G: Welcome Alix! We are sat in All My Friends where Alix is a store manager at the record shop. Tell us about the shop, how you came to be here and how you’re finding the project so far? 

A: We started things about six months ago now. Me and Giuseppe – Jos who runs Eya – we got given a really good opportunity from the guys at The Cause with a new project and we’ve been given a lot of free reign with our ideas and trying to make a concept focussed on the diggers experience whilst putting something together that is really organic. So far it’s been a great journey which keeps getting better really. 

G: Would you say it’s quite a family vibe here? 

A: Yeah massively. We’ve both known The Cause guys; Stuart, Eugene and the rest of the team for a long time so to be involved in this new project and be part of this team it really is a family vibe now. 

G: It’s a magical place for the London community. Hackney Wick is a major creative hub in East London. I know you work with a number of distributors, do you also work with independent labels? 

A: Yeah with All My Friends, the whole ethos is that it’s close-knit but at the same time not being in- accessible. We have distros but even with our in-store stock, we don’t really deal with bulk orders or shipments. We try and focus on keeping things quite tight and giving opportunities to small labels. The dynamic of the venue is a social club so it’s more than just a physical record shop. You’ve got a lot of passing trade here for the venue. They may not know there’s a record shop here so they’ll come in and be like “oh yeah I’ve got my own label, would it be ok for me to bring some bits in?” which we encourage. We want to give opportunities to upcoming labels and artists in the same way that we’ve been given opportunities. 

G: Nice. Focussing on the new podcast you’ve released for Zabam. I’ve listened to it and enjoyed the journey! How would you say you prepared for this podcast? 

A: My usual method and process when putting a mix together is to take into account the context of the label, the direction of the series so far, whilst also thinking about which aspects of my sound I want to convey. Onwards from there, once I get an idea of the feel and direction I want to go in, I put a mood board playlist together which will be anything from forty tracks to ninety tracks and then from that point, it’s a case of crunching that down over X amount of time until I’m at a point where the journey fits and everything kind of falls into place. I think when it comes to mixes, if you really want to tell a story, time shouldn’t really be an issue. You could put it together in a week or you could put it together in four months. It takes as long as it takes. With podcasts in the past where I’ve had a deadline, it can sometimes make you have to refine things. Whereas if you give an artist free reign, the outcome can be better and often you find that the artist will actually come through and finish fairly quickly anyway. 

G: True! The creativity if often a little more heart-felt too, right? 

A: Yeah exactly, you’re taking it where you wanna take it, in the time you want to. But yeah I really appreciate that to be honest. To be given the opportunity in the first place and then to be told “do your thing, when you’re ready” really means a lot. 

G: You did knock this one out pretty quickly didn’t you! 

A: Yeah I did actually. It was pretty quick. 

G: How would describe the sound and vibe of the podcast and did you have a plan before going into it or did you let the tracks dictate where it was going? 

A: A lot of the mixes I’ve put out in the past couple of years have been more focussed on the more experimental or abstract elements of my sound. Maybe even more melodic at times. So I wanted to inject those aspects but also really show a lot of direction and development. So starting off at a point where things are very stripped down and by the end of it, coming up to party mode, pretty much. That aspect of a mix grabs the listeners attention and keeps them interested and when it’s done right, you can really still tell a story. It’s not just a cut off point between doing stuff that’s a but chilled and abstract and then yeah bang! So yeah I was happy with how it came out and how things moved along. The development of the story. In the end, it was an hour and twenty minutes but I was happy to stretch things out a little bit more and take it where it needed to go really. 

G: It’s interesting when you consider the dynamic difference between the recording of a live mix versus a measured and methodical podcast. I enjoy the process of putting together a story which is focussed entirely on listening experience as opposed to the recording of a live performance which is designed with the interaction of the crowd in mind. What are your thoughts? 

A: Yeah definitely. I’ve put out live recordings in the past too and feel like that magic of live and what happens in the moment is those spontaneous, kind of off the cuff elements – with people there – that’s the performance aspect and I feel like that in a live recording can get lost. Unless you can really submerse yourself in that moment or you were there at the time maybe. But yeah, just to be able to tell a story is so important. 

G: Thinking about format. Obviously you work in a record store and are a collector. What was the format ratio of this mix? Some vinyl, some digital? 

