The Bubble Pops: Xzavier Stone & Lavurn in conversation

5 Minute Read

Dissecting the spaces between clubland and Pop culture.

Last month saw the release of a new album from Xzavier Stone, a musician who is keen to embrace the fluidity of style and genre. The album itself has numerous touchpoints, blurring the lines and sensibilities of Pop and RnB with a number of collaborators dotted throughout.

It’s a delicately crafted affair, with poignant undertones and beautiful moments interspersed with wild, abstract sound design and deconstructed club influences.

Titled ‘GREYSCALE’ – the album is rooted in the overarching theme of farewell and renewal.


One of the collaborators on the record is Lavurn, who is perhaps better known as Cassius Select. A well versed producer with a dexterous hand.

We asked the pair to reflect on the notion of Pop music in the present as they work towards realising a shared vision.

Xzavier Stone asks Lavurn

How do you deal with wanting to be perceived as a (pop) singer and at the same time being known as a producer who occupies club rooms?

“I’m quite into it. I’ve always liked producers who also occupy other disciplines. For example many footwork and house producers have backgrounds in dance. I think it gives a more well rounded and honest view of how people are. This seems to be a bit of a pipeline as well, dance music producer to singer/songwriter pipeline. But for me personally Ive always made singing music, I didnt grow up with dance music or being in club spaces. And as time goes on, its easier to express all these different parts of your practice within one context. And more more I dont see this divide between pop music and club music. In my head, there are no genres and i think thats becoming a very healthy way of looking at music and it helps in exploiting different qualities and ideas within songwriting. You know, I think artists are characters, and being able to express yourself in different disciplines adds to the depth of what that character is.”

We met in Berlin while we both lived there in 2022, but both of us have been traveling around and living in different places. Why is it that you’re constantly in motion? And since you’re back in Berlin right now – is that your final destination now?

“Yeh we’ve been really fortunate to be able to be this mobile. Part of the reason for constantly being in motion is due to the fact that I had lived in Australia for many years, so I would go between Canada and Australia quite a bit. And in recent times I been in between Berlin and Toronto. And i know quite a few people in Switzerland due to knowing you as well as Daemon and Modulaw. So weirdly theres also a strong albeit random connection to Switzerland. I’m looking to be here for the rest of the year, trying to explore doing live shows under Lavurn. So this’ll be my final destination…for now.”

We’re both secretly influenced by R&B music, and since both of our careers started in the club music and experimental DIY scene, do you think we’ll ever reach the audience of artists like PARTYNEXTDOOR for example?

“I feel like I been doing music so long that the idea of reaching an audience that is more than 100 people seems crazy at this point. I’m quite happy with how things are. And constantly having a foot in experimental or DIY scenes is where im most comfortable, you get to see all these interesting types of things going on within that kind of scene. I’m not sure that I’d even like to enter that more mainstream ‘pop’ circuit. Although it would be nice to have a larger audience but honestly im not sure how id react if suddenly things changed overnight. I can see how even a small sense of success in that way can change people. I’m very comfortable with where im at currently.”

Who is in your top 5 male or female R&B voices? 

“I’m gonna for a less conventional list. Obvious choices would be D’angelo and Partynextdoor but i love the way Pharell delivers certain vocal lines. He takes advantage of the idiosyncratic qualities of his vocals, taking advantage of mouth feel etc. An artist I’ve been very into lately is 1010benja, he recently put out an album and his vocal delivery is insanely inventive and unconventional. Lea Sen is also an artist that has an incredible tone, working within r&b aesthetics. In a similar vein, Evy Jane delivers vocals in a drugged out nonchalant sort of way. I love vocals that have distinct idiosyncratic qualities.”

Who had the biggest glow-up in R&B? To me it’s Kelis – she was always phenomenal but I envy her farm life

“Great question, a glow up in the sense that you can opt out of the music industry. Fire. Honestly I cant think of anyone but i’ll tell you whos had a total glow down. Jenny from the block. Turns out shes not from the block and shes not singing on her own records. Everybody online is hating which is pretty sick. ”

Boxers? Briefs? Or Boxer briefs? Which ones the most appropriate if you’re an R&B singer?

“I personally like to go commando when im recording r&b for the best results.”


Lavurn asks Xzavier Stone

I’m not sure that either of us have had any substantial articles or pieces of music journalism written about us. Are you concerned with this at all? That seems to be a big thing lacking within our circles now is that nobody wants to give context to our practice.

“I’m not worried, but it’s frustrating. I think that in our case there are many aspects that would be interesting to cover, but I think that people don’t have the time to get familiar with something new and form their own opinions. My gut feeling is that we have to keep going, be consistent and hope that there are people who believe in us and want to support our vision by offering us a platform to be heard.”

Do you have any favorites in terms of nicknames for calling a significant other? (i.e. shorty and etc).

“I‘m going for „shawty“ because it‘s not gendered.”

What tropes within r&b do you enjoy the most? (i.e. skits, r&b laugh)

“The R&B „a-haa-haa“ laugh is definitely up there, but my favorite trope is probably the corny gaslighting from the 90s, where the singers promise you the moon just to smash. I feel like now artists are more transparent with this in today‘s time and tell their love interest openly that they leave after they spend the night.”

Timbaland or Pharrell? You have to choose one.

“I would only pick Pharrell if he comes with Chad – if not, I have to go with Tim. This is kind of a tough one, because I don’t think these options are equivalent to each other, even though we always mention them in the same sentence… what’s guaranteed though is that you’ll get grooves for sure!”

What are your favorite hip hop/r&b movie soundtracks?

“Mo‘ Money O.S.T. – It’s not necessarily a Hip-Hop/R&B movie soundtrack, but it was executively produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis – so essentially it’s full of R&B archetypes.”

Is having ‘bad’ music taste a dealbreaker for you in relationships?

Not really, although in the past it has never worked out when they weren‘t moved of way about D‘Angelo or his music (worst case = they don‘t know who he is 🚩).”

Do you have a favorite lyric or topline in r&b music? I’m thinking of a particular Trey Songz track called ‘Store Run’. The basic theme of which is that a girl comes over and he doesn’t have adequate protection so he must go to the store to buy some.

“There are a bunch, but I’ll go for a more recent one: “Excitement by Trippie Redd & PARTYNEXTDOOR” where PND says – “How else should I feel about you but crazy? Pushed the limits on my anxiety when I’m excited (Ooh, ooh)” because it sounds like he’s saying “when I’m inside it” at the end and I think that’s funny.”

Does not being buff invalidate one’s r&b identity? What is your relationship with the gym?

“It doesn’t invalidate it at all, but having an album artwork one day where I’m topless is on my bucket list (google: “Ginuwine So Anxious single artwork”) – so I’m not sure if I’m contradicting myself rn?”

Who is the funniest musician you know?

“You know it‘s you 😒”

Buy the release HERE.