism – Imbalayé (Boddhi Satva Ancestral Soul Extended Remix)
07. WAHM (FR) & Index Nuul Kukk – Hierarchy Blues feat. Index Ñuul Kukk
08. Peter Mac – I Like That (Oscar P Rework)
09. Coflo & Lee Wilson – Rainbow
10. Anane – Standing in Line (Masters At Work Mix)
11. China Charmeleon & AndileAndy feat. Ziyon – Tunnel Vision (Rocco Rodamaal Remix)