A: To be honest, in recent years, I’ve started moving quite heavily towards digital which is a bit of a curve ball for me, given the fact that four or five years ago I didn’t have a USB stick. So yeah I’ve got to a point now where I’ve felt the shark aspect and dealing with the inflation of records, it’s not practical to be a complete purist nowadays and I think you can actually limit yourself quite a lot when you are. So yeah in recent times, I’ve been digging a lot through the digital realms and finding some different corners of music that I hadn’t found before. I do a lot of edits, so for that aspect, being ADHD and very short attention span, if I can find a track and edit it in half an hour, I don’t have to rip it in. That really keeps the flow. Don’t get me wrong, I run a record shop and still dig and collect but yeah it’s added another weapon to arsenal. With the mix, it’s probably around fifty, fifty. 

Picture by Christian Verona

G: You mentioned your edits, did you include any of them in this mix? 

A: Yeah there’s about four or five in this mix. 

G: Would you say you’ve gone with a mixture of new versus old bits? Have you featured any upcoming releases from friends in there? 

A: In this case, everything was pretty much mid-2000’s era. But yeah I do find myself – being a little influenced by Jos [co-manager of All My Friends record store] who plays a lot of new music which was something I didn’t really keep up on. So having started the shop with him, he’s opened my ears to a lot of music that I haven’t been following and then finding some really cool stuff. I went through a stage of not really that interest in following new development of sounds. A bit stuck in my ways. So yeah that’s really opened things up now and as we said before, labels that come into the shop, checking out new music has definitely added a lot to my bag for when I play out. So that’s been a nice new development for me. 

G: Thinking about sound and genre. I think you’ll agree it’s becoming increasingly tricky to define and describe genre these days. What would you say you went for in this mix, in your own words? 

A: It’s quite difficult to pin-point and to be honest, that’s what I look for in music. Music that you can’t really put your finger on so it’s hard when someone does ask that question. [both laugh] 

G: Ha, yeah. It’s Electronic music. 

A: Ha, yeah it’s Electronica. Up to your own interpretation. But yeah it has emotional and dark aspects but with a lot of groove and party-readiness, overall. Towards the end quite Electro, Breaks and just dips up and down really. 

G: What would you say you’re trying to achieve with this podcast? 

A: Every time I do a podcast I try and look at it like a new element to convey so I think ok what have I not put across. I don’t want all my podcasts to sound the same. One will be like a really floaty airy daytime kind of vibe and one will be really dark and emotional and I think that’s the fun of it. I always look at it like if someone was to look at my Soundcloud page, they’d look at as a portfolio so they could listen through different elements of what I enjoy playing. 

G: And what are your general thoughts on balancing new finds with old and rare music? 

A: I think it’s massively important not to pigeon-hole yourself. There’s so much music out there. Especially in the past few years, a lot of the new music coming out is so refined and so classy. That was something that felt like it was really lost for a while. If you’ve got that really refined taste and you know what you like, I feel like nowadays you’re not too limited. You can broaden your horizons you know. The world is your oyster when it comes to what sounds are out there. So yeah, just don’t put a label on it and go for it. 

G: Self-confidence can be something that most creatives battle with from time to time. Would you say you’ve had moments, second guessing yourself? And specifically with this podcast, were there any moments where it wasn’t fitting together? 

A: It’s an age-old thing which I’m sure everyone has when recording a podcast where you get an element of writers block. You have an idea then start over-thinking maybe. But I think that comes down to being confident in your ability, being confident in your sound and knowing that regardless of how this comes out, being happy with what with what you’ve put across. 

G: My main litmus test with podcasts I’ve recorded years ago is if I can listen five/ten years later and still feel good and proud, then I’m content. What are your thoughts? 

A: Yeah when you go back to mix you did when you were like nineteen and you think ‘yeah this is not bad’ [both laugh]. At the time you might’ve thought ‘oh no this is rubbish’ but yeah you’ve just got to have faith in yourself. 

G: Can you tell us a bit about your selection process and if you have a preference for linear selection or free-flowing jam-session style. What was your approach? 

