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Considering the illustrious nature of his 15 phenomenal years in the game saying that NYC native and Sole Channel founder Mr. V is arguably embarking on the most exciting part of career now is a bold statement to make but what we believe wholeheartedly. An affable workaholic Mr V has been particularly industrious of late taking time out from running his labels to return to the studio to work on a heap of new productions with some of the hottest producers around with Oliver $, Tom Flynn, Sean Finn, Sonny Fodera and Nick Curly amongst his collaborators.

Equally excitingly for us at DT HQ is his imminent return to London after a 3 year absence from the city both in the flesh and on the airwaves as has recently announced a new residency on London’s HouseFM.net station and an appearance at the final ever Groove Odyssey  to be held at the closing Pacha London to launch his hotly anticipated new mix compilation Groove Odyssey Sessions Vol 2 alongside Joey Negro, Ultra Nate and Groove Assassin Saturday August 23rd. So with so much in the pipeline we sat Victor down to find out what we can expect from him when he touches down in the capital and what he has in store for us in the coming months.

A firm favourite with London clubbers, you’re about to return to the capital for the latest edition of Groove Odyssey after a 3 year absence. How do you think the scene has evolved in that time and what do you think the future holds for purveyors of soulful house music such as yourself?

Our future is very bright when you look at where we are as a scene especially in the pop dance world it’s pretty much coming around full circle with the likes of Disclosure, Breach and many others. It’s a good time right now to be into Soulful House music, it really is. People are getting over the over hype of electro and once celebs got involved people wanted to steer away from the spotlight somewhat and wanted something more organic. I’m just happy it ain’t dead!

Definitely. Are you looking forward to your return to London? It’s been a while… what can fans expect from your set on the night?

HELL YEAH!  I am looking forward to the party I can’t say what I’m going to do though and I really can’t mention any of my secret weapons. I know what I want to play but it’s going to be tough knowing the all-star lineup that’s going to be there that night and I just want it to be a night of great music and with that line up, it will be 110%.

Do you think the scene has changed much in the capital since you were last in town?

That’s tough to call as it’s been 3 years since I’ve played in London so it would be kind of biased for me to give my opinion on the scene. London is close to the States in terms of breaking new sounds and going with new sounds, following trends and breaking trends, and I have many friends in the UK as well as fans so it’s no surprise that London is still a hotbed of creativity that pushes boundaries.

Moving on to another one of the worlds greatest cities you’re famously from New York. As one of the original NYC pioneers of dance music who came up through Masters At Work where do you get your musical inspiration from and what influences you when you are creating new cuts?  

I had many musical inspirations, most often family, and the rest are from neighbourhood DJs I grew up with like Lord G – formerly Of Def Mix Productions – and of course Louie Vega and Kenny Dope  both individually and as Masters At Work  were very influential to me in terms of sound and the direction of the genre of music I wanted to get involved in. There are way, way, way too many producers and DJs to name who have influenced me in terms of production, and if I was to name them all we would be here all night! The biggest influence in terms of what I wanna create are the dancers – club dancers.  House Music is a culture first if anything and I was honoured to see that and if you wanna know what I mean just go to YouTube and search for “Summer Dance Forever” and look at the house dance competition and you will see what makes me wanna produce music.

We’ll definitely check it out. Can you tell us how you got your first break in the music industry and what one production are you most proudest of and why?

I got my first break in the music industry from Ralphie Boy Muñiz, who worked with Louie Vega as his assistant and I asked if Masters At Work were hiring or needed an intern! They needed one and I interned for them from 94 to about 2000.

The Production I’m most proud of is “Somethin’ Wit Jazz” cause it was ballsy to do at a time when Hip-House – Hip-Hop Meets House Music – wasn’t even cool or thought of as something you could do on a house record. I could easily say that I made it cool to do before anyone decided to do it again! [Laughs]

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Heading back to your upbringing in the Big Apple, how much did your neighbourhood and friends/family influence you? Were there any early clubs you were hitting or DJs that particularly inspired you to devote your life to music you or was it something else?

I hail from New York City and still live here. I will NEVER leave Gotham City… The culture here is just amazing. My Hood was amazing. I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and it has access to everything…Soho, Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, the Rivers, Chinatown, Wall Street… you name it.

The first club I ever entered was a nightclub called The World, one block away from where I lived and the rest is history.

It certainly is! Did your love of music start before the dance floor and how old were you when you discovered dance music? Can you remember any of the tracks that first set your world alight, and did disco or hip hop/ play a big part?

My love of music did start before the dance floor, and I fell in love with hip-hop first with my first record being Biz Markie’s “Make The Music With Your Mouth”.

When I went to my first nightclub, The World, I discovered house music for the first time since the DJ at the time would play both hip-hop and house. I got to see the difference in culture and lifestyle between the two and quickly fell in love with the lifestyle of house music. The tracks that pulled me in were Soho “Hot Music”, Deee-Lite “Power Of Love”, Robert Owens  “I’ll Be Your Friend” and so on. Disco did not play a role yet as I was exposed to it around this time.

What do you think it is about your DJ sets and productions over the past 15 years that has seen both manage to maintain such consistent appeal? 

Well I don’t judge myself but I will say I have evolved a lot and for the good I think… Music can never leave me, musicianship in house music can never leave me, I love musicianship in house music way too much for that to go away, I’ll let others judge my sets as that always will be the case, I’ve gained fans since I have been around so that’s a good sign. 

As a veteran of the scene how do you keep the mix experience and studio, fresh and vital?

Honestly speaking… I listen to others producers and DJs. Our genre is much too big not to stay fresh and vital and with the times, especially with the help of social media and the platforms we all have access too. I also go out too, listening to things at home is one thing, hearing tracks out in the club and experiencing it with others is another.

Cool. Can you tell us what you’ve got coming up release wise?

My main priorities are the mix for the Groove Odyssey Sessions Vol 2 album and my next 2 major releases on my label besides my own personal stuff. On Sole Channel Music I have a slamming vocal “Breaking These Chains” by Saliva Commandos featuring Michelle Rivera with a super funky monster Remix by Ezel and on Muzik 4 Tomorrow I have another super vocal “What Is Real” by Thor featuring Scotty P with Remixes by Louie Vega, Christian Nielsen & Sted-E & Hybrid Heights. I’m also working on vocal collabs with Oliver $, Tom Flynn, Sean Finn, Sonny Fodera and Nick Curly so let’s just say I have been VERY, VERY, VERY busy!

It sounds like it! Returning to your comments about the impact of social media – have you embraced reaching out to your fans and extended family, and what difference do you think this makes to a Producer and DJ such as yourself?

In the music industry you have no choice but to embrace social media every DJ, Producer, record label or anyone that wants to be relevant in the entertainment business has to embrace their fans and I think that’s the beauty of social media nowadays. There’s no more mystery to a person, you have to let it all out in order for you to sell or to be relevant. There’s personal info you can keep private still but business wise social media is a gem in my eyes but it can a curse if not done wisely. Telling fans your personal feeling on a record or when its release is coming is way more better than just adding a picture.

In London this weekend? Then catch Mr. V playing alongside Joey Negro, Ultra Nate and Groove Assassin Saturday August 23rd at Pacha London for Groove Odyssey. For more information and tickets head to www.grooveodyssey.com 

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