Over the last year and a half, Pittsburgh, PA-based Lavier has been turning heads in the underground bass scene. With a discography that covers a multitude of styles and themes, there are simply no limits to his creative prowess. A recent HIHF guest mix alum, Lavier has been on quite a roll in 2023. We’ve seen a strong cadence of releases on labels such as Wormhole Music Group, Wubaholics, WiddFamm, More Creativity, as well as several subscriber-exclusive singles on his Bandcamp. He has dazzled crowds at festivals such as Sound Haven, The Untz, Wub n Dub, and most recently, Elements Music & Arts Festival.

We caught up with the promising bass music artist at Elements to talk about his momentum in 2023, his graphic design career, what’s next for the Lavier project, and more, in this HIHF festival interview. Check out our conversation below and make sure you give him a follow on socials at the end of the interview to stay up to date on all things Lavier! You can also peep his recent HIHF guest mix below:

HIHF: Thanks for taking some time to speak with us here at Elements! Let’s jump right into it. You have been involved in music production as well as graphic design work. I’m curious, which passion came first?

Lavier: I’ve been drawing since I was three years old. My mom would kick me out of the house to go play outside because I was drawing so much. It’s funny though, I’ve been playing musical instruments for almost the same amount of time. In high school, there was this big toss up about whether I’d go to school for art or for music. I ended up choosing music production, but then dropped out for a year. So, I’m not really sure which came first as they’ve both been happening for a long time, but I guess I made the choice for music when I was 18.

HIHF: What instruments were you playing growing up?

Lavier: I was mainly playing the jazz guitar. That was my main thing, but I also played the trumpet, French horn, cello, bass and piano.

HIHF: That’s awesome! I, myself, was a first-chair trumpet in high school.

Lavier: No way! I was a second-chair. We had this one kid who was just straight up nasty at playing the trumpet, so he was really good, I was pretty good, and then the rest of the class wasn’t that good.

HIHF: Before you even knew you wanted to get into bass music, were there any particular artists you listened to growing up where you thought, “Man, I really like what they’re doing. I want to try to emulate that” ?

Lavier: It’s actually pretty funny because I did not like electronic music at all growing up. I kind of hated it in high school. I listened to a lot of tech metal and jazz, and in high school I thought this “computer music” was dumb. When I got to senior year, I actually switched schools and some of my new friends there took me out to a couple of raves. I didn’t really like it at first, it was a lot of brostep and stuff like that. But, after those shows we would go back to my one friend’s house and just listen to music, and it was there that I started liking electronic music more and more.

There was this one artist Long Arm, who’s like this jazzy electronic artist from St. Petersburg, Russia. There was another dude called Floex. I was really into this type of stuff that sounded electronic, but wasn’t the normal stuff that you’d see at shows. It was drippy, it was organic, it just sounded a little more human to me, which I really liked.

Elements Music & Arts Festival // Hennessee Media

HIHF: You have had a lot of cool releases this year—has there been a specific project that’s stuck out where you were especially pumped to get it out?

Lavier: Honestly, each release has been really special for their own reasons. This has been a really good year for releases in the sense that when I would release tracks before, I would honestly hate them after they were out for a week. That hasn’t happened yet this year, which is nice. But, I will say I was really happy to get What’s Done In The Dark out because I had no idea it would end up becoming a crowd favorite. Whenever I play that live, people are like “Oh yeah!”, which I didn’t really expect from that release.

The most recent EP with Wormhole [Artifacts] was also really special because I had been sitting on those tracks for over a year and I had not put out anything heavy like those tracks before. I was playing those tracks out in my sets over the last year, but now when someone looks up Lavier, they’ll see that I’m more than just this melodic, soft sound.

HIHF: Nice, yeah that must be a really nice feeling. So, where do you draw inspiration from when you start a new project? Is it the case where you approach each EP with a different sense of inspiration?

