Clovis—who operates under his first name—has had this mix on his mind for some time, but it took him until now to put something together; why risk sharing something that doesn’t feel completely ready? It’s a philosophy that he applies to his productions: barring a handful of track contributions to LesIzmo:r and BodyParts various artist compilations, he hasn’t released anything, though there’s plenty of material ready—or nearly ready, at least. “Sometimes, I think I tend to trick myself that the music isn’t really ready,” he told us in 2016, “I just have to get better at sending my stuff out to people; I’m pretty bad about that kind of thing.”
Not too much has changed on a production front since that conversation, but Clovis has been anything but static. Born and raised in LA, save for a two-year stint in France, Clovis has relocated to Berlin where he’s become part of the furniture at Club der Visionaere; head down there any afternoon—or, better still, early morning—and you’re likely to see him spinning trippy minimal tunes or dancing to them. It’s a move he’d intended for some time: his sound—groovy, stripped-back, and intricate—is omnipresent across the European continent and he’s reaping the rewards of being surrounded by those who sing a similar tune. He was invited to play at Sunwaves 2017—the benchmark for those within these musical stylings—and is performing more regularly away from the German capital, particularly in and around Bucharest. Listening to his music, you can’t help but feel that it’s a matter of getting it heard above all else.
His mix is a testament to this growing reputation. Tracks come from the masters of this scene—Rhadoo, Ion Ludwig, and Baby Ford—plus some lesser-known cuts and unknown little-publicized reworks and edits. Most have been released, some not, but you’re unlikely to have heard them all.
What have you been up to recently?
I just got back home to Berlin after two months on the road in North America…toured most of the USA with a couple stops on the Mexican border and one in Vancouver, Canada. It was a long and fun trip with some great surprises and adventures, and nice to see all my family and friends over there. We hosted Ion Ludwig for a party in LA and had a nice week showing him around, including a road trip to the desert with my Mom and some friends; that was really fun. Two months away can get a bit disorienting though, so I’m happy to be back at home with the amazing crew of friends and crazies here in Berlin. One of the main reasons I moved here is that almost all my favorite musical peers and friends in the scene are here; it just feels right for the time being.
When and where was this mix recorded?
This was recorded in the lovely basement at the house of my good friends Matt Foley and Molly McElheny in Boston, who run Community Links and also the Reset Wednesday parties there. I recorded the mix on three CDJs, Technics, and a Xone 92, on my last full day in America before heading back to Europe. They have a great little mini-club like afterparty basement with one of the most comfortable DJ setups of all time and good vibes. Some choice mezcal helped during recording also.
Is there a particular theme or idea behind it?
Like you mentioned, I’ve been thinking about an XLR8R mix for a while now, and originally I wanted to do something really broad with a variety of styles and tempos, something representative of my wider music tastes; a journey for home listening. In the end, though, I decided to record something more spontaneous that is more representative of how I play out at parties, or what I think a condensed version of an ideal night might sound like, with a mix of old and new as usual. I did one take the week before that I wasn’t so happy with, and had a gig out of town in between. Once I got back I had one afternoon to quickly go through some different ideas and tracks and record in one shot. I’ve tested the result on a few friends to good feedback and decided I’m pretty happy with it, which is rare since I tend to over-analyze any recording of myself.
How did you choose the tracks that you included?
As always, it’s a distillation of what I’m into and playing these days, with newer artists and records I’ve found recently, older ones I’ve kept in the rotation, and things I had picked out almost at random even a few hours before recording. I like a lot of different dance music and I like to go different places while playing, so the challenge is always how to fit everything together so that it flows nicely and makes sense to me. I think there is a good coherence here while I manage to take some risks and not stay stagnant on one energy level or style. The third CDJ was essential for doing some on the fly edits and creative mixing and layering. Thanks to Tom McKeon for providing it in Boston! Finally, I always like a gentle intro and a soft landing with any mix I’m recording for this purpose, which you’ll also find here.
What’s next on the horizon?
I’ve had a bit of a rough start to the year with some canceled gigs and postponed dates, but getting back in the grind soon enough. The calendar is looking good through spring and I’m looking forward to visiting some new cities like Budapest in March 8, and going back to favorites like Wildt in Prague on February 16. I am already planning another US and South America trip in June as well. Apart from travel, I’ll be making some new music in friends; studios in Berlin and with Matt we’re in the early stages of starting a new label that will be called Understory, to release some nice stuff I have from friends that still hasn’t found a home, and hopefully some of my own music as well. Other than that, I can’t wait for spring & summer to roar back into Berlin and CDV season to start!