Interview: Oxia

Oxia is an artist with many, many years of experience on the scene. With releases on the likes of Hot Creations, Suara, Knee Deep In Sound, and Noir Music, his production skills are highly recognised.

We spoke recently to talk about his celebrated past, his label Diversions Music, and his plans for the rest of 2018…

“It’s always hard to tell what my favourite place is, because I’ve had so many amazing times in various, and very different, cities and countries. “

Hi Oxia, pleasure to speak with you. How are things with you?
Hi, it’s a pleasure for me too. Everything is fine, thank you.

How has the year 2018 been so far? Any highlights?
It’s been good so far. My remix for Miguel Lobo’s new release on Diversions Music (the label Nicolas Masseyeff and I launched a while ago) was out on February 23rd, and gig-wise I’ve had some really nice dates – especially in Barcelona, Stuttgart, Porto… and Strasbourg, France, where Agoria and I played B2B for four hours for a Sapiens night. This being said, the year’s just begun ☺

We’ve been a fan of your sound for a while, and love the content on your label Diversions Music. What was it that drew you to electronic music starting out?
Thank you. I was drawn to electronic music a very long time ago, in the middle of the Eighties actually. I was a teenager and a huge Funk fan. For the record I used to host a Funk radio show – mainly with the friend who would later become the second part of early Oxia, Stéphane Deschezeaux. (Oxia originally started out as a duo) And so anyway I started noticing this new type of sound emerging, something which, for us, was a transition from Funk music to what became House music afterwards; I was immediately attracted to it. I was also listening to New Wave at the time, in particular bands such as Depeche Mode, New Order or The Cure (early days). They were already using a bunch of machines. So I later identified with House and Techno music; I could retrace my influences and I think this is why I was mainly attracted to electronic music.

What’s the story behind Diversions? How did the label come to start?
I’d had already launched two labels in the past, Ozone Records (1995-2000) with Kiko, and Goodlife (1998-2008) with The Hacker. Since then, I wasn’t tempted to launch another one because this activity didn’t leave me much time to focus on my music…But then, two years ago, I started working on some tracks with Nicolas Masseyeff (whom I’ve known for almost 20 years). We realized it was taking too much time to get an answer back from whatever labels we’d sent our tracks to. Few imprints were offering to release our music, but way too late, almost a year in some cases. So Nicolas suggested to set-up our own label and get over with it, and he managed to convince me – even though I knew it would once again take up from my time. We thought it would be much simpler to go with our own outlet especially that we’d be able to control everything and release whatever we wanted when we wanted. After the first releases we started receiving demos, which was an additional motivation factor.

What artists would you say were your main influences when you were getting into electronic music?
There were so many, it would be hard to list them all. There were the House artists in the early days, like Todd Terry, Marshall Jefferson… Then the Detroit scene was obviously the one for Techno music, with Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Kevin Saunderson… But there were also major European techno artists such as Laurent Garnier, of course, Slam, Dave Clarke in the mid-Nineties. All these artists represent my first influences in electronic music, in production as well as in DJing.

Your hometown is Grenoble, France, a very picturesque part pf the world. Would you say growing up there has had a positive effect on your sound and career? If so, how?
I’m often asked this question about Grenoble. It’s hard to say if my hometown’s had a real influence on my music but I guess so… The place where you live, the people you meet… It must have some influence on the music, even in an unconscious manner. It’s hard to explain. At the same time, I’ve traveled so much in so many different countries that it’s obviously left a mark on me as well. I really don’t know if my music would’ve sounded different had I lived elsewhere. And maybe it would have, it’s possible. But I think the main influence factor remains what you’ve listened to and what you’re currently listening to.

Fun fact: I used to live in Lyon for a couple of years, a few years back; it’s only about a hundred kilometers from Grenoble but a much bigger city. It was there that I came up with my most popular track, “Domino”.

You’ve toured globally many times. What would you say is your favourite place to travel, and why?
It’s always hard to tell what my favourite place is, because I’ve had so many amazing times in various, and very different, cities and countries. I really love performing in South America, the people there are so welcoming and open. And sometimes you feel really good in one city, without really knowing why, which is the case of Buenos Aires for me. I also enjoy traveling around Europe…I toured Australia recently, it was fantastic too. Japan, also, I really loved. I really enjoy meeting people from different horizons and different backgrounds. So as you can see I cannot narrow it down to one place!

What are you 5 favourite records right now?
It’s always hard to choose; but I’d say the five tracks I’ve been playing a lot at the moment are:

Miguel Lobo “Physical Things” (Diversions Music)
Nick Curly “Bad Blood” (Knee Deep in Sound)
Franky Rizardo “Mercury” (8bit)
Mulya “Brick Talks” Sobek Remix (Monaberry)
Flashmob “Drop The Bass” (Flashmob Records)

How do you best like to relax when you’re not touring or in the studio?
I don’t give myself much time to do so, but generally I like listening to very calm music, the pop or electronica type. As illustrated by my series of podcasts I post regularly, “Home Selection”, which compile the tracks I like relaxing to without doing much else, really. I also enjoy a lot watching movies, having a drink with my friends and I try spending some time with my family.

What does the future hold for Oxia? How does the rest of 2018 look for you?
I don’t really know what the future holds for me, but there’s a bunch of really nice gigs I’m looking forward to. New releases are also planned to take place, with notably my next EP on Diversions Music due to be out in April. Many other things are under preparation, but it’s a bit early to talk about that.

‘Physical Things’ featuring Oxia’s remix is out now on his label Diversions Music BUY

Soundcloud Artist Page