Almost two years ago, a questionably tagged collection of edits arrived in our inbox from a young Italian producer and ever since, we’ve been infatuated with the one who goes by Tsvi. Those edits, of L-Vis 1990 & Sinjin Hawke, Jam City and Chesslo Junior respectively, still sound fresh today and while Tsvi is two widely acclaimed EPs into his career, runs a rapidly rising label and calls Scratcha DVA “a big brother,” it’s still quite fun to look back at the hardly distant early days. 2014’s Malfunction EP on B.YRSLF was his first official project, a sprawling nine track effort that melds angular synth pop melodics with pulsing rhythms and the sort of start-stop, spacial awareness that sets apart good producers from great ones. Malfunction featured a remix of its title track from Wallwork & RZR, the former of whom would join up with Tsvi last year to create Nervous Horizon, a label that, while still in its infancy, can safely be claimed among the most sonically adventurous club music outlets anywhere.
We’ve wanted to have Tsvi on for an Astral Plane mix for a good while, but it just didn’t come together for some reason until now. It was only right then that the Tuscan artist would give us something completely different, journeying down a musical past that starts with Kiirtan music and System Of A Down, moves on through Thomas Bangalter, and ends with the mechanical bombastics of Malfunction and 2015’s Set You Free EP, the second solo release on Nervous Horizon. Buddhism around the home and a father who owned a club in the 1980s led Tsvi down that path and when he moved to London five years ago to search for work, it was only a matter of time before he found and/created an optimal musical channel.
To get a taste of what a Tsvi club set sounds like, give a listen to him and Wallwork’s Boiler Room session or their guest mix on Plastician’s Rinse show, the former proving a huge breakout moment for the both artist and label and the latter functioning as something of a mission statement for both as well. The following mix is quite different than both, charting Tsvi’s musical history and while it covers a ton of ground and is, by-and-large, situated away from the club, the picture it paints makes perfect sense when you listen back through his catalogue. No track list available at this point, but check out the mix and a quick Q&A below.
Hi Guglielmo, hope you’re good? Where are you answering these questions from right now?
Hey Gabe, i’m good. I’m currently at the studio chilling with Wallwork.
What sort of music did you listen to as a kid and what was the first record you bought?
Growing up with buddhist parents I was naturally exposed to a lot of music from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since they were (and still are) meditating a lot there was constantly Kiirtan music (singing of a mantra) playing loud in our house. Also, my father had a huge vinyl collection as he used to own a club which was open during the late 80’s. He was obsessed with bands such as Spandau Ballet, My Mine and Depeche Mode. However, the first CD I bought was System Of A Down – Toxicity lol
Where are you from in Italy and what was the impetus to move to London?
I’m from a village (1000 citizen) near Pisa, Tuscany, which is right in the middle of Italy. One of the main reasons why I moved to London 5 years ago is because there is not a lot of job opportunities and I wanted to try my luck in London.
How did you connect with artists like Scratcha DVA, Mickey Pearce, etc. in London?
I started sending music to Scratcha almost a year and half ago, but I didn’t know him personally. After few emails, he asked me and Wallwork to play at Rinse FM on his show. From there we started hanging out together and he introduced us to the Hyperdub family and other He’s. He’s like a big brother for us.
Tell me a little bit about the formation of Nervous Horizon. What was the impetus to start a record label and what are your goals going forward?
The main reason why we started a record label is because we wanted to create a sort of collective of likeminded producers. Curating every single aspect of the music we release makes everyone involved more with each other, like a family (Italian style eheh).
I would like Nervous Horizon to become kind of similar to XL Recordings, in a way they started with very underground music, and then they slowly became one of the biggest and important record labels in the pop world. This is just my dream anyway.
As much as your music is distinctly contemporary in that its soundsystem music made specifically for club play, you also look to other eras quite a bit on tracks like “Cop LAPD”, “Nobody” and your edit of Alan Braxe? Who are your dance music heroes and what’s your secret weapon from a past era?
Yeah i’m obsessed with lots of 80’s and 90’s records. And yes you can tell from these productions you mentioned. I have so many heroes i could go on forever, but if I have to be specific I would say Thomas Bangalter, he’s the best!
The mix you compiled for us clearly isn’t a straightforward club mix. Can you explain the path you chart from start to finish and what these songs means to you?
I would say, this mix is a musical collage of my different influences from different genres. It’s full of stuff that I use to sample and new stuff that is influencing me at the moment. The mix starts with a light tone and happy vibes but slowly unfolds into dark atmosphere. I hope you will enjoy!