Head to head: AUXX
AUXX first played with CHK One at our September event in 2016. Now the budding star has dropped a brand new EP on URBNET. We caught up with him to find out about his new record and what he's been up to over the last year.
So we last spoke properly about a year ago – what have you been up to over the last 12 months? Any particular highlights?
So when I last spoke with you guys it was exactly a week before I'd moved to Brighton to study Digital Music and Sound Art at the university. It's been such an interesting year, attending all kinds of events, meeting incredible people and working with other professionals on sonically-creative projects alike.
Earlier in the year me and my housemate released a 7" vinyl record on collective resonance for Record Store Day 2017, and my second EP 23/09 recently released in July!
From parties to rare musical finds, It's taken all summer to digest everything that has happened throughout the year, but I'll never forget the experience of using the mi.mu gloves with Dr. Kelly Snook - formerly of NASA - who kindly lent her OP-1 synthesizer to me for some time, which was later used on my new record.
You've now released your EP 23/09 on Urbnet – could you tell us what inspired this collection and take us through the tracks?
Following my early features on BBC Introducing, I'd been trying to curate a new electronic album but was indecisive on how it would be presented, sonically.
My debut was relatively-experimental, and I didn't know on wether to continue the LA Hip-Hop aesthetic that was tied in with AUXX at the time. I feel like everyone grows up musically, and making beats, loops and lo-fi sketches was something I'd fell a little bored of doing, so I drew more attention to the UK sound system.
In a way, the record was my personal answer of commercial grime and trap, but I still wanted it to have the atmosphere you'd get as if you were tuning in to ambience. When you listen to Autechre, it makes you want to dance, but not quite, so you just end up absorbing and focusing on the unfamiliar journey it takes you through.
But yeah, I didn't want to focus on one musical genre or style particularly. I just wanted to have fun making it, which kind of explains why there's a lot of jungle breaks, glitches, transitions and relatively-weird synth patches haha.
When we last chatted to you, you got a lot of attention with your remix of Kidkanevil's Tales of Moonlight and Rain featured on the BBC. This time he's returned the favour! Was this something he approached you about or...?
Yeah that was a fun track to remix! It's funny because when I listen back to it, I begin to understand why I ended up becoming more technical in my recent work. Being able to hear each individual channel of the original track that Kidkanevil had sent over to me, was a huge influence behind my more recently flexibility in musical programming.
In fact, even receiving stems from him was an honor! He's been going for years and has worked with Bonobo, Massive attack, MIA and is a notable name over at Red Bull Music, which was why it was a pretty crazy moment for me at the time.
I approached him for the remix on my new record, and he absolutely killed it! His programming in that remix still has me doing backflips. Huge respect to Gerard man.
Tell us a bit about the other collaborators on this EP.
My latest project features some incredible artists, one of whom is Jean Deaux from Downtown records. Her voice is beautiful man, really Chicago. Working with her vocals was all through the help of my friend AP-Ebonix, who is also another Chicago-based MC. He had sent me her acapella and contacted her (and her friends) on my behalf for permissions to use it. Man, I'm so thankful that there are people across the pond who have faith in my creative vision.
The other artists on the album include DipsUK, Proton from SB.TV, Valance Drakes of Detroit Underground records, and my beautiful friend Mali - who I've known for almost 10 years now.
It's been a pleasure working with such a great team of individuals to curate such a strong record, and there will be plenty more of us working together for future projects.
We're loving the EP artwork – whose work is it?
The artwork for 23/09 was created by Gregoire A. Meyer, a french-born artist who now resides in London. As he's an award-winning artist, and I fell lucky to have been discussing my ideas for a new record with him for about half a year, until I finally came across a piece on his portfolio that was 100% what I had in mind for the project.
The image itself makes you feel as if you have a humanly-connection to it, no different as if you were to look at another person. However the catch is that the artwork is entirely computer-generated - and took days, if not weeks to render. It's beautifully surreal.
Did you use any new kit in the making of this EP?
For quite a few years now I have predominantly run through software's and MIDI equipment. However, more recently I'd run my works through a MOTU mixing desk, and used two different modular synthesizers in after-class recording sessions that would later be archived for future use.
I have been dabbling amongst the MAX/MSP and pure data programming environments for my own plugin development, and really exploring the capabilities of computer music as a whole. You've actually reminded me to invest in an analogue synthesizer this year so thank you haha!
What's next for you? When can we hear you play again?
As always, I'm continuing to create new exploratory works and solo records amongst labels, publications and collectives with live shows in-between. I have some new radio mixes coming out soon on some pretty cool radio stations - and collaborating with Ability ii, of whom has recently re-pressed his pressure-dub 12".
I'm forever a student of music, but I've found that my technical process now heavily ties in with technology and the sciences. It's also with pleasure to let you know that asides from this continuing to be my alias, AUXX also now registered as a limited company, but more will unveil in 2018.