Interview with Vick Lavender

vickVick Lavender was member of Glenn Underground’s Strictly Jaz Unit but it was as part of Mr. A.L.I. (with Jere McAllister) that he strongly dived in a large number of hearts. Currently, Vick runs his own label Sophisticado Recordings that is responsible for some of the best house records that come out in the past few years.

 

 

PART I
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Could you tell us how you got into djing / producing and about your early career?
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That’s kind of a long story so I’ll try and keep it short… lol. As far as djing is concerned, I was always very fascinated with the art of it. I mean, playing the music that you absolutely love and getting others to love it just as you do it’s something very magical. I bugged my mom for months and finally she caved and brought me my first pair of 1200’s. I was 16 and that was 1983… My brother, who is 5 years older than me, introduced me to what would later become classic house; at that particular time I was playing a lot of Italo stuff like Telex, Fun Fun, etc.Production…wow, so many memories of the early years! Well, we’ll start at the beginning. I first started getting into production in 1988 with then my best friend Rob Macon. We had the same interest and taste as well. We were both heavily influenced by Larry Heard, Jamie Principle and later on Lil Louis. As producers, we both felt they were doing things other cats from Chicago weren’t doing. Seemed while pretty much a lot of producers were doing goofy lyrics and even goofier songs, these guys made the music serious and for kids such as Rob and myself that meant the world.
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What’s your music background? Which artists have influenced you the most?
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I touched on that a lil earlier but I’m glad I have a chance to further this answer. First has to be Quincy Jones and after Quincy I’m huge fans of Sting, Joe Sample, Bob James, Josh Milan, Pat Metheny, Glenn Underground, Joe Clausell, Trevor Horn, George Duke, Donnie Hathaway, Steely Dan, Eyrikah Badu, Mos Def, Lil Louie Vega… we can go on and on so I’ll stop myself… ha ha ha.
As far as my musical background goes I’m a producer first, I love being on the creative process of making music, which is one of the main reasons I got into production. I’m not a musician but I do most of my arrangements with a lot of help of my band THE V.L.E – Vick Lavender Ensemble. My keyboard players play a major part in the Sophisticado sound – Mike Logan, Vijay Tellis-Nayak and Rick Ghrenbeck. Also we’ve got Lamar Jones and Brian Dougthey on bass, Mike Levin on sax & flute, Chris Green on sax, so as you can see I’m very blessed to have real cats around me to help me the process of making the records.
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You have your own record label, Sophisticado Recordings. What’s the concept behind it? Do you have any specific target?
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The concept was just to make the kind of music I’m in love with, I NEVER go away from that. As far as having a specific target, the only target I have is me, I take a very selfish approach to making music… I may never get rich but I’ll be happy! lol.
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Your trademark organic sound, frequently featuring live instrumentation, is highly admired by an ever-growing number of House heads. How difficult is to put together different musicians working on a same song? Could you tell us a bit about how this process works?
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I’ve been truly blessed, the guys are a true pleasure to work with and were always on the same page; I mean, it’s never a struggle to get my point across. It really helps that I’ve become really good in the lab meaning I know the terminologies, the lingo and that’s often overlooked, it’s difficult to get your sound if you don’t know your around the studio.
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Would you say there’s a big difference between live music and electronic music?
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Well, live is in most cases better to me but there are occasions where I think the electronic aspect works better. The biggest difference to me is the actual movement of a particular instrument, for example a moog bass as oppose to a live fretless bass, some as simple as hearing the fingers drag over the strings is wicked… small things like that make a major difference to me and my approach to producing music.
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You were recently on tour in South Africa and you will return there very soon. Considering the large number of new producers coming from SA, do you think House Music is really getting some new blood?
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Already gotten new blood, that’s more like that! It’s incredible there, the scene is unbelievable and one of the many amazing things about the scene there is media plays a huge part in the success of house music. The youth controls the media and the youth loves house music, all kinds – deep, tech, jazzy, soulful, you name it. They love it, thank god for them loving the deep soulful stuff because that’s what I play! Oh, btw, I’m very selfish with djing as well… lol.
PART II
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If we looked in your cd/mp3 player right now, what kind of music we would see?
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I love Erykah Badu and after her you’ll see Sting, Eric Roberson, Level 42, The Smiths, The Rebirth, Olu, John Mayor, Pat Metheny Group, GU, Joe Clausell and Blaze, just no name a few.
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What is your own favourite track, the one you are most proud of? And remix?
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II really love “Another Girl”, that’s my joint! Although I recorded it in 2009, for some reason I never get tired of that particular record. Concerning remixes, there are two and we just wrapped sessions on the both: “Make You Dance” with Julie Dester and “We can be free” with Pete Simpson. I think those show my growth as a producer, I’m really happy with the effort on those joints.
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If you had the opportunity, with whom would you like to work with?
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Man, there are so many but I’ll give it a shot… Chaka Khan, Maxwell, Eyrikah Badu, Joe Clausell, Eric Roberson and Sting.
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What records are you currently spinning every time you play?
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That’s easy – Anthony Nicholson’s version of “Tell me a bed time story” and “Harmony” by Joe Clausell. I give both of them the treatment everytime and my friends tell me “Vick, please give those two joints a break” but I tell them to SCRAM! lol.
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What can we expect to hear from you in the near future?
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Well, if you follow my music then you already know I work with some REALLY talented vocalist – Carla Prather, Nicole Mitchell, Al Olive, David Glen, so you can expect a lot of serious vocal stuff dropping in the next couple of weeks.

Author : Deepersoul Blogspot

Website : http://deepersoul.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-vick-lavender.html

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