Will Horrocks – one half of London-based outfit LV along with Si Williams – makes music which defies categorisation. Since the early 2000s, LV have championed a discography of singles, remixes, and full lengths on labels like Hyperdub and Keysound which chart their evolutions and excursions into fresh, innovative, and predominantly dance-floor sounds. Take 2011's forward-thinking and effortlessly multifaceted album Routes - with MC Joshua Idehen on vocals - as but one stellar example, followed in 2012 by the South London-South Africa collaboration Sibenza. On their most recent home - Brownswood Recordings – Ancient Mechanisms took the piano as their focus, marrying the work of virtuouso pianist Tigran Hamasyan with their own explorations of the instrument (with a junked portable piano a strong feature). The result is a thoroughly explorative record of delicate jazz keys and rippling rhythms, of moments of soft and stripped-back calm paired with bouncing, uplifting bass. Out of the studio as LV, Will also hosts his own radio shows on Balamii and Worldwide FM and, as we catch up with him via email, is set to join Gilles Peterson, Romare, Moxie, Benji B, Nabihah Iqbal and more at Bristol's Motion this upcoming Friday.
Tell us a bit about how you first got started in making music, and how LV was formed?
Got started in high school with four track tape recorders and really bad keyboards. We met in university and started making tunes on an MPC2000 instead of going to class.
There’s a distinct ‘London-ness’ to much LV’s output, not only in terms of that bassy production but also thematically on albums like Routes. You’ve also released on London staple labels like Hyperdub and Keysound. In which ways has the capital shaped your music? Do you find it a productive and inspiring or, as some do, a more suffocating environment?
I don’t really know how to answer this. I guess you could put our music into a London category but I think you can hear other influences in there too. Sometimes it’s productive, sometimes it’s suffocating, just like everywhere else. I harbour an urge to go to a log cabin next to a fjord in the snow and write there. Or maybe the Faroe Islands - a friend of ours, who has a band that we’re worked with called Orca has a studio up there and it would be great to do something one day.
Are there any local labels, clubs, venues etc which have played a role in forming your musical roots?
Bar Rumba and The End were a big deal back in the day, and Plastic People later on.
On Sebenza you collaborated with artists like Spoek Mathambo, Okmalumkoolkat and Ruffest, and the result is a thrilling blend of both UK and South African dance music. How did this collaboration come about? What was the process like exchanging ideas and music across quite a substantial distance?
Marcus at Hyperdub was the initial link to Spoek - Gerv Okzharp met the rest and recorded vocals. The album was put together back in London. More vocals came over via the internet later and we built the music around the vocals while also editing them fairly heavily. There wasn’t a whole lot of back and forth after the initial sessions.
When collaborating with lyricists and MCs like Josh Idehen, do you create and produce tracks with certain lyrics in mind, or is it more of a spontaneous and morphing process?
Josh writes to music and then once we’ve recorded we sometime radically change the music and his words or not so much, depending on how we’re feeling about the track. We’ve recently shifted from Logic to Ableton and a Push which is a lot of fun and kinda captures the spontaneity of the old MPC.
Tell us how your relationship with Gilles Peterson started, and your first release on Brownswood two years ago?
We’d met a few times but it was after we did our live Maida Vale session for his BBC show that we met properly. That album led to the idea for the Ancient Mechanisms album and once that was done I went to Brazil with Gilles and made a kind of album/mixtape called Tam Tam Tam Reimagined that also came out on Brownswood and is a version of an old Brazilian record from the 1950s.
What are some of the go-to staples in your record collection for your show on Worldwide Radio?
Nothing is a staple as I try not to play things more than once on consecutive shows.
What’s next for LV? We’ve heard you’ve been working with Josh Idehen on some new material…
We’ve got some stuff with Josh coming up next year - he’s come up with some amazing work and we’re finalising tracks at the moment but we’re all working on our own stuff too. I’ve been talking to Shigeto about releasing on his new PGS label which might come to something, also laid down some incredible ambient goth techno with Photay a couple of weeks ago, which will be the next Christmas number 1.
Will LV plays at Bristol's Motion on Friday 24th November. Tickets can be found here.