An African nomad, born in South Africa and living in Berlin, DJ and producer Floyd Lavine has travelled all over the globe, but his African origins still inspire his music.

Describe your music in three words.

African. Techno. Music.

Tell us more about your music and how you decided to become a DJ and producer.

For me, music has always been a vessel to connect with people and to share experiences. I use my music to communicate and to express what I’m feeling. The reason I became a DJ is that I love dance music. I express myself better when I dance. So it was through my love for dancing that I decided to become a DJ and later a producer. It all happened organically over the years.

How would you explain African-inspired music?

When it comes to African-inspired music, firstly it’s the source (meaning its origin). Africa has a flavour and a vibe to it, it’s addictive. The groove is undeniable. And being ‘inspired by African’ means seeing Africa as a source of inspiration.

What does identifying as an African musician mean to you?

It means everything! I always viewed my self as a human before anything, but in the world that we live in we are consistently reminded by society who and what we are. I was born in South Africa and I’m proud to be African because of everything we had to overcome, just to be seen as humans. I believe being African means you should have compassion for your fellow humans. Matched with humility, strength, expressiveness, courageousness and self-worth. But you should always be open to learning.

Would you say living in Berlin has influenced your music in any way?

Living in Berlin has had a big influence on my life. I totally believe that my environment plays a huge role in my work. You are your environment and that is why it’s important to make sure that you are in a space that’s both inspiring and challenging. Berlin offers me a different viewpoint, new challenges and the opportunity to meet inspiring people.

How often do you come back to Cape Town and would you ever move back?

I come back to Cape Town once a year. Usually in December/January as this is the best time be home to visit family and see friends (and also to escape Berlin winter – I’m not built for -10°C weather!). I’m always open to the idea of coming back home, but for now, I’m still enjoying exploring the world and sharing
my music.

Tell us more about RISE.

RISE is a record label, event company and a movement. I started RISE with a collective in Berlin, our aim is to showcase quality artists that are from Africa or are influenced by Africa. We have both hosted established and emerging acts like Black Coffee, Henrik Schwarz, Black Motion and Culoe de Song. It’s a movement that’s creating a bridge between Africa and the rest of the world, showcasing interesting African electronic artists from the continent, and any act we believe is worthy or whose sound we like. We believe in releasing our music on vinyl (we are still lovers of the medium and the quality it produces) and digital. We also host events at the legendary Watergate Club, which is our home in Berlin.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

I had a great start to 2018 which kicked off with a mini African tour. I got to visit Angola, Mozambique and had some great shows in South Africa. In March, I started my European tour with dates in Milan and Rome in Italy, Paris in France, Berlin and Basel in Germany and in April, I did Israel and Greece as well. I have some exciting shows coming up, I have South America booked for shows and Ibiza dates. I’m also really excited that I’ll be visiting Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for the first time. Music wise, I have new music already out this year on renowned international record labels, and I’m working on new music for RISE. It’s busy times, but exciting times. I can’t complain.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

I’d have been involved in a creative field like art, fashion or film. I love creating and expressing my self.

Who are the artists you’re currently listening to?

The artists that I’m enjoying at the moment… hmmm… there are quite a few.

• Kususa, a Durban-based duo. Amazing production. Always play their stuff.

• Petite Noir is a super-talented artist.

• Nonku Phiri is class.

• BCUC – amazing band from Soweto.

• Vicmari is another Durban artist I’m impressed by.

• Jazzuelle – a top producer with an amazing work ethic.

• Super Black Tapes – Fred Buddha and t.Siza (Future Bantu Music).

• Batuk – Aero Manyelo and Spoek Mathambo’s creative collective.

• Deep Aztec is someone to watch out for. A seriously talented young man.

• Enoo Napa, just been signed to Soulistic.

• Gumz – a skilled young producer.

• Sho Madjozi is a Shangaan Rapper. Love her stuff!

Too many to mention, but I’m always on the lookout for emerging SA talent.

From left: Members of RISE – Minco, Dede, Hyenah, Floyd, Walter, Griot & Jamie