Anyone who knows me knows that I'm really passionate about the arts, but more specifically - music. I listen to just about EVERY single genre regardless of when the music was released, what language the music is in, and who it was created by. I like to look into the lyric interpretations (if there are lyrics, at all), the inspiration behind the tracks, and how I can apply those meanings and messages to my own life. Music is something that I've always been able to lean on as I've found it to be incredibly therapeutic, especially during times of stress or boredom. I believe that music is able to transcend time, language, and age because it's its own unique element of its own that people across generations can enjoy, critique, and apply their own meaning to. The reason why I'm saying this is because I greatly encourage other people my age to have this same open-minded view on music and give all of its elements a chance. Listen to an artist you've never heard of before. Research the history of art sampling and how its widely used in hip hop. Ask your friends for music recommendations or songs that they'd think you'd like. Give music outside of the mainstream a chance because you never know who and what you're missing out on.
I was able to be given the opportunity to interview a major, up-and-coming music producer here in Windsor, Ontario named Stefano La Civita, who goes by avius. Stefano La Civita (avius) is a Canadian born artist, producer and multi-genre noise maker. He has made music for a multitude of different people and also has released several amazing singles on Spotify (@avius). Most recently, he released an EP called 'Voices' that eloquently blends indie and electronic rhythms with synth-wave sounds that make you feel as if you're in a dream. My favorite song from his 'VOICES' EP is 'Drowning/Voices' because it makes me feel like I'm looking out of a train on a rainy day and thinking about a recent heartache that's rendered me doubtful, dazed, and distraught. I am absolutely honoured to have had the opportunity to interview avius and I hope you take the time to read his honest and informative responses to my questions and concerns below. Thank you!
1. How did you start producing and what gave you the motivation to stay with it?
I’ll try to keep this answer short because I could go on forever but, essentially, video games got me into music. I was originally inclined to learn the piano because I wanted to learn how to play all the themes to my favourite games. I eventually gravitated towards electronic sounds because that’s what is found in a lot of old school games, and it just kind of snowballed from there. Before I knew it, I was knee deep in it. Something that often gives me the motivation to keep going is to take a few steps back and really look at how far I’ve really come. There was a point when I would dream of just being able to know how to write music or play an instrument well. That seemed like such an obstacle for me. Now that that’s way behind me, so it’s nice to reflect on that and allow that to really put things into perspective for me.
2. Who are you inspired by?
Such a great question because I feel no matter how hard you try to be your own thing, your inspirations will always bleed through. I like to look at the music I make as an amalgamation of my inspirations, so there are tons I could name. Right off the bat I’d say the production of Kanye, Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Porter Robinson, Mura Masa, and a bit of old school Skrillex are all in my musical DNA. The music by those artists really push me to be better and I’d like to think of my music as a close relative to their sound. I also find myself visually inspired by these artists, as well. Their music and their image are so tethered and all of their cover arts and stage setups are works of art. To me, that and the music are one in the same. In terms of our work behind the cover art, it is JUST as important.
3. Please explain your creative process when you were creating your ‘Voices’ EP and/or when you produce music, in general?
In terms of my process in creating any song of mine, I usually start with the drums, and my overall goal when writing is to try and put the listeners in my head space. Creating this EP really felt like a breakthrough. Some of the sounds I used in there combined with the overall atmosphere of the track really nailed the picture I was trying to paint with this project. Strength was one of those tracks that made me kind of re-think everything I've ever made and put into perspective for me the direction I'm going. I guess the whole goal of the project was to create these kinds of songs that mesmerize you and present themselves visually. As opposed to something that just makes you groove or something. Nothing against that, but it just wasn't my intent with this. The general idea behind the name ‘Voices’ revolves around a few things. In this project, I played around with different kinds of vocals, whether they be clean, distorted, synthesized, sung or rapped. In addition to that, each song represents a voice I've had in my head over the past few years. The voice in ‘Strength’ is the voice of a loved one who lives on in me telling me to push forward, and the voice in drowning is one of deep self doubt and destructive-ness. So, there's kind of this cool dichotomy between the two of them. It's like Ying and Yang.
You can check out his 'VOICES' ep here!
4. What’s an average day like for you?
An average day at the studio would probably be me working on several different projects at once, with a few clients squeezed in here and there. So, it’s pretty hectic. I’m not really a low-key person and I like when things are go-go-go. It keeps me on my toes. The more I’m doing, the more my mind is racing and the ideas just flow. People who like to relax often tell me they get anxious around me because I never sit down or stop moving, but that’s how I like it.
5. Do you collaborate with others? What is that process like?
TONS. I'm working on a couple fun singles right now and after that, I'll be taking a hiatus from releasing to really plan something bigger. I love the process of collaboration, and sometimes I feel like I work better with others in the room. In fact, the design for the cover art of “Voices” was between me and my extremely talented friend Jesse Hebert (Photographer, Designer). There aren’t many other people in my city that I'd turn to. As some may know, I'm pretty meticulous with the over arching visual theme tied into my music. But, Jesse killed it. I was ecstatic at how it turned out. I remember pitching the idea to Jesse and seeing it come to life just felt so surreal. So essentially, the meaning behind the cover is a reflection of the song ‘Strength’. I wanted the cover to be mostly dark blue and have some sort of force or version of me looking like it's leaving my body. This is supposed to symbolize the voice of my mother that lives in me, pushing me to keep creating. A really memorable moment of creating this cover art was that during the moments the shot was taken, we were listening to the outro of New Slaves as it transitions into Hold My Liquor from the album Yeezus by Kanye West. That album is really special to me as it's what got me into rap and those kind of aggressive electronic beats, so that whole situation felt very profound to me.
6. I noticed that you also have your own recording studio in Downtown Windsor, Ontario. Do you mind discuss what you offer there, how much it costs to gain access to the studio, and the details surrounding it?
I offer everything music related! Production work, vocal recording, song writing, mixing, mastering (30$ per hour, which is the CHEAPEST in the city). It’s basically a compact recording studio. I plan on expanding to a better location soon, but for now, it has got all the essentials. I make all my music here, as well as, the stuff I do with others for my hourly rate. It’s located on Ouellette and if anyone wishes to book time with me, they can just contact me via text or Instagram! @aviusmusic
7. What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Never EVER stop. Even if it means losing friends or sleep. Just keep hacking away at it. Your first song will be bad. But, you need to make your first before you make your 100th.
8. What do you do to prevent yourself from giving up?
It really helps to surround yourself with people who build you up and want to see you succeed.
9. Where can the readers find out more about your EP and the songs you produce?
I’m very active on Instagram and Twitter! IG: @aviusmusic & TWITTER: @officialavius. I talk about my music pretty regularly on there, and if they’re reading this, I’ll say some stuff right now. I’m going to begin laying the ground work for my next project which will be lengthier and very ambitious. I won't go to far into detail, but it will involve the work and collaboration of many artists, across mediums other than music. Besides that, I'll also be working with tons of artists in my city in efforts to try and build up the scene and put my name out there, so expect tons of production work from me in 2019. I also have a couple
tracks with my good friend, SAINT AMOUR down the pipeline. I’m really excited to show my city and the rest of my listeners what I have planned!!!
Thanks for reading this interview with Avius. Please make sure to follow his social media pages here: (Instagram) and (Twitter) and check out his Spotify here! Feel free to share this post, as well. And, remember: SUPPORT LOCAL TALENT! :)