WX//CLTV FOUNDER: JAPHY VANSAN
Japhy Vansan (a.k.a. Robert Strauss) is a Canadian-born / UK music producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, engineer, DJ, visual artist and facilitator. These days expect him travelling the planet, connecting the dots of global community, inspired by freedom of communication in music, arts and culture.
Initially signed as singer / songwriter to various major label development deals in Canada in the early 90's, and rising to international profile during the early 2000's as artist, producer & DJ, appearing on various UK labels. Japhy relocated to the UK in 2007 to found 'WAX Recording Studio' (shortlisted as one of the top ten recording studios in London. He has produced in excess of a thousand tracks as artist and composer for film & television, as well as produced albums for contemporary Latino and Iconic British artists over his two plus decades in commercial music production.
As featured this year on nearly 100 + Official Spotify playlists, his work is currently streaming at 2+ million plays per month across various projects on his label WX//CLTV, along with his vinyl back catalogue released on connoisseur labels: BBE, Freerange Records, Defected, Tokyo Dawn Records, Expansion Records, Souljazz Records,
Early life (Canada):
Raised by artistic parents, Robert (a.k.a. Japhy) was influenced and encouraged by Angie (his mother, an oil painter) to develop his interest in music. From the age of five, he played piano, guitar and drums without any formal training. He grew up in a small town called Niagara on the Lake, Ontario and was a guitarist playing in a local high school rock band while getting occasionally tuition from a guitar teacher / mentor Steve Kostyk. Then seven-teen years old, Robert left his high school band and small town roots to pursue his career in music in Toronto.
1993 - Live Sound Engineer to Major Label signing (Canada):
Robert was working in Toronto at a guitar shop where he met music well known local musicians and major label producers Peter Prilesnick and Matthew Dematteo and formed a rock band called 'Life'. Robert was now writing his own material, singing, and fronting the band. The band was listed in the top 10 upcoming bands that year by Canadian Industry journal 'The Record' based on the strength of their first EP. They were commissioned to record demos for Canadian major label Warner Electra Atlantic / WEA, In the midst of recording songs for a debut album, creative tensions and conflicting visions within the group, ultimately led to Robert's pursuit of a solo career and beyond.
1997- Recording for Warner / Electra / Atlantic in Seattle (USA) :
Robert had more punk inspired vision for his new music and relocated to Seattle Washington, a city known to be ground zero for bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam to form a third rock group assembled with local session musicians John Wicks and organist Joe Doria. 'Children' recorded a series of (yet again) label funded demos for Warner Electra Atlantic. Although the self-produced demos were delivered to the label in Canada, the barebones sound of the recording were dismissed by A&R, and Robert returned back to his parents home, broke and disillusioned by his attempts to fulfil his dreams as a rock star.
In 1999, determined to once again pursue his career an artist, Robert relocated back to Toronto, Canada and started to work as self-taught sound engineer at The Cameron Public House, a well-known live music venue.
2000- Sound Engineer (Toronto, Canada):
With a new found love for technical aspects of music mixing and home recording Robert progressed quickly through the ranks for live music mixing in Toronto clubs and decided to open his first of many recording studios. Within a few short years of experimentation, Robert had built a reputation a sound engineer which led to nationally recognised talents Saukrates, Colin Munroe and Brass Munk (EMI) and others to record with him at his now expanded 'home' studio. This became his first sustainable income source as a working professional in the music industry.
2004 Music Producer / Film & TV Composer / Studio Engineer (Canada, UK):
Robert continued to create, write and produce his own music and In 2004 his first releases as an electronic & dance music producer started to appear in various genres including: Deep House, Broken Beat, Techno, Hop Hop and Soul, His first of many vinyl releases we're pressed by top tier UK based record labels, and his first full-length album 'Quasars & Phasars' was released by Jimpster's iconic electronic dance label Freerange Recordings. Off the back of his new found success, he received the first of many commissions to follow writing and producing music for film and television under his 'Strauss Commercial Creative' company banner.
Electronic / Dance Music Producer (Toronto, Canada / London UK):
In 2007, Robert's second album 'Mr. Feelings' was released on the legendary UK imprint 'BBE Music' and featured collaborations with major and legacy artists Leroy Burgess, Baatin of Slum Village, Saidah Baba Talibah, Richie Hennessey of Brass Munk, and Moka Only. Robert was now a resident DJ at his self-themed Toronto club event entitled 'Party In My Body', which led him signing to leading UK based DJ booking agency 'Best Kept Secret' as he relocated to London (UK) in support and on tour of his second album.
Robert continued to work and collaborate as a dance, funk, hip hop and soul music producer at that time with further releases appearing on numerous compilations with remixes by incredible dance music artists: DJ Spinna, Joey Negro, Recloose, Osunlade, Henrik Schwarz, Yamwho? and many others. He was shortly thereafter commissioned by then UK publishing powerhouse Union Square Music (Sony / BMG). to ghost write, produce and record 8 more albums of soulful electronica for commercial release.
