WORDS: Lauren DeGaine
LEAD IMAGE: Jim Vanderhorst
Xavier Walker, one of Victoria BC’s favorite DJs and photographers, has just released his freshest mix, Private Smiles. Just in time for summer, it’s full of top down, shirts off, hot-days-long-nights kind of vibes. So pour yourself a mojito, turn the volume up, and give it a listen while you read up on this hometown hero’s thoughts on all the best summertime music and moments!
So tell us about your new mix! What do you love about it? What were you looking for when you selected the tracks? What is the ideal setting to play it!?
So this mix actually just came about from seeing other homies putting out Summer vibe mixes and I honestly hadn’t put one out for like 3 years – the last one being The Elements of Summer. That mix was a bit more uptempo – beach feels. This one going into, I wanted to give people like a ‘chilled out 80’s Miami lounge’ version of like, Neon Steve’s infamous Pleasensations mixes haha, love that dude and those mixes. What do I love about this mix? Haha, I love those retro synths and slick vocal clips. I’m also a huge fan of male vocals, like RUFUS DÜ SOL, Hayden James, Roosevelt.. ugh so dreamy.
As a bonus to Twin Peaks fans, I put in a remix by Polocorp of the Twin Peaks theme song – and Polocorp loves the mix and reposted it on his Soundcloud! Kinda fanning out about that actually haha. I wouldn’t call this a party mix at all. I’ve had a few people ask me why I didn’t put any hip-hop or Gramatik-style tunes in it and that’s just not my style. I’m a house guy, always will be. The tunes in Private Smiles are actually a collection of current stuff but mostly tunes that are at least 5 – 6 years old. A lot of those R&B jams in the middle, I found when I was backpacking in Southeast Asia and DJing on Koh Tao in Thailand at Maya Beach Club in 2011. Haha, that’s the ideal setting for listening to this mix, on the beach, but I’ve had friends tell me that they clean, make dinner, get ready to go out and even listen to it at work! I’m actually surprised how chill I went with it once I started making it. Lots of my friends were asking for The Elements of Summer Vol. 2 but that’s not till next year, maybe.. haha.
What has been the most epic moment of your summer so far?
The most epic moment of my life, not just summer, happened recently at Tall Tree Music Festival. Two months ago, a friend whom I had barely known – Marco (MC Nostic), messaged me, “Hey bro just wanted to mention if you ever need an MC in your sets holla at yo favorite Latino.” I was like, “Sure let’s do Tall Tree,” without even thinking. I’ve been DJing for 17 years, never once have I thought about having an MC or even the concept of having a hype man. I’ve tagged with people before but the idea of having someone rapping over top of the music I play was never a thought. So we tossed around a few ideas at my apartment once we met up, man we just clicked – it just made sense. We found at least 4 tunes right off the bat Marco was like, “Oh dude, I’m definitely rapping over that.” It was like we had done it before – like we had known each other for years. Fast forward 2 months. The set was 11:15 – 12:30 am, Friday night, Spirit Tree stage, opening for Skiitour. I was so nervous all day and leading up right to the point when I stepped on stage. Packed night stage. It was so crazy, so nerve-racking at first.
The first two mixes were stressful, then I just relaxed and got right into it. By the 3rd track in there was like 500 people in front of me. The whole set was a mixture of nu disco (my fave), deep house, g house, speed garage and one trap song (hahaha, our favourite moment). Marco and I had the whole tracklist laid out beforehand, 32 tracks, so I wasn’t digging for new tunes at all and getting lost while needing to focus. We couldn’t have planned it any better, we ran out of tracks right at 12:35. There were so many good moments during the set. Marco seamlessly carried me throughout the set with his slick vocals and hypes, and all the tracks we worked on worked better than practice in the apartment. 20 minutes in I just felt like I was right at home, jumping around on stage, feeling every track. I enjoyed and took in every single moment that I could. I explained later to a few friends; it was a crazy experience. It was a heart and soul grabbing moment in time. I have never experienced anything like that before on stage, in front of that many people. It was a dream. A magical DJ dream. Haha. I think it’ll be hard to top that experience again.
What are you looking forward to over the next few months? Any performances coming up or new music we should be on the lookout for?
Right now, my main focus is to see where the Tall Tree mix is at, release wise. As of this moment, I haven’t even heard the audio recording and I’m both terrified and excited to hear it. Honestly, releasing that mix all depends on whether or not I feel like the magic can be felt throughout it. Obviously, the magic felt at the Spirit Tree stage that night won’t even come close to being duplicated or felt on that level but I definitely want to share it if it feels right. Other than that I don’t really have much else going on. I will be shooting three festivals coming up over the next two months: Bass Coast, Festivus and Shambhala’s 20th Anniversary.
That to me sounds both incredible and exhausting haha. What’s even more exciting is that I will have a new camera for my adventures, something that is long overdue. As for Tall Tree, I’m hoping that once Jim [Vanderhorst of Rebel Cause Film]’s video of Marco and I gets out and the Tall Tree set gets out there, we have a shot of getting booked at festivals for next summer! It’s just all about the timing. I feel that working with Nostic is a step in a fresh direction and I am very, very excited to work with him in the near future. I haven’t felt this kind of energy since I started djing with Wes Beanz 15 years ago and it’s exciting, to say the least. I told Marco, any other festival gigs or big events, I want to work with him and I want him on stage with me 100% – it just makes sense. The magic on stage created, when shared with someone else is incomparable and nothing comes close to it.