Get To Know: LAXX [TMN Exclusive Interview]

LAXXTMN

Since being snapped up by dubstep heavyweights Never Say Die last year, DJ and producer LAXX has had a whirlwind few months. Upon releasing his iconic ‘Step One’, which saw heavy support from Flux Pavilion), he subsequently released three EPs, including the recent free download series ‘Step Free.’ With his unique approach to production and eye for a killer hook, his gig schedule is beginning to pick up, as his booking increase. We got speaking to LAXX to discover more about working with the Never Say Die team, future releases and where he sees this future heading.

TMN: Firstly, how did you come up with the name LAXX?

I’m not really sure how I came up with it, but it had a sound to it I instantly loved. Its kind of ironic too, because its slang for being lazy and I’m in the studio basically 7 days a week when I’m not travelling and playing shows.

TMN: Big ups on the hilarious teaser for ‘Step Free’ that you put out with SKisM, is he usually like that?  

Thank you. We were both laughing constantly while putting that together. The original version was like 5 minutes long, so we decided to use the “directors cut”, but it still cracks me up when I see it. SKisM isn’t really like that, it’s a shame, but I think his alter ego will come out at some point! Especially if I tell him I want to do any more free downloads. He’s a top guy in all seriousness, he works ridiculously hard and knows instantly if a track is going to ignite. I think the last thing I sent over his only words were “shut up” and “ridiculous” That’s meant in a good sense, by the way.

TMN: Why did you decide to give away the EP for free and will there be a ‘Step Three’ release any time soon?

‘Step Free’ was a project I had in mind for a while, I love giving something back to the people supporting my music, and this was the best way to do it. Every track on the EP was hand picked and some of them took nearly a year to finish, so this was a project I had planned out for a long time. I think I spent about two months deciding what tracks would go on there and making sure they were as perfect as I wanted them to be. There was a lot of blood sweat and tears that went into it. With regards to my next release, you’ll just have to wait and see… You’ll find out very soon.

TMN: For me the biggest track from the free series is ‘Untouchable’. Can you tell us the creative process for writing the track and how long it took to write this banger?

‘Untouchable’ was one of the tracks which took nearly a year to finish. I’d written part of the idea, and kept coming back to it, and then had a mad studio bender of about 3 weeks and worked on it nearly every day. I had an idea in my head and just started piecing it together, I think put down some drums, and then made a basic version of the lead and resampled it an insane amount of times. Its strange, when you get a vibe off a track, its kind of like you lose yourself and focus so intently on the track that nothing else matters, then you kind of take a step back and think fuck, what happened?

TMN: Who has been your biggest inspiration for your career and your most recently releases on Never Say Die?

I really like every artist on the label. Zomboy is smashing it, I like the direction he’s gone in, where he’s kind of tried out every genre and put his stamp on it. Eptic is a monster too, I get sent a lot of versions of tracks he’s working on, some deeper stuff recently and it keeps me inspired. MUST DIE! is insane also – the remix he did for me has been crushing it worldwide. So yeah, everyone on NSD is doing things I like.

TMN: Do you have any plans to play state side soon? And what are your top 3 tracks to play out live at the moment? 

I’m coming for you baby! America is one of my favourite places in the world, and you guys have always been some of the most dedicated fans. Long story short, I’m coming to take over! I’ve been playing out a lot of my new sounds and its been crazy seeing the reaction, but aside from that I love double dropping Flosstradamus – ‘Mosh Pit’, Yellow Claw – ‘Lick Dat’ and Gent and Jawns – ‘Turnup’ – (Kill The Noise Remix). Biggup!

Be sure to nab LAXX’s ‘Step Free’ here. 

LAXX
Untouchable
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Get To Know: Habstrakt & Megalodon [TMN Exclusive Interview]

TheStormTMN
Habstrakt & Megalodon
The Storm

Seeing as they had a brand new, four-track dubstep extravaganza out this week via Never Say Die Records, we decided to get the lowdown on how Habstrakt and Megalodon created “The Storm”. The pair, who usually work as solo producers and DJs last worked together for a track on Megalodon’s “Boom” EP, and clearly something sounded right. This time around, it’s a collection of heavy impact, sample-filled pieces of 140 bpm madness. Check out what the duo had to say about their creative processes.

