Interview with multi-talented producer Hevi Levi

Image credit: Nick Passman

From Tel Aviv, Israel, producer and DJ Hevi Levi is a musician with a lot going on. He is a man of many roles, with many hats to wear and stages to grace. More specifically, he is the founder of the brand Joy, a record label, DJ/production school, and recording studios. He is also the host of the Buckle Up radio show (new episodes are released on the 7th of every month). Further still, he is the creator of the  TN1! (Together Not One) sister brand, which will be hosting an event at ADE 2023 – you can buy your tickets here

Stream / Download: Hevi Levi & ASHER SWISSA – ‘My Oasis’

This is not to mention the roles he has previously held, such as resident DJ for the Manchester United Football Club or live performer at Tomorrowland. Learning about him, we got the sense that we were scraping the surface of his creative endeavours. Looking to find out more about this multi-talented creative, we asked him a few whats and wherefores. Here is Hevi Levi:

How did you and ASHER SWISSA meet? What’s the story?

Asher Swissa and I go way back, sharing a connection that spans several years. Over time, we found ourselves orbiting within the same circles, and our paths naturally crossed in the world of music. It was during an electrifying moment at an event hosted by my label during the renowned Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) that our musical collaboration first took flight. Witnessing Asher’s captivating performance that night further deepened our bond. As fate would have it, our shared passion for music led us to join forces creatively. It was just a few months after that unforgettable ADE experience that we decided to embark on a collaborative journey, birthing our debut track, ‘Ten Elephants’. The chemistry we found in the studio was undeniable, and from there it was only the beginning. 

Together, we continued to explore new sonic territories, culminating in our latest release, ‘My Oasis’. Asher’s illustrious background as a psytrance legend under his ‘Skazi’ project added an extra layer of excitement to our partnership. Beyond our musical collaboration, our friendship blossomed, grounded in mutual admiration and respect.

You mentioned that your new song is a blend of Techno and House. What other genres do you think could work well together, that maybe no one has combined before?

The beauty of music lies in its boundless creativity, and I firmly believe that there are endless possibilities when it comes to blending genres harmoniously. Music transcends traditional boundaries, just as we’ve seen society move beyond dividing lines of gender, colour, and race. Today’s DJs and producers fearlessly experiment, intertwining different genres with seamless finesse. In this era of musical exploration, listeners have grown more open-minded, embracing eclectic fusions that defy conventional categorizations. As an artist, I am constantly inspired by this sense of freedom and expression.

For instance, my upcoming release, ‘Expecto Petrunom’, serves as a testament to this ideology. A harmonious symphony of Techno, House, Trance, and Classical influences, this track exemplifies the limitless potential when blending genres thoughtfully.

The essence of music lies not in confined definitions but in the emotions it evokes, the connections it forges, and the experiences it creates. I encourage fellow artists and music enthusiasts to continue pushing the boundaries, fearlessly exploring uncharted musical territory. For in this creative pursuit, we find the essence of true innovation and artistic growth.

What are your earliest memories of techno music?

Ah, reminiscing about my earliest memories of Techno music brings a wave of nostalgia. The defining moment that ignited my fascination with techno occurred during the late ’90s at the legendary Ministry Of Sound. At that time, Trance and House dominated the mainstream, but on that fateful night, I had the opportunity to experience the transcendent sounds of Sven Väth. The pulsating beats and mesmerizing energy of Techno captured my heart instantly. It was a stark departure from the popular music trends of the era, and I found myself utterly enthralled by its uniqueness. That experience marked the beginning of my enduring love affair with techno, and since then it has become an integral part of my musical journey. Looking back, I am grateful for that defining moment, as it opened my eyes and ears to the enchanting world of techno music, shaping my musical tastes and passion ever since.

Tell us more about how your latest release was conceived and created.

My latest release, ‘My Oasis’, was born from a serendipitous moment during a phone call with Asher. I overheard him humming a captivating vocal melody, and upon asking him to share it, the creative journey began.

What are the key pieces of gear or software that you are using when producing music?

