Thor Rixon: Son of Michele, maker of music [INTERVIEW]
Thor Rixon continues to take the SA music scene by storm with his latest offering, Michele.
My first encounter with Thor’s music was his 2015 hit track, “Fuk Bread,” which has over 150k views and is the perfect anthem for the new age.
He’s released countless house hits and continues to push the envelope musically as being part of the Get Physical label.
Now he brings you his latest offering, a dance album inspired by and named after his mom, Michele.
The 7-track masterpiece features collaborations from fine SA talent that will definitely make you want to shake your booty.
We caught up with Thor to take a look at the man behind the music.
My mum and I are very tight. She’s been pushing and guiding me into the life that I now live.”
Hello Thor! Congratulations on the release of your new Dance Record, Michele. Producing an album is no easy feat. How does it feel when everything is said, done and sung and your offering flies into the ether to be gobbled up by the ears of the masses?
THOR RIXON: It’s a great relief accompanied with a slight feeling of loss. There is always this image of a vacuum or black hole that I throw all my work into whenever I release it.
Hopefully the work comes into contact with people on who can grasp something from it that will help them in some way.
That is my only hope when the work goes out into the world. I just want to help someone with their day in some way, you know?
Anyway, working on albums are very deep dives for me and they take a great deal of energy, which I love, but now I’m moving towards working on individual singles and videos for the next few months. Focussing my energy into smaller projects and going hard on those.
So, Michele is a homage to your mom, who is responsible for bringing you into this world. (thank you, Michele!!) Clearly, she has impacted your musical journey as well, please share with us how she inspires you?
THOR RIXON: My mum and I are very tight. She’s been pushing and guiding me into the life that I now live. She could see that I had this connection with music at an early age, so she made it possible for me to explore music and to find my place within it.
I would always be set on my ideas and vision, then my mum would say “why don’t you do this” and at first, I would disagree, but soon I would realize that she was right (as all mothers are).
My mom has always been a fan of dance music. Since I started writing and performing in a solo capacity my mom always wanted me to write music that would make people move. I disagreed in the beginning but the more and more I tried writing dance music the more I enjoyed it.
It is now pretty much the only style of music I write and perform at the moment.
It is very clear that the world is pretty fucked.”
You are signed to one of the biggest Electronic Music imprints. What is your experience as being part of the Get Physical family?
THOR RIXON: They are so great and super supportive in my music and career. For some reason they believe in me a lot which is quite strange as I don’t really see myself falling into clear house or techno paths, as the music I make is quite left-field right?
So, it means a lot that they have faith in what I’m doing and continue to want to work with me. They have a great little office and studio in Berlin with a small team of lovely people. Had the chance to go visit them a few times while I was in Berlin over the past few years.
Track off the Michele album, Our End, tells the harrowing tale of how we are pillaging the Earth, emphasised visually through the music video. How important is it for you to convey these messages and do you think it makes a difference or will people filter it out and rather focus on a beat to dance to?
THOR RIXON: It is very clear that the world is pretty fucked. If people filter this kind of thing out, then it’s probably due to the fact that we are so exposed to it every day that it becomes the norm and almost invisible in a way.
A very scary and sad place to be in but that’s why I’m trying to draw a light to it in a place where these sorts of conversations aren’t being had- in dance music.
You are known for your epic collaborations. Why is collaborating so fundamental to one’s creative process and who is your dream collaborator?
THOR RIXON: For me, collaboration allows for a space where you step outside of what you know and pushes you to approach something in a completely fresh way.
You are seeing how someone else works and you learn from that and hopefully, they learn from you. It’s a space where learning and intense growth can take place. I love learning very much so I suppose that has a little something to do with why I love collaboration so much.
Just be kind and respect everyone and everything. Don’t be a dick basically.”
As someone constantly pushing the sonic envelope, take us through your creative process when producing a track, an album or constructing a live show.
THOR RIXON: Lately I’ve been working with a lot of hardware and focussing on learning the gear that I must be able to use all of it to its full potential. Since doing this I have found that my writing and production has changed slightly, where before I would write a lot of my music in the computer, I have now started writing a lot of the parts that I use to build a track with all my hardware. It is so extremely fun and rewarding.
The sounds and tones I’m getting out of these instruments are like nothing I was able to achieve before. I have a few different live setups that I change between depending on the show I’m booked for.
One of the setups is a fully hardware-based set with drum machine, sampler, mono and poly synths and my beloved modular synthesizer. That is my most recent show that I’ve been developing and is still a work in progress.
I have an Ableton based set where I have my tracks broken up into the small individual loops that I use to play on top of each other and mangle. Then lastly, I have a full band show where I have session musicians who join me on stage to perform the more band orientated tracks from my catalogue.
If you weren’t making music, what would your dream job be?
THOR RIXON: I would love to be a novelist and writer. I read books all the time and always get inspired to write stories, but my writing is really bad, sadly.
I’ve come close to writing seriously but I usually stop quite soon into the process due to self-criticism and disappointment in my bad writing.
But enough of the self-pity. I think one day I’ll do a course and get my writing up to scratch and take it a bit more seriously. It’s a dream for sure.
What’s your favourite spot in the Mother City?
THOR RIXON: In terms of clubs I’m a very big fan of Mødular in Cape Town. It’s one of those clubs that just feel ‘right’. It feels very authentic to what a proper underground dance club should be.
The owners are also really focussed and hardworking and always trying to make the place the best it can be which show in how it’s grown and evolved from when they opened a few years ago to where it is now.
What is your life motto?
THOR RIXON: Just be kind and respect everyone and everything. Don’t be a dick basically.
Upcoming Thor Rixon performances?
THOR RIXON: I have several performances lined up for this South African summer with another tour in Europe mid-2019. Hopefully, some shows in Asia and the US towards the end of 2019.
Listen to Thor Rixon’s latest offering, Michele, here.
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