Exclusive Interview: LAXX Is Taking Over, One Step At A Time
Sensible Reason recently interviewed LAXX, one of the hottest DJs emerging from the UK’s underground EDM scene. LAXX is known to throw a conglomerate of different sounds and genres into his mixes, creating a heavy hitting, dance-enticing, and one-of-a-kind sound he calls ‘twitch.’ LAXX recently released a new EP, ‘Step One,’ with ‘Step Two‘ soon to follow. He has recently been supported by the likes of Disclosure, Knife Party and many more. Be on the lookout for LAXX as his unique style permeates the UK and beyond. Here’s the full transcript of the interview as well as his new EP, Step One:
Sensible Reason: You have a very unique sound, and have been described as having the ability to step outside most genre stereotypes.’ How would you describe your own sound?
LAXX: I just try and do my own thing, I like all different types of music. I hear things in other genres and it inspires me to mix it up and clash styles together and make something new. Especially with the Step One EP, I basically just locked myself away for months and just had this vibe in my head I wanted to get down, Unknown is just a progression on the sound to a new level. Its a little trap influenced, a little Dubstep influenced, but I don’t want to label it, so I just started calling my style twitch, kind of describing the glitches and offbeat step of it, also the fact it makes you want to get up and go crazy.
SR: How long have you been DJing, and what was your experience like starting your career?
L: I started when I was about 13 or 14. I used to listen to Andy C and Friction sets off my mp3 player constantly, and just started working out how they were mixing from hearing the originals after and things just started clicking. I bought a pair of direct drive turntables and had no idea how to use them, so just was putting on records and just listening to them and loving it. I taught myself how to mix, and it just became my favourite thing to do, that and buying records. I started playing house parties and any opportunity I could get on the decks and smash out some tracks I’d take.
I used to play small shows here and there, and then things just picked up quick and I was flying out to Europe most weekends and playing shows all over the UK. I’ve always loved DJing and having so many of my own tunes to play live completely changed things, meant I was creating tracks to play specifically in parts of my sets.
SR: Did you always see yourself becoming a DJ? If not, what would you be doing otherwise?
L: If I wasn’t a DJ I have no idea what I’d be doing, probably working some dead end job and hating life. I worked with film and TV for a while so probably something to do with that, but music and sound design is my 2nd best thing I can imagine doing for a career, outside of DJing.
SR: I was simply blown away by your EP ‘Step One’ that came out recently on Never Say Die Records. Anything to succeed that in the coming months?
L: That’s wicked to hear, the whole EP’s had an amazing reaction, so many big artists supporting it and an insane amount of emails and messages from people telling me how much its made a difference to their taste in current tunes. Step Two is on its way. It’s the next Step in the series, and a next step in the progression of my sound. You’ll have to wait and see..
SR: I hear a slew of different elements in your music. Who are some of your influences? Any notable influences from different genres?
L: I listen to everything, I love all different types of music. I try to just listen and absorb as much as I can from whatever I hear. I can’t really name names because there are too many, but mostly things that just has a different vibe to it, something different and exciting. I rate Noisia, Sub Focus, Calyx and Teebee from the Drum and Bass scene, I rate Antiserum, Yellow Claw, Dillon Francis, Farkas, Diamond Pistols, Posij, Barely Alive, Munchi, and a host of others who write all different tempos.
I was mad into IDM like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, but I never felt like it would work on the dancefloor, so its inspirational but in a way like how could I integrate it to work in sets.
SR: From your experience, what makes the UK EDM scene different from that of other countries? How has the scene evolved during your time as a DJ?
L: The UK scene has always been really underground, and weirdly the tunes which work the best on the dancefloor are pretty understated, which I think is sick! Its not all about having a massive buildup, its just about the vibe in the tune and the energy and rhythm, which I admire big time. I think other countries are having trouble with this compared to the UK. I love the energy in live shows around Europe and the US, but in an ideal world I’d like raves to be completely open to every type of tune and less focus on the big tunes and more on the progression. I’m not complaining tho, I love every show I play and I think its pretty obvious to see! I’m changing up my live shows to try and bring something new to the table.
SR: If you had a favourite club or festival that you have played so far, which one would it be and why?
L: I loved playing Laundry day in Belgium last year, and any of the Subway XL shows, as well as Resist in Eindhoven. I’ve loved every show I’ve played, but playing the Unknown after I’d just finished it to 8+ thousand people and seeing it go off was a crazy buzz. It’s not always about the amount of people, it’s the energy in the venue and the reaction the tracks get.
SR: Building off of the last question, are there any venues or festivals that you haven’t played yet that you are really interested in playing?
L: I’d love to play Global Gathering and some of the bigger UK festivals, but Shambala and Ultra would be insane! Also, Outlook festival was wicked to play, and the crowds are so up for hearing everything from garage and grime to the hardest drum and bass.
SR: Throughout your career, who have been some of your favorite people to work with and why?
L: I have to big up Farkas everytime I get asked this. He’s got a wicked energy in the studio and his workflow is untouchable. We work well together because he can pull off the weirdest synths and I can contrast it with techyness to bring something new to it. Benga as well was wicked to work with, obviously being a pillar of the scene and knowing it inside and out, but he’s got an energy most producers don’t have, and he’s a joker to work with.
SR: Is there any advice you would like to give to up and coming DJs?
L: I always say to people, just do your own thing, take influence from everything you hear, but don’t copy a sound your feeling, just go with whatever you want to write. I think if your doing something because you like the vibe and want to emulate it, its not really a representation of you, and its only going to sound like a carbon copy and have none of your original style to it. If you’re writing because you love writing it’s going to come out in your music. Its the same with DJing, play tunes your feeling and don’t go for a vibe just because you think it’s going to go off. My only advice with either producing or DJing is practice is the only way you can succeed. Only if your working like there’s no tomorrow are you going to make it. If fame comes overnight its not going to last, so don’t rush things, hone your art and keep at it.