2010 - Founder WAX Recording Studio (London UK):
In 2010, Robert founded 'WAX' Recording Studio in East London on: Bricklane (Circa 2010), in Dalston (2013) and in Westham (Circa 2015) and eventually re-locating to Brighton, UK (in 2020)
Many well-known artists record there including: Sugarhill Gang, Jordan Rakei, Kwabs, Barns Courtney, Rejjie Snow, Blue Lab Beats, Andrew Roachford, Omar Lye Fook, Odyssey, Paul Jackson, Xantoné Blacq, Ahmed Abdullah, Swing Out Sister, Antonio Sanchez, Personal Life, D'Nell, Da Lata & Lyric L and countless other talented artists.
2010-2013 (LONDON, UK) BRICKLANE, E2
2015-2020 (LONDON, UK) WESTHAM, E16
2013-2015 (LONDON, UK) DALSTON, E8
2020-2021 (BRIGHTON, UK)
2010 - Musical Director 'Personal Life' London (UK):
Robert begins to write and collaborate with vocalist Stuart Lisbie based on his vision of a classic all live jazz-funk group and formed: 'Personal Life' a 10-piece band featuring Stuart's voice. Robert (songwriter, now multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer) recruits contributing with members from Amy Winehouse's touring band: Xantoné Blacq (Keys), Nathan Allen (Drums), plus well known London based session musicians Max Grunhard (Sax), Scott Baylis (Trumpet & Flugelhorn), Anselmo Netto (Percussion), Anna Croad (Violin), Alex Barnes (Cello) and Frida 'Mariama' Touray (Backing Vocals).
The group had their first CD release on Expansion Records' Luxury Soul 2013 compilation and the debut album was released on on vinyl by legendary UK label, 'Expansion' Records as well as Germany's much revered, Tokyo Dawn Records imprint.
The band's singles were strongly supported by DJ's in the UK as listed many times over on the National, 'UK Soul Chart'. Their song 'Morning Light' hit number three on the top thirty and stayed on the charts for several weeks. The debut album tracks were licensed on 10+ CD and vinyl compilations including: Soul Togetherness (2013), Sounds Of Universal Love (2013), Luxury Soul (2013), Luxury Soul (2014), The Boogie Vol. 4 (2014), Mutants Vol. 2 (2014), Tony Minvielle Presents Into Somethin' (Vol. One) 2015, Luxury Soul (2015) and collectors vinyl.
in 2013, Personal Life were also fan nominated as 'UK Soul Artist of the Year' alongside Incognito, Omar & The Brand New Heavies and headlined at London's vanguard venue Jazz Cafe, as presented by the UK's Jazz FM.
2016 - HOT ARTTT (Conceptual music / erotic-art project)
Furthering his pursuit for re-invention and feeling the weight of supporting such a large working band despite their success locally and internationally, Robert launches into yet another career direction. Now dubbed as 'Japhy Saatchi' (a nod to Charles Saatchi of the modern art world), Robert begins to sing and perform and tour with his performance artist / girlfriend drummer as 'HOT ARTTT'.
Although the two-piece conceptual group was short lived, his catalogue of songs were eventually released by Matanga Records, as 'Japhy Saatchi' in 2020 to warm editorial reception on Spotify.
2017 - END OF THE ZEN / FORVRNSS (Metal, Spiritual Folktronic / Singer Songwriter)
Japhy continues to write, innovate and break stereotype, performing and recording under various aliases. He independently releases an album of self described darkness with project: 'End of the Zen and in juxtapose / lightness with collaborator Radovan Brtko: 'FORVRNSS', both of which serve as personal non-commercial cathartic projects as he continues to produce as commercial artist under various banners.
2021 - Current: Founder & Creative Director of WX//CLTV
Now officially referred to professionally as 'Japhy', Robert produces music as multiple artists: WX//CLTV (Chill Beats) Transpiritual (Dance / Electronic), D/S/T/N/C/E (Ambient) and RE:LX (Meditation) and has his largest audience to date, streaming at roughly 20-Million plays year, as featured on 80+ Spotify Official Playlists.
Japhy is currently a digital nomad living part time in Mexico, Morocco and travelling the world while working as a visual artist, curating events and building WX//CLTV (WAX Collective) as his now 'multimedia' shaped arts umbrella.
Touring and performance:
2000 performed with various bands and as solo singer / songwriter / guitarist in Toronto, Canada (solo, songwriter period)
2005–2008 DJ tours internationally in various countries including: England, Russia, Belgium. Germany, France, Ireland, Greece, Canada as well as major UK events and festivals
2013–2014 performing in Europe and various clubs and festivals as Musical Director in Personal Life
2015- touring China as MD for UK / Chinese artist Fifi Rong
2016- touring Mexico with performance art project: HOT ARTTT
2020: Skillshare.com course for creatives: Great Art Requires Great Risk
2007: Strauss Commercial Creative - Bespoke Music company for Film & TV
2010: WAX Recording Studio - Recording Studio 5 x Locations in East London & UK
2021: WX//CLTV (WAX Collective) a global content company / artist collective and label.
Check out a selection of Japhy's music (as sorted by genre) here on his linktree