When it comes to producing music, I rely on a set of key gear and software that form the backbone of my creative process. At the heart of my setup is the Moog Subsequent 37, a true powerhouse synthesizer that lends its unique and rich analog sound to my productions. I also cherish the iconic Roland 808 drum machine, known for its legendary beats and timeless appeal, which adds a distinct rhythmic flair to my tracks. For additional sonic versatility, I turn to the Roland SE-02, a compact yet potent analog synthesizer that delivers a wide range of textures and tones. And to elevate expressiveness in my music, I incorporate the Touché, an innovative controller that allows me to add depth and dynamic modulation to my sounds. Alongside these hardware gems, I leverage cutting-edge software to augment my creative process further. The combination of both analog and digital elements enables me to sculpt my signature sound and brings my musical ideas to life in a way that resonates with my audience. This synergy between hardware and software forms the core of my music production journey, empowering me to explore and create with boundless imagination.

What is your favourite part of the creative/production process?

My favourite part of the creative and production process is the initial phase of building the idea. It all begins with a captivating story that takes shape in my trusty notebook, serving as the foundation for my musical journey. From there, I eagerly sit at the piano, allowing my fingers to explore and discover the perfect combination of keys, chords, and vibes that bring the essence of the story to life. This pre-production phase is where the magic truly unfolds, as I delve into the core emotions and melodies that will shape the track’s soul. Once the musical groundwork is laid, I move to my computer, armed with inspiration, to craft and refine the track further. But it’s that initial phase of storytelling and exploration that ignites my passion and sets the tone for the entire creative process.

What is the most memorable response you’ve had to your music?

One of the most profound and cherished moments of my music career was when I had the incredible opportunity to perform at one of Europe’s largest festivals in 2015. As my set reached its peak, and the chorus of one of my songs began, I decided to filter down the sound. To my astonishment and delight, the entire sea of festival-goers joined in unison, singing the heartfelt lyrics that had originated from the depths of my soul, crafted in the intimacy of my own bedroom just a few months before. The overwhelming rush of emotions that surged through me at that moment is beyond description. It was a surreal and humbling experience to witness how my music touched and connected with so many people on such a profound level. This unforgettable moment continues to inspire and fuel my passion for creating music that resonates with the hearts of others. 

Outside of music, where do you draw inspiration from?

My wellspring of inspiration extends far beyond the realm of music. I find myself drawing creative ideas from the world around me in its entirety. Engaging in conversations, whether they be with friends or strangers, often sparks a cascade of inspiration. Additionally, I am constantly attuned to the novelty of my surroundings, as the newness of experiences frequently ignites my imagination. Even the ambient noises that surround me serve as a symphony of messages, contributing to the rich tapestry of ideas that find their way into my music. All of these sources come together harmoniously to infuse my art with the depth and uniqueness that define my creative expression.

What is your favourite subgenre of techno music and why?

I have a profound love for melodic techno and trance music. The fusion of trance elements in melodic techno resonates deeply with me, as I adore the power of melodies and emotional expression in music. The captivating sounds and evocative vibes found in melodic techno draw me in but don’t be surprised to catch me occasionally raving to the raw energy of techno as well.

Tell us about your upcoming releases or projects

I will be collaborating with a talented artist to create a unique visual experience for my tracks. For each upcoming release, we will be partnering with an artist who will create a mesmerizing painting on a large canvas while listening to the track. The entire creative process will be documented and transformed into a captivating music video. What makes this project truly special is that the final artwork for each track will be the actual painting itself. Once we have completed a collection of 12 tracks and their corresponding paintings, we are planning to host an exhibition in a renowned museum. Attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the audio-visual experience by observing each painting while listening to the related track using the provided headphones. The names of the paintings will mirror the titles of the tracks that inspired them, forging a direct connection between the visual and auditory components of the project.

One last thought to leave your fans with?

Support your local artists. They are the beating heart of creativity and expression in your community. Attend their shows, let their music surround and inspire you. Streaming and sharing their tracks might seem like small actions, but they hold the potential to make a world of difference in an artist’s journey. Remember, the connection between artists and fans is symbiotic; we thrive on your energy, passion, and love for music, just as you find solace, joy, and inspiration in our creations. Together, we form a vibrant and harmonious tapestry that makes the world a brighter and more melodious place.

Listen to Hevi Levi’s recently released collaboration with ASHER SWISSA:

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