Being someone's paradise: Leon Vynehall explains how he built 'Rojus' - Features - Mixmag
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Being someone's paradise: Leon Vynehall explains how he built 'Rojus'

Delve into the Brighton-based producer's new record

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Lead image: Steve Braiden
  • 21 March 2016
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Have you considered making video accompaniments to your music?

I have, and there are projects I'm working on which will incorporate film. I can’t say much more than that right now.

You’re not really attached to any specific scene which makes your releases quite timeless in a way, but you’ve also spoken before about seeing your music as ‘timestamps’. Do you mean that in a personal sense?

Yeah, that's purely personal to me. By timestamps, I mean I can listen back to something I’ve done and remember when and where I was, what was going on in my life at the time, and who I was as a person. I think it's healthy to document growth and look back and appreciate where and how far you have come, or how far you feel you have to go, whether that be professionally or as a person. I'm a firm believer that music as a creative process can be a tool to finding out things about yourself.

You’ve been producing and co-writing tracks with LA Priest and you produced Formation’s EP and album, what’s it like working behind the controls for these acts?

It’s a different process for sure. Most obviously is that it’s a totally different way of writing compared to my own material. There are different things to think about in terms of arrangement and melody. You’ve also got other people to think about other than yourself. It’s not my baby, I’m there to facilitate their artistic vision, ideas, sounds and push people forward. I understand that I’m asked to be involved in projects because of a ‘sound’ people associate to me, or because of my style of song writing, but at the end of the day my name is not on the front of the record. It would be arrogant of me to completely drench my aesthetic over someone else’s music.

How does it differ from collaborating with A1 Bassline as Laszlo Dancehall?

Drastically. LZD came about because of mine and Christian’s friendship and mutual music tastes. It’s a lot more ‘casual’ than sitting at the helm of a console while a band look on waiting for you to direct, record and produce them. With Christian, we usually just get a bottle of bourbon and attempt to write 3 songs in 3 days.

Do you have a background playing in bands/guitar music? If so, does this feed into your solo production now? I find your drums sound quite organic despite their programming.

Yeah I do, and I would say that it does. More the sound palette then anything I think. Super synthetic sounds never got me going (with some exceptions). I’m quite tired of hearing a 909 on everything. It’s beginning to feel throw-away for me, which is a shame. A growing number of new music just heads straight for the ‘meat & veg’. Where's the paprika at, man?

You’ve spoken before about going in blind and buying records from charity shops. How often do these buys appear in your DJ sets? I find the idea of ‘discarded’ music from one person being played for and enjoyed by a likely younger generation quite romantic.

They can do, but when I’m in charity shops picking out records, its usually with the intent of sampling, and more often than not they make it into songs. Almost feels like a musical rebirth. Who knows, maybe in 50 years time someone will sample my music and the cycle will continue? That definitely feels sentimental.

'Rojus' is out on Running Back on April 1. Leon celebrates with a launch party at Mick's Garage in London on March 25

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

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