Levon Vincent has been producing records for nearly two decades, starting in Manhattan, New York. His music tastes were shaped by early ’90s house music and the energy that surrounded him in places like the Lower East side. The explosion of music sampling in the ’80s informed his processes and, influenced by the elder producers in his orbit, he began his own experiments.

Since then, Vincent’s releases have landed with regularity, from 2015’s self-titled album debut, which spanned atmospheric dub techno and deep house, to For Paris and World Order Music, and a string of EPs. All of them have refined his dark and psychedelic sound, that’s at once driving and meaningful. Few producers can say so much with so little. On his more recent album, though, Silent Cites, Vincent has shifted away from the dancefloor, with 11 tracks of ambient, Krautrock, shoe-gaze, hip-hop, and electro, conceived as he traveled to and from his Berlin studio.

On tour in Los Angeles, as he wound down ahead of Silent Cities’ release, Vincent recorded a podcast for XLR8R. As with most Vincent DJ sets, it’s exclusively his own material, much of it is unreleased, but in its sound it’s also more melodic and contemplative. “I think the weather played a big part in the approach to the mix,” Vincent told XLR8R, “which was very loose and casual in the same sense as a typical Los Angeles warm and sunny day.” Press play for 80 minutes of lush, all-original house music.

01. What have you been up to recently?
I’m just maxin’ and relaxin’, celebrating the release of my new album, Silent Cities.

02. What have you been listening to? 
I’ve been listening to a lot of Aretha Franklin lately.

03. Silent Cities is different to your dancefloor stuff. How satisfying was it to produce? 
This was quite a process to go through, to work on music for listening purposes. It’s the first time in my career that I’ve done that. I’ve always made music for dancing purposes. I can say that it was a lot of ups and downs and it took a few years. There wasn’t the same direct approach as when I am making techno for a dancefloor; this was a lot of messing around and it felt like I was trying to solve a mystery. Like I knew there was something I wanted, but I had to figure out how to make it. With dance music I can envisage a song in my head before I ever sit down, because I know what I want to achieve, but with this album I just knew it would be for listening purposes, and I took it from there.

04. Where and when did you record this mix?
This mix was recorded in Los Angeles in May 2022. I was in town for a gig and staying in a cottage in Silver Lake, a hip little neighbourhood in the hills. I played music every day, alternating between DJing and making music. I was there to DJ at the excellent intothewoods party, and I had five extra weekdays to do music and enjoy the weather.

05. What’s the idea behind it?
I know that I never listen to rehearsed DJ sets, like pre-arranged podcasts. They’re just not for me. So what I tried to do here is something more like just improvising. I love hearing live recordings of DJ sets, especially when you can sort of feel the crowd’s response. So I did something that was more like that: throwing music at an audience. In the end I just liked how this was flowing without a beginning, middle, or an end. It’s like walking into a club and hearing a DJ.

05. Can you tell me about the tracks you’ve included? 
Well, I wrote all these tracks. When I DJ I play my own music, with a couple of classics here and there. I love how the CDJs have brought us back to a time like in 1980’s clubs when DJs could bring their own tracks on a reel-to-reel to test drive. So with these tracks, a lot of them are either my own records that I’ve already released or demos that I was able to play using the CDJs in the spirit of dub-plates. I do play a classic every once in a while, but for this mix all the tracks that made the cut happen to be my own. It’s special to do it this way because when I DJ in a club, you can only hear this music when I play, so it’s a way to bring something special to a crowd.

06. What’s next on your horizon?
I’m just touring and gigging, releasing dance tracks on Novel Sound and also enjoying the rest that comes after releasing an album project. In the fall I will start a new project and do it all over again!

XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

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