XFile: The Answer is here.
By Toleya Kamara
T: Tell the music world about Felix. Give us a little background history. What is your heritage?
F: I am a first generation Londoner my parents originally came from Scotland and like so many other Londoners never went back.
T: How did you acquire the name?
F: My production name is Xfile which is an anagram of my real name Felix
T: When did you come to the realization that music was what you wanted to pursue?
F: I came really late to music although I hung around studios from about the age of 13 (my big sisters bloke was a muso) played guitar and made up songs as a kid it