A: So generally with all my music, I organise everything by colour. All my music is categorised into Yellow, Red, Green and Blue. So when I come to understanding what mood I’m gonna go ahead with it gives me a small indication and refines my collection for me. Digital and physical. That helps from the start and then from there the process is just whittling down over a long period of time. Trying different selections because to try and get it in one go is rare! Sometimes it does happen in one go but usually – and ironically - when you’re not recording. To be honest, I hate recording mixes. I love the process of putting them together but feel like it’s so easy – once you’ve pressed record – to put too much pressure on yourself and not be able to be free-flowing and in the moment. It’s not like someone watching you mix, it’s like you’re thinking about every little detail, being your own worst critic. This Zabam podcast wasn’t too bad which was nice but it’s definitely a grind. It can be frustrating when you’ve got it there ready in front of you and you’re like ‘right I know this is gonna be good’ and then you’re trying to record it and feeling the pressure. [both laugh] 

G: For real. It’s that thing of knowing it’s there and wanting to do it the justice it deserves right? 

A: Haha, exactly yeah! And if you’re not it’s almost like you’re disappointed that you didn’t and for me, the thought of it going out and feeling like ‘argh I could’ve done that a bit better!’ That’s the fear and frustration. 

G: What attracts you to music generally and in particular the music you’ve included in the podcast and the music you collect? 

A: I’ve been heavily into music since I was young. My parents were both hard-core ravers and my brother into Drum & Bass. I’ve been around it since I was a kid and that was a huge influence and the sound they all used to listen to I can hear has influenced my sound now. Definitely rooted in the UK with a darker twist. That early Hard-core Drum & Bass scene was really their thing and that’s always stuck with me. On top of that I was very much into Indie as a youngster and if you mash everything together, you can kinda hear that I think. And of course just from years of being exposed to the London scene which inevitably sculpts your experience and sound. To have so many different aspects of our industry that are all thriving and developing over time, featuring completely different music that has been so well-developed over time - that is constantly influencing each other. And the result of that is you see a little resurgence of Garage and Techno. That doesn’t really happen anywhere else. That’s our constant wheel turning. 

G: Can you talk a little bit about your early beginnings in Electronic music? 

A: Since I was quite young, I’ve always been around electronic music and I’ve always been massively interested in it. Even chart music. Getting into Drum & Bass through my brother. Then I started to realise this is something I really enjoy. My Dad bought me my first set of decks when I was eight – which at the time I just didn’t really realise what it was about. Playing Moby’s Go CD’s in my room and it’s only when I was older and looked back, I realised how long I’ve been into Electronic music and had the equipment to put it all together as well. Even before, when I was about Fourteen, I used to play Guitar and I was very much into Indie music but then as soon as I hit Eighteen and started going out to parties, I was like ‘Oh yeah, that stuff, I like that’ so it’s nice to have those different influences that got me into music. 

G: I saw a photo of you recently on your Instagram of you really young with your decks. [both laugh] 

A: I’d actually forgotten about that until my Dad was like ‘look what I just found’ and it’s a photo of me with my little Numarks. 

G: Yeah adorable photo and I loved the caption ‘just a few years ago’

G: Which projects have you been involved in previously? 

A: I’d been doing my own parties for about seven or eight years now through different projects. In the beginning I did it alone. I had a lot of peers around me doing parties and it was very much a small scene at that point so it was hard to get opportunities unless you were doing it yourself, you need to get your name out there sometimes that’s what you’ve gotta do. Sometimes you’ve gotta make your own path you know. 

And then our party SpaceHopper happened really organically with my friends Luc and Matt (Frisbee). All from the same hometown and all had our heads in music but didn’t really have a direction at that point and I was like ‘look let’s start a party’. The name came about when Luc said one day ‘I feel like I’m on a Space Hopper listening to this tune’ and we all agreed that was a cool name. So yeah it was a really cool journey starting that and it really gave them a step up that I didn’t really have when I was starting. It got to a point where with the amount of other projects I’ve got on, it had kind of run its course and we were all ready to move onto new things. And then it was a natural segue for me to get involved with Small World – again with some of my closest friends – and just a really organic thing that’s now happened where we can bash our heads together and see where we can take it. We’re really excited to start working as a team. So it’s been two months so far and we just had our first party this weekend just gone – a little Easter get-together. It was great. It couldn’t have gone any better! We did it across two venues. Firstly at All My Friends followed by a boat party just around the corner on the canal. Great vibe from start to finish. We had Woos – one of our residents  – who did a nice Funk and Soul back to back with Joce which they’d never done before out and it was a really nice close family vibe. Musically we’ve had the same vision for years so now I wouldn’t wanna be doing parties with anyone else. So it’s been nice to feel like yeah let’s take this somewhere. Let’s go! 

