Wax Wings has had quite the year. Having closed off 2017 with the dark and anthemic ‘Gravedance’ EP, the Brazilian-British DJ/producer – real name Joseph Icaro – has continued to propel forward in 2018, hitting a number of incredible landmarks on the way.
Under the wing of deep house innovator and UK stalwart Maya Jane Coles, Wax has, in recent months, made his debut in Fabric’s Room 1, become a resident at the influential HE.SHE.THEY parties, played a closing slot at Pacha, Ibiza, a six-hour sunrise set at Watergate and released his fourth EP, ‘WHISPER’.
“So far so good.” he says. No doubt.
His introduction to electronic music was a trial by fire in Leeds’ underground club scene, one that was built on a blur of techno and DIY energy.
“I was taken one night by a group of my troublemaker friends from my hometown into the depths of Chapel Town, Leeds to a ‘club’ called The West Indian Centre,” he remembers. “RIFF RAFF (RIP) would descend as a neon overdose monthly, in what was really a dressed up community centre. But, it was so amazing! Wall to wall techno from entrance to exit, swirled up on a cocktail of 303 and 909. I went straight home and started producing the electronic music.”
Raised on a diet on dark, industrial music though by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Deftones and Marilyn Manson, that spectral, brooding atmosphere resonates in Wax Wings productions, though never interfering with their danceability.
“Rather than the industrial sounds alone, I am more heavily inspired by a feeling that these bands create,” he explains. “I like the somber chord progressions, the eerie, melancholic and troubled emotions they explore. That’s not to say when I do make heavier music I go for the clanky and distorted noises. You know, retain some of that angry teenage attitude.”
A visual artist as well as a musician, Wax Wings’ work in that sphere is very different, focussing on the lighter, more blithe and tongue-in-cheek side to his personality.
“I have been working on a series of paintings that express a more fun side of my character - still terribly unsettled of course,” he says. “Currently ‘Untitled’, this exhibition showcases how much I - believe it or not - love using colour and have a massive sense of humour. I find it hard to convey this through music alone and wouldn’t necessarily use these as album artworks. But need to express them nonetheless. Expect dicks out, despair, devils, demons and debauchery.”
Looking forward, the future is delightfully dark and loud for Wax Wings. With a series of gigs lined up for the remainder of 2018, including HE.SHE.THEY’s debut in Dublin and Maya Jane Coles & Friends Halloween party in E1, London. Not only that, there’s an album in the works and a Bronski Beat remix on the way while work continues in earnest on a live show he’s been dying to put together for some time – “vocals, lots and lots of vocals!”.
In the meantime, Wax Wings has delivered a superb 60-minute mix showcasing his distinct, dark and dancey sound. Check it out below.
Last track that blew your mind?
“Hugo Massien ‘Alien Shapes’ [E-Beamz]”
Last film you watched?
"The Killing Of A Sacred Deer"
Last dream you remember?
“My heart had fallen down behind my stomach and if I ate too much it would squash my heart and I would die. SAD TIMES”
Favourite album to relax to?
“Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Caroline Myss”
“Maya Jane Coles”
What record is top of your wishlist?
“Massive Attack ‘Mezzanine (Triple LP 20th Anniversary Edition)’. WOW”
What's the best club you've played at?
“HYTE at Warehouse, Amsterdam”
Who is your biggest musical influence?
Tell us a joke….
“This will just get me in trouble, PASS”
Keeno18 - Mists Of Renown
Bronski Beat - Why (Wax Wings Remix)
Leonardo Gonnelli - Minimonster
Deniz Bul & Boris Brejcha - Unreal
Skeef Menezes - Electricks
UMEK - Vice Grip
Avision - Feel It
Jon Rundell - Mystifying
Wigbert - My Music
Drumcomplex - Dance
Eats Everything - Drumcomplex
264 - Thomas Hoffknecht
Maxime Alexander - Fake It
Industrialyzer - Solid Buzz
B.Traits - I Feel The Music
Gaston Zani - It's Time
Wehbba - Just
Chris Hirose & HOURS - Patchouli
Photo credit: Eivind-Hansen