„Ist das noch Drum & Bass oder wie nennt man das jetzt?“ – Interview mit Alix Perez
Drum & Bass ist nicht nur ein Genre, es ist eine Kultur die von unzählig vielen Dingen beeinflusst wird. Und wie jede Kultur entwickelt sich Drum & Bass stetig weiter, angetrieben von seinen Schöpfern und deren Inspirationen. Mittlerweile lässt es sich nicht mehr durch seine einschlägigen Drums und Basslines, des „Uff Zacks“, definieren, denn es gibt durchaus Alternativen dazu, die auch ein Teil jener welcher Kultur sind. Eines dieser Entwicklungen ist, das Tempo zu reduzieren in dem die Geschwindigkeit halbiert wird. KennerInnen würden dazu sagen, von 175 BPM auf 87,5 BPM gehen. Unter diesen lässt sich ohne Zweifel Alix Perez einordnen. 2009 veröffentlichte er sein Debüt-Album 1984 auf dem Label Shogun Audio, welches ihn deutlich mehr in die Szene integrierte. Er kollaborierte mit Künstlern wie Foreign Beggars oder Peven Everett. Schon immer beeinflusst von Genres wie Hip Hop, Funk und Soul wurden seine Werke immer experimenteller, differenzierten sich vom klassichen Drum & Bass. 87,5 BPM eben. Deutlich wurde das dann im Frühling 2013 als er sein zweites Album Chroma Chords ebenfalls auf Shogun Audio veröffentlichte.
Ende November hatte ich die Möglichkeit Alix Perez in einem Inteview kennzulernen als er Gast bei Bridge The Gap in der Distillery war. Mein Fokus bei den Fragen lag natürlich auf seinem neuen Album und seine Sichtweise auf die Kultur „Drum & Bass“. Als er dann später sein Set spielte kam jemand auf mich zu und fügte dem ganzen noch die eigentlich alles umschreibende Frage hinzu: „Ist das noch Drum & Bass oder wie nennt man das jetzt eigentlich?“.
Dubbalot: How did you discover Drum & Bass and how did you start producing?
Alix Perez: I started when I moved to England from France at the age of 13, my mom used to play Jungle and stuff. I started collecting records, tried to put them together and I got more and more into it. After a while I wanted to reproduce, remake them. That’s how I got into producing.
Dubbalot: So you basically started by producing Jungle?
Alix Perez: Well, I always tried to do some other stuff as well, producing in genres like Hip Hop. I kind of got into that but then I started signing Drum & Bass records so I followed this path.
Dubbalot: I actually know you from deep Drum & Bass songs like Contradictions and Montpellier so I was kind of surprised of your new album which is more experimental and different to what I know you for.
Alix Perez: I didn’t really switch, I’ve been making that music for ages. I just didn’t want to repeat myself. To be honest, I just write the music like it feels natural to me. I wasn’t trying to please anyone. I want to do something that challenges me and is different in the way of producing it. The whole soulful thing is cool and I like it, but I’ve kind of done it so many times.
Dubbalot: Do you think you got recognized by people because of your deep soulful stuff?
Alix Perez: I guess so but then again, I found out that [with his new album] I gained a lot of new fans and producers that I really look up to and I play records of in my sets nowadays paidattention to my last album and maybe before they wouldn’t. That opens a lot of doors for me. At the moment, I work with these people outside of Drum & Bass and this is what I wanted. And I wouldn’t say I will not do soulful things again, I mean, I did do a couple of tracks at my new album that were like that. For me it is just about having fun, that’s the whole point, that’s why I started and why I keep doing this!
Dubbalot: Speaking of your new album, there are a lot of things different to straight or normal Drum & Bass. But in all those variations you did, you still kept the tempo of Drum & Bass. Why not variate that one too?
Alix Perez: I still love that tempo and so many things can be done with it and that was my point with the last album. So many people didn’t realize that, they were like: “What BPM is this?” But it’s still the tempo of Drum & Bass. I think that’s cool if people don’t really know, it’s quite interesting.
Dubbalot: So you also wanted to show how Drum & Bass also could be…
Alix Perez: Yeah, how electronic-music at that tempo could be. I think halving the tempo just makes a lot of space, it breathes a lot more, there’s more space to do things with it.
Dubbalot: What do you think about the development of Drum & Bass especially that it got more popular? Which styles of Drum & Bass do you like?
Alix Perez: I always got preferences so I don’t care if it’s mainstream or whatever it’s called, and I know there are a lot of people complaining about it, but if it’s not for me, then it’s not for me and I just leave it. And at the moment there is a lot of interesting stuff happening and as I started to split the classic Drum & Bass tempo to halftime, I was able to play records of people I would never have been able to play a few years ago. And even though I did, people actually didn’t care or didn’t want to listen to different stuff. They just wanted to hear Drum & Bass, Drum & Bass. And I am happy to go out now and play a lot of records outside of that box and it works, sometimes even more than straight out Drum & Bass. And then I think people expect that from me. Especially after the Essential Mix I did or the Boiler Room Mix. And I feel like I am in a place where I reallywant to be. There are a lot of interesting things going on where people start pushing the boundaries, which is good. Beside the popular things that are going on, you still have people putting out deep records and weird records and there is a scene for it. I still think there is a space and a scene for every sort of genre.
Dubbalot: And how does that inspire you for future things you are going to do?
Alix Perez: I am still going to do, let’s say, “Dance Music”. I am keeping myself moving and going to work with people I am interested in. You can be successful and have a big audience without having to set out and make commercial music. There is a big market for descent electronic music and that is kind of my aim. There is a couple of remixes coming out next year that are like oldschool vibes. But at the moment I am concentrating on where I am going with my sounds. My new stuff is going to be a bit like soulful but just not straight up 2 step Drum & Bass, because, I don’t know, it has been done to death and everyone is rehashing the same stuff again and that’s not challenging me anymore.
Dubbalot: So, my last question would be: Who is influencing you?
Alix Perez: There is a few people like Machinedrum, I really really liked what he does, what he was doing in the earlier years. I followed him years ago as he started… Quite cool is Eprom and there is more, tons of stuff, there are million things. At my Essential Mix, there are a lot of things which are also not Drum & Bass, this is kind of my showcase of what and who I like.
Dubbalot: How was that for you, doing the Essential Mix?
Alix Perez: Well, obviously it was amazing! This is one of the biggest things to be asked to do. It’s such a legendary mix. I was only given about a week and it was hard but I am proud of it. I think it’s really representing where I am at the moment, but some of the old stuff too.
Dubbalot: Thank you for the interview!
Alix Perez: No problem.
Natürlich will ich euch zum Abschluss den Essential Mix nicht vorenthalten. Und eh ihr eure Suchmaschine des Vertrauens einschaltet, bastel ich das Ding einfach hier rein. Viel Spaß damit!