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Mental Genius: Peace, Love & Beats

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What exactly is a Mental Genius? Well, chances are if you’ve visited the White Isle this summer then you’ll already have noticed the spray-painted visuals of the man behind the music everywhere from San Antonio to Playa d’en Bossa. David Lubin is the man’s name, and as it transpires, his is a long and chequered story in the house music game. What’s more, it’s also one that encompasses an all-new production outfit, as well as a series of parties, into what’s already looking like a tasty proposition. We caught up with Dave recently to talk about his alias, goats and the essence of true house music…

So when did Dave Lubin become Mental Genius?

Great opening question! It was 21st December 2012, and it took just 5 words from my Mental Genius co-founder, Jeff Thompson: ‘You should be DJing more’. I had just come back from a 3-week business trip in Dubai. We identified a gap in the music industry. It’s changed so much since I started playing out, but in a nutshell I’m good at what I do, and it’s my passion. I just lost it for a while so we decided to roll it our properly this time, encompassing all of the aspects of our lives that we love: music, fashion, art and film, while at the same time trying to deliver a positive message – to embrace your inner genius. A tall order some might say, but no point in doing things by halves in our opinion…

What were you doing beforehand?

Well I’ve never stopped DJing, I just took my foot off the gas a little. I was promoting a great little party in London called Chosen with my partner Adam Newsome, which has now transformed into Mental Genius Sessions, which take place in London, and was involved in my good friends international media business too.

How long have you been producing?

I made a couple of tracks in the late 90’s. One of them did pretty good, got some good airplay and sold well in all the stores, vinyl only back then of course. I’m starting to feel old! Then I didn’t really get in the studio for quite a few years. Last winter I pretty much lived in studios between London, Ibiza, NYC and Dubai. Now we’re rolling out these different projects one by one. Be ready.

How would you describe your style?

I get asked this one a lot. There are so many genres these days, but for me I just love straight up house music. It’s gotta have the boom and the bap, proper beats. I’m not too much into vocals myself, but as long as it has that good beat, I’m good. I’m drawing on my old school influences of hip-hop, soul and funk, elements that we are introducing one by one.

What’s been your proudest moment to date as a musician?

I’d have to say several stand out sets where the crowd was completely as one. It sounds a bit dreamy but for me it’s the greatest feeling. I got chills up my back now just thinking about it, although I do have the air con on to be fair! If you can take the crowd where they need to go, then as a DJ you have found success.

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What was the last record you purchased?

Was in a second hand store in Brighton, a few hip hop classics including Twin Hype – Do it to the Crowd. I have a few copies of this and for me it’s one of the greatest tracks of all time. I still drop it to this day, and even had the pleasure of making contact with its producer, DJ King Shameek recently. We spoke on the phone for about an hour, he is based in NYC and if you don’t know the track, YouTube it. Dope on Wax!

Do you still go record shopping?

Yeah absolutely, Phonica in London for my house beats, and if I see a decent looking second hand store, I can’t help but go digging.

As a DJ what do you see as your role?

Making people dance. For me it’s very simple and always has been. Like I said earlier, I think its very important to read the dance floor. I like to put on a performance too, which is a bi-product of being able to mix properly. I like people to hear that 2 tracks are in the mix, as opposed to a quick cross fade. I think it’s also important to drop in old tracks along with the new, in order to know where music is going, it’s important to know where house music came from.

What do you love so much about DJing?

As a lover of house music, for me there is no greater feeling than being behind the wheels of steel. When you’re lost in the moment, it’s like meditation, not thinking about anything else but what’s going on right in front of you, whether its 1,000 party people with their hands in the air, or just 10, for me its the exact same buzz… Church!

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?

Right now I’m based in Ibiza and working on our next party. We have 3 or 4 more left this season, all at different and unique venues, and I’m constantly working on building awareness for our brand. First and foremost I’m working on the music that we’re set to release. We have a very strong camp of artists and producers, and a lot of great music to get out there this next 12 months. So a lot of my work is studio based. At the same time we’re developing our clothing line, and our first collection of art, a range of Mental Geniuses, all innovators and originators of their chosen field…

Artwork and visuals and marketing seem very important to you – what’s your thinking there?

That just came naturally. My business partner comes from an art background, and for me our logo was just an extension of what was going on inside our heads. Our graphics team definitely nailed it though. Furthermore, with tools around such as Facebook and Instagram these days, it just seemed obvious to push this out to the masses by delivering a striking and memorable logo which admittedly has been a key factor of our success so far. I think many people bought into the brand without actually knowing what we do, which for me is half the job done… getting inside your heads, I like that.

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