Label XYZ was created to harness a collection of unique artists, sounds, and ideas from across the musical spectrum. Electronic music’s most important quality may be its innate diversity. Given access to limitless sounds, samples, influences, and production techniques, producers are creating a multitude of incredible work. No matter your taste or preference, electronic music has an option for you. As a label, we hope to reflect that notion as much as possible.
Stepping forward in our continued exploration of eclectic grooves, we are proud to present the Elements EP from Leohnart. The French producer is an exciting figure in the downtempo scene, cultivating his talents in Montreal with the Cosmovision Records crew. Working with the likes of Clozee, Leohnart has a distinct ability to craft for organic melodies and pensive productions.
The Elements EP is a perfect summary of Leohnart’s art as we welcome him into the XYZ family. As a lover of nature, he enjoys cultivating and recharging his creativity through the simplicity of the natural world. Touching upon each of the elements, the four track EP is a well-rounded trip through a dense audible landscape.
Nebulae welcomes lighter notes into the fold, reflecting a melodic quality that is a signature of Leohnart’s sound. With percussive rhythms guiding listeners into deep grooves, a revolving bassline caps off a gorgeous gem.
Baobabs and Whales display Leohnart’s ability to construct reflective arrangements. Sturdy grooves command these two tracks, with muted melodic elements providing room for solemn thoughts.
Capping off the EP, Elders commands a breakbeat with an incredible floating melody. Organic textures and sensual rhythms connect to form a stunning piece; a perfect soundtrack for the lighter moments in life.
We caught up with Florent (aka Leohnart) to touch base about his journey thus far, how the EP came to be, and what we can expect from the exciting new name on the downtempo scene.
WWD – Flo, thanks for joining us today. How are things?
Leohnart – Very well, I’m happy to chat with you today guys! Winter is coming and I already miss the summer. Fortunately, this season is perfect for resting, composing music and thinking about new projects.
WWD – We couldn’t be more excited about the Elements EP – it’s the first release of its kind on the label. Where do you see downtempo music fitting into the great electronic scene these days?
Leohnart – I’m really excited and proud to know that you want to make the label evolve with my musical project. I believe downtempo is really complementary with other kinds of electronic music like techno or house music. Although the regular kick is still very present, the slower tempo makes downtempo more spacious for melodies. It allows grooves to grow differently, and it allows us to enjoy electronic music in a more chilled vibe. Ethnic influences are more present, along with some tribal and world music touches as well. I’m very happy to see that a lot of downtempo artists develop great projects these days and that some of them are as recognized as the big names in techno, for example. There is no doubt that downtempo will be more and more present in the years to come!
WWD – This EP is innately tied to nature. Tell us about the importance of the outdoors in the creation of this project.
Leohnart – I have an important relationship with nature. My first album “Back to the Sources” is clearly inspired by it and my very first video clip is called “Mother Nature”. The landscapes and it’s soothing side inspire me a lot to compose. When I’m feeling lost or sad, nothing is better than a bit of nature to cheer me up. It is always a source of inspiration because each landscape makes me feel differently and tell its own story. I had a frustrating experience one year ago when I was in Iceland because some landscapes were just insanely extraordinary, but I didn’t bring my gear to compose in front of them.
WWD – How did you first discover electronic music – as a producer or a dancer?
Leohnart – As a producer. Growing up, I didn’t like to go to clubs or in festivals. I preferred to stay home, trying to do some new productions to improve my skills and find my own artistic way.
WWD – Since you started making music, how has your sound developed and progressed to where it is now?
Leohnart – At the beginning, I was just making hip-hop beats or instrumentals with a lot of samples. After that, I began to add some electronic sounds and textures to obtain something a little more hybrid. Then, I wanted to explore more textures and melodies rather than samples. Now, I just love to be free of using any kind of instruments, electronic sounds, or any kind of samples or recordings. I compose without thinking, more with feeling.
WWD – How does your hometown Montreal influence you as an artist?
Leohnart – The culture is everywhere here. Through music, visual arts, people… People are coming from all over the world, so I think it gives me the opportunity to be more open-minded, to satisfy my curiosity, and to learn through new encounters. Everybody around me is doing at least one artistic activity, so it helps me a lot to keep a dynamic of creation and to get me pulled up when I need it. For me, this city is a perfect balance between dynamic urban life and access to nature.
WWD – Tell us about the Cosmovisions collective in Montreal, and how they are fostering the Downtempo scene in a traditionally techno-oriented city.
Leohnart – It’s a great pleasure to be a part of this collective. Whether in an artistic or human point of view, Cosmovision is a beautiful family with great values and big potential. They were there when I needed to meet new people and find new sources of inspiration. The dynamic of the project really makes me feel good. With atypical profiles, eclectic artists and a desire to share, I am very hopeful that this project will go far and flourish fully. We believe people need something different. Even techno lovers sometimes need to experiment with different kinds of electronic music. It’s a very particular vibe, you can feel it when you come to our shows. For example, we had a whole stag for Illusion Festival this year, and many people were telling us how happy they were to hear different rhythms and sonorities. We have a lot of different influences in the collective!
WWD – Who are the musicians & artists that have inspired you throughout your career thus far?
Leohnart – My biggest inspiration is Bonobo, it’s so rich and inspiring. I must also mention Fakear because it’s him who really gave me the motivation to create and to launch my musical project. It was because I saw one of his videos that I began to compose in nature, in the mountains or in the forest, often near water. Finally, I also listened to some classical music or film music: Ennio Morricone, Giorgio Moroder, and Ludovico Einaudi gave me a lot of brain work! I could mention many French and American beatmakers, but the list would be so long! I also have various references as Rone, Clozee, Emancipator, Moby, Guts…
WWD – Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Leohnart – As a person, traveling the world to discover different countries, cultures, people, landscapes… and finding different sources of inspiration. As an artist, I would love to build an international career to present my music all around the world, to share love, and to travel with my music.
WWD – If you had to choose a favorite elements, which would it be?
Leohnart – Vegetal for sure, I’m such a nature lover! When I feel sad, the best thing for me is a walk in the forest. I love to sit on the grass alone to watch the flowers, trying to reconnect with simple things.
WWD – What is the perfect place, time, and mindset for consuming the Elements EP?
Leohnart – It’s difficult to say. Make people dancing is not my priority, I want to inspire them. I guess it’s more a question of context. It could be perfect while practicing sports, chilling at home, disconnecting from your job in your car or in the metro, and even at work if you need introspective music to be concentrated. Otherwise, I love to tell stories with my music. So, maybe the best moment to listen to Elements is when you need to escape, to have deep thoughts, to find new resources and to reconnect with the essential.
WWD – What we can expect from Leohnart as we look towards the start of 2020?
Leohnart – A new live set with new tracks, new gear, and maybe a surprise for the stage. I’m preparing a new EP to release for the spring and I just finished a track for the next Cosmovision Records compilation which will be released in February. I also plan to do a new collaboration with the harpist M’Michèle, and maybe with other artists during the year to add a new touch to my music while continuing to learn.
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