Lavier: In a way, yes. Like for the Turning Nothing Into Something EP with WiddFamm, I knew I wanted to make some true-to-the-genre dubstep that would fit the vibe of that label. Then with the Simple Questions, Long Answers EP on More Creativity, those were more emotional tracks that I would not have known what to do with otherwise. It would have been kind of weird for me to release those as singles, so it was nice to package all of those emotions up into one project.

In general, when I dive into a new project it really just depends on how I’m feeling or if I’ve seen a really cool set recently. It’s a broad range of things that could impact how I approach new songs. If I’m feeling angsty, I’ll write some heavier stuff. If I’m feeling sad, I’ll write some more emotionally-driven stuff. It really just depends.

HIHF: You have played on some pretty insane sound systems this year—has there been one (or maybe several) that stuck out to you and made you particularly excited to play your tracks?

Lavier: Definitely the Element 5 system at Sound Haven. I mean, that rig is just so awesome. They were able to crank that system with no sound ordinance, so that was really cool to play on. I’d also say the Intent Audio system was really fun to play on when I played this Brooklyn warehouse event with Hypho and Wraz. put on by Smack NYC earlier this year. Just another example of a really cool setting with a very powerful system. And then honestly I was really excited to play on this “Doom” rig here at Elements made by Hennessey. I was talking to someone about the specs and it’s so epic—there’s about to be a lot of sound pumping through this thing! 

HIHF: I’m glad you mentioned the set at Sound Haven—when you get assigned your set time/slot, how much time do you have to prepare your set to fit that particular set time? In other words, do you prepare your sets differently based on what time you are playing?

Lavier: Honestly, not really. If a festival asks me to play a sunrise set, I’ll obviously prepare that a little differently. But in general, I play what I want to play regardless of what time it is. I play a lot of originals in my sets now, so if I was to prepare a set according to the set time, I would likely end up swapping out my originals for other songs that fit that vibe. I don’t play the exact same set every time, but I just try to play as many originals as I can, present them in a new way, and also sprinkle some tunes from friends throughout. I want to make sure people know that they are at the Lavier set if that makes sense.

HIHF: Definitely, it’s important to showcase who you are and what your music is all about.

Lavier: Absolutely, and I wouldn’t want to give someone the wrong idea about what my project is. If this is the only festival someone goes to this year and they see me play, I would not want to prepare an entirely different set that would give off the wrong impression. I would want to make sure they are getting a Lavier set filled with Lavier originals. I think that helps improve the artist-fan connection better that way. If I was playing two sets at a festival, that would be different. For a renegade set, I might play a different set that has more songs that aren’t mine as opposed to the main set.

HIHF: The music production side of things has been going well with a strong cadence of releases over the last year—talk to me a little bit about the graphic design side of things? How’s that going? What kind of projects are you involved in?

Lavier: Graphic design is pretty much my day job during the week. It’s what helps pay the bills. A lot of what I do is centered around designing flyers, album artwork, logos, you name it, pretty much all music industry clients. I do all of the design work for More Creativity, so all of the videos and album art and all that stuff. I’m pretty much Sweet Sounds Collective’s main designer now, which is great. You can find more of my work on Instagram at @dylanevansdesign.

What’s cool is that people who know I make music will find out that I am also a graphic designer. And this also happens vice versa, where people will know I’m a graphic designer, but then they’ll find out I also produce music, so it’s cool how the two careers and passions intertwine in that sense. Sometimes they’ll know both projects but don’t realize that they’re both me, which is pretty funny.

Both work together well since I have so many music industry friends. I’m usually the guy they will call if they need something designed. It’s really cool to be an artist in two different ways in the scene.

HIHF: That’s awesome, and yeah every time I see someone on Facebook or Twitter in search of a graphic designer, I always see your name tagged. That must be really cool to have that recognition within the scene.

Lavier: Yes, my clients are really cool about stuff like that. I don’t ask people to do that, but it’s always super nice to see my name tagged. A lot of the recognition is based on word of mouth. I don’t really do any advertising or things like that. All of my clients come to me, which is awesome. There’s always something to work on. Hopefully, that keeps piling up more.

