Q + A : EXOS
We sat down with Exos to discuss some turning points in his long career
Alae Ramdani | 11th May 2018
Hi Addi, we are glad to host you on Paradox. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Well, active as a slow dubtechno artist since January 1996, started releasing music year later. But you can possibly catch me playing up to 150 bpm at the end of my dj sets....
What have you been up to lately? I guess you’re still in Columbia right now...
Yes, lately i have been living in Colombia. I came here in the early beginning of December last year. I have been playing a lot here in almost every city and i am hosting label nights in 3 cities here in march. I have also been working on my label X/OZ which has monthly releases now and i am opening another label in June, called Planet X.
Looks like you have a special relationship with this country. What have attracted you in the Colombian scene and crowd?
There is a very special time now happening in Colombia.The Colombian people use every opportunity to for celebration. There is a very strong techno scene in Colombia and the crowd is simply amazing, I would like to describe it like the Tresor crowd in the 90´. Colombia in general is growing culturally in every way and taking part of the scene here is a privilege.
You actually released your first record, Greenbeat, more than 20 years ago… and man it is still so fresh! Actually people are asking about a repress on Discogs. Do you remember in which context you have created this piece and with which setup?
Well, my father has always been a musician and he saw my interest in dance music, - Techno since i was 12-14. He bought me my first sound module in January 1996. He said, its not enough to be a Dj, you will have to create the music its self. He pushed me into it and was a bit disappointed when i wasn't making music. But when i made good tracks he was very happy and proud. So my set up was this sound module, Quasar from quasi midi. The Greenbeat record was made even before i bought my sampler. The record came in 1997. I never thought it was actually any good. Nore my next one, but my third ep , Q box, i was happy with.
As we said your career is on for more than 2 decades and the least we can say is that you are running a successful one with releases on the most respected labels around such as Trip, Delsin or Thule Music. Besides your artistic skills, what do you see as the key-element of this success?
Thanks for kind words. I wouldn't call it a success. I think its more my path. I still would be the same techno nerd with or without a carrier. If i would not being playing at clubs, i would be playing the same program in my living room. And being in a musical environment is the most important for me. Its not a typical normal life i guess. But what is normal ? There was a time i didn't make music from 2004 - 2011. But after a pressure from beautiful people, i started again. I always kept djing, no matter what. For me, its like a mediation and the best way to balance my frequency's.
As a DJ you must come across loads of promos. What do you think about the current production in the techno circuits? Is there enough sense of creativity or innovation according to you?
At the moment i am thrilled of all the music that is coming out. I think there has never been as much of great music going on and i am discovering new artist all the time. Sometimes i don't have the energy to check it out as i can get caught in obsession....
From what we see on social medias, we can feel that the current paradox in Techno is that the genre has never been so popular yet the scene has never been so divided and each sub genre “representatives” criticizing the others…
Do you share this statement and do you think this is just the predicted destiny for a popularized genre?
This is a very very very good question and i am a lot of times disappointed in seeing artists making futuristic music as Techno, commenting immature statements with criticisms on social media. Like they are still in highschool. I am seeing this all the time.
It seems that some artists are fighting about who is more underground. I see people sharing facebook statuses against an artist who has different opinions in a negative way. And people seems to label everything now days. If an artist decide to work with another artist from a different genre, then they gets judged from some people in the scene. People think this judgment is to protect the music and what they think of it. But they forget what its all about in the first place. Its about futuristic experiments, expansion and freedom. That was the cornerstones of Techno.
You’ve founded your own imprint X/OZ lately. What have motivated this project?
Well it was about time i started my label again, a platform of my creation and my vision of sentiment. Its going exactly the same direction as i wanted. I actually started my first label called Do Not Sleep, in 2005, but it was in the middle of the vinyl crash. So the new era of digital ism took over. Me and Bjarki decided to start it again in 2013 and we released 1 piece year later. Then we joined Trip same year. Then i teamed up with Thor to reconstruct Thule, but we ended up having different ideas about things. So the X/OZ label is the deeper version of my vision and in autumn i start my sub label for the harder side, called Planet X.
Your dad, a dub techno producer who works under the moniker of Octal, has released on your label. Have you ever thought of a featuring project or performing together on stage?
Yes, actually, he has played couple of times at my events. Last time he performed was at the very last club event at the legendary Nasa club in Reykjavik, before the club was ended for good. It was the same event as Moritz Von Osvald played in Iceland.
We are working on an ep together at the moment. We might play a gig together when its out.
How would you describe the artistic line of X/OZ and what makes it different from your outputs on other labels?
The idea of the feeling that i have in mind is when i am outside in certain places in the nature, specially in Iceland. When i am feeling a special life form outside my existence. That's the story behind the artistic line, incomprehensible touch of nature. That makes me feel different. Not necessary good or bad. But more connected or even a bit spooky in certain places.
What’s coming up on X/OZ in 2018?
There are monthly releases coming out. In March, Nikita Zabelin comes up with his first ep since 2 years ago. Then in April I have one of my favorite Icelandic artist, Yagya, with the beautiful ep, faster than usual, 140 bpm, but still with his ambient signature. Then in May its my first ep since my Downgarden ep came out in 2016. In June i have Cold vs Waage
What was the first record you bought? and the latest one?
I bought some rave records in 1992 from the older guys in the hood, Trip to the moon part 3 was the first one. The guy who sold it to me bought a sandwich for the money i gave him for it. But the first techno record i bought was Global Warning with K Hand. The latest track i bought on beatport is Marco Remus, KOPFSCHUTTLER.
In a recent interview you’ve mentioned Nathan Fake’s Outhouse (fluffy remix) as a very influential track for you, explaining that it “can be mixed at peak hours when the moments get dramatic on the dancefloor”. How do you describe and feel those kind of moments ?
I play this track many times in my sets. At the right moments this track can be so emotional, for me and the people on the floor. And its also usually very unexpected as people are not so used to experience break like this on the dance floor. Many people have heard this track but dont expect to hear it in a mix so it usually brings great vibes. Another Nathan Fake anthem is "When the sky was pink" Icelandic version.
Do you remember when was the last time you had an intense and special connection with the crowd?
Yes. Just last weekend i played Friday in Bogota for my own label showcase, it was amazing. But in Ibague, things went totally insane. A group of very dedicated techno collective from the Ritual club hosted a festival, called Sodoma. It was near the city but still in the forest. I started in 137, and was pitching back and forth from 140, played few banging tracks in 150 bpm and took it up and down. The best reaction was at the hardest part.
What kind of non electronic music do you listen to usually?
I am a big fan of the band Dead Can Dance. Their music is just huge influence on me, not only musically but also in a spiritual way. It gains my frequencies on a higher level.
What new artists/labels would you recommend to check out at the moment?
In dubtechno its Waage. In Techno its Gotshell. i am working on an ep with him here in Colombia. Now days i really don't follow any particular artist. I search for music in a blind way.
What’s coming up next for you?
Next up is to focus on the X/OZ label. And open the Planet X label in autumn. I have been doing few label nights here and there and will continue with it. I leave Colombia in April as i play in USA. Then its back to Iceland in mid April and more dates in Europe and Asia. Then i return to Colombia in November - December. Its my second home.