If familiar with the Chicago’s House scene, chances are great you’ve come across Vick Lavender‘s music, at some point.
From his early days as a DJ in the 80’s to his time with Glenn Underground and Boo Williams as a member of Strictly Jaz Unit prior to the founding of Mr. A.L.I. with Jere McAllister, Vick Lavender has established himself as a name to be watched, creating a unique blend of sophisticated deep and atmospheric jazzy vibes that would build his signature along with time…
“Dis-moi qui tu lis, je te dirai qui tu es” (“A man is known by the books he reads”), said famous French writer François Mauriac. With the same most likely applying to music, be you a listener or an artist. And the fact is whenever comin’ to hear Vick Lavender‘s impressive repertoire tells a lot about his undeniable sensibility and devotion to his art. It is to say how welcomin’ him on these shores was just a matter of (right) timing.
You look like quite prolific. Should we consider each release of yours as a new chapter in your expression??? And therefore as a new element on the ongoing construction of your own puzzle? By extension, are there pieces of music you would keep on hold for a more appropriate time???
“I’m always on a quest to do something a lil’ different from my last project. New elements are very important to the creative process. They keep things fresh new so to speak, and as far as keeping things on hold, I never look at it as such. I tend to look at it as something that’s yet to be discovered.”
You’ve been around for quite some time already. How would you see your evolution from day #1?
“Yes I’ve been around for a nice minute now and for me starting out as a DJ and progressing to the production stage of my career about sums up my evolution, but I must add that one must fall in love with the process of whatever he or she decides to do in order to make one with it…”
“When you consider the explosion of House Music originating from Black gay clubs, those two things in America are still very taboo, no matter what the media say. Hip-Hop on the other hand is a big business in a lot of ways. And as far as R&B is concerned, there isn’t anymore R&B: it has been changed into Pop Music, and Neo Soul is the new R&B…”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“Many places. It won’t always be music, but sometimes the people in my life will influence me as well. I’m a very now kinda person things and or people in my life that mean a lot to me can really get my creative juices flowing.”
Have you ever suffered from the experience of so to say the blank screen???
“Of course I have. Anyone in this game has at one point or another, but because I’m not a trained musician, my imagination tends to take over and ideas come from all over. Some of which are a little bit crazy and others tend to work for me.”
Let us know about your own process of creation from scratch to the finished part…
“Well, I have a mini studio set up at my place and once my ideas hit I get them down as best I can of course starting with my drum programming and then calling either Vijay or Mike both by the way are wonderful keyboardist and getting my rough to them and we go from there…”
I’ve understood you’re not a trained musician. How do you do then to transcript your idea(s) into reality?
“This is really a great question because there is a misconception out there that if you’re not trained musician then how can you become a good producer?
Now, don’t get me wrong! Being a trained musician is a huge advantage but by coming up as a DJ first taught me things that would translate into the production game. Not too mention the many wonderful trained musicians I’ve had the privilege to work with who have all taught me things as well. But at the end of the day, the willingness to be taught things I didn’t know and my ear are what has made me the producer I am today.”
Familiar with your music for quite some time now, I would tend to think atmospheres happen to be a key thing for you. Would they have to be considered as the translation of some introspection of yours as a human being???
“I’m very driven by emotion, happiness, pain, etc. If you wanna call that atmosphere, then so be it. I will say it plays a big part in the feel of a particular record I may be recording…”
Keepin’ on with the atmospheres, has cinema ever had any influence? And if so which kind? Would you tend to see common points between these two art forms??? Let us know about what led you to music. Your background? Some elements in your life which might have led you to choose this direction rather than any other one.
“I’m assuming this is a two part question, so I’ll approach it that way. Cinema hasn’t really influenced me musically all that much but I do see common points between the two. One of them would be passion for doing them. There will be many negative things that go on in the process of getting to where you’d like to be, and you have to be strong and willing to get back up each time those failures go on because failures are a part of this business. Some of the elements that led me down the path of choosing a career in music? Well, let’s just say it chose me. Make no mistake about it though, I’m a music lover. Music for me isn’t something that’s trendy or hip, it’s a way of life, it’s my way of life and probably too a fault…”
If not into music, what would you have liked to do???
“Lately I’ve been getting back into working out more and eating better. I’d like to be around to see my only daughter pursue her dreams.”
Is there a specific thing to Chicago which explains it would be the cradle of Deep House? Then the place that seems to see a whole bunch of producers expressing themselves in this specific niche??? ie Lil Louis, Glenn Underground, Abicah Soul…
“Chicago has a lot of diversity when it comes to House Music, with the range of production hailing from here showing that, but I don’t think the city itself realizes the amount of quality underground & soulful House which it’s responsible for blessing the world with.”
Could the reputedly abstract side of Deep House be linked to Jazz and therefore explain as to how the latter (but also you) are also renowned for a jazzy part in their respective repertoires?
“Well, it’s simple for me, I’m lover of Jazz/fusion. I don’t think Deep House is linked to Jazz although there are certain artists who are influenced by Jazz such as myself, Glenn Underground, Josh Milan to name a few. I can’t speak for anyone else but as for myself. I just try and make music that I’m happy with and the hell with everything else.”