Elements Music & Arts Festival // Hennessee Media

HIHF: Great stuff! Switching gears, I wanted to talk a little bit about the Pittsburgh scene in general. I guess for starters, have you always lived in the Pittsburgh area?

Lavier: I actually lived in Boone, North Carolina for six or seven years before moving to Pittsburgh. That’s actually where the Lavier project started. I moved there in 2015 to go to college at Appalachian State, but then quickly dropped out and then just stayed there for a while. But yeah, that’s where my project got its feet wet and then I moved back up to Pittsburgh where shortly after that I signed with Sub.Mission.

HIHF: It seems like the Pittsburgh scene has been on the up and up for the last couple of years now. What’s it been like to be surrounded by the collectives and individuals who are helping shape that scene?

Lavier: Yeah, there are a lot of cool people doing great things right now. I didn’t get up there until right after COVID, so everyone was a little hesitant about throwing events again right out of the gate as I was trying to get my feet wet. Since then, it’s completely different. You have groups like SubSanctuary, who put on that boat party that I played a few weeks ago. They booked me and Seppa a couple years ago, which was huge because he’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. Like you were asking about early influences a bit ago, he’s definitely one of my biggest influences.

Ambient Alchemists is also a really cool group – they’ve booked names like Josh Teed and Luzcid and I have a show coming up with them in November with Um.., JAMiAM, King Joe, and my buddy Hoodwink. You’ve also got Appalachian Sound Culture throwing killer dubstep shows up there now because of their crew moving to town, there’s a group called Rush Promo that puts on a pretty wide range of shows. Longturn Music is another one – they throw house and techno shows in the area, and Lazercrunk are some OG heads throwing a wide range of awesome events as well. So yeah, it’s really cool right now. There’s a lot of different stuff that local music lovers are able to check out. It’s really healthy and diverse, and I think it’ll continue to grow.

HIHF: That’s great to hear, and I’m reminded now of this guest post that Headphone Activist wrote for the blog a while back talking about the drum & bass scene in Pittsburgh. Are you familiar with that scene at all?

Lavier: Not really, although I’ve heard some really cool things about it. It sounds like it is/was one of the more thriving scenes in the country for drum & bass. I know this one dude Dropset, who’s a really good drum & bass artist. But yeah, I think there’s this network of slightly older heads who know way more about that scene. LTJ Bukem was in Pittsburgh earlier this summer. I really wanted to go but I think I was out of town.

HIHF: Looking back at the first half of 2023 and even throughout 2022, you’ve played some really cool events. Has there been a particular festival or club show that you’ve played that’s really stuck out to you?

Lavier: Yeah, definitely. Sound Haven this year for starters. I know we talked about how great it was to play on the E5’s, but I was also really surprised and happy to see how many people showed up for my set at 5:00 AM. I did not expect there to be that many people. That weekend was actually nuts, but really memorable. I played that Sound Haven set from 5:00-6:00 AM, then slept from 6:00-10:00 AM, then drove six hours back to North Carolina to play a show with Joe Nice later that night.

The Brooklyn warehouse show is also one I look back on super fondly. The Smack NYC folks had us in that small room in the abandoned warehouse with nothing but red lights flashing. Remember you had to take this sketchy elevator to get up there? It was just dubstep as f***, it felt like an illegal rave.

HIHF: I don’t know what it is about Brooklyn, but every time I’m up there for a show it’s always a 1 of 1 experience. That show was so fun. Do you prefer playing festival sets versus club sets?

Lavier: I don’t really know. It kind of all depends on setting for me. I like tiny rooms with big sound systems and also like playing in pitch black rooms. So yeah, probably club sets more. That Brooklyn show is a great example of the tiny room, big sound system vibe. I’m not as much of a festi guy. I still have fun at them, I enjoy meeting up with the homies and playing to these crowds.

HIHF: I know we talked about some of the artists that you were inspired by in the early years – who are some artists right now that you’re inspired by?

