May 18, 2022
1001Tracklists Spotlight: DJ Xquizit Live From Playa Del Carmen
Today we’re heading to Mexico to celebrate with DJ Xquizit, who brings us a hard hitting live set from Playa Del Carmen. Fans of our series may remember back in September of last year where we celebrated his productions with a live set from Chihuahua, Mexico. Today we take a deeper dive into his work as a DJ with his live set ready to rock a club and featuring tunes from the likes of ATB, HUGEL, NERVO, R3HAB, Skazi, and Topic. Our interview highlights the return of live shows in Mexico, some upcoming tour dates, his dramatic weight loss during the pandemic, and much more. Enjoy!
Xavier, thanks so much for bringing us your incredible live set! What was the concept that you envisioned for this Spotlight Mix?
Hi, thank you so much for having me! I have a saying, "I produce music but I am a DJ.” It means that I've always seen myself as a DJ first. There are things you do and then there is who you are and I am a DJ. Unlike my previous mix which was meant to be more of a producer mix, this mix is meant to show how I rock shows at festivals and top 40 clubs.
Take us through the process of turning the idea into reality and some of the challenges of getting set up.
The biggest challenge is figuring out what concept is most appropriate for which crowd. DJing a beach party in Playa Del Carmen is much different than opening on a mainstage at a festival. Once the concept is decided on, then it's a matter of finding the intention. Coming from a club DJ background, I learned that if I can get the crowd singing along, I can earn their trust and singing leads to dryer mouths which leads to better income for the club.
How did you approach creating a flow musically and how might this set compare to a DJ Xquizit live show in a club at the moment?
The first few tracks are usually meant to earn the crowd's trust. So a lot of times it means commercial tunes with well known vocals to sing along to. Once I earn that trust, they will allow me to take them on a journey and tell a story, many times introducing them to my original tracks. In a festival setting that works out great, but in a club setting, where people are coming in at different points of the set, it is harder to earn their trust halfway through the journey, which is why this set has multiple portions where I go back to a familiar tune to get them onboard. So this is an abbreviated look of my typical top 40 open to close club sets.
Can you highlight three tracks or artists included and why they stand out?
Tracks 7, 10, and 11 are covers I made of famous Spanish language tunes. As much as EDM has made its presence known in Mexico, there are almost no Spanish songs. So I decided to make covers of Nek - "Laura No Esta" (known as "Laura C'est" in Italian) alongside Luara Pausini - "Se Fue" ("Non C'e" in Italian) and a truly Mexican pop tune, Benny Ibarra - "Cielo" as a proof of concept to shop to Latin American major labels. The first two are considered the biggest pop tunes of the 90s in Mexico and the production quality is right up there with R3HAB, Tiësto, and the like. I am so proud of them and they help me gain the crowd's trust when you have techno and full-on purists raising their glasses as they sing along.
Since we last spoke in September 2021, you’ve dropped over 25 kg! Can you tell us some more about how that has felt and the lifestyle changes you’ve been making?
The Covid scare was definitely a factor when it came to bettering my health. The biggest killer of that virus was obesity. So before the recording of the last Spotlight Mix I first started walking. Slowly moving up to four to five times a week and up to over 60 minutes per session. Starting off at 106 kg, by the time we recorded the Spotlight Mix last year I had dropped to 100 kg, so I was well on my way. Now after getting bariatric surgery, which forced me to eat much much smaller meals, and continuing to exercise, at the time of the recording in Playa del Carmen I was 76 kg. Currently I'm sitting stable at 73 kg.
You have also started developing your new logo and merchandise. Talk to us some more about the visual identity that you’re creating and its importance.
Over the years I've noticed that there are artists and DJs I follow just based on their names. They don't publish head shots or action shots often, so many times, I have no idea what they look like. There are other artists that have amazing music, but don't do anything to stand out. My favorite melodic techno producer has amazing music, but looks like he just came from hanging out at the recreation center of the local university. So my original approach to marketing was getting my face out there as much as possible. Professional photoshoots, TV appearances, etc. The idea of being so present in the media with my face that whenever someone in Mexico heard "trance in Mexico" they would think DJ Xquizit.
But then I saw an old Timmy Trumpet music video and didn't recognize him. I know him more for his fedora and glasses, not his face. Same with Lil Jon, once he takes off his glasses, I have no idea what he looks like. So when I saw an outtake of a photoshoot where just my profile appears alongside the Batman logo, I realized that I could turn that outtake into a full logo. For months prior I had been using my hat to good success and this image captured it perfectly. It also translated really well to merchandise. Now I have a merch store on DJXquizit.com featuring phone cases, T-shirts, and sweatshirts.
On the touring front you have an upcoming Mexico tour. What can you share about that? Are there any dates that have you particularly excited?
After DJing a melodic techno set in Tulum I started getting tons of gigs in this style. I'm told it's the "sound of Tulum." Just a couple of weeks ago I did three dates in Mazatlan. A pool party, a boat party, and a beach party thanks to the promoter AfterX. Coming in May and June with the start of festival season there are some dates I'm really looking forward to, especially the one in June that will be in Mexico's Area 51, known as "La Zone de Silencio" or "Silent Zone." A quick Google or YouTube search will show why throwing a two day festival at this location is so exciting!
How do you view the current state of dance music in Mexico? What are some of the sounds that are popular? Have you adjusted your productions at all because of this?
Dance music in Mexico is fairly new, at least in its modern iteration. Some of the old school DJs still remember importing Ministry of Sound, Future Trance, and Ultra Dance CDs but the EDM scene didn't really make a clear introduction into Mexico until around 2011 thanks to the efforts of B-Jay at MasNesCafe. Since then it has continued to grow. Of course, it is still a minor player compared to other places in the world. The reason I made dance covers of "Laura Se Fue" and "Cielo" is because these would open new markets for the majors and help EDM grow.
With that said, techno is huge in Mexico, as it is in the rest of the world. And not just any techno, bassline driven, driving techno. Since I shoot to have at least 30-50% of tunes I play at gigs be my own productions, I've produced several covers and originals, drawing inspiration from ARTBAT and Space Motion in particular. The few I've released in this style are released under my new techno alias, Azathoth, already on Baikanour and with forthcoming releases on Blanco Y Negro and Critical Fusion.
And as we look ahead, what's keeping you excited and motivated on a daily basis? Any other plans that you’d like to share?
The path of a DJ is never over. There will always be challenges up ahead. Tackling these challenges is always good motivation. Regardless if it's getting booked for an EDM club gig, but the entire crowd being reggaeton fans and crashing, then coming back two months later to the same crowd and rocking their socks off, or taking on techno, a genre that I was unfamiliar with, and now having almost all of my bookings catering to this genre, or last year when I tackled the hardstyle sound and released some tunes as Professor Xavier that got support from the likes of Hard Driver and other Dirty Workz artists. My most recent challenge is returning to trance under my Xavian alias, but instead of doing what everyone else tries to do, make remixes of classic trance tunes, I'm instead doing trance covers of universally loved pop tunes such as Duncan Lawrence's "Arcade," Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," and Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" and actually releasing them as official releases instead of bootlegs.
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