TMN: What have you both been up to as of recent? 

Habstrakt: Touring Australia and New Zealand at the moment, it’s absolutely amazing so far. I had to wake up in the middle of the night to witness the release going live and see the fans react to it! Before that, I spent the summer in studio working on loads of new tunes, and already wrapping up the next EP as we speak.

Megalodon: I’ve just got back from a tour in the States and now catching some of the festival season here in Europe. It’s always fun to enjoy Europe before it gets back to being cold and dreary! As for studio work, I’m constantly working on sound design and concepts, which for a picky person like me may take a good amount of time sometimes.

TMN: You joined forces back in 2013 with “40 Cows”. How did you originally hook up for that track?

H: Sinjin (Megalodon) was touring France and had a few days off, so I offered him to come over to my place so we could finally meet after years and years of talking on the internet. We made “40 Cows” in one session; it only took an afternoon to write it down, which was probably the fastest studio session I’ve ever had!

TMN: What has the writing process been like for “The Storm” EP, any funny studio stories? 

H: Well, “Yabba Dabs” was written on Sinjin’s sofa in The Netherlands, we didn’t have speakers and did most of it on laptop speakers or with crappy headphones – coming back home to mix it down was painful, aha! Once again, we wrote all the tracks within a few days, but then obviously mixing it down took us a bit longer! The recipe for the album was pretty simple:  funny samples, 8 bit melodies, aggressive drops and a good dose of that sofa laziness we all crave.

TMN: You both work with Never Say Die on the regular, what is it like to work with SKisM and the crew?

M: Well I gotta say, from the moment I started working with them I noticed a big difference in drive and overall work ethic from them – more than anything I had experienced before. Put aside the fact that SKisM and the crew run an immensely tight ship, they also have always been on point when it comes to delivering quality and ground breaking dubstep to a bigger audience. I know Habby feels the same when I say SKisM is a huge influence as a producer and a pioneer in the game… it’s an honour to be apart of the team!

H: The Never Say Die crew is a very strong team with loads of people involved full-time with running the label, it’s very encouraging to work with such a team. SKisM has always been a mentor to me, even getting me back on the road when I was drifting away. The man is driven by a strong vision of both his label and the bass music scene in general, and it’s a real pleasure to work with someone who’s entirely devoted into pushing his artists as far as possible. Plus he calls me every night to sing me lullabies so I can sleep and he owns a suit made of £ notes, what else can I say!

TMN: What do you both have planned for the future? Any chance of more tracks from the pair of you?

M: Basically the same thing I’ve been doing since the start really. Making music and performing it is my passion and I hope to continue doing so for as long as I can. As for working again with Habstrakt, I think it would be foolish not to. I guess we will see what happens next!

H: It looks like I’m gonna be on the road a lot over the next few months, gigs are piling up and upcoming tours looks really exciting! Lucky for me, I’ve learned how to work far away from my studio and I can keep up with the production while playing shows all over the world.  And yes, you will definitely hear more Habstrakt & Megalodon collabs in the future, we’ve got such a nice thing rolling, I don’t see any reason why we would stop!

Pick up a copy of “The Storm” EP here. 

 

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[Indie Pop] CRUISR – Kidnap Me

CRUISR - Kidnap Me
CRUISR
Kidnap Me

Philadelphia-based indie group CRUISR has released another track that’s going to be featured on their up and coming All Over EP.  This summery tune is titled “Kidnap Me”, but it’s nothing like anything you would imagine off the song title. Possessing the traditional indie pop vocals, CRUISR is band that drives for a fun and exciting sound that makes everyone sing along to their tunes. It’s something you would listen to when you take your boyfriend/girlfriend out on a picnic.

Give it a listen and make sure to check out their soon-to-be released EP here. Get ready for a compilation of colorful summer anthems!

