Interview by Joe Delon, October 10th 2019
The third mix on our series comes from one of our favourite DJs, Greek artist XDB, and we absolutely loved it. Read the Q&A below and get to know more about one of the finest selectors on the circuit.
Q: The mix you’ve shared with us has a fabulous section later on of stripped-down and rolling drum/rhythm tracks. What makes you reach for a drum track and what sort of reaction do you get from the crowd when you do?
X: Thanks for the invite to contribute a mix for the Carpet Music podcast series. A few of those stripped back rhythm tracks can be used as a tool on top of something else just to create an additional stronger groove. I have a third turntable on my technical rider and if the promoter can provide it, i am always ready to use it for example for stuff like that. To play for hours the same sort of melodic tunes can also become quite tiring to the dancers ears, so i tend to include some beat tools inbetween. The reaction from the crowd is usually positive as long as you dont overdo it. Those rolling rhythm tracks keep the dancefloor busy for a certain time and the hook , vocal or whatever uplifting effect the next record might have, is going to kick in even stronger when mixed in a good way.
Q: A friend of mine has a theory that you keep a separate ‘special collection’ just for your sets at Freerotation, because they always sound so unique and created just for the people at the festival. Are there indeed times when you plan a certain set or sound in advance of a particular party and, if so, what factors guide your mood?
X: Freerotation holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. It’s my favourite festival in the world, and it’s where my booker heard me for the first time DJ’ing. That was in 2009 and i’ve never left the agency since then. I am very thankful for that. Also always great to know who you play for, and Freero has definitely one of the most open minded music heads you can imagine, so no matter which room or style i am going to play, i will try to create something special for them. Playing there for 11 years in a row now and it just makes me happy when people show me that they fully enjoy. Not only at Freerotation.
Q: More generally, how do you balance the desire to make every set ‘special’ with the demands of regular touring?
X: I honestly spend at least 5 hours to pick records out of the shelves the night before i play somewhere. This results quite often in lack of sleep, but i can’t help it, it just has to be like that, a special mix of records in my bag to make me feel good when touring. It’s usually old and new stuff, some favourites, a few dubplates or rare records and always at least 2 classics. It never happens that i just take the same collection of records with me as the weekend before. 60 – 70% will be different ones, this keeps it refreshing for me and also for the promoter / club who books me and for the people who come to hear me play aswell. I usually take approximately 100 records with me. No usb stick or cd’s. Selection is House, Techno, Electro + some special stuff like beat tools, acapellas, sound fx records. But the set is never planned in advance. I decide last minute, which of the records and how i am going to play em out… this keeps it exciting for me too. A good monitoring is super important for me. If i can’t hear every detail, i will tend to play mostly the well known records, the ones i’ve played many times before, just because i know how they normally sound.
Q: Your sometime sparring partner Jane Fitz recently joked that ‘Goa-house’ was her groove – what has been your own relationship to ‘trance’ over your time collecting and DJing, and how does it play out when you go back-to-back with someone like Jane?
X: I actually love the stringful, melodic and trippy stuff aswell and started buying these kind of records already in the early / mid ninetees too . This makes it quite easy for me to play b2b with Jane and our sets are never preplanned. We don’t know which and what kind of records the other will bring, how fast or slow we are going to play. The last time we played together, at Lovefest in Serbia, Jane started with the first record and it was quite uptempo. So I pulled the speedy tracks out of my record bags. It worked out well and we had so much fun playing a bit faster than the sets before.
Q: Your production output over the past few years has been focussed on remixes. Do you foresee a return to producing your own music from scratch?
X: That’s true, i have done many remixes over the past few years and people keep on asking me. Two special ones are in the pipeline right now before doing a little break to focus more on original material. But I have done many own tunes in the meantime and some of these came out on various artist releases. Even if it’s always great to share a release with other artists, on the other hand it won’t show up as your own release in your discography,. The last own EP was the one on Ferox a few years ago. An upcoming release on my own Metrolux is overdue and I’ve got a great offer for an album on one of my favourite labels which is planned to come out next year at their 20th anniversary. Full announcement and detailed info soon.