Green Velvet, Adam Beyer, Sascha Braemer, OXIA

Interview: 5 minutes with OXIA

Image by Sebastien Veronese

Fourteen years ago, OXIA unleashed his seminal work Domino amidst the burgeoning resurgence of tech house. It was a total smash, an instant classic which would define the sound of the time and which made the name OXIA instantly recognisable in the world of electronic music. While Domino is usually the first point of reference, OXIA has proved to be a formidable and multifaceted force committed to the formulation of distinct and often hypnotic dance music. Since then, he hasn’t stopped evolving his craft or his sound. Hailing from Grenoble, France, OXIA is now one of the most respected DJs and producers on the international house and techno circuit, with a career spanning over twenty years, countless releases and multiple world tours. On top of an impressive list of remixes and releases on respected imprints such as Bedrock, Saved and Knee Deep in Sound, he also fronts his own Diversions Music label alongside long-time friend Nicolas Masseyeff

Following a huge contribution to Jospeh Capriati’s Metamorfosi remix album in April, OXIA now releases Shadows on Lee Burridge’s inimitable All Day I Dream imprint as part of their 2021 Summer Sampler compilation. It’s a dreamy, melodic cut that finds its groove in atmospheric, distorted plucked strings and a simmering late afternoon beat. We caught up with OXIA to find out more about his creative process and what we can expect to hear from him soon.

Download All Day I Dream’s Summer Sampler 2021 featuring OXIA’s ‘Shadows’ here

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I’ve always been attracted to the arts, especially music, even though I also like cinema a lot. But music has always been my passion. It was a natural choice. And I can’t do anything else!

Which comes first when you’re producing — the sound or the idea?

There are no rules. Sometimes, for example, I have an idea for a melody and I create the track around it. Sometimes it’s by listening to sounds that an idea grows, or sometimes I start with the rhythm.

Take us through a day in the recording studio

It depends on the day. They vary according to my mood and desires. Sometimes I spend hours running a loop in search of the right sound. Then there are the days when I’m mixing my tracks and I need to concentrate so as not to make mistakes. That’s why when I can, I go to Nicolas Masseyeff’s studio for the mix-down. It’s always better to have four ears, and Nico has good experience with the process 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I’m always trying to find new sounds, both in synths and rhythm. I spend a lot of time searching… sometimes even a bit too much!

How has the sound of OXIA evolved through the experience of lockdown? Have you found that isolation has affected what you are making?

No, I don’t think it really changed my sound.  It’s not easy to say… Maybe it did influence me a bit. I was able to make more music when I was touring, that’s for sure.

In 2020 you put out a remix of Bizen Lopez on Diversions. How would you say this upcoming release on ADID is distinct from that one?

There was that remix and also a remix I did for Joseph Capriati, which was released in April this year. Those two remixes are different from each other and completely different from this track on ADID. Originally this track could have been for my next album, which is going to be more in that spirit.  But we decided to send it to Lee Burridge and he wanted to sign it immediately for the Summer Sampler. I’ve always liked to do different things. I like a lot of things in electronic music: soft, melodic, more groovy, or techno and this inspires my production.

What was your experience like working with Yannick Baudino on ‘Shadows’?

I was looking through a computer that I no longer use, to transfer files to my new computer, and while searching I came across the beginning of a track that Yannick and I had started some time ago with.  We took the idea, updated it and the result is ‘Shadows.’

What gets your creative juices flowing?

To be honest I have always wondered about this! I don’t really know, it’s something that comes by itself, without me specifically thinking about it. I think that the people and things around me inspire me the most, the music that I listen to, the cinema, the nature, the cities I visit when I play, and so on.

So what’s on your current playlist?

I listen to a lot of different music. If we’re talking about the stuff I listen to at home, it’s quite different from what I play during my gigs. I really like artists such as RY X, Henry Green, Little Dragon and Kyson. I’ve actually been compiling a podcast series for a few years now called Home Selection. This is a good reflection of the music I like to listen to at home, to relax. This makes me think I need to make a new one soon!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

I follow the artists we release music from on our label Diversions Music (with Nicolas Masseyeff) closely.  For example, the artists we released music from last year: Airbas, GVRL, Bizen Lopez, and the producer of the next EP, Colombian Julian Millan.  But there are of course many others.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought “this is what I want to do”?

I decided a long time ago to do what I do. When I was seven or eight years old, I was at a concert with my parents and I told my mum, “I want to do this when I grow up”, pointing to the artists on stage. Afterwards I won a contest on a local radio station, I was twelve I think. The prize was being invited to the studio. That was a second revelation. Just about three years later I was hosting a funk show on the radio, and that’s when I started mixing. Production came a bit later, and I haven’t stopped since. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you for the rest of this year?

After ‘Shadows’ on the All Day I Dream summer compilation, I did a remix for the next Diversions Music release by Julian Millan. Then there’s a solo EP scheduled, with remixes, also on Diversions. And I also did a remix of an old POPOF track.  AND I’m working on a new album for next year!

Famous last words?

Thank you very much and I hope to see you on the dance floor very soon! Take care.

Check out OXIA’s new Beatport Summer Chart here, and listen to Shadows below.

Follow OXIA

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