Ahead of his First of Last album launch at sub_urban state, we spoke to Liver to get a sense of the album, his thoughts on the state of the electronic scene, and find out about his involvement in the sub_urban state brand.
Your alias Liver came as the result of a childhood joke that stuck. Have you ever considered what it may have been were it not Liver?
Hmmmm, yeah, sort of, but aliases are hard to come up with. they need to have some kind of edge and also normally have some meaning. So once you get one, it’s easier to just stick to it!
Your interest in production and DJing started in high school. Can you recall what influenced you to eventually start producing music yourself – any artists, parties or moments that ignited the spark?
The African Dope contingent was a huge influence on me and also the friends I had in High School. Spoek Mathambo and Sibot went to my school, but Si was a few years above me. I was friends with his brother and so we always went to see Max Normal shows and always had music and art around us. So it was kind of infectious. When I started getting into turntabilsm the natural progression was to make your own sounds. So I think each of these things all complemented each other.
You recently released your album, First of Last. Let’s start with the title of the album – what does it mean and why this title?
It’s a bit of a hat tipping to the last few years. I feel like this might be the end of an era for the ‘liver’ brand and also because I have never made an album before, in all the years I’ve been involved. It’s a bit of something I felt like I had to do really to move forward.
In its entirety First Of Last suggests an eclectic taste and a delving into diverse electronic sounds and genres. Tell us a bit about the concept behind and development of the album. Was it a conscious decision to explore different styles, moods, and genres?
Well, I don’t like making the same song twice. I never use the same synth patches and I don’t have samples that I’ve made that are my go to – I like originality. I wanted something that was as weird as it was melodic, but something where at least one track would appeal to everyone. I wanted it to be melodic and emotional and I was getting really bored with all the music I was hearing, so I thought it’d be cool for my ‘painting’ to be an explosion of colour on the paper.
As diverse as the music on the album is there is still an element that links it all together. What would you say that is? What characterises the Liver sound?
I’m not sure. Maybe drums? I made it to be really different from one track to the next, but I also think there might be a consistent mood throughout the album. But I always try to change the styles and sounds of the tracks, just to keep up my interest.
It’s not often that local electronic producers release full-length albums. Why did you decide to release one?
Simply because I thought it was something I should do, something that, when I look back, I could say I had done. An album kind of says something. It also takes on a very different approach to an EP or just a track.
There are a couple of individuals really raising the bar in electronic music with their dedication and concepts. One of them is Angela Weickl with The New Slang. Tell us a bit about you recent invitation to The New Slang and the experience?
Aah, Angela is rad and same with her co-operator By Jono. Not many people invest in electronic music. The SA industry ebbs and flows. It’s super risky and it’s hard to maintain positive growth and stimulation so that sounds, genres and interests merge beyond being totally dichotomous – eg. underground vs. commercial. So The New Slang project is something I really support, it’s a way to challenge and stimulate artists and peak interest in the listeners. I had a ball.
From the producers and promoters in the scene, who else would you say is innovating?
I was blown away by all the guys on the New Slang EP. The Naas music guys are doing rad things and I was recently exposed to Dank’s new project, which blew me away. There is a lot going on that definitely needs more exposure.
You’re a part of the team behind the sub_urban state brand. What is the intention of the parties that you host and what have been some of the challenges in building the brand to where it is now?
It was simply to have a good time in Jozi during the day whilst listening to great and diverse music, celebrating this with all types of cultures and classes of people. It has seen ups and downs – I could probably write a book on this topic alone – but the people who attend always seem to enjoy it, which inspires us to do more. You keep having fun and we keep wanting to keep you having fun!
You are launching your album at sub_urban state. What can we expect from your set? “Fanny Wobble”? “ride it now”?
I’m going to play my album and some tracks I’ve made over the years and maybe sneak in a little other stuff, to you know, spice it all up!
Thanks for the interview man!