AVAN LAVA recently released the new single “Wanna Live,” and now we are premiering the new Lefti remix, which truly grooves. Lefti emerged on the scene just 15 days ago, with the remix of “Unreal” by Solidisco and Fireflowerz. On this AVAN LAVA track, Lefti adds some funk to the bass line, along with some smooth cuts here and there. The result is an extended club jam, ready for Friday nights.
Lefti really knows how to get a dance floor moving. So does AVAN LAVA, a veteran electro dance trio from Brooklyn, NYC. Last week, AVAN LAVA made their way down to Austin, TX, for SXSW music festival, and I had to good fortune to sit down with the trio -- Ian Pai, TC Milan, and Le Chev -- to talk about their music, their creative process, and a few good places to eat in Austin.
Look for AVAN LAVA’s new EP, Make It Real, out March 31 on Atlas Chair Records.
So, you guys are from New York City -- how do you think living there has shaped the sound of your music?
Ian Pai: There’s such a big music scene, and there has been for at least the last ten years. There’s something about New York, where people are very unapologetic about how they mix and match references and genres. Everything goes, you know -- if it works it works. So there is definitely some of that attitude in the way we are as a band. We want to be a little bit in front.
Definitely. The phrase, “be present” seems pretty important to you guys. What is the origin behind that phrase?
Le Chev: I think that kind of ties into the last question. In New York City, a lot of producers and bands are forced to make their music in really small, quiet situations. And so when you get on stage, it’s not as loud and crazy, and you’re kind of stuck in that mind frame. So for us, it’s about playing to whatever the situation is, which can be loud and crazy.
Speaking of that, you guys have a great live experience! How do you shape the way you do your live performance?
IP: I think it goes back to that last question. When Cheever (Le Chev) and Tom (TC Milan) had come up with Vapors, the first EP, there was a song, “The Easy Way,” and it was the most simple of our songs but it got the biggest reaction. We were like okay, we can make all these complicated songs, or we could have fun with the audience. So that became the template of writing songs that allow us to communicate better with our audiences. And so the whole presence thing came out of that. It’s been a lot of that. We realized we need an ending, we need a finale to the show, so “Wanna Live” was like a finale piece for us. We want to get the crowd amped up, we want to get dramatic, we want a big dance break, and so that was the first song we approached, from beginning to end that was about a specific function in the live show.
So this is your third time at SXSW, what has your general experience been at SXSW? Crazy hectic? Fun?
TC Milan: We actually talk about this a lot. A lot of bands are like, this totally sucks, as if it’s a big drag, but we love it, because it’s like the one time that bands from LA or friends we’ve met down here and all over the world come down. We can knock fifteen shows out in a week and it’s quick and it’s fun and there’s always beer and we love it.
Yes, lot’s of beer.
TC: And you know, it’s part of being present, the chaos of the shows and people running in and out, and it’s fun to actually be there in that moment and captivate people for thirty minutes. Usually half the people don’t know you and it’s fun to actually communicate with people.
Yeah you get to introduce yourself to a wider audience, which is what SXSW is all about. Do you have any favorite acts that you’ve seen in years past or coming up?
LC: Yeah tons of stuff, we just ran into one of our favorite new acts, Years and Years, checking in. We ran into Johnny Stimson a couple years ago, we liked playing with him. He actually works at our studio in New York.
TC: We met MSMR a few years ago, and our friends X Ambassadors play here all the time.
Oh, they actually played at the school I went to in Virginia, recently.
TC: Yeah they have a big following in Virginia. They’re actually my neighbors, but I never see them. Except down here, or in passing.
LC: And we saw Buraka Som Sistema play.
I don’t think I’ve heard of them.
LC: They're an incredible Portuguese band, we played with them in Colombia -- best DJ I’ve ever seen.
IP: Yeah, amazing set.
I read that you guys are really into Prince, and the rumor is that he’s going to be here at SXSW this year. Do you know anything about that?
LC: That’s the rumor every year!
TC: But he is here every year!
You guys just released “Wanna Live.” You also have the new EP, Make It Real, coming out on March 31. What can we expect?
IP: It’s a pretty high energy EP, and we think a lot of that has to do with our live experience. We wrote a lot of songs, maybe upwards of fifty sketches, and started looking at all the pieces and what made sense. We really want to do more shows, so it made sense to make a high energy EP.
So do you guys write songs, like those sketches, and play them live and see what works best for recording and what will make it on an EP?
TC: Yeah, a couple of the songs on the EP we’ve been playing live for a couple years. You know, developed them over time and tweaked them.
Well that about wraps up the interview. One last question: do you have a favorite place to eat?
IP: The Vera Cruz taco truck, The Hillside Farmacy, and Figure Eight Coffee Purveyors for coffee.
I’ll have to check those out. Alright, thanks guys! Enjoy the rest of the festival.