Hey Hey Bloggers! BONES here, welcoming you back to another GDD Exclusive Interview! We’re joined this time with LA’s own Tyler Blake and Michael David, better known to you dirty dancers as CLASSIXX. The boys were swell enough to sit down with us for a little interview as well as play a special set @ our LMU event last saturday… so here we go:
GDD: What do you drink? (First Round is on the Blog…)
CXX: We usually try to drink only beer now when we play actually. Things have gotten messy in the past before with hard alcohol. We like Pyramid Heffeweisen and Amstel Light.
GDD: Whats the story behind changing your name from the Young Americans? Did someone have beef?
CXX: We got sued. People always ask if it was by Bowie which would be a lot cooler but it was by some song and dance troop from Orange County that shared the name. All the legal shit that we would have had to go through to try to keep it would have been a fucking nightmare so we just changed it.
GDD: Why Classixx?
CXX: We got into a lot of the music we play from old compilation records with names like “Disco Classics” “Italo Classics” “House Classics” etc. A lot of that music still holds up and we wanted to make music like that so we decided to call ourselves Classixx. The X’s just make it easier to google.
GDD: Were you always planning to produce tracks or was it first seen as a love of DJing?
CXX: We are definitely producers first. We came from rock bands playing instruments and recording ourselves. We learned to dj when it seemed necessary for the kind of music we started making.
GDD: When do you think you guys saw your first big break in Djing and music production? What were you thinking when your tracks started getting you into the spotlight? Is it a dream come true? Or did you envision something different?
CXX: Well Francis Ford Coppola once said “It only take 30 huge breaks”. We’ve been fortunate to have been offered some cool tracks to remix and some cool gigs to play but I don’t know if there’d ever be a moment where we’d be like “ok, we’ve made it.” I guess if we headlined coachella or something we’d look out and be like “alright, yeah, we are pretty big.” But, you know, we try not to think about that kind of stuff too much. We’re just happy to be paying our bills and have some extra cash to have a drink or 2 every once in a while. Its cool and it makes us happy that some people seem to care about what we are doing, but if there were no one listening and there was no money we would still be doing the same shit.
GDD: Speaking of which, if you guys were Super Heroes, what would be your super powers? Weaknesses?
CXX: I actually watch that show Heroes and the best power is obviously the ability to get everyone else’s powers. But I think it would be cool to control people’s minds. You could make everyone love you and buy all your records etc. Then again, it would probably be a curse because you might stop appreciating it and also you’d probably go insane and abuse it and ruin the world or something. It seems like when people are only surrounded by “yes men” terrible things happen. So I guess that would be the weakness.
GDD: Your guys’ music has seen various edges of indie electro and so forth… where do you come up with the Classixx sounds we all love? Do you guys have a musically taught background? Any influences from other artists?
CXX: Yeah. Like I said we come from bands and recording and I even went to school for music for a couple years. I would say that we are influenced by pretty much any music we like, which is obviously too much to list.
GDD: What is your setup right now, specifically the programs or gear you guys are using? Is it a different setup when you’re playing live vs. back at the home/studio?
CXX: Yeah. We record on ProTools and use a lot of plug-ins and some outboard gear. We have a bunch of hardware synths and drum machines as well as soft synths. We also like to try to incorporate traditional instruments like guitars, basses, drums and junk lying around to get some more organic sounds. When we dj we use Serato and sometimes Cdjs and a KP3 Kaoss pad.
GDD: You’ve remixed many great songs and then made them even better with your unique ‘dreamy electro sound’ as I call it. How do you guys go about choosing which songs to remix?
CXX: We just try to remix stuff that seems to makes sense for us. If someone comes to us with a song that is grind core for example, even if its good it just wouldn’t really work. But we recently finished a remix for Phoenix which was really fun and natural to do because we could identify with the vocal and the vibe of the track. Also, we just love that band.
GDD: …and then how does the process come to be?
CXX: We usually just take the vocal and make a new song around it as if the singer came to us as his band and told us to write the music. Its a little trickier remixing instrumental stuff which is probably why we haven’t done much of that.
GDD: Any new remixes, collaborations or hopefully more original stuff in the workings?
CXX: Yeah we’ve got a bunch of new songs that we’re working on with some exciting vocalists. Hopefully this batch of songs will turn into a record or at least an Ep soon.
