Rene LaVice Breaks Down His ‘Far From Perfect’ LP
Rene LaVice Breaks Down His ‘Far From Perfect’ LP

Touching down with his third album project, the ever-impressive Rene LaVice continues to level up in a career that has been on an upward trajectory from the get-go. Rocketing to the forefront of the Ram roster with a vengeance since signing to the imprint a little over six years ago, the young upstart has since become something of an elder statesman as his expanding role as a DJ, producer, and radio host on BBC Radio 1 has secured his status as an international tastemaker.

Going all in once again on the aptly titled Far From Perfect LP, Rene LaVice brings his unique vision and studio flex to a wide range of drum and bass subgenres that he’s graciously agreed to break down track-by-track for us below. Built around the theme of fighting his perfectionist tendencies, Far From Perfect is a testament not only to the ongoing progress of drum and bass as a whole, but of Rene LaVice’s own evolution in the belly of the beast.

Far From Perfect is out now via Ram Records so download/stream here.

“From the beginning it was about making a really big, fun, party track that didn’t sound like every other track out there. I really wanted it to be bare bones with a really big riff and the whole vocal hook comes from me shouting in the studio as the tune was coming together. The vibe just got me really excited, so I just turned on the mic and recorded, ‘Every time I hear the kick, I go, woo hoo!’”

“Drop It”
“This one is designed to smack everyone in the face. ‘Oh, you thought that last one was a smasher? Well—pop! Take some of that!’ The thing about this one is that it’s all about being deceptively simple. When you grow up as a Dillinja fan, there’s one half of you that loves the soundscapes that he uses and the vibes and then the other half is floored by the Neanderthal rhinoceros running through your speakers. That’s what this one tried to capture.”

“Cold Crush” ft. Gydra
“Gydra is a duo from Russia and one of the guys came up to me backstage after a show over there. He didn’t speak a word of English and I had to get a translator so we could communicate. A few months later, I literally messaged their Facebook fan page playfully: ‘Collab bro?’ I’ve never done that before but the message back was like, ‘Yeah, ok, sure.’ They sent me a rough idea they were working on they had this vocally bit on it that wasn’t quite working, so I added some stuff, did my thing, and in the process got an idea for a new vocal out of nowhere. I recorded a rough version of my new vocal idea, sent it back and said, ‘What do you think about getting someone to sing this?’ They liked it so much that we didn’t even re-record it, the vocal you hear on there is the demo version.”

“Can’t Get Enough” ft. Isaac Evans
“Isaac Evans is a genius. Last year I had a gig out in New Jersey and ended up at this afterparty at Isaac’s house. It was one of those nights where you don’t want the night to end. There was this twilighty-morning vibe, the sun was coming up, Isaac was playing guitar in his hallway and he had this wicked voice that just stuck with me. A few weeks later I hit him up, sent him some piano chords, and told him how I was thinking about that night, and we built this narrative where you meet this girl and you want to see where it goes, nothing has happened yet, it’s more about that dreamy vibe where there’s unlimited potential for good stuff. That’s what this tune captures, I hope, that warm, fuzzy feeling that you can pull out whenever you’re down.”

“I wrote this after a long stretch of doing remixes and just wanted to clear my head by experimenting with different sounds. Somewhere in there I created this exploding synth that sounded almost distorted coming out of the speaker. I kept playing with the sound and a groove popped out that I couldn’t stop listening to and built the tune around that. I had literally been producing in my room for eight hours and was in a daze and just riding that creative buzz when this one came together.”

“Twilight” ft. Faye Derbyshire
“I met Faye through a dude who is one of my biggest fans. Faye is his sister and they basically caught me outside of a club in Manchester that I had played at and after the usual introductions his sister was like, ‘I want to do a track with you.’ I just sort of shrugged it off like a jerk but she was persistent and after a while I was like, ‘Well do you have anything I can listen to?’ and she was like, ‘No.’ ‘Well, do you have any lyrics you’ve written?’ ‘No, I don’t write stuff either.’ And I was like, ‘Generally, if I’m going to work with someone, they need a profile but it also helps to be able to hear your voice.’ So I sent her some piano chords and she was like, ‘I really love this, what do you want me to do, I don’t write lyrics remember?’ And so I basically wrote ‘Twilight’ that night and this girl literally sang it back perfectly. It was completely perfect, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘You can sing like this but you have nothing recorded, no portfolio, where did you come from?’ I literally thought I’d get her voice and then autotune it and chop it up into something cool, you know? I’d make a clubby tune out of it or something, but then she sang and well…listen to the track for yourself.”

“How Do I Kill”
“This was a track I made in a hotel room, on my laptop with my trusty old apple earbuds. I think I was trying to just get my energy up before a show and forgot all about it until a few weeks later and started working on it again. I shared an early version with Andy C and he suggested a few things but most notably moving the vocal up in the mix. It was great advice as now it’s not only a great track but fun to blend with other tracks while DJing, which is exactly what Andy’s ear is trained to do.”

“Every Time” ft. Ivy Mairi
“This started out as a half-time, Chainsmoker-y kind of track. We were just having fun capturing the vibe of a love interest that keeps toying with you but you’re not smart enough to get away from it. I was listening back to it when pulling the album together and I had already reached the point where I had wanted to go a hundred percent drum and bass on the LP so I just took the track apart and rewrote it.”

“I think the title came from the way the bass and snare sounded like a slap on this one. The sound drove the creative process and I remember at one point, my inner voice was channeling a lot of Gridlok and the way he’ll take a sound and just process the fuck out of it until it sounds like this guttural almost vocally grimy sound that’s still somehow in tune. It’s definitely one of the funkier tracks on the album.”

“Let You Go” ft. Jareth
“I nearly lost my mind trying to make this one happen. I started it two years ago in a studio session with Jareth who was someone I wanted to work with since my remix of Chris Lake’s ‘Helium.’ Her vocals on that are incredible and every time I drop it at a festival or hear another DJ drop it, there’s just something magical about her voice. Long story short, after ‘Helium,’ for whatever reason, she was very hard to find. Eventually I landed a studio session with her, wrote two tracks in that session including ‘Let You Go,’ but then never got a second session with her because she went missing again. I couldn’t find her. I shelved the track and about six months later started working on it again, it was a good track but it wasn’t quite there. I changed the arrangement and the chords and I remember there was a moment where everything fell into place and her voice and the way the chords came together just opened everything up. I felt like this was the tune I’d been chasing my whole career, so I picked up the phone and emailed and it wasn’t until a year and a half later that I was finally able to track down her manager and convince her to help me finish the track.”