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29 jan. 2020

Interview met L´Avenue

L´Avenue is de artiestennaam van het muzikale talent Jesse Reuben Wilson. Met zijn debuut EP Cherry Crush veroverde L´Avenue de harten van vele synthwave liefhebbers over de hele wereld. Een flinke lijst aan prijzen en hoge noteringen in vele eindejaarlijstjes maakten 2019 tot een prachtig jaar voor deze Britse muzikant. Dit jaar wordt ook bijzonder met nieuwe releases en een live optreden op Retrowave D´luxe. Het is mij een eer om dit interview met L´Avenue te hebben gehouden.

L´Avenue is the stage name of the musical talent Jesse Reuben Wilson. With its debut EP Cherry Crush, L´Avenue captured the hearts of many synthwave enthusiasts around the world. A large list of prizes and high scores in many end-of-year lists made 2019 a wonderful year for this British musician. This year will also be special with new releases and a live performance on Retrowave D´luxe. It is my honor to have had this interview with L´Avenue.

L´Avenue

Jesse, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm British a multi-instrumentalist / producer and have been making music for as long as I can remember. I've have other music projects such as Positive Flow (soul/beats) and Ocean Sky (house) and L'Avenue is the new love of my life a contemporary affair with luxurious aesthetics of the ´80s.

Your album ¨Cherry Crush¨ received very well reviews and appeared in many favorites lists of albums in 2019. How do you look back at this great year for you?
In the past I have pretty much always released projects through labels and L'Avenue was one I really wanted to take under my own wing and self-release so I would have total creative control.

This obviously takes a lot more work than just doing the music, there is design / marketing / Social Media, merchandise, etc..

I'd already written a whole album and didn't want to release that when no one knew who I was, so I decided to release an EP (Cherry Crush) just to get my name out there first ... in fact Cherry Crush has gone so much further than I originally had planned. Neros77 did 2x videos for me (Cherry Crush and Business Talk), Luigi Donatello also did 2x videos (Business Talk and Sundown) and The Prime Thanatos also did a video for Business Talk ... this was amazing. I also won Debut EP of 2019 from the Forever Synth Radio show and Best Synthwave EP with Synthspiria.


Possibly the biggest success for me personally was having the EP introduced to Ricky Wilde (Kim Wilde's brother), through Lee Bennett from the blog Teases and Dares. Ricky had personally message me and called the EP "a masterpiece". He also invited me to record a podcast for his new series called "Ricky Wilde's Unsung Heroes" together with one my ´80s musical heroes Nik Kershaw. This was just amazing as I have been such a huge Nik Kershaw fan for years, so to not only meet him but to get to spend almost 2 hours just talking about music with him, Ricky and Lee was a dream come true.

Ricky has also worked with NINA and through him we've connected and are planning a track for this year!

What are your plans for 2020?
My immediate focus is on finishing my debut album, it's pretty much done and I am in the post-production phase.

I'm really happy with the album and I think it encapsulates the L'Avenue take on the ´80s retrowave vibe in much wider scope than the EP, its heavy on ´80s nostalgia but with enough contemporary edge to bring people in who might not be used to the retro sound.

I also have my first live performance booked for June at Retrowave D'luxe. I'm on the bill with some of my favourite acts such as Jordan F and Duett which is like a dream come true. There's a lot of work to put into that as I haven't performed as L'Avenue before (which is effectively just me) and I want to make the show visually entertaining as well as sonically.

I already have 2x further EPs and singles in the pipeline too – a follow up to Cherry Crush which will be called Lemon Crush this will be more on the sort of sunnier/beach vibe side of L'Avenue and then I'm planning a darker/deeper EP after that.

Plus, hopefully a few more live dates and I'd love to do some DJ gigs too and more live radio interviews, which are always great fun!

Can you tell us something on how you create a new song?
I usually have an urge to create a particular type of vibe after getting inspired from another source such as a movie, a TV show or a track by someone else. I'll go into the studio and fire up my go to synths (such as Diva or Juno 106) and start toying with chords. Or sometimes I'll feel the urge to create a really heavy, stereo-wide, deep bass line (like Business Talk). I love imagining having a house down in Malibu, it being the late afternoon and orange sunshine streams through the window creating a shadow on the wall through the venetian blinds ... that kind of imagery makes me want to create music that mirrors it (I have a track called Malibu Haze on the album and that captures that feel).

I think what is so great about the synthwave scene is that it IS so visual and the music creators are making music that's based on imagery of a by-gone era. They are sonically mimicking visuals of that world ... there's no other scene really like that. I love it.

L´Avenue

Retrowave Touch Records is a great record label with lots of excellent releases. How did you end up working together with this label?
Very fortunately they contacted me and asked if they could release the Cherry Crush EP. It has been so great, they really helped get L'Avenue known and hooked me up toso many key players in the scene. I also won their Best EP 2019 and Best New Musician 2019 polls and I came in No. 3 on their Best Track of 2019 which was amazing! That was SO unexpected and was a beautiful way to finish the year. It also helped me realise that this project is really liked by people and that has given me an extra boost to push the project forward.

Which cartoons, movies and games from the ´80s are an inspiration to you?
I'm really into movies mostly. Almost anything that has a John Hughes connection: Uncle Buck, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club et al. And although these are obvious choices movies such as Close Encounters of a Third Kind, The Lost Boys, Weird Science, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, War Games, Poltergeist, Scarface, Escape from New York and Terminator all had a lasting effect on me. But probably top of my list is Blade Runner, the visuals and Vangelis' score are just in a league of their own, I can watch that any time, any place and I am NEVER bored of it. True art.

L´Avenue - Black Rain

What do you think about the current state of synthwave and where do you think it will be going?
I have found the synthwave community to be one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic. In 6 months I have made so many new friends and connections it's unreal!

I personally think the scene has a lot more space to inhabit and although its been established for a while I think so much of the music could reach a wide audience. Some of it is starting to crossover and some of the big acts such as The Midnight are really helping a lot people get into the scene.

This year we've already seen amazing new albums from Morgan Willis, Daniel Deluxe and Magic Sword and as the year progresses I think we are going to see a lot more amazing music come out.

Clearly we also are seeing it start to hit the mainstream too with acts like The Weeknd producing synthwave style tracks ... I think we've definitely got an upward curve coming over the next 5 years minimum.

And finally any last words to the (Dutch) synthwave community?
Mostly I hope my music moves you. I hope it takes you to another time, another place where you don't have a care in the world, where you're just cruisin' along a sun-soaked coastal road in 1984. Thanks for listening and supporting this project, love ya!

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