GDD: You Guys are apart of the NOCULTURE Djs, as well as a solid partnership with DIMMAK crew and now CONTROL… what’s it like being part of a group all sharing the same motives and loves of this music scene? Or is it totally different?
CXX: Its really fun. I would imagine its probably the same as being a teacher in the teacher’s lounge or an elf in Santa’s workshop.
GDD: How do you feel about how fast music travels today online through blogs and such? Are you thankful for the internet’s ability to really get your name and your music out there or do you think its turning into a plague? How do you think the blogs and aggregator sites like Hype Machine are changing the face of electronic music and all the people and events connected to it?
CXX: I think its great. Blogs have been of great help to us. Plus, blogs are not what made it impossible to make money selling records. That had already happened and for the most part I think their purpose is to try to get people to buy music if they like what they hear. Some people abuse blogs for personal gain but i don’t really think those few are ruining it for everyone. The power of taste making is in the hands of music fans now more than ever.
GDD: Who would you say had the biggest influence on bringing the electronic scene to where it is today? Who have you personally been most influenced by? Who did you grow up listening to?
CXX: Ah man, I think there are just too many great artists and producers to even answer that question. We got turned on to electronic stuff by so many differnt artists. I guess to just name a few… Kraftwerk, Dfa, Stuart Price, Radiohead, Daft Punk… the list goes on and on. We both grew
up listening to Paul Simon, Prince, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads… that list could go on forever too.
GDD: How do you think the LA dance music scene has grown into the craze it is today and what do you like most about being here? Who deserves credit? Anyone you looked upto here as you guys got into the dance scene here?
CXX: Well, besides some eastern shit, I think dance music or electronic music is probably the most modern forward thinking music and that is what inspires us. We like L.A. because we grew up here and its beautiful. The fact that it was lacking a good dance music scene before we all got serious about making dance music is sort of a coincidence I think.
GDD: You guys hop around the US quite a bit, but thankfully always are playing shows here in LA… any places or festivals you would love to perform at?
CXX: We’d love to perform at a festival like Coachella here or Reading or Leeds in the UK or Big Day Out in Austrailia. So far we’ve only done the after partys for things like that.
GDD: …And by the way how was the SXSW festival down in Texas? What was that like?
CXX: This year was our second year out there. Its fun to see old and new friends from all over that are all there for the same reason. But also its kind of wierd because there’s just so much going on. While you are playing there are probably like 10 cool bands also playing somewhere else at any given time so sometimes it feels like there’d probably be more people at the party you are playing if say Vampire Weekend wasn’t playing next door. But we really do like Austin.
GDD: As far as your audience goes, do you prefer making thousands of people go crazy or do you like playing a more intimate setting? How do you feel about rockin for a College graduating class thats followed your music since “turning inside out” and the infamous LA Anthem “COLD ACT ILL” ?
CXX: Ha. We like playing to anyone who is feeling it. Big crowds are fun and exciting but you have to play it a little safer because there are just more people to please. Sometimes its more fun to play to a smaller room of kids that know your music or are just down to dance to whatever you want them to because they trust you.
GDD: And of course, do you guys Dance Dirty? Where are your favorite places to see shows, let loose and burn up the dance floor? Is the d-floor what started your drive to become a killer DJ duo and take the world by storm?
CXX: Ha. Yeah we like to dance. If we go out we usually just go where our friends are playing or if there is a band or DJ we love playing somewhere we usually try to make it. There is this amazing monday night party in Culver City called Funkmosphere that Dam Funk throws. Its all vinyl and a lot of the records they play are like these really rare forgotten disco or funk tunes that are amazing.
GDD: So any words of advice to all those aspiring Djs and Producers out there who wanna live their electronic dream? How do we do it?
CXX: I’d say just to try to make the music you would want to hear and dj the songs you would want to dance to. Simple as that.
GDD: Well a thousand thanks for taking a few with us, and for blowin’ the roof off our LMU event last week! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you guys and we wish you continued success.
CLASSIXX new EP “I’ll Get You ft. Jeppe” drops May 26th, and here are some must have traxxx:
• Phoenix – Lisztomania (Classixx Remix)
• Guns N’ Bombs – Riddle Of Steel (Classixx Remix)
• Beni – My Love Sees You (Classixx Remix)
• Shwayze – Buzzin’ (Classixx Remix)
• Shiny Toy Guns – Starts With One (Classixx Remix)
CLASSIXX MIXTAPE! (direct download)tracklisting here!