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Interview with Xtrah
We catch up with Xtrah ahead of his forthcoming release on Metalheadz Platinum and quiz him on the production process and lots more!
'No Good' / 'Directive' feat Mikal is released on 12.05.14
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Were the tracks made for Headz or sent over once you had already made them?
‘No good’ was made quite a while ago now, I had played it and had offer from other labels for it but always imagined it on Headz so I sent it to Ant and Goldie and they were both into it which I was really happy about. It was always meant to be on Headz in my mind tho.
How did the link up with Mikal come about on ‘Directive’?
Ive known Mik for quite some time, we had spoken about doing a tune for a while and I had sent him samples to start something with over the net. He sent me back an idea that we both like but we wanted to sit down together and finish it. Luckily some of his family live near my studio, he was down visiting family and came over to the studio to finish the track. We got the backbone finished but I mixed it down about 30 times!! It was a pain to get done but it sounds how I wanted it to now.
Whats your preferred method of collaboration- in the same room back n forth via the internet?
It depends on the way the other person works, I have a really set way of how I work and sometimes it either clashes with the other person or it works really well but I’d rather be in the same room with whoever it is im making music with
In terms of detail and feel ‘No Good’ seems 50/50 club track and home listening track, how did you achieve that?
I just let it write its self I did what felt natural and tried not to push it in directions that it shouldn’t have gone in, I have to say I normally hate listening back to my own music as it makes me cringe but ‘No good’ just doesn’t give me that feeling. I hope that’s for the right reasons.
What’s your process when starting a track, what triggers the creativity?
What’s your most used plug-in and what do you use it for?
Slate Digital VBC , I LOVE the sound of these compressors!! And the VCC bundle is so good too.
With the tools you use and your creative process would you say you go for the trial and error approach or are do approach things knowing what your tools are capable of?
If it’s the middle of the day I do things that would seem pretty normal, when ive been awake for 2 days I go a little nuts and use shit in all the wrong ways normally resulting in good results but I think that’s how people progress in music especially dnb im a bit of both id say.
You collaborated with Snapclicker on the video- was there a certain vibe you wanted to get across with it and how did you achieve it?
Yes I wanted some sort of hand drawn element to it which I’m happy to say has been achieved at first I wanted it in Manga art but budgets and time held that idea back, would have been crazy tho! I kind of leave snapclicker to his own devices he’s never let me down and always pulls something amazing out the bag. Bigups to Jay & Bart!
What are you listening to outside of drum n bass?
Been listening to J.cole’s album, which is really solid as an album! Feeling the A.T.O.S music on deep medi the tune called ‘what I need’ is amazing. Koan sound are also really impressive as producers not just technically but their musicality is really REALLY top notch but to be honest I don’t have as much time as id like to listen to new music which is unfortunate but true.
As a listener what was your first introduction to Metalheadz?
Goldie’s – Inner city life has to be the stand out for me personally but there is things like ‘The angels fell’ by Dillinja and ‘True romance’ by dBridge also the Source direct tune at the beginning of bladerunner but I think Goldies stuff was my first memorable introduction to headz as it’s the stuff that has always stuck in my mind. To be honest with you tho, there is just so much history from the label that sometimes I hear a tune when im out and I’m like ‘What the hell is that!?!?’ Then whoever I asked will be like ‘Yeah, it so and so it came out on headz in 1998’ (or something similar) And I feel really inspired by it but also really insignificant! You realise that before people like Headz there was no drum and bass and that labels like this paved the way and actually connected with people through raw emotion and a movement that was all about unity and sub bass. I wish I was a little bit older so that I could of seen it first hand but then again I believe that it’s a feeling that you can connect with if you understand this music enough.