As Australian born half Dutch Levi 5star rolls out of the noughties, it’s fair to say that his 15 year addiction to house music is now beginning to pay off. A DJ, band-leader and now producer, label manager and entertainment booker, he’s become one of Sydney’s dance elite with the best bookings in the region, a string of international club hits like ‘Third Time’ (which peaked at No 5 in the UK Club Chart), extensive licensing to Hed Kandi and Ministry radio support.
A feverishly enthusiastic house DJ since 96, Levi currently holds down a weekly residency at Sydney’s Goldfish where the likes of Derrick Carter and Nic Fanciulli are guests. In Milan he is a regular guest for Fidelio, the Milan’s most loved and famous house night located in THE CLUB. In the UK he is a resident with Bootleg Social Records and recently played MOS London for their 5th birthday party. He runs Musicology events in Sydney, Italy, Ibiza and London. He also regularly spins for Hed Kandi, having just completed a tour with them. His passion for rocking a crowd is unapologetic! Levi’s pulsating style is all his own and matched with the hottest tracks he never fails to excite and ignite a dance floor.
5star’s supported all the top internationals including Groove Armada, Sarah Main, Jason Chance, Tim Cullen, StoneBridge, Danny Rampling, Stefano Pain, Ron Caroll, Body Rox, Dan Mckie, Italoboyz, Knee Deep, Dimitri from Paris, Ian Pooley, Fred Everything, Groove Junkies and Jazzy Jeff.
In 2003 it felt right to expand on DJing and get live. Drawing from his impeccable musical upbringing as the son of two jazz musicians, Levi formed his own collective La Fiesta Sound System, adding afro percussion, vocals and horns to the mix. These days La Fiesta are legendary as a party band in Australia. They’ve toured some of the biggest festivals in Australia (Big Day Out, Good Vibrations and The Falls Festival) and with over 1000 gigs under their belt, now tidy up in the cool kids corporate scene as the current band of choice for the events of Nova FM, Fashion TV, M&C Saatchi, Channel 7 and AAPT.
Latin was certainly Levi’s dominant flava for a while - something to do with a Chilean girlfriend and a trip to South America perhaps, where he somehow also managed to spontaneously spin tunes en route (this dogged persistence will become a recurring theme – he also managed to haggle a set at London’s AKA while on holiday in London). 2003 also saw him collaborate with pop star sister Antigone and wunderkid producer Justin Shave, who had broken out of their [love] tattoo shackles to launch Etherfox. ‘The Whirled You Live’, signed by Hussle Recordings, was an international club hit, picked up by Blanco y Negro for Spain and Drizzly for GAS and landing on comps like Hed Kandi’s Beach House. In Oz it was playlisted by Nova, nominated for 2 Dance Music Awards (where Levi joined the live performance for national broadcast.
Come 2005 and Levi’s latino lust reached its zenith with his very first solo record, La Fiesta Sound System’s ‘Dancando’ being picked up by Brian Tappert’s Soulfuric Records, the world’s finest latin house label. No other Australian has ever been signed to Soulfuric so for a first effort, this was encouraging! With a hot remix by Richard Earnshaw, ‘Dancando’ was licensed to Om records, Purple Music and FTV, and it cemented the 5star’s thirst for producing sexy house music.
Around the same time he was recruited twice to feature on Australia’s biggest national dance radio program, (JJJ’s Mixup), an opportunity which allowed him to slip some of his own tracks onto air… and the reactions were good! It encouraged Levi to seriously contemplate starting his own label. So a few years later he did.
Denim Label launched in 2008 with debut single, the sweet seductive Another You. It featured the topline of Michelle Martinez, a young soul singer now recognised as one of Australia’s best, and whom Levi has featured on all 5 of his label’s releases. But the hidden weapon in Levi’s new pair of strides was the reappearance of producer Shave on the scene, beavering away in London co-producing and mixing each single to make it world class. Shave’s unmistakable dance production led him from [love] tattoo and Etherfox to become one of the most in demand remixers for Hed Kandi and Ministry of Sound UK, the producer of 3 of Cerrone’s tracks on his recent gold album Celebrate, and now back in Sydney he’s producing the Potbelleez. Shave is effectively 5star’s mentor, and it shows. In 2012 Shave took out best electronic dance music producer ARIA award.
In 2008 Levi went to promote his new imprint at the WMC dance music conference in Miami, and in true 5star style, managed to push his way into the boxes of Mark Knight, Fedde Le Grande, Chris Lake, Kaskade, Dirty South, David Guetta and Carl Cox.
Back in his own box and next off the ranks was Third Time, again with Shave and Michelle, doing the major biz this time at home and internationally. Hitting no 5 in the UK Club Charts of summer 2008, it was then licensed to 3 major Hed Kandi comps for the UK, US and Australia and also found support on Gaydar Radio in the UK and Fresh FM in Australia.
This came hot on the heels of another top 10 UK Club Chart, bringing back the Whirled team with Antigone as solo artist, Shave producing and Levi co-writing for the fierce disco anthem More Man Than Man. It was licensed in the UK, Japan, South Africa and Australia and was impressively positioned on EMI’s seminal futurePOP volume 2.0
2009 saw Denim maintain the heat by releasing a further 2 singles. First a nasty dub ‘n bass ‘Melt Inside’ that Stonebridge grabbed for his Armada mix CD in Amsterdam and Andrew Friendly in London mashed up with his fired-up ‘It’s the Weekend’ feat MC Fast Eddie. And in October the haunting ‘Runaway’, again featuring Michelle Martinez, and now collecting support from Ministry of Sound radio in top programming slots like their ‘Then and Now’. It’s when an org like Ministry start tracking your development that you know the right people are starting to take notice.
Dance Floor Revolution is Levi’s latest single which has a more progressive edge, WMC inspired big room by non other then StoneBridge completes another Denim Label classic release.
Over the past 5 years, Levi 5star has received Australian radio support from MOS Radio, JJJ Mixup, Nova FM, FBI and SBS’ show Alchemy. Abroad he’s received plays by Kiss FM, Capital FM, Hed Kandi Radio, Buzzin’ Fly Radio and Roger Sanchez’s show in New York.
But that ain’t all! By 2008 La Fiesta were getting so many bookings and Levi was informally liaising with so many DJs, VJ’s dancers and musicians that he decided it made sense to create Quality Control Entertainment. Also incorporating production, QCE are now one of the most highly regarded and frequently utilised providers for some of Australia’s biggest parties. Channel 7, SBS, Nova 969, ING, AAPT, Virgin and Telstra have all had the hottest nightclub in town brought to them, courtesy of QCE (www.qcent.com.au).
Currently Levi is working together as co-director of Musicology and Bootleg Social Records with Damion Lepp and Tobie Allen.
Levi’s mentalist work ethic combined with an always charming but lockjaw persistence (think Pit Bull puppy) means he never lets a lead fly, never lets his clients down and never leaves his dancefloor in the lurch with a dud tune. And it’s with this energy that he enters the twenty teens, ready to turn any space he can get his mitts on into the hottest nightclub on earth.
Levi 5star is sponsored by Audio Technica.