Lavier: Chef Boyarbeatz, Criso, Torcha, Barnacle Boi, Murkury, Ternion Sound, DMVU, ArkZen, Player Dave, Wraz, Die By The Sword, Tunic, Oxossi —I don’t know, there are a lot of people. Those were the first that came to mind. And a lot of those guys have become homies, so it’s been great to get to know them more and more. They’re mostly underground cats like me that also just happen to be making some of my favorite music right now. It’s just really cool that all of the homies are making high-quality stuff. Just a little crew bopping around from festival to festival. It’s cool having friends travel to a festival from like four different states and then hanging out together. I think crowds dig that, too, when festival lineups are booking us all together. I think it allows for better flow if that makes sense. And it’s just really exciting for all of us, in general. It just seems like a really good time and place to be for all of us right now, and also exciting to think about what’s ahead for all of us.

HIHF: That’s amazing, and it’s almost like you guys are able to continue building each other up as a result of that.

Lavier: Yeah, exactly. It’s really nice to be a part of.

Elements Music & Arts Festival // Hennessee Media

HIHF: Looking ahead to the next year, next couple of years even – what’s next for the Lavier project? What are some of your goals?

Lavier: Right now, I want to just keep doing what I’m doing, which is consistently putting out music and playing shows. I have some new music ready to go, it’s just kind of a waiting moment right now. I am happy with the way things are going right now. Eventually I want to live off of this and live comfortably while continuing to play music. Next year I’m thinking about putting out a full-length album. It just feels like the right time. And then with that, I don’t know how long this would take, but I eventually want to start doing A/V sets kind of like what EPROM does. I’ve been learning how to sync my clips to Resolume and different things like that. I’ve been dabbling more in Adobe After Effects with my design stuff, so I’ve started making some visuals that actually sync up with my tracks.

HIHF: That’s super interesting and I feel like I’ve heard some artists recently talking about wanting to do more A/V sets in the future. Seems like it’s kind of trending that way for some artists.

Lavier: Yeah for sure, and it will definitely be fun to continue learning and creating this stuff. I’m decent at design and making music, like this is already what I love to do, and now I get to fuse both passions together for this project.

HIHF: I feel like you almost have an upper hand compared to others given your graphic design experience.

Lavier: In a way yes, but there is still a lot to learn. I’m more so excited because I feel like adding the visual piece allows more room to express my project. When that time comes, I’m going to be hitting up all of the visual homies for pointers. As the album is coming along, I also want to tap into my album artwork experience and create these animations to go along with each track. Rather than writing the album and then going straight into the animation work, I want to have all these clips done and ready to go when it does become album time.

HIHF: It’s almost like you’re giving whatever song its own story in a way. That’s really cool.

Lavier: And that’s honestly another thing I like to do: individual artwork for each track. Flying Lotus actually did something like that for his album You’re Dead! I own the vinyl of that album and on the back of it you see individual illustrations for each track. It’s really well-thought out and the level of detail is super appealing to me.

HIHF: Oh wow, that is very cool. I feel like I saw Koan Sound doing something similar for their new album. Each track on their new album is linked to a chapter of a story. They did this the opposite way, though, where they wrote a story and then scored each song to the story as if they were creating an original soundtrack.

Lavier: Wow I didn’t know about that, but that’s super cool.

HIHF: Is there anything else about you or the Lavier project that our readers should know about?

Lavier: Honestly, I want to get to know more of the people who actually like my music and be more personable. You know me pretty well now and it’s easy to talk, but for those who don’t me as well, I can be pretty weird because I’m anxious as s***. So yeah, just trying to meet more people at shows to continue building strong relationships with people that support me and then just continuing to put out more music. I think I have a single coming out at the end of this month. I have a release every month until the end of this year, one of which should be an EP. But yeah, just releasing a lot of music, so be on the lookout for that!


We can’t thank Lavier enough for taking some time to speak with us at Elements! Make sure to give him a follow below to stay up to date on all of the exciting news surrounding his project.

Support Lavier on Socials: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | SoundCloud | Bandcamp

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