Xtrah aka Yasin Elgohary is a rising star from South West London who is quickly storming through the drum & bass ranks. With sub-low basses and crispy percussion, he delivers heavyweight sounds, and within the last 12 months has had releases on Ram, Symmetry, Subtitles and Proximity. DJmag.com catches up with him to talk all things bass...
Hey Xtrah, What have you been up to recently?
"Since the New Year just the usual really — in the studio, university and family life. But most of all in the studio, hard at work."
This week your track ‘Cyrax’ has just come out on Symmetry Recordings. How’s it been received?
"Really well, actually, got some good feedback from a lot of people in the scene. People like Marcus Intalex, BTK and, of course, Break. It’s great to hear what they have to say, I also have had people hitting me up on Facebook and stuff. It’s great, it keeps me going."
You also had releases on Ram Records and Subtitles last year, tell us about those...
"The ones on Ram I did with Basher for his album 'Transmission', they got a lot of support from people like Andy C and Friction. On Subtitles I had two 12”s out with Basher and my solo tracks 'Arise' and 'Contortion', I’m really proud of all of those."
What are you currently working on?
"I’m working on a few different things at the minute. I have a release coming on Critical’s sister label Modulation, a remix for Ant TC1 on Dispatch and another 12” coming out on Subtitles. At the moment I’m busy trying to finish these off and send them out."
Are there any plans for an album in the works?
"I want to start it at the end of this year. I haven’t really got any contenders at the moment, it’s something that I want to work towards once I have a few more records out. It’s not something you should just rush into, I want to take time with it and make sure it’s perfect, as you’re only as good as your first album, and I still feel I’m on a learning curve. I want to continue learning and adapting my sound."
Who are you currently collaborating with?
"Recently I have been working with Octane and DRL, both of whom are great producers, and also Foreign Concept, but I don’t know where the tunes are going to go yet as they’re not really completely finished. So yeah, I’m looking to work with different people this year and do different things, I have a 140 piece coming out with MC Codebreaker at some point as well."
Who are you liking at the moment?
"At the moment Break, he’s an amazing producer, Ulterior Motive as well. Also, Calyx and Teebee just to name a few, and outside of drum & bass I’m listening to loads of Trentemøller, Jamie Woon and also Burial, but to be honest, I don’t have a lot of time to listen to anything but d&b, there’s a lot of good music coming out at the moment."
In January you led a master-class at Point Blank London — how did that go?
"I really enjoyed doing it, it's something that I always wanted to do even before I got signed, and hopefully I will be doing it again in the near future. It’s great to be able to show different techniques and be able to give something back to the people who were there and those who streamed on the internet."
Last year saw some great studio kit come out. Is there anything new you are using?
"I have been checking out NAAM this year, lots of good equipment gets announced there. One thing I have been looking out for is the new Apollo by UAD. It’s like a soundcard, but it has UAD processing built-in, plus mic preamps that also include some classic analog sounds, and it's all digital, so you can link it straight through to your DAW. I’m glad I waited for it."
Xtrah has also compiled a guest mix for us. Don't forget to check out his latest track 'Cyrax' out now on Symmetry Recordings.
1. Ulterior Motive 'It's On' (SubtitlesUK)
2. Johnny L 'See Red' (DUB)
3. Rene Lavice 'Headlock' (Ram Records)
4. ST Files + Calibre 'Falling Down' (Gray Audio)
5. NFM + Zero T 'Charlatan' (Integral)
6. Mortem 'The Touch (Sabre Remix)' (DUB)
7. Concept 2 'Cause 'n' Effect' (DUB)
8. BTK 'Drop It' (Dutty Audio)
9. Stealth 'Dire Straits' (DUB)
10. NFM feat MC DRS 'D.F.T.F' (METHXX)
11. Mark System 'Near Miss' (DSB)
12. Dub Phizix + Skeptical 'Marka (feat Strategy)' - (EXIT)
13. Blocks + Escher 'Broken' (Narratives)
14. Clarity + Overlook 'Chinatown' (DUB)
15. Xtrah 'Arise' (SubtitlesUK)
16. The Glow '?' (SGN ltd)
17. Ram Trilogy 'Titan' (Ram Records)
18. Sabre, Stray + Halogenix 'Oblique' (Critical)
19. Basher + Xtrah 'Hubble' (Subtitlesuk)
20. NFM feat Stapleton 'Greazy VIP' (DUB)
21. Xtrah 'Eradicate' (SubtitlesUK)
22. Octane + DLR 'Back In The Grind (Cern + Dabs Remix)' (Dispatch)
23. Wickaman +RV 'Ev's Dead' (Ram Records)
20. Xtrah 'Here I Go Again' (SubtitlesUK)
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