In Profile: xxxy
21 October 2015
If there existed a list of the most overused phrases and adjectives in a music journalist’s vocabulary, ‘cutting-edge’ would be near the top. It’s a clichéd descriptor that’s very useful when you can’t be bothered to define genres in more detail; we know this because we’re as guilty of using it as any of you.
But you’ll have to forgive us in the case of Manchester born, Berlin native xxxy, because we were left floundering for a phrase as fitting. A lot of you may have already heard that the producer and DJ will be touring the country for the first time this coming week with the esteemed Red Bull Music Academy – the same institution responsible for bringing down the likes of Modeselektor, Hudson Mohawke, Benjamin Damage and Kode9 in the last couple of years.
We got in touch with the four-to-the-floor expert, fresh from Unsound festival in Krakow, Poland to find out more about him, his experience with the Academy and his forthcoming trip to India.
Rupert Taylor was born and brought up in Manchester, where he absorbed the range of music that influences him to this date – “When I was a kid I was more into indie and rock music, my favourites that have stuck with me are Spiritualized, Mogwai, the Beta Band and Jeff Buckley”. He caught the attention of future fans and RBMA with his debut production ‘You Always Start It’. Based on that, he was selected to attend the 2011 edition of the Academy, which took place in Madrid - “It really was a life affirming experience, right from the start; having a 3 hour lecture from Nile Rodgers on the first day is the standout moment.
“There was such a great vibe between all the participants and the staff I even think that rubbed off on some of the lecturers too, it’s definitely an experience I would recommend to anyone making music of any genre. ” And he’s got advice for any of you sitting on the fence about applying - just do it - “If you make music and you really love music there is no reason that you can’t get into the Academy.”
Barely a year later, RBMA listed xxxy as the “fourth best DJ in the world” and he’s gone on to play at some of the world’s foremost festivals and venues (Sonar festival 2012 with RBMA being his favourite to date). His complex interpretations of UK garage, classic house and techno have manifested themselves in a number of albums and EPs, most of which have been released through Doc Daneeka’s label – Ten Thousand Yen. His work has received acclaim from international journals like Resident Advisor, Fact, Dummy, XLR8R and Pitchfork (which picked ‘Ordinary Things’ as its best new track upon its release)
Before his shift to the clean, intricately layered produced music he’s known for today, xxxy started as a bedroom producer, focusing initially (and surprisingly enough) on DnB – “I can’t really say that I was a drum n bass producer; I made some really awful drum and bass tunes when I started producing but I didn’t release anything. It was only when I started to make dubstep tracks that anyone was interested in my music, but I lost interest in dubstep as a genre when it started to get harder.”
The producer recently made the shift to Berlin from London; we asked him whether that transition has changed his sound: “I don’t think so, I don’t really get out so much anymore so I don’t think Berlin affects me in that way, maybe the calmness in comparison to London helps me to make music.”
We’ve got our expectations high from his India tour – he’s known for his immaculate skills as a DJ and will hopefully introduce Indian audiences to new sounds within house, garage and more. Based on what we’ve seen online, the mood with his sets get increasingly excitable - almost euphoric. Taylor chooses to keep it a surprise though – “I hope to showcase my music and my DJing, bits of UK stuff with more straight up house and techno and a few surprises”.
xxxy begins his India tour in Pune this weekend on 24 October and will make his way to Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore in the coming days. Check out his SoundCloud for more music and Facebook page for more information.
THE SAME 3 QUESTIONS:
3 most inspirational artists:
3 favourite albums of all time:
Kid A - Radiohead
Severant - Kuedo
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space - Spiritualised
3 favourite artists of the moment:
Lord Of The Isles