Becoming a firm fixture of the UK’s drum & bass scene was never going to be enough for Alix Perez. In contrast, it's a desire to warp the boundaries of the genre that hastily set the wheels of his career in motion. With a refined touch shaping his productions and DJ craft from the age of 17, aiding in countless releases on imprints such as Metalheadz and Shogun Audio to back up his credentials, there’s no arguing the Belgian born Londoner has an ear for breaks.
Ahead of a busy summer which features appearances at Outlook Festival in September, we caught up with Alix to touch on upcoming releases, his own label and a desire to transverse genres.
Hi Alix, how’re things?
All good here thanks, finally back in the studio after some heavy touring since the beginning of the year.
You’ve already gained a formidable CV that boasts releases on heavyweight labels such as Metalheadz, Ninja Tune, V Recordings and Shogun Audio. Are you cooking up any new material in the studio right now in preparation for a busy summer behind the decks?
There’s plenty of music in the pipeline this year from myself, including a few collaborations that I’m excited about. There’s new SHADES material with Eprom and lots of new solo material that I will be including in my sets over the summer.
One of your most recent EP releases Numbers came out on your own label 1985 Music back in November 2016. Can you tell us a little bit about the label’s aesthetic and your general role at the label on a day to day basis?
Since the launch of 1985 last June it has become my solo point of focus. I generally look after the music and visual side of things. I’m taking care of all the design and branding as I have a degree in Graphic Design which has become very handy. I have a very specific vision for the music and art of the label and enjoy being at the controls, especially when it comes to the clothing and merchandise aspect.
Is it possible to provide an insight to some artists we might expect to hear releasing music on 1985 Music this year?
So far, via the label we have only released my solo and collaborative efforts but we have some other artists lined up this year. Our next release will see 1985 Music and Spectrasoul’s Ish Chat imprint come together for an E.P release. Next will be an E.P from Toulouse based producer Monty and after that a release from Ivy Lab’s Halogenix. Later in the year we will see a Various Artist compilation including a wide array of producers.
One feature of the label’s discography is your experimental collaboration Shades with US producer EPROM. How did the collaboration come about?
Eprom and I met at Northern Bass festival back in 2013 in New Zealand. We had spoken and exchanged music beforehand but we eventually worked together in the studio when we produced a joint E.P for Foreign Beggars. From this collaboration, we had a bunch of music left over and decided that we should release it. Some of this work became part of our first SHADES release on Alpha Pup and grew from there on.
Shades’ music has been described as down-tempo electronica and demonstrates a different hand to your usual productions under the Alix Perez moniker. Given your roots in DnB, are you quite conscious of abiding by genre tags, or do you prefer making music first and worry about classifying it later?
I don’t feel the need to abide to genres or sub genres. I strive from diversity and pushing myself as a producer. The more I experiment the more driven I feel, hence the diverse catalogue of music I have in my discography. I think it’s great to keep your fans guessing where you might go next.
Do you think creativity in electronic music is ever constrained by a need to label productions under a particular genre?
Yes, there’s definitely an element of confinement. People like to put a tag on everything and pigeon hole, which can hold you back or make you feel limited in some sense. Saying that, I’m always looking to push things forward even if it means disappointing purists.
It’s coming up to 5 years since the release of your Essential Mix – a huge achievement for an underground DnB artist. From a DJ point of view, have there been any achievements that you feel equalled or surpassed your Essential Mix debut?
Personally that was definitely a huge highlight of my career so far. I was very humbled to be asked to participate. It felt like a huge task at the time and also very nerve racking but I feel it was well received and I’m very appreciative of this.
The tail end of your summer will see you feature at Outlook Festival in Croatia, which over the years has developed a reputation as one of the leading festivals in the world for DnB. Have you been lucky enough to sample the Outlook atmosphere on any previous occasions?
Yes, I think this will be my 5th or 6th appearance at Outlook this year, and maybe 3rd or 4th at Dimensions. Both festivals are very special to me and I’m always hugely looking forward to returning there. There’s nothing quite like it. The crowds are always very receptive and educated and the vibe is electric. Not mentioning that the line ups are very to my taste.
Also featuring on the bill this year is Dizzee Rascal, Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah, Goldie, Digital Mystikz, LTJ Bukem and many more. Providing there are no clashes with your own set, is there anyone on the lineup who you are particularly interested in seeing?
I’m looking forward to Horace Andy, MDSGN, GhostFace, Swindle and Calibre looking at the list.
Finally, to finish on some music, has there been a certain track you’ve been reluctant to take out of your sets so far in 2017?
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