Alexus Sacco and Frank Stevens' mutual interest in synthesizers and electronic music has brought them together as the ambitious electronic duo PVLMS, a pairing that happened at a chance meeting at a Baths concert five years ago. They reconnected soon after in college and have been making music together ever since.
Like most electronic producers, their initial forays dwelled in more experimental directions but soon found a comfortable niche within house music. For this week's mixtape, PVLMS dives head-first into a lo-fi house niche featuring three of the duo's unreleased tracks.
How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Initially, we performed only with hardware and Ableton for the first four years. We began mixing with Ableton (APC40/MPD32) and DJing with CDJs over the last two years. Over time, we have accumulated more gear and more experience in different mediums of performance.
Do you have a preference between production and DJing?
Producing is what we care most about. We both began creating music in bands during high school. When we met in college, we were more interested in producing hardware-based electronic music. This is what brought us together to form PVLMS, where we have accumulated a more mature sound and collection of electronic instruments. Our production and DJ sets have expanded tremendously since 2013.
How was this mix made? Was there a theme behind it?
It was made with two Pioneer CDJ 850s and a Pioneer XDJ R1 as the mixer. Our theme was a mixture of our own original tracks with some of our current favorite artists/affiliated labels. We wanted this mix to reflect what we enjoy listening to and what we would perform in a club/festival.
What have your experiences been playing on the road?
We primarily play our shows on the road in L.A. Our most notable shows in California include house parties at the notorious "Pink House" near USC with the likes of Desert Hearts Records Crew (Mikey Lion, Fritz Carlton, RYBO, Kevin Anderson, Lubelski, etc.), Hollywood Boulevard rooftop with Tocaio and Los Globos with Henry Krinkle. We have played numerous shows in Oklahoma as well. While previously residing in Oklahoma, we traveled to our current neighborhood to open for Small Black at Club Dada.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
Soundcloud mostly. To name a few, we love Lobster Theremin, Room Temp Records, Desert Hearts, Stamp the Wax, When We Dip, Fourheads and Les Yeux Orange. We enjoy diving into very underground labels and collectives.
Are there any particular genres that you gravitate to?
Until recently, we were specifically an experimental electronic project with no real focus. After numerous trips and shows in California, house music became our primary focus. We really enjoy making people dance with minimal grooves and rhythms. This has made us drift further toward the lo-fi house spectrum.
Are there genres that you would like to explore more?
Anything that has to do with vintage synthesizers and hardware has a hold on our hearts. We would love to experiment with acid house as well as more nonspecific genre electronic music. We have a lot of equipment at our disposal that is capable of this goal. We wish to expand and explore our capabilities as musicians.
What is the creation process like for your music?
It varies song to song. Originally, we preferred jamming collectively with Korg Electribe Samplers. As our studio has grown, so has our sound. We have collected more vintage keyboards and rare hardware, which have made our sound more mature and unique. We enjoy building off each other's electribe ideas with the keyboards and hardware that we have at hand. We always encourage each other to push the limits of our creativity. We expect to expand our sound further through the experimentation and grouping of different equipment.
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What is the most significant musical experience you have had in the last year?
The most recent significant experience was this past July at our show in Hollywood on the Trailer Park Agency rooftop. They produce most trailers for all films in general. It was a very odd opportunity that we cherish to this day. We are thankful for Hector (Tocaio) for that opportunity.
What gigs or releases do you have coming up?
We're excited for our "Ain't So" EP release through Room Temp Records in May. It features a remix by Houseboy (Fritz Carlton) and three original tracks.
How did you hook up with Room Temp records?
Fortunately, it was a very natural connection. We had just self-released our EP Twin Wash and were contacted via Soundcloud by Lubelski. One thing led to another, and our upcoming EP was born. We are more than thrilled about this and can't wait for the release.
PVLMS — "Under Trees" (unreleased room temp records)
PVLMS — "Ain’t So (Houseboy Remix)" (unreleased room temp records)
Seb Wildblood — "Jazz Vol. 1"
Demuja — "Soul Brother"
Mara Lakour — "Akoa"
DJ Heure — "The Feeling"
Jey Kurmis — "Es Est"
Fritz Carlton — "Regular Play"
Mr Jefferson — "Back to the 80s"
Rybo & Lubelski — Dance Machine
PVLMS — "Jonesin" (unreleased Grin Music)
Youandewan — "Insel 2000"