Roots and Influences invites our favourite artists, local and afar, to curate a playlist of 10 songs that have inspired their career to date. This month, we check in with Manchester-based, South African-born, Levi Love.
As a DJ, producer and record label owner, Levi Love is certainly not one to stand still. His love of deep house classics by the likes of Theo Parrish and Pepe Bradock, his desire to encourage musical exchange between his native South Africa, the UK and Manchester and his infectious nature, both in person and behind the decks, have made him a favourite on the Manchester dance music scene.
His label, Mas O Menos, which translates loosely to ‘neither here, nor there’, was set up to provide artists with the room required to express themselves. This freedom also makes Levi a stand out DJ and producer. We check in for this month’s Roots & Influences to find out what tracks have defined his musical life.
Donald Byrd – Cristo Redentor
This is one of the old time jazz tunes that has shaped my soulful aspect. It’s also taught me a certain kind of production style; that of taking time to introduce nuggets in your songs that the patient listeners get to enjoy.
MAW ft Byron Stingly – Flying High
This is one of the first house music tunes to inspire me. MAW were just starting out and it really endeared me to this type of house music.
I remain into this flavour to date. That male vocal is savage.
Pet Shop Boys – Can You Forgive Her (MK Remix Dub)
This was literally the first house music tune I heard and it is therefore the tune that cemented my love for deep house.
I was in high school and I remember me and my friends doing a very big circle and each one taking turns to dance in the middle. An exhilarating experience.
Mos Def – Umi Says
This is just my favourite tune of all time. It has more than influenced me, it is just an example of musical perfection. Nothing better.
Selaelo Selota – Trr Phaaa
This is my favourite jazz tune from childhood and once again, added to my soulful side of things. I used to follow this artist when I was at university when he was playing small venues.
It is a delight to see him thrive and play stadiums now. A brilliant piece of music that is integral to my artistry.
Matthew Herbet – The Audience
Matthew Herbet has always been an inspiration. His ability to use many elements to produce a simple sound is second to none.
This tune has always been at the top of any soulful dance music.
Moloko – Sing it Back (Herbet’s Tasteful Dub)
Matthew Hebert again displaying technical acumen in terms of production that has influenced me for days.
Masters at Work feat. India – I Can’t Get No Sleep
60% of the vinyl in my studio is MAW but this tune is where it all began for me, house music wise. It is sad they parted ways with India.
You can tell it is a fusion of backgrounds which is typically New York.
Brenda Fassie – Weekend Special
This is a childhood thing and a childhood memory. In South Africa, Brenda was the reason we bought sound systems. Brenda was the reason we danced. Brenda was the reason we loved. Brenda was the reason we lived.
Chicco Twala – We Can Dance
Growing up in the township just like Brenda, Chicco was the soundtrack of our lives. This tune was the first time a producer recorded kids in a discoey track. It inspired us kids. It was revolutionary in a sense. Chicco remains the stalwart and the most prolific producer South Africa ever saw. He inspired all of us. He gave life to kwaito music. He gave life to us DJs and subsequent producers.
Check out the whole playlist: