Wednesday, May 24, 2017


XENOX KAMIKADZE The underground vaporwave/hypnagogic pop producer - whose debut LP "CLASSIC VAPORWAVE HITS" was one of last year's critical smashes.

Equally, few of those who know him as XENOX have any idea of his identity outside music. That means this piece can't give you a potted biography, dwell on his childhood, or tell you what he's been up to for the past year. He won't say.
XENOX doesn't do DJ gigs, live performances or radio shows. 
"Only about 8 people outside of my family know I make tunes, I think. I hope," 
he says.

Technically, XENOX doesn't do interviews, either. Our meeting only comes about after much gentle persuasion and the realignment of our "interview" as a "casual chat about tunes". As I stand in the 90210 drizzle waiting to meet someone I have no chance of recognising, my mind plays tricks. That guy crossing the road who looks like Daniel from Freaks and Geeks, could that be XENOX? Or the wild-eyed Turkish guy on crutches? Or the Japanese guy in the green suit?

When XENOX does turn up, he talks with incredible passion and sincerity - and does it so quietly that my Dictaphone barely picks up his voice, making him sound in playback like a ghostly presence. Which is appropriate, because XENOX richly atmospheric music leaves you feeling slightly removed from the tangible world. His debut was clouded in pirate-radio crackle and cassette fuzz, the soundscapes dotted with the sound of rain, fire and distant voices. 
"I was never expecting anyone to hear it," XENOX says. 
"I was buzzing, totally buzzing. But I had to hide that feeling, I didn't really have anyone to tell, apart from my brothers and my family - but that was all that mattered to me."

NAAM: There’s currently a lot of new bands making aesthetically similar music in wake of your influence. Do you ever feel like bands are rinsing your sound? 
XENOX: No art is completely original. People constantly take from and are inspired by each other. Plus, if a band is making music that’s similar to mine, it just means there’s more of a chance that we’ll like it, or be re-inspired by what they’re doing. It’s an exchange of ideas.
NAAM: I heard that you don’t really use samples when making music, but your music does sound very sample-based…
XENOX: It’s achieved by, in some way lots of hard work, and in some way, it’s very simple. It’s just a matter of what type of filters you want to put on a certain sound. I use samplers but I don’t sample from other people’s music or sounds, meaning I created every sound from scratch. XENOX just stops responding, then he decided to skip some our questions, and sure we ok with that ...

NAAM: So performing didn’t feel as emotional before? It was more about creating melodies and moving the crowd than anything physical?
XENOX: Yeah. To be honest, I don’t even know what it was about. I never had much experience with it and then suddenly I was expected to perform. I was lugging my Casio synth all over USA with a bunch of loopers and delays. I don’t even really know why I did it. I think it was because it was my comfort zone to just kinda loop Casio stuff over samples. It was like I was bringing my bedroom studio everywhere.
NAAM: your album brings life to 80s nostalgia, it sounds like you're highlighting the deathly aspects of it here.
XENOX: Yeah, this is like compounding death upon death. [laughs] It's depressing that people would buy these DVDs of old commercials and watch them while eating Cheetos. And it's annoying when a lot of my stuff is framed as "ultra-nostalgic music" because ultra-nostalgic music to me would be the Sonic Youth. There is nothing wrong with it, but I don't feel like I'm that nostalgic, I would say vaporwave it's something more then just nostalgic thing.


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