Raxon Interviewed ahead of ORIGIN 2017
Hailing from the Middle East, RAXON is a great example of following one’s dreams. UAE is perhaps not the most obvious country that’d come to mind when talking about house and techno music, but like so many regions outside the epicentres of electronic dance music, there are always burgeoning talents that are doing it as well as anywhere in the world.
Taking two massive leaps of faith – firstly to give up his ‘real job’ and secondly to relocate to Europe, RAXON will visit us in South Africa for the first time and he couldn’t have wished for a better occasion – the BEATS Floor at ORIGIN 2017
“…personally Cape Town has always been on my top 5 places to visit.
Growing up in UAE, when you first tried your hand at producing your own music, did you ever consider using Middle Eastern music scales to add to a signature sound or were you more influenced by Western electronic music?
Raxon: Not really, I think it was because at the time (in 2000) when I started there were a few people that used to mix middle eastern music with some house and techno beats but it was horribly done, and that just put me off [laughs]. Also if one mixed the Arabic scales with electronic music back then and living in the Middle East (where the main music is obviously Arabic) it was not something special because that was the main sound of the region already. That being said I was also heavily influenced by western music, but you never know where the inspiration for the next track will come from 🙂
I see you played on the same bill as South Africa’s most successful DJ/Producer, Black Coffee back in April 2016 in L.A. Did you manage to catch any of his set and what did you think?
Raxon: Yes that’s right, cool guy, and you can tell he has a special sound to him. I actually heard his full set that time as I was closing the club after him that day. It’s always nice to hear something different to what you are normally used to, fun times 🙂
This will be your first time performing in South Africa at the end of January. Have you heard much about the music scene here, from colleagues?
Raxon: Everyone keeps telling me that it’s such a special place to go and play and personally Cape Town has always been on my top 5 places to visit, so I’m really looking forward for it.
When you visit a new country, time permitting, what do you like doing outside of DJing at the event?
Raxon: I always try to experience the local culture as much as I can, or at least have the local food at the dinner. I’d love to do the full touristic thing but that’s rarely the case after a long flight and trying to get some rest before the show.
In 2015 you moved to Barcelona, assumedly to be closer to the pulse of electronic dance music in Europe. Looking back would you say being in Europe is essential for working/career DJs/producers?
Raxon: Yes, that’s for sure, the move helped my career a lot. I’ve taken two major life decisions and that was the second one, the first was quitting my day job as an architect to focus all my time on making and playing music. I can’t say it has been easy, but it’s worth it
Music these days is so transient and as a DJ you will no doubt listen to an exhaustive number of different tracks. Is there perhaps a standout ‘go-to’ track from 2016 that you found yourself playing more than most?
Raxon: These days my sets usually will be a mix of some of my upcoming tracks and close friends music, and I also usually have a separate music folder that would have tracks that are timeless to me.
And your own productions: which track is your personal favourite to date?
Raxon: Mmmm that’s a tough one, I can’t say I have specific favourite but all the tracks are special in their own way because of when they were written and what I was feeling in those moments; it’s like I’m making the ongoing soundtrack of my life.
“It’s a great job that gets you to see the whole world and meet so many cool people from all the world, it’s a privilege…
What’s your weapon of choice behind the decks? Traktor/Serato/Ableton or CDJs?
Raxon: I can safely say CDJs all the way as I have tried all the rest when they started in the beginning but to me it’s just simpler and faster to just come and plug in your USB and you are good to go without worrying about any cable and power connections.
The Origin Festival in Cape Town features two dancefloors; the Main stage plays psytrance and the Beats floor is a mix of techno, house and electronica. Have you played at any/many psytrance festivals before?
Raxon: Never before, but I’m looking forward to check it out. It might not be what I play but it’s always good and healthy to check out different genres, you never know where the inspiration might come from.
Club gigs or festivals… which do your prefer and do you prepare differently for these environments?
Raxon: Clubs in the winter and festivals in the summer. Every gig is unique in its own way depending on the timing and I always try to create an atmosphere for each gig.
Outsiders looking in assume that DJing is an awesome profession and by all accounts it is when the gigs are flowing and the dancefloors are cooking. What’s the downside?
Raxon: It’s a great job that gets you to see the whole world and meet so many cool people from all the world, it’s a privilege, but I think as any DJ would tell you as well, the travelling sometimes can get tough with all the connections and delays etc. Also your body clock gets messed up a bit going through different time zones frequently in such a short time frames.
We can all probably think of a few favourite sets we’ve played and seasoned DJs often cite some smaller intimate event in their top experiences. On a personal note, what’s been your best set in the last year?
Raxon: Ah! Another tough one 🙂
This year has been great; from touring Mexico to India, but I think the best parties for me happen when I least expect it.
Some of the highlights were in Malta when I ended up playing 5 and a half hours and the club stayed open for a record time…
Also playing back2back with my good friend Shall Ocin at the Mosaic’s after party in Ibiza for almost 5 hours… and of course the DGTL festival in Barcelona.
Recently at the Hive club in Zurich, the crowd was unstoppable, and what a sound system, it was perfect.
What takes a dancefloor from good to amazing when you play?
Raxon: First: the people, Second: sound
Final words/shout out to the Cape Town massive ahead of Origin 2017…
Raxon: Excited, looking forward and can’t wait to see you at the Origin Festival 2017 boom![soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/285444703″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]