ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT! ATTENTION ALL NYE PARTY ANIMALS! We are STOKED to share this EXCLUSIVE Betty and Kora NYE Mix “HIGH TOPS & HIGH HEELS” by Xavier Walker with all of you! CRANK UP THAT DIAL AND PLAY IT LOUD PEOPLE! HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR WE LOVE YOU ALL SO F-ING MUCH!
Check out our exclusive interview with the man himself Mr. Xavier Walker:
1. What was the first tape/cd you ever purchased?
Um, ever? I guess that would be Big Shiny Tunes, the first one! Hahaha! Oh man – the times before I ever even knew electronic music existed outside of my shell of rock and grunge. Those were good times nonetheless. I used to be into Rage, Fuel, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, all the regulars. Then when I was 16, I heard one trance anthem and my life was changed forever; it was “Greece 2000” by Three Drives on vinyl.
2. Who are your major musical influences?
Now that I look back on it, honestly I feel that like as far back as fifteen years ago, I was always just looking for a bassline, whether or not I knew it at the time. That has always been the key component of any song to really get under my skin, in a good way. Whether it be a guitar riff or a synth or a piano riff, it’s always what has pulled my heart strings. As for musical artist influences, hrmm. I don’t really feel like i was ever really influenced at a young age, just an avid listener of music, really. As a DJ, though, and someone who collects music now, I would those who really influence and inspire me are Radiohead, Daft Punk, The Presets, Massive Attack, Tycho. This list could be endless, but a few who really push the bar and I idolize are Alan Braxe & Fred Falke (classic), Oliver, Bufi & La Royale, JNL Cinemafunk (who I brought for my 30th birthday bash at Hush Nightclub), Opiuo, A Skillz, K+Lab, Disclosure…there’s too many really.
3. What would Daft Punk’s & Cut Chemist’s child sound like?
The first person I pictured was DJ Mehdi for some reason, or maybe Sebastien. Those are both dudes on that classic Ed Banger Records label, the one that Busy P started and got the Justice boys their fame. I guess if Mehdi, Sebastien and Kid Koala had a child, that kid would sound like Daft Punk’s and Cut Chemist’s kid. Haha.
4. You were alive when Napster was at its peak. Were you burning mixes for the other kids on the block?
I would’ve been 14 years old when Napster came out. I definitely wasn’t deejaying at this point but was still very obsessed with music, I always have been. It was only shortly after Napster came online that Soulseek was released, and that really became the go-to music downloading program for most people, I feel. When free music happened, it really made ‘looking for music’ a lot of fun; like an epic musical adventure that lasted for hours and was ultimately exhausting and mentally draining, haha.
5. Apart from your music, you are one of the only photographers allowed to photograph the Fractal Forest ™ at the Shambhala Music Festival. Can you tell us how you were able to achieve this unique position?
Oh yeah that’s a good story. Well first of all, let me just say that I am so eternally grateful to a) be allowed to shoot in Fractal Forest, let alone Shambhala at all, easily one of the best places on earth, and b) to have ever met the ever-so-wonderful Rich E. Rich, who runs the Fractal Forest ™. Rich is a very unique and rad individual. It wasn’t an easy friendship to cultivate, but in the end it was very worth the hard work, effort, and strategically placed and thoughtful conversations. He’s kind of one of those guys that you have to get to know at the right place and right time. I first met Rich at Shambhala 2011, my second year there as a photographer. We met in Fractal at 4 pm on the Friday, only four hours after it had opened. I was a little nervous because I had heard that this dude hated photographers. The first thing he said to me was “I don’t like photographers”, haha… true story; “I’ve seen your photos, they’re good. You can shoot in here, just stay out of my way”. Don’t let my words fool you. Rich is one of the nicest dudes I have the pleasure of knowing, and in my opinion has every right to protect an environment as amazing as Fractal Forest ™. Anyways, so I did my best and ended up getting better shots, sent them to him… he loved them, and now it’s something I look forward to each year. It’s all hugs now, and good times. Every year, I find myself in the pyramid in Fractal Forest ™ beside A. Skillz, Stanton Warriors and Featurecast, just hanging out, feeling very grateful to have the privilege to be there.
6. If you could describe what it feels like to play in front of an audience in five words or less – what would those key words be?
Unreal. Rewarding. Challenging. Perfect. Nervous.
7. If music were a cocktail it would taste like…
A Long Island Iced Tea. It would have a little bit of everything in it! Plus, who doesn’t like iced tea
8. What inspired you to make the High Tops & High Heels Mix for B&K?
I love you super ultra music babes. a lot. You both have a huge passion for music and when I heard from my lovely friend Mary Klovance that you were both starting a blog, I was immediately interested. It’s been a while that I’ve wanted to do a mix for you ladies. At first it was supposed to just be High Heels and I intended it to be nu disco, a genre that I have fallen head over heels for (pun intended); I thought that it would suit the girl-run theme of your blog – girly party disco music. Just this last week in December, I changed the idea completely. I didn’t think the original was ‘party-rific’ enough, so I decided to make things complicated by mixing breaks with nu disco, also something I don’t regularly do. I’ve had less than a week to put it together and I think everyone will really like it. The point of the mix is to give something to people to get them all pumped up for NYE. I feel like it will do just that. It’s a high-energy blend of mid-tempo breaks and nu disco/italo disco, and it rides a little like a roller coaster – a super fun dance party roller coaster!
9. What can we expect from you in the future – what are your plans?
My plan for the new year is to finally get into producing. I’ve been putting it off for a long time now and I really need to commit to it because I’m coming up with so many good ideas for where I personally would like to take electronic music, specifically nu disco and those ‘summer house’ vibes. I’m also working on a more chilled out, dreamy house mix for a February release, called Counting Sheep 2: Above the Clouds. It will be packed full of tracks from my favourite label right now, French Express. Other than that, I’m deejaying on a regular basis. There is a rumour going around about me potentially performing next summer at Shambhala – that’s all I can say. Yes, I’m very excited too. I feel like that will be the ultimate payoff if that happens; a top five moments of my life sorta thing.
HUGE SHOUT OUT TO XAVIER for making this KICK-ASS PARTY MIX FOR US! BETTY AND KORA LOVE YOU!