Sunday June 21st 5:30-7:00 pm we’ll be hosting a special Off The Stage series with DiViNCi
As a prelude to our discussion and the special performance we’ll have from him, we wanted to learn a little bit more about this unique and successful Florida based artist.
Tell us where you are from and how you got into your craft?
I’ve been living in Orlando, FL for the last 15 years but I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania called Womelsdorf. I originally wanted to be an inventor but by the time I was abut 10 years old, I became obsessed with all facets of Hip Hop and most of my inventive energy got funneled into making music.
What kind of work, or what artists in particular have been an inspiration across your career?
In the beginning, I was mainly influenced by all things Hip Hop.. Back then it was possible to own just about every tape available in the genre and I tried my best to do that. It was all great to me at first. But as time went on, I started to get more into the music that Hip Hop borrowed from, which is basically everything that came before it, and eventually started to become bored with most of what had originally inspired me. It was at that point that I started consuming as many styles of music that I could. I started to realize certain themes that were consistent between genres and the lines between them started to blur as did the lines between music and other aspects of life itself. Now, when people ask me what influences me, I can’t help but say EVERYTHING. Not just all music, but I try to learn from everything I experience and apply what I learn to the respective crafts I create in, music or otherwise.
How would you describe your style?
Free. By that I don’t just mean how I love to move freely between styles of music, but I really feel that the best thing I have to offer in my music or performances is a certain display of freedom. I don’t think my music is for everyone, but I do think that everyone can feel me when I perform for the simple reason that I lose myself once I get going. I know I really enjoy it myself when I watch someone who really loves what they do and they do so passionately and without bounds. That’s freedom and it’s beautiful to witness. That’s what I shoot for when I create/perform.
What is your favorite piece of hardware in your collection?
Hands down, Ableton PUSH. I feel like it encourages the type of workflow I’ve spent my whole life developing and wishing for, all from one piece of gear.
How has experience as a producer influenced your style as a performer?
When I first started to bring my production tools on stage with me, there weren’t other people doing that as far as I knew. The only template I had for what I was doing was the one I developed making beats in the studio. In that way, my workflow as a producer was the origin for what later evolved into my performance style. What was more unexpected is how much my performance style would evolve from there and eventually influence me as a producer.
Considering how many other producers are out there today, the rise of popularity in electronic music production, and increasingly easy access to the technology, how do you manage to create a performance that stands out and is unique?
Again, my main goal when I go out there is to feel what I’m doing 100%, or more if possible.. I do a lot of work in life and in the studio so that when I hit the stage every move I make is coming from a really carnal, instinctual place and I don’t have to think at all. I believe that keeping that expression pure and flowing is the best way to keep my creative voice uniquely mine.
How do you approach your solo work differently than when you’re part of a group or collaborating, such as with the Solillaquists?
For a good number of years, my main focus was our voice as a group. So any solo work I had evolved as a byproduct of my work with Solillaquists. We’re a really ambitious bunch, so many of our goals, musically and otherwise, haven’t been destinations we could arrive at by taking the easy path. The challenges we’ve met have taken a great deal of focus to conquer. Not to say it’s all been grueling work or that the rewards haven’t been just as great, just that all of the experimenting and learning have kept my hands full. But in the last few years, I’ve been really having fun applying all of what we learned, again both in life and music. This has afforded me, among other things, a greater understanding of what my creative voice sounds like when it’s soloed out. It’s made making music even more fun, cathartic and effortless than it was before. The increased awareness of what defines my voice, makes it easier to know how to contribute to the work when I’m making a solo or collaborative effort. Basically, I have a clearer understanding of how to best compliment my voice, when it’s for something solo, or someone else’s when working with others.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
In my career? It’s hard to say. I think the accomplishments that really stick out are the ones that exist outside of what I would call my career. The community that we as Solillaquists have built is something that I’ m really proud of. I haven’t seen anything like it. In fact, most of my efforts in my music and dealings with my career are efforts in trying to showcase that community. I could say that working with Ms. Lauryn Hill has been a great career accomplishment as well, but even that gets overshadowed by the friendship we found in each other. I guess ultimately having a career that is based around the relationships and most inspiring aspects of my life is itself the greatest accomplishment. That and being able to inspire others with what I love to do!
We have a music accelerator program here at madelife for people who want to be producers, djs, and musicians in the future. What advice can you offer those starting out, and what have you learned through your career that seems relevant to beginners?
Forever flow, always observe, mostly focus, usually inquire, sometimes push, never force. Lead a healthy life, invite mistakes, learn from as many of them as you can, don’t avoid confrontation – rather seek to move through it, and learn how to trust yourself!! Everything else will work out amazingly if you do.
Any kind of insight that you’d like to tease with leading up to the Off The Stage event?
Just that I’m bringing all of my toys and all of my energy, so come ready to have fun and maybe learn something.. but mostly to enjoy yourself!