Truancy Volume 134: Leonce

Leonce has been a friend of Truants for a while now. Although he signed to Fade To Mind very recently, joining fellow inductee HitMakerChinx, Leonce Nelson had beginnings when he co-started an ambient/noise label Hexagon Recordings with Wakesleep in 2012. Fast forward three years an intermittent habit of uploading Rinse FM rips of his own tracks to his Soundcloud would culminate in his own hour length mix in August, completely bodied with close friend Helix on the closing hour of the show; it showed the importance of keeping it in the family, much like the like the rest of the Fade To Mind team has proven on past releases. Whereas that mix came loaded with mostly tracks for the club (loaded, too, with an incendiary “Truffle Butter” bootleg), his Truancy Volume focuses more on the rap influences on his personality, nitrous injected with Young ScooterThugger, TK N CASH and Future Hendrix. A couple of days on from turning twenty-two, and ahead from his debut release on the label, he talks to us about his beginnings in Hexagon Recordings, his Fade To Mind affiliates and his thoughts on how the nightlife differs between New Orleans and Atlanta.

How’ve you been keeping this past year? “Been hangin in there, it’s been a long year.”

In your Twitter bio your location is New Orleans *jetplane emoji* Atlanta. Are you living in both locations at the same time, and has that impacted your development, influence and what you feel you represent? “No, I’m actually from Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans but I live in Atlanta currently. I fuck with the sounds of both cities, in short. Maybe you can tell in my DJ sets or my tracks sometimes, maybe you can’t. Of course, you grow up with the internet and shit these days so I got into a lot of shit besides what was just around me. I wasn’t just in like a bubble or some shit. Rap and R&B and bounce were just things I grew up with as an environmental thing so I’m just more familiar with that shit.”

It’s been a relatively long while since you co-founded Hexagon Records (with Robin) in 2012 and released tracks under the Forgotten Light alias. Can you tell us a little on what you learnt from that experience? “I got into making music with Ableton when I was around 15 and was making a lot of weird ambient/noise stuff with my friend Robin over the years. We wanted to have some kind of home for it eventually so we just put it on tapes and sold it off a Tumblr. It got to be a lot of work after a while so we just let it go. It was fun being able to have that kind of outlet to just put out stuff under any random alias but it takes a lot of time and effort to run a label/creative outlet no matter how big or small it is.”

What do you think has changed in the music you created since then and the reason for the name change? “I knew when I was younger that I wanted to eventually just release music as my own name and I feel like now’s the right time. I feel a lot more free as an artist to do what I want than if I operated under a artist name.”

Could you tell us how you came about being initiated into Fade To Mind? Is there anyone inside of the label that you’re looking forward to or have already worked with? “It was pretty organic, I get asked a lot and it’s always weird explaining it but I became friends with helix and kingdom a few years ago and things just went from there. it wasn’t like I was going out of my way or anything like that so that was cool. it was just something that happened. everybody has a different path. all you have to do is just stay in your lane and keep making the best work you can. as far as collabs I won’t speak on it yet but I have something brewing with Helix and Massacooramaan.”

From a distance, there’s a lot to be admired of Fade to Mind and primarily how solid the relationships seem to be between artists. Do you think that being that tightly knit of a collective organically shows in the collaborations released? “It does, yeah. We all work at different speeds but I definitely feel like the collabs between the fam are way better than the ones that aren’t. Everybody’s just cool and on the same page with each other.”

You’ve remixed Divoli S’vere’s “Click Clac”, along with the “Truffle Butter” remix that recently blew up. Do you edit tracks to fit into your mixes or is that process entirely different/secondary? “Maybe? It’s not always that deep for me. as a producer I just cover the ground I want to when I’m in the studio and as a DJ I approach the situations as appropriate. I’ll be “in the moment” or whatever when I do a track and then later on I hear somebody play it in a way that inspires me. You just know when it’s time to play certain things.”

One thing that’s immediately notable when listening to the other artist on your Rinse mix (Helix) is his prowess with his drums. Has his work had any influence on your own productions? “In a way I’d say yeah. We approach drums differently but similar. I’d say we both influence each other in some capacity but never in really obvious ways.”

What can we expect from you in the near future and what are you most looking forward to? “My debut release with fade [to mind] and some collaborations down the line with producers and more vocalists.”

How was opening for Dawn Richard at Opera Nightclub? “It was amazing! she killed it and the crowd loved it, hope she’s back soon.”

What’s the best and the worst aspect about the current clubbing climate moving into 2016? and/or how does the nightlife alternate between NOLA and ATL? “The nightlife is so way way different, alcohol sales stop in bars and clubs in ATL at 3am, alcohol sales never stop in NOLA so the clubs and bars either stay open super late or don’t even close. All of that affects the nightlife because places rarely stay open past the time they can sell drinks. I’d say ATL has more diverse types of parties just because it’s a global city. NOLA nightlife is super strong but its hard to get love as an artist from there who moved and there’s barely a middle ground for parties, either it’s something small or something big, either way I’m optimistic for both cities. The best aspect of clubbing right now is how many unique points of views we have in club music (referring to the DJs and producers) and how many promoters we have taking chances and making these unique parties happen. It’s hard for me to say the worst thing cuz there are so many things that contribute to clubbing’s decline. Parties with no consistent and unique vibe and aesthetic, overcrowded lineups, etc. Either way the true creatives and innovators will shine.”

If you were to run a night in 2016, what would be the first things that you would want to address? “I actually am working on launching a dope ass party in Atlanta that’s going to address these things and it’ll branch out to some other cities. Just keep an eye out.”

To you, who are the most important people making moves in clubbing right now and why? “Of course, I’d have to say Fade is definitely the most important group making moves in (American) clubbing right now. the parties are the fruition of everything the label stands for. You just have to be there to experience it.”

Your best moment in a club this year? “After this year there’s no way I can just say one best moment lol”

What influences can we expect to hear in your Truancy Volume? “I tried recording this mix 3 times, the first take I wasn’t a huge fan of and the second was unusable cause of some driver shit so by the third take I mostly just felt like playing my rap favs from the last few years. I’m definitely influenced a lot by rap a lot as a DJ and producer even though I wouldn’t call myself just a rap DJ or producer so it’s cool to have a lil chance to show that side of myself more.”

What would you want to change about music journalism from an artist’s point of view? “Maybe journalists should actually get paid a living wage by the blogs/mags that employ them so they’d care about writing about records?”

Last 1, favourite standalone Future verse? “Man you cant do that thats like picking my favorite child lmao”

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Leonce: Soundcloud, Twitter

Akash Chohan

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