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Getting personal with L-Vis 1990

Night Slugs boss on his new single, his Essential Mix and Club Constructions

Half of the driving forces behind the ever-evolving Night Slugs, the UK label blending futuristic bass and breaks with the legacy of Chicago and Detroit house and techno, L-Vis 1990 has spent the last few years rocking clubs and festivals around the world while putting out dancefloor wreckers like the UK funky inspired 'Run' and the unavoidably large 'United Groove'. Last year's 'Neon Dreams' album however showed another side to him, adding elements of electro-pop and soul to its personal narrative structure. With new single 'Tonight', featuring Samantha Lim, out on 3rd April on PMR Records with remixes from Kink and L-Vis alongside Simbad, we caught up for a chat.

Now that 'Neon Dreams' has been out for a while, what has the reaction to it been like? It wasn't the obvious move to take for your debut album but you've said it was the album you wanted to make since you were 15. Can you elaborate?

“The reaction has been very mixed, some amazing reactions and some quiet confused! Like you said, it wasn't the the obvious move for me to make, but for me and anyone who knows me personally this was the album I was always going to make. 'Neon Dreams' is the accumulation of all the ideas I have gathered from dance music ever since I started DJing when I was 15. I didn't want to make a record that was specific to this moment in time with influences from the current trends, that would be the obvious move. Ultimately this could be a a boring move too. I wasn't just dropped on this world as a 'bass music' DJ as some people may incorrectly refer to me, I have history and a great depth to the music I love and Neon Dreams reflects that.”

From what we understand, the album is a personal reflection of what was going on in your life at the time in terms of starting a relationship, something particularly explicit in the lyrics of new single 'Tonight'. Is that correct? What was the actual process of writing the songs and choosing different singers?

“Yeah, that's right. I was going through a massive transition in my life writing the record so it would have been crazy not to use that for a bit of inspiration for the tracks. I wanted to tell a story and take people on a journey so I chose vocalists that knew me personally so they could translate what was happening into songs. Javeon McCarthy, whom I had already worked with on my 2010 single 'Forever You', was to tell the story from my perspective and Samantha Lim, formally of band Teenagers in Tokyo, was to put my girlfriend's perspective on the record. Samantha is actually a close friend of my girlfriend so this really helped when writing. I would simply tell the guys what I wanted the song to be about and where it would fit on the record so they can get an idea of the context. This personal aspect was vital for me.”

You helped direct the video to 'Tonight', Can you tell us a bit about the casting behind it as it stars a real life couple of non-actors that you met on your travels. Did it feel like you needed to shake up the dance video staple of kids on a road trip.

“We took a massive chance in traveling to Vegas without a cast but ultimately it paid off! We ended up going to this mall in Vegas going in all the shops and leaving casting calls with shop managers two days before shooting! After a few dead ends we got a call from this cute 18-year-old girl named Cindy who worked in American Apparel who had a boy friend called Chachi who worked in a Quicksilver store. We fell in love with them as soon as we met. They had such energy and were so obviously in love it felt perfect. I really think the innocence they bring across in the videos make it different and so successful. You can see their energy, they were just so excited to be involved. This really helped as we ended up shooting three sixteen hour days!”

Can you give us a sneak preview of who is involved with 'Night Slugs: Club Constructions' and when it's due for release? The content seems to be self-explanatory.

“Club Constructions is a new stream we are adding to the Night Slugs Label; it's basically an outlet for us and friends of the label to put out raw uncompromising club tools. I think the idea of just creating a tool has really been lost over the last few years. With CC we are stripping back tracks to their absolute basics for club destruction! They are not to be analysed, they are not for home listening, strictly club music. The first pack will be out mid-April. Gonna have to keep you guessing on who is involved for the moment though!”

What kind of reactions have you had since your Essential Mix? Has it brought you to the attention of many people who might not have realised what you did before and helped to open any doors?

"The Essential Mix was such a huge honour, my proudest achievement as a DJ. I got so many compliments about the mix across the board but the ultimate had to be this tweet from Carl Craig: 'Rockin in my hotel room inspired to do a brand new essential mix for 2012'. I was like, 'Woah! Now I'm inspiring Carl Craig!?' He later tweeted, 'your mix is some serious space funk!!!' That blew my mind! To be honest, if that was all that came from my Essential Mix, I'd be a happy man!”

What else have you got coming up in the near future?

“We've got a lot of exciting stuff happening with Night Slugs over the next few months. We have the debut Club Constructions release, a new Girl Unit EP and in May we have the release of Jam City's incredible debut album! Night Slugs is also turning four that month so we are hosting several parties across the country and abroad to celebrate. Four years has flown by. Production wise I'm working on a few remixes and collaborations that I'm very excited about and you will probably see a lot more original club material coming out from me over the next year!”

Elvis died on the toilet. How would L-Vis like to go?

“In a blaze of glory!”