Floyd Lavine is one of the most successful exports and ambassadors from the broader South African electronic music community, having been involved with different aspects of the music industry in SA in many ways, and now based in Berlin focusing on African house and dance music night at Berlin famed Watergate, RISE, and growing that project into a fully-fledged label – given that all the people involved in RISE are also producers.
Lavine got started in the music industry in SA around 10 years ago, and in that time, has dabbled quite successfully in various aspects of the dance music industry, both here in SA and afar, as a DJ, music producer, label owner, event organiser and raver. He’s always been a hardworking member of the dance community around house and techno, with a focus on ‘African’ sounds.
From his work on Nomadiq Music – as a DJ, producer, promoter and label-head – and his involvement with the scene in Cape Town, it wasn’t long before his work ethic and unique sound landed him with gigs and attention in the global North, specifically Berlin and London.
After forging many strong bonds with various people in the dance communities in Europe and getting some strong bookings under his belt, he connected with German ‘Afro-house’ DJ and producer, HYENAH, and they put together a residency at their own bi-monthly night at Watergate – RISE. Having increased frequency to a monthly showcase of African-influenced dance music, they have just started releasing original music as well. Pushed to name a favourite guest at the RISE events thus far, he insisted on naming a handful, sharing that they “take pride in the artists we chose to play at RISE. With that in mind Osunlade, Culoe de Song , Djeff Afrozilla and Mr Raoul K have played some amazing sets at RISE.”
His start with grasping the power of music came long before all that, though, where he credits road-trips with his family and his dad’s appetite for new music for that first taste. “My dad always had a new album for the family road trip, which we would play to death. So every time I hear curtain tracks, nostalgia kicks in and it takes me back to those early days. For the me that’s the power of music; it’s able to capture a moment in time so clearly and vividly and bring back those feelings.
He’s careful to emphasise that music is not about bests and worsts, and that every experience with music is a powerful emotional experience, saying, “I’ve been really blessed to have played and shared my music at some amazing events and clubs. Honestly, I appreciate every gig I have gotten as I know it’s a chance to connect with audience on an emotional level.” He has, however had some clear highlights, naming his first set at Watergate, which was “a big high for me as I got to share that moment with my good friends,” adding that “playing Panorama Bar [Berlin] was also crazy cool and our beloved Rooftop of Dreams at the Radisson [Cape Town] was special.”
He’s not just spreading the gospel as a DJ, but also produces and releases his own original compositions via various high level and more indie channels, including on the most recent Watergate Label compilation – Watergate XV and on labels Get Physical, Nomadiq Music, Lower East, Moral Fibre, Upon.You and RISE Music.
Floyd is an artist who is blessed to travel with his music, having just returned from NYC, where he played his first show in that city at ‘Leaving New York’ alongside John Barera and Emil Bergh. But he always loves to return to “celebrate and dance to our own beat. I’m looking forward to playing and sharing my music with my people.”
He does say that after a show in Europe or America, the feedback is really life-giving: “It’s amazing how people from around the world appreciate our music and sound, it’s an honor to be able to share music from my home country with the world. It brings me joy but also makes me proud. As they say, it’s a feeling, I guess the more I travel, the more African I feel, and the more proud I am to come from such a culturally rich continent.”
He’s playing a series of show whilst in town this time around, including headlining this month’s We House Sundays, alongside the residents, Cassiem Latief, Leighton Moody and Lawrence Dix, which he’s looking forward to: “We House Sundays is one of the very few events that captures the unique diversity of the South African audience. I really like what the WHS crew have accomplished – they have managed to create a safe space where people from different backgrounds can meet and share the love music, this is very unique and special.”
On this point he shares that the one thing missing from CT’s music and dance landscape is more spaces that “are inclusive and celebrate diversity,” explaining further that “South Africa is a unique country with amazing people and we need to celebrate that and be proud of our multicultural and multiracial community.”
Aside from continuing to spread his brand of South African house and techno sounds far and wide through new original releases and playing out the best of it in sets across the planet, he also plans to expand his experiences touring in the African continent itself, which he says “will be happening more and more in the coming year.” He’s already played in Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, and “plans are underway to play in Kenya next year, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia. I’m excited about discovering my continent.”
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Content Produced by Ian McNair – Platfrom Magazine