Friction and Alix Perez interview each other
A three-way interview before the launch of Shogun Audio's residency
With Shogun Audio's residency kicking off on February 16th '07 we thought it would be a great opportunity to pin down Friction, Shogun Audio label boss and one of the biggest drum & bass DJs on the circuit, and Alix Perez - probably the most exciting new production talent in drum & bass since the emergence of Calibre. We all got together and took it in turns to ask the questions!
The End: Friction, the speed with which the early stages of your career developed draws some parallels with Alix, although your name was built largely on your DJ skills rather than production. Is it important to you to be known as a DJ first, then a producer?
Friction: Yeah, I mean primarily I'll always be known as more of a DJ who produces a little bit. But of course I think a producer who's gonna be paid to DJ must have skills on the decks which Alix definitely has.
The End: The End has been called home by some of the great DJ/label combinations - Roni Size/Full Cycle, Fatboy Slim/Skint, Wall of Sound, Bukem/Good Looking - does that make you feel any pressure at all?!
Friction: Of course there are some massive names in that list but I've never really been one to feel pressure. I've got faith in what I do and I just hope people feel what I'm doing. The End has always been my favourite club in the UK so I'm over the moon to be involved.
The End: All of The End's current drum & bass nights - DJ Marky & Friends, Renegade Hardware and Ram Records - all have a very specific identity, what gives Shogun Audio its identity? What will differentiate it from our other nights?
Friction: Shogun will primarily be drum & bass orientated but will feature main room sets from artists from the breaks and hip hop scenes. I want it to be a night everyone can go to whatever genre they're into.
Alix: You're playing for three hours in February, do you plan to play more long sets?
Friction: To be honest I'm just gonna concentrate on developing the night as much as possible. But at the same time I'm gonna try and play for as long as I can!
Alix: With your longer set, can the crowd expect anything different?
Friction: I've been toying with the idea of playing some breaks or something but I'm not sure. I'm just gonna do what I usually do and go with the vibe.
Alix: What production plans have you got?
Friction: I'd love to eventually write my own album but I will have to take some time off to do that. Not sure if I'd be able to pull myself away from the decks to do that!
Alix: I know you're a vinyl enthusiast - what do you think the future is for vinyl in drum & bass?
Friction: I think it's inevitable that the digital world will take over but I will fight it to the death. I love vinyl. I grafted for long enough to be able to play to the world with records, not off a laptop.
Alix: Who's the best DJ of all time?
Friction: Carl Cox for mixing, Q Bert for turntablism.
Friction: Alix, how do you think you've become successful so quickly?
Alix: Looking back at the last year, I can definitely say that things have moved quickly. I had my first serious release in January 2006 (on Horizons Music) and since then it has been quite a ride. I've had a string of releases in the last year on various labels which I always looked up to (Bassbin, Brigand, Creative Source). I initially started producing music four or five years ago and gradually got involved within the scene. I did a lot of networking. It all started at Movement (Bryan Gee's weekly drum & bass night) which I attended religiously for a good two years. It was a good way to meet producers/label managers and push my music to them. I eventually signed a couple of tracks and from there on I gained more and more exposure. The DJing side of things grew equally alongside the production and releases.
Friction: Which artists inspired you on your way up?
Alix: Calibre, Marcus Intalex, Ill logic and Raf, A.I., D Bridge, the list goes on. Really and truly the guys who embraced the musical aspect in drum & bass.
Friction: You've collaborated with a lot of artists - who would be your dream collaboration?
Alix: If it was possible, it would have to be something along the lines of Nina Simone or Minnie Ripperton.
Friction: And what ambitions remain for you for the future?
Alix: I am really a fan of all kinds of music and I am not limiting myself to drum & bass. I'm starting a broken beat/soul/funk project which I am excited about. There are so many possibilities in that genre and I really want to explore it. Apart from that, developing my career in drum & bass, travelling and enjoying music to the fullest.
The End: How would you describe your DJ style, Alix?
Alix: Eclectic. I play generally deep but dip into various aspects of drum & bass. I like to read the crowd and let the music breathe. I find mixing in the right musical keys essential. I basically see it as a journey.
The End: Do you have any aspirations of starting your own label in the future?
Alix: Most definitely at some point in time, but right now I am concentrating on my music and dedicating myself time for the studio. I'm still developing as an artist and am allowing myself to explore the music.
The End: We hear you're working on an album - will it be exclusively drum & bass?
Alix: Mainly but I am working on different projects and will definitely include different styles at various BPMs. This will include working with various artists and vocalists.
The End: Where do you see drum & bass going over the next ten years, and how do you see yourself fitting in to that as an artist?
Alix: I have noticed a great amount of new producers coming through with a lot of fresh material and aspiring music. I believe that the scene can only get better if things continue the way they are. As for everything, directions will change and so will the sound.
The End: And Friction, what are your predictions for drum & bass in 2007 -any artists, styles or nights to watch out for?
Friction: Shogun at The End of course!