SKisM & LAXX Discuss New Remix & NSD Vol. 3 [Interview]
With Never Say Die and UKF’s Vol.3 compilation dropping on June 23rd, we thought it suitable to catch up with a couple of the label’s key players and chat about the release. Alongside curating the album, the head honcho and iconic producer/DJ SKisM is also teaming up with new NSD member LAXX to remix Zomboy’s ‘Raptor’. LAXX is something of a prodigy in the bass world at the moment, busy establishing his unique brand of “Twitch” music after last year’s debut EP smashed Beatport’s Dubstep chart and was heavily supported by the likes of Flux Pavilion.
To earmark the release of another standout album from the NSD camp, we spoke to SKisM and LAXX each about their collaboration in the studio and other ongoing musical projects.
[EDM = EDM.com; SK = SKisM; LA = LAXX]
EDM: First things first, you’ve got the Never Say Die UKF Volume 3 out 23rd June. What process did you go through on the track selection?
SK: The same as always I guess, reaching out to the crew and seeing what was available. I wanted to make a point of making it mostly exclusive and mostly Dubstep, and I’m really pleased with the result. There were also a few tunes that had come out as free downloads from extended family that I felt deserved a proper release, and fitted the vibe of the record.
EDM: What artists on the label have been killing it for you in the past 6 months?
SK: All of them. It’s got to the point now where I can go out and DJ a 90% NSD set because we’re coming with the goods. MUST DIE!, LAXX, Zomboy, Eptic, Megalodon, Habstrakt and Trampa are ALL on fire.
EDM: You signed LAXX earlier this year. How did that come about? What does he do as an artist that impresses you?
SK: Probably the most unique signing process I’ve had. After a brief introduction from Megalodon, Jamie hit me up on Twitter talking about scheduling an EP on NSD before I’d even heard any music. It pissed me off a bit to be honest and we had a few conversations in a similar vein shortly afterwards. I asked Megalodon to send me something to hear otherwise I was going to tell him where to go. He begrudgingly sent me ‘Unknown’ and after one listen had to tuck my tail between my legs and send Jamie the message: ‘We Need To Talk’.
EDM: What does the future hold for you as artist, and for your imprint?
SK: At the moment my artist career is on hold to secure the future of the imprint. There’s so much happening with my artists as they’re entering their prime and they need my attention. We’re also in a period of time where I feel our role as a label is more important than ever, I’m pushing what I believe in when a lot of people aren’t.
EDM: How have you found it working with SKisM and Never Say Die?
LA: Its been amazing, before we got in the studio we talked about ideas, and felt like both our sounds could create something really interesting. For the first time working with another artist I felt like it was completely 50/50 on the input, and it just flowed really easily. Both of us are pretty technical, and so writing isn't a quick process. It involved a lot of trying ideas, then starting over until we had something down we could shape and tone.
EDM: How do you feel you’ve progressed as an artist since joining the label?
LA: It’s made me realise a lot about myself and I'm a lot happier in what I'm doing now. Every release they've pushed so hard and they fully took on board my sound. It's really refreshing because I can write the music I want to write and not have to compromise the ideas, which I'd had to do a lot with other labels. I'm more motivated than I've ever been, and musically I've matured. From now, everything is on the up!
EDM: All your tunes have a huge amount of energy, what vibe do you try hitting?
LA: I just have an idea in my head before I start writing. I usually start in a similar way each time, just trying to reach that sound which makes me sit up and think, “This is going somewhere.” From then it’s just a whirlwind of clicking and recording ideas until I can get everything in my head down. I'm not really aware of what I'm doing when I'm really into writing, I'm just chasing a vibe and trying to stay true to it until it's down and I can relax.
EDM: How would you define your sound?
LA: I don't really like putting my sound in a box. It's hard to define something I've been developing over years, trying to step outside of what most people have been doing. I started calling what I was doing “Twitch” a couple of years ago, and now it’s a lot more specific than it’s ever been. My sound is going a bit more glitchy and techy and I'm hyped about what’s to come. I think at the moment it’s more of a cross breed of Hip Hop, some Dutch house and tear-out influenced dance music. It keeps energy in the music as well as the simplicity overall, aiming at keeping you on the dance floor until you can't dance any more!
EDM: You recently hit 20,000 likes and are giving some free music away to celebrate. Can we have any details on what tunes you’ll be giving away?
LA: I can't really confirm what's happening just yet, but it’s big… really big. It's going to be some brand new unheard material, on a different tip. I'm really excited about everyone hearing what I've been working on. It's a new chapter for me musically, and the tip of the LAXX iceberg.
EDM: You have collaborated together on a remix of Zomboy’s on the album. How did you find it working with each other?
Writing music together was really fluid - we both brought different things into the mix that the other would bounce off and continue the vibe onto new things. Our styles are different in some elements but we both share an appreciation for music which makes you bass face into new extremes, so subconsciously we were both aiming to create that.
EDM: Did you have any preconceptions on how you wanted to sound?
It was a lot of trial and error; testing out things and seeing how they progressed, and then putting them on the pile and using them in a different context later on. We came up with several ideas on where it could go, and then one or two things just clicked in the mix and we were both pulling some sort of face. A “this track is going to make people go mental” sort of expression.
EDM: Did you find you blended your styles easily or did you try hitting a completely new sound?
Both of us are quite forward-thinking, and think of music on a visual level, maybe taking some ideas from one genre stereotype and twisting it to new levels. A lot of 140 has been re-hashed over and over, so writing something typical wasn't something we were aiming at.
Pre-order the Never Say Die x UKF Vol. 3 via iTunes here!