The title of Alix Perez’s debut album, ‘1984’ (out now on Shogun Audio) might suggest nightmarish Orwellian views of an authoritarian dystopia, but with the exception of some dark bass mechanics, it couldn’t be further away.
Named after the year Perez was born, it illustrates instead how supremely talented this young adopted North Londoner is. Born in Belgium and brought up in France before moving to the UK, his parent’s love of soul, funk and jazz shines through in his own music. And with liquid drum & bass so fluid it makes all his rivals sound like simplistic wobble mongers, Alix has won plaudits from Radio 1 and 1Xtra, as well as all the usual club heads.
We caught up with him nursing a sore head the day after the album launch…
How did the free-ranging scope of an album affect your production ideas?
“It just meant I could use different tempos, rather than just doing drum & bass, and go from one extreme to the other. It’s got a progression almost like a DJ set, so it takes you on a journey.”
There are a number of tracks using famous vocalists. How did these hook-ups come about?
“We just drew up a list of who we could use and Ursula Rucker was mentioned by my label manager. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time, all the 4 Hero stuff she did, so I just said yes. I wrote the track, sent it, and she was into it. The turnaround time was really quick.
“I’d known Orifice Vulgatron, who’s part of Foreign Beggars, through mutual friends. He’s been on the drum & bass scene for a while. I’d always rated their stuff. I brought some beats to the studio and he jammed on them. Collaborations are good for drum & bass, since they get it out of its little pocket.”
There’s been plenty of support from outside the d&b community from the likes of Benji B and Rob Da Bank. What is the key to crossover success?
“I think it’s just writing at different tempos. I don’t really have a different approach from when I’m making drum & bass. I definitely have a project to make more 140bpm stuff, but for now I’m taking a little break. The album has been a year and a half of pure writing.”
Apparently your mum encouraged your drum & bass productions when you moved here. How did that happen?
“She’s actually the best judge if I’m honest and my first port of call. I got into drum & bass through her because she used to have a set-up, more as a hobby than full-time, and mix records from around 1996, the era of all the Metalheadz stuff. She’s been a bit of a mentor, I guess, and seems to have an ear for what’s good. Surprisingly her favourite is actually a non-drum & bass track, ‘No Grudge’, the collaboration with Truth & Lynx.”
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.