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[Electronic] Common ft. Kanye & John Mayer – Go (WoodysProduce Remix)

WoodysProduce - Go Remix
WoodysProduce
Common Ft. Kanye West & John Mayer- Go (WoodysProduce Summer Citrus Remix #10)

In the duration of this summer, LA-based producer WoodysProduce released a total of 10 remixes, with this one being the last entry in his Summer Citrus Remixes series. This time around he remixes a Common song featuring Kanye West and John Mayer titled “Go”. Having grown up listening to 90s hip-hop and heavily influenced by his father who is super into gangsta rap, WoodysProduce can easily take any rap song and turn it into a more chill-out and electronic goodness.

In this tune, the producer mixes in electric guitar chords, high pitched synths and that subtle wave noise in the background to create a summer-like tune, completely changing the mood of the original tune. You can imagine yourself chilling beach-side, sipping on a margarita while listening to this. Summer definitely doesn’t get better than this! We really wish he would collaborate with singers from LA area and produce some amazig tunes for us in the near future.

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[Electronic] Slow Magic – Girls (Kodak to Graph Remix)

Slow Magic - Girls (Kodak to Graph Remix)
Slow Magic
Girls (Kodak to Graph Remix)

Watching Slow Magic live is pretty awesome to say the least, but going on tour and performing with him must be even more awesome. Florida-based DJ/producer, Kodak to Graph, has been opening for Slow Magic during his U.S. tour, and decided to remix “Girls”, a Slow Magic classic.

Slow Magic’s songs are so unique that it is difficult to switch them up and give them their own identity, but Kodak to Graph did just that. Sampling the intro of the tune, Kodak threw in a soft yet casual trap beat, creating an interestingly exciting banger. Kodak to Graph, who closed out his set with this unique re-work, sure knows how to get the crowd pumped up with an energetic stage presence and his impressive producer maneuvers. We are very excited to see what he has in store for us in the future. Be sure to check out his SoundCloud page and upcoming tour dates with Slow Magic. We can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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[House] Michael Calfan – Prelude (Original Mix)

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Michael Calfan
Prelude (Original Mix)

It’s about that time the late night ninjas take over for all of you night owls. While some of you might be getting ready for bed, others might be just now settling in to their weekly Wednesday night turn up; we have the perfect tune from French producer, Michael Calfan, that will undoubtedly keep you up until the sun starts to make its way up onto the horizon. “Prelude” is full of epic piano stabs, soulfully chopped vocals, and a bitchin’ progressive house resonance that helps reassure us that this genre is well on its way to the very top. Michael Calfan is out to restore some hope for the traditional House productions as well infuse it with modern techniques to give us a whole new refreshing take on dance music. It may be almost midnight on our end, but we can’t seem to fight the urge to wiggle our way around the house in our pajamas. If you dig this phenomenal show stopper from Calfan, make sure to groove on down to Beatport and pick this baby up for your own pleasure.

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[Funky] Johnny Stimson – Obsession

Johnny Stimson Obsession Art
Johnny Stimson
OBSESSION

With the temperature steadily driving us to the brink of insanity, we have come to a point where we don’t think Summer has had its way with us. Instead, it’s radiating 3 months worth of mediocre heat all into week long bouts of pure hell. As we sluggishly drag our helpless body’s out of this sizzling sauna and into a place where we don’t sweat from merely breathing, we decided to take a pit stop along the way with Johnny Stimson. Sending us into a retrograde funk with his newest original, “Obsession”, Stimson swoons us in with this infatuating production and gets us all a little drunk on love to the point where even Beyonce can’t keep up.

With a groovy synth progression, some funky guitar riffs, all topped off with some highly intoxicating lyrics, “Obsession” guides us to a place where drinking tequila in a bikini at 5 o’clock in the evening is socially acceptable. As we pour up another round of Jose Cuervo to drown out the heat, we ask that you please go pack a bag for overnight because you’re about to take a trip back into some serious lovey dovey feels. If this isn’t on repeat for the rest of your night, then you obviously need to re-evaluate your Hump Day rituals. With that being said, we’re going to go back to obsessing over Johnny Stimson and his soulful voice and fiery red hair.

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