Guest of Honor: Oxia, more a state of mind than a musical style

Guest of Honor: Oxia, more a state of mind than a musical style

Sep 5, 2012 |  by  |  Event, Music
About the author
Ridz, advertises, produces indie/electronic music, performs throughout the Netherlands but ultimately always ends up at an Amsterdam based ensemble... then he blogs about all these things.

Oxia (Olivier Raymond) should be no stranger to house and techno fans. Oxia is an absolute pioneer of the French electronic scene. He is well known for his rare but highly appreciated productions. His EPs, as well as his remixes, released at the end of the noughties on Kompakt, Tsuba or 8bit have made him one of the key producers of the Beatport generation, reaching its climax with the international commercial success of ‘Domino’ in 2006 or ‘Whole Life’ in 2010. This time around, he is back at last with a new full-length album called ‘Tides of Mind’, featuring vocals by Miss Kittin, Mesparrow and Scalde. The man will be back in our city in two weeks for Studio 80’s new emo-electronica night PRISMA. We asked him a few questions in advance!

Olivier, you’re a man of many talents. For almost 20 years you’ve been successful as a DJ, producer, label owner and live act. Do you have any challenges left?
“True, it’s been a long time since that first EP release back in 1995, on the label I started with Kiko named ‘Ozone Records’. Afterwards there was the ‘Goodlife’ experience with the Hacker. We started the label in 1998 and stopped about four years ago, brings back some very good memories and experiences. Now my only focus is my music. Together with the release of my album ‘Tides of Mind’, I restarted doing occasional live performances. This was a challenge for me and it took up a lot of time and energy. Luckily my good friend Nicolas Masseyeff was by my side to help. We’ll see what the next thing will be, but for now I want to continue producing new music!”

According to you, who is Oxia and what does he sound like?
“I find it rather difficult talking about myself as an artist. I’ll try to give you a little resumé. Oxia is a mixture of my personality, sometimes discrete and sometimes more ‘expansive’, mostly joyful, of course with more silent moments but always trying to stay positive. I am happy when people around me are happy. This is also translated in my last album and the reason why it’s called ‘Tides of Mind’. It’s also a reflection of what influence music can have on our state of mind and vice versa. My music is influenced by everything and everyone that surrounds me, especially the music I listen to. My first influences are funk and soul followed by mid ’80s house, and the groove is always present in my music. The melodic or melancholic productions are more remated to music I listened to the last ten to twelve years: classical music and bands such as Radiohead.”

You’ve been to Amsterdam many times before. Last time you played was earlier this year at ‘De Alpenweide’, but playing in Amsterdam’s Studio 80 is a first for you, right? Do you know the venue and are you looking forward to it?
“I certainly played Amsterdam several times at clubs and festivals like Awakenings, Loveland and Dance Valley. Last gig was indeed ‘Alpenweide’ together with Deetron. Honestly I have a lot of good memories from dates in Amsterdam and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be the case for the next one. It’s the first time I will play Studio 80. I know the name and reputation of the club. Everyone praises its atmosphere. So I am very excited to play the club. Long live September 14th!”

Do you have any particular connection with Amsterdam? Any memorable shows?
“I have some good connections with Amsterdam based artists. Many of us share the same booking agency like for example Kabale und Liebe, Anton Pieete and 2000 and One amongst others. Sebastien Leger is also a friend. I know from the days he still lived in France but he has been living in Amsterdam for a long time now. I specifically remember a gig about 7 years ago (I think). It was a Goodlife label showcase during ADE for Roy Avni’s Electronation, who unfortunately is no longer amongst us. We were not sure if the turn-up would be good due to the huge amount of parties in town, but it was the bomb.”

You’ve produced an intellectually crafted and pretty deep album recently, Tides of Mind. How has it been received up to now?
“People tell me I did something quite different on this album. Something more deep and mature compared to what I did in the past, something less ‘dance floor’ oriented. There was a lot of very positive feedback in the press and many people sent me messages saying the album is great. Of course there are also people who liked it less, or not at all, because they didn’t get what they normally hear from me. Making this album was very enjoyable and people who know me say it also reflects my personality. This album was influenced by music I listened to the last couple of years: electronic but also lots of jazz, folk and classical for example. I felt like working with more singers, I made a track with Mesparrow, one with Scalde and a more uplifting one with Miss Kittin for example. I’m very happy with the album as it is, very happy I made the album without thinking of what people might say or think.”

Do you prefer to spend time in the studio or ‘on tour’?
“I don’t really have a preference. They are two things that go hand in hand. I love the time in the studio to make music I can then play in the club. I seriously would have a problem if i would need to make a choice. Both of them are essential.”

What’s your latest genius discovery that you can share (artist or track)?
“The EP from Pablo Bolivar on Desolat and one on Galaktika are both very nice. Gorge also did an amazing EP on 8Bit. Also, the remix from Franck Roger for Geddes & Matt Tolfrey on Murmur. Finally, the last SIS on Crosstown. There is so much at the moment.”

Any colleague DJ/producers you can specifically appreciate or relate to at the moment?
“Just to name a few: Mathias Kaden, Deetron, Agoria, Nicolas Massayef, Nick Curly, Gorge… I appreciate the work of those people but also their personality, especially Agoria and Nicolas with whom I’m very close!”

What are your plans for the near future? Where are you taking Oxia next?
“There’s an EP with a remix for my track ‘Housewife’, with remixes from Miss Kittin, Society Of Silence and Yannick Baudino, plus a new version by myself. Currently I’m working on new tracks, but I can’t say more as the tracks aren’t finished yet!”

Lastly, for any aspiring electronic producers out there craving a career like yours: what advice do you have for them if they want to make it in the ‘dance’ industry?
“It’s not easy giving good advice to young artists. Nowadays things are completely different from 15 years ago when we started out. There are so many producers and DJs now. The most essential thing for me is to believe in what you are doing, even when at moments it might get rough. Stay genuine and accept critiques from people around you. Stay open minded, music-wise and also towards people. Listen to lots of music, old and new. But certainly make sure you enjoy what you do!”

Want to catch his show? Don’t miss him at PRISMA @ Studio 80 on the 14th of September together with Spada (live), Some Chemistry, Hauk ‘n Baum (live), La Vondel (live) & Sonurber (live)!

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