Luvian is someone who takes complete creative control over what he produces. Not only does he produce his tunes, he can also sing, and even takes the photos for the artwork. As a multi-faceted creative, he is someone who encompasses what we’re about here at Spindle.
Taking all that into account, it made perfect sense for us to not only get an in-depth interview from him, but also to premiere the music video for his latest single, ‘Rooms’ featuring Amber. Luvian talks lucidly about the relationship between music and fashion, compromise as a creative and even tells us what his favourite room of the house is. Grab a hot drink, get comfy, and acquaint yourself with the man first, and watch the video below.
Hey Luvian, basics first. Why the name?
Hey there! Well, I’d made a bunch of tracks that all sounded cohesive and felt it was time to get them up on Soundcloud for people to start hearing. I had no name before this point, so I began just searching for really interesting words. It was love at first Google. There she was in a list of other ‘fancy’ words. It’s basically an old Anatolian language. I’d love to give you a deep, meaningful back story, but it was literally decided within maybe 20 minutes or so.
For those unaware, give us a bit of background on who you are and what you’ve done so far…
I’m Alex, I’m foremost a musician (guitarist). I went to university down in Brighton to study music. I initially wanted to be a session guitarist. I started producing under the alias of ‘Luvian’ maybe around 2012 while I was still studying. A track that really started receiving some recognition was ‘Valley Girl’, which ended up getting picked up by Super Recordings, an independent label who released some really cool acts like Bondax, AlunaGeorge and Honne. Great roster to sit alongside, no? Another track was ‘Romaine’, that I ended up being approached by ASOS about to see if they could use it for their winter campaign. That was a great experience and definitely helped me reach a wider audience, although I have never received any free clothes!
I’ve played live twice, once supporting my good friends Atlas, the other closing the Saturday night at Gottwood after Maribou State, which was a crazy experience! My debut EP ‘Memories’ came out in 2016 via Ultra, who I have also released my latest one with, ‘A Time & Place.’ I’ve remixed some really cool artists such as Petrie, Lane 8 and a bootleg of SOHN’s ‘The Wheel’ that unfortunately got taken down, although I think it’s still lurking somewhere on Youtube… I think that’s a good little snapshot of me up to the current day. Two EPs down with plenty more to come!
Although you must spend a fair bit of time in London, you’re from Leeds. Do you think growing up outside the capital has influenced your sound?
Yeah, I initially did travel down to London for sessions, however I’ve currently just finished building my own studio back up North. I now have my own hub to create from and since it’s been up and running, I’ve had most of the artists I’ve worked with venture up to me. I would 100% say that it has. Everything is a lot more spread out here (including people). Leeds is the nearest city to me, but I live in a small village by the Yorkshire Moors. I’m not surrounded by the hustle of so many bodies trying to be creative in a such a condensed space like London. There’s definitely more room to breathe creatively, which has been really positive to me. There are times where being immersed in a constant influx of new art is great and super inspiring, but I definitely think growing up with so much nature around, kind of has to influence you in someway. I think it has allowed me to experiment more freely, sometimes for the better, other times for the worse, but it has definitely impacted my sound.
We’re big fans of your (unofficial) remix of Bon Iver’s ‘Holocene’. Presumably Justin Vernon [Bon Iver’s frontman] is someone who inspires you. Who else is on that list?
I love Bon Iver. He has such an organic sound which is something I strive for in all my productions. It’s imperfect and has so much character to it. It was a dream to snag some of his stems! Sometimes electronic music can be too good ‘sonically’ which can be quite sterile. I take loads of inspiration from acts like Floating Points, Mount Kimbie, Lorn and Photay to name a few; basically anybody who works with sounds differently and twists things beyond recognition. I love trying to work out where that original sound came from.
You’re also a keen film photographer. We’re seeing a growing trend of artists crossing over disciplines. How do you view the relationship between music and photography, if any?
Yeah I love film photography. I have a darkroom in my studio that allows me to be a part of the whole process, right from taking the picture through to developing and then printing. I think there is a huge symbiosis between both art forms. Visuals are really important in the whole package of an artist. It’s also really awesome to be able to create work for yourself that can be used on socials and give your artist output another dimension. Combing photography also allows you to be really self sufficient as an artist and really be in control of your own brand I guess. Imagery is so powerful, and the combination of both can be something that people can really resonate with. It’s another way for people to engage with you.
You produce, sing, even take photos for the artwork – as a multifaceted creative how do you deal with collaboration and the compromises that can come with it?
I try to sing… As someone who has quite a strong vision of where they want to go creatively I did used to have a certain level of apprehension about collaborating early on. However I really do feel now, that there doesn’t need to be any compromises if you work with people who also share the same creative freedom that you do. Yeah, sometimes collaborations go in a direction you didn’t plan for, but if you create with the right people, the outcome will always be true to all artists involved. I think that’s the most you can ask for from a collaboration; honesty. I think that it’s exciting not knowing what your going to make. It keeps you on your toes creatively.
Your new single is called ‘Rooms’. What do you think is the most important room in a house and why?
That’s a really tricky one. I’m going have to say the bathroom. No other room can get you ready for a great day in the studio like the trusty bathroom. A shower to start the day is a beautiful thing. Sometimes I’m seriously groggy in the AM, everyone knows the feeling. I enter the bathroom an exhausted being, and I leave the bathroom a fresh, Radox-infused human.
The track also features Brighton up-and-comer Amber. How was she to work with?
Amber was really easy to work with. We only had a four hour session. In that time you have to kind of get acquainted creatively and sometimes that can take longer that you think. We wrote the whole song in that time and recorded the final vocals. You can’t really ask for any more from a session! She’s a quick writer, but not at the expensive of quality which is a skill that isn’t always easy to come by.