Sometimes one thing has to stop in order for other things to move forward and for all of us involved, me, Matt and Luc, it’s given opportunities such as Luc becoming his own artist and Matt’s focusing on new projects, he’s opened his own coffee shop which is cool. And for me, it’s given me an opportunity to push things forward, looking at other avenues. 

G: Talking of other avenues, do you have other projects cooking at the moment? 

A: It’s early days but I’m starting my own mix series and brand called Statica World Transmissions so that’s exciting to give a platform to new artists which is an ethos of mine that I’ve kept throughout the years is to try and make a platform for others. There’s nothing worse that when people don’t get a step up and that’s important to me. So that’s the main thing also focusing on music production and the shop. Trying to focus on the productive elements of music. 

G: Can you tell us your top places to dig for music? 

A: So obviously, All My Friends is an amazing record store in London that everyone should go to. [we both laugh]. Outside of that, there’s so many good record stores in London. Especially in this past year, things have been flourishing massively. Beyond that, I’d say to get online and explore as there’s so much out there now. And then beyond that, I think it’s important to dig back into your own collection. People get so stuck in trying to find new music, moving forward and finding the next best track but sometimes, it’s good to just take a step back and go through what you’ve developed over time. You know, sometimes finding that B side that you forgot was there and go ‘Oh wow’. 

G: Some friends and I used to have dinner, vinyl and wine nights where we’d eventually play each other’s records and discover some absolute gems that way! 

A: It’s always a nicely surprising thing when someone’s playing through your bag at an afters and we had this at a friends place recently where only one of our mates had his records with him so we were all just playing his collection – where we completely mixed it all up for about four hours – but he was sitting on the sofa constantly shocked because there was stuff he’d just overlooked and it’s pricked someone else’s ear and it’s a very special thing. 

G: And also – even if they are playing the track that you would play – the way they play it can also be so different so it creates something new. 

A: Indeed. Music is massively about context and how you listen to something can be completely different to someone else and I think that’s what magical about it really. You can know someone – they can be your best friend and you can like the same music but you’d play your whole record bag together and not have the same tracks which is fascinating. 

G: Endlessly fascinating. I often have this conversation when people are trying to ID tracks because I’m so happy if people are like “what is this?” as it’s a shared moment of appreciation. And the reality is, even if they had every track in my bag, they’d never be played in the same way. 

A: Agree. It’s all about how you put stuff together. 

G: Tell us a little about some local artists, parties or labels that you’re really excited about? 

A: I’m a massive supporter of my close friends, Bizarre Trax. We’ve been friends for many years now and to see their development and how deserving they are of their achievements, makes me proud. I’m a proud Dad. [both laugh]. It’s great to see. They deserve it. They’re making amazing music and making an impact and putting their stamp on the scene. They’re in the studio. 

G: And can’t forget their brother Buddy Love [both laugh] 

A: Yeah same again on an artist level, to see Bud do so well is great. Good people doing great things. Well deserved. 

G: Any labels you think are doing good bits at the moment? 

A: It’s great to see Jos doing what he’s doing with Eya Records and all the offspring’s and to see him now giving opportunities to artists that I know as well and it’s really good music. It stands out massively. So yeah big props to him for being that Lone Wolf and keeping it going! 

G: What you have you been up to lately and what’s coming up in 2023? 

A: It was really nice to go over to France and play for ClacClacClac and due to Covid, the opportunity didn’t come around until last October. It was a nice chance for me to take my sound over to Paris and I’d never actually been to Paris so it was nice to experience their industry and meet their crew. That was a really cool experience. The beginning of this year has been pretty quiet for me due to being busy starting the business [record shop] and managing the store as well as planning for Small World. 

G: And lastly, you mentioned ADHD earlier. Can you tell us a bit about your experience with it? 

A: I know a lot of artists and artistically creative people who display their magic as they don’t think like everyone else. If you look through history, that’s really been an element which makes an artist stand out. It can also make them feel quite alienated but just because you don’t think the same as neuro-typical people – whatever that is – doesn’t mean that you’re any different. I think nowadays – especially in such an open and accepting industry – it’s a lot easier for people to talk about it and I think it’s important that anyone given an opportunity to do so, should talk about it. Partly because you’re opening up an avenue for someone else who will maybe listen and think ‘yeah I’m not different, I’m not an outsider, I’m special’ 

G: Well thank you very much Alix! I’ve really enjoyed this chat. 

A: Yeah thanks, it’s been brilliant. 

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