Sep 09, 2021
1001Tracklists Spotlight: DJ Xquizit Live From Mexico
Today we’re joined by DJ Xquizit with a fantastic live set show from the panoramic views at Mándala Café in Chihuahua, Mexico. To commemorate the occasion, he’s loaded up the set with big IDs, and his interview gives us clear insight into his goal to create a complete, comprehensive body of work with an album planned in the future. Read on to learn more about his approach to productions, new tunes “Where Did The Love Go” and “Arcade,” as well as hitting his highest position ever in the Billboard Dance charts. Enjoy!
Xavier, thanks so much for joining us with a big Spotlight Mix today! Tell us some more about your style as a DJ. How would you describe your sound?
Hi, thank you so much for having me. Over the years I’ve experimented with many different styles and the one bit of feedback I always get is that my music is very “elegant.” Whether it be psytrance, slap house, trance, dubstep, or any other genre I’ve dipped my toes in, it is easy to tell when the tune I’m playing is mine by the fact that there is elegance to it.
Looking closer at this set, how did you approach creating a flow, and how might it compare to a current live set of yours?
Coming from the club scene in the early 00s I learned that you need to earn the crowd’s trust before being able to play whatever you want. The one reaction I look for is “it’s been a long time since I heard this song.” That is why my sets are full of covers, remixes, and mashups. Having a crowd singing their lungs out is one of my other goals.
Every set of mine is built on three pillars I call “showpieces.” These are the three tracks that everyone will leave remembering. A couple of tracks that build up to that showpiece to help highlight it more followed by a couple of follow up tracks that help keep the euphoria. Many times the showpiece also creates a great transition between genres, such as how “Who Wants To Live Forever” took the set from bass house into psytrance.
One of the signature tunes included is your new pop track with Dee Dee. We heard that you’re a huge fan of her original “Forever.” What made that track and her as an artist stand out to you?
In my youth I would go to a “Virgin Megastore” in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. They would have 10-15 stations where you could listen to albums in their entirety. I remember that for a solid two years every compilation, whether it’d be Ultra Trance, Ministry of Sound, Future Trance, etc. featured a handful of songs that decades later I can still identify. I’ve made it my mission to collaborate with the artists behind these tracks.
One of these tracks was “Forever,” which turns 20 years old this September. I remember that I had just come back from the store and it was fresh in my mind when I saw the music video on MTV2’s Saturday evening EDM block. The following Monday I heard it in the gym. Something in me just fell in love with it. Later on I saw that she did an edit on an Ian Van Dahl track, “Reason” (Dee Dee Edit), and well, I’ve followed her career ever since.
Building from there, what brought you guys together to work on “Where Did The Love Go” and what made it the right track for a collaboration?
The writer of “Forever,” Christophe Chantiz, who is also one of the founders behind Ian Van Dahl, and I had worked previously with another artist who was heavily featured in compilations. Her name is Jessy and after the success that that track had, including hitting Top 10 in one of the Billboard Dance charts, I asked him if he had another artist whom he could introduce me to. He had remembered that I had mentioned being a huge fan of “Forever” and also remembered how much I loved her collaboration with a mutual friend of ours, Marsal Ventura.
I sent him a similar tune to “Reality,” staying in the future bass genre. A few weeks later she was in Chris’s studio recording the vocals. When I got the vocal stems back, the future bass train had passed. Modern EDM was starting to embrace the harder side of dance. After finishing up the future bass version I decided to mess around with the drop, using a psytrance sound design and it fit perfectly. I sent them a copy and the moment they said yes I knew that we had a hit!
Another big track in the Spotlight Mix is your upcoming release “Arcade.” Talk to us about bringing this trance cover to life.
Earlier this summer Paul Bartolome and I had huge success with our cover of “Who Wants To Live Forever.” That tune combines the epic cinematic quality of the original and brings it into 2021. It features elements from all pf the genres I like to dip my toes in: pop, psytrance, dance, and even elements from hardstyle. But I was left with this urge to make it proper trance.
