With Virtual DJ and iPad apps like TouchOSC available at the click of a button, it now seems a mere tap of ‘sync’ and voila, you’re a DJ. Indeed digital music production has never been so vibrant and new technology is driving club culture by providing DJs with an infinite of choice to play for their crowds. But with today’s finest modern DJs like Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, Oneman and Jackmaster incorporating vinyl in their sets, and with a 40% increase of vinyl sales this year, analogue equipment – in all its textural detail – is rigorously resurging. As aficionados of noises old and new, we decided to quiz Manchester’s ever evolving export XXXY, aka prolific producer Rupert Taylor, to get the low-down on his thoughts of the perpetual digital vs. analogue debate.
PlanetNotion: Can you tell us about the equipment that you use to create your music? What’s the analogue/digital split of this equipment?
XXXY: It’s an all software based set up at the moment, although I’m considering adding some hardware.
PN: What attracted you to your preferred style of production?
XXXY: It was just the practicality and also because I know I can do everything I want to faster and easier in Ableton than I would be able to in a hardware environment.
PN: How important do you feel it is to both your sound and electronic music in general to use both analogue and digital inputs/production?
XXXY: I think it’s not really important now. The quality of sound you can get from software is now almost as good as hardware and in some cases my sound would benefit from really good hardware compressors. But I don’t feel that they are essential.
PN: In what ways do you see your style of music and production developing over the next year?
XXXY: I want to go a bit weirder – to take the elements I use best from my current production and stretch them to their limits. I also want to add more width and depth to my sound so that in the future I can produce a longer piece of work which will be engaging to listen to at home and still work well on a dance floor.
PN: Do you feel that different styles of electronic music benefit from different production methods? For instance, do some styles suit digital production better and vice versa?
XXXY: I’m not sure any style benefits from either production method – it’s not what you use, it’s what you get out of it that counts.
PN: What do you think the benefits are of using an alternative analogue/digital set-up to your own?
XXXY: The benefit of using analogue equipment is that you don’t need to be sat a computer. I spend a lot of time sat in front of a screen and it would be nice just to be able to play with something and not have to ruin my eyesight.
PN: Are you nostalgic for the era of entirely analogue production? Or do you feel that it’s just a part of music’s history?
XXXY: No I feel no nostalgia for it at all for how music was produced, just the end product.
PN: What would you say the biggest impact is that the internet has had on electronic music?
XXXY: It’s effected how quickly something can spread. Before you would make music and maybe play it on the radio, but most people wouldn’t hear it before it was released. Now you can make a tune and play it on radio and there could be a clip on YouTube within minutes and it can be spread all over blogs and Facebook walls etcetera.
PN: You’re well-known for your remixes of other artists. Do you approach these in the same way as your own music?
XXXY: I approach remixes like I approach my own music, but I find that the remixes take less time because a lot of the hard work has already been done for me.
PN: How do you prefer to listen to music: vinyl or digital? Why?
XXXY: I have no preference.
PN: What was the last record you bought physically and why? Do you see a future for physical releases?
XXXY: I bought the new Move D on Workshop today. I can definitely see a future for physical releases as there’s always something nice about being able to hold the music you love in your hands.
- Caroline Jackson
And because it’s only ten days until Christmas, here’s an extra treat in the form of a delectable mix courtesy of the man himself and Pariah. The pair is also set to join the likes of Space Dimension Controller, BrEacH and Massey for Beat Dimension’s New Year’s Eve warehouse party at Netil house in Hackney. This hour and 16 minute myriad of sounds is what you can expect from the duo so if this tickles your fancy then head to Ticket Web or Resident Advisor to grab some tickets for £15.