One day I’m listening to the radio and heard “Arcade” from the EuroVision highlights and I was like “that would make such an awesome trance vocal.” I sent the idea to Paul and he knew exactly what I was thinking. I did try to make it much more commercial to take advantage of the popularity of the song, but it wasn’t until I went full trance that it sounded perfect. The vocals and melody fit perfectly with a rolling bassline.
Can you highlight two additional tracks included in your Spotlight Mix and what makes them special to you?
The first 20 minutes of the set are both unreleased and unsigned pop tunes that build up to “Dance With Me,” what I feel is my strongest tune so far in that genre. It is the first “showpiece” of the mix, with the Mortal Kombat and Fame covers just being preludes to really make that tune stand out. The track hits on everything I love about the music I like to listen to: deep driving basslines, killer vocal and tons of energy. Everything I had tried in that genre was me trying to make that tune and now all of my experiments in the genre are trying to match it.
The second showpiece comes from my psystyle alias Professor Xavier called “Ignite (Legion).” As a huge fan of proper psytrance & a bigger fan of melodic hardstyle, that track is the highlight of those efforts. My previous attempts at psystyle were lessons in how to make a tune that hits so perfectly on all cylinders. I definitely hope to have more tunes at those levels very soon!
This summer you hit your highest Billboard charting position ever. What did that milestone mean to you and where does it rank in terms of career accomplishments?
In my social media I like to talk about taking a second each day and remembering that you are very lucky to have what you have, no matter how small. When I remember how I broke into the scene by being featured on “F15teen Years of Goodgreef” on the Giuseppe Ottaviani mix, I still look back with lots of fondness. The track garnered me my first release on a respected label, Black Hole Recordings, my first A State of Trance feature when Giuseppe included it in his guest mix, and my first ASOT Future Favorite win, which made me the first Mexican to win that honor.
As the years have gone by and I’ve won more ASOT Future Favorite wins, been featured on top Spotify editorials like Dance Rising & Mint, collaborated with everyone from those compilations, whether they be Lost Witness, Jessy, Jan Johnston, or Christina Novelli, even my other Billboard entries, tons of success have come and gone. But for some reason seeing Brian May’s signature on the license form, seeing the track garner tons of streams, and later on seeing the music video on the Billboard Hot Dance Songs recap videos hits so close to my heart. “Who Wants To Live Forever” has been my favorite track of all time since I first heard it on Highlander. For over a decade I’ve been learning all the parts so that one day I could make a remix or cover. Hearing Paul’s rendition & having approval by Brian was a dream come true. It hitting #3 in the Billboard Dance Digital Songs sales chart was a very nice bonus.
Looking ahead, what’s keeping you on track and motivated on a daily basis?
My end goal is releasing an artist album on one of the majors, complete with radio airplay. That is a goal that is almost impossible for most and for good reason, but seeing how my music improves with each production and teaming up with childhood heroes, I’m slowly getting up to the level I need to be in order to be worth a major’s time. I might have dozens of unreleased tracks, but I still don’t have enough world class tracks to make up an album. So I still see a long path ahead of me.
I know I don’t remember this quote correctly, but I once heard something to the effect of “better to shoot for the stars and only make it to Mars than to shoot for the moon and make it.”
And as we close out summer, how are your fall plans shaping up?
With the European borders still closed to Mexican nationals, our plans are focusing strongly on strengthening my position within the Mexico EDM scene. Tons of signed contracts and even a tour is planned in a few European countries, but we won’t be able to get started until those borders open up. So while we wait our entire family is focusing on our health. My household survived Covid back in November and since then we’ve all gotten our shots, I’ve lost 10kgs in the last 6 months while packing on some muscle, learned to swim with proper technique, and we plan to continue down that path through the fall. This pandemic might not end anytime soon so I have plenty of time to get to a good body weight, get that album done and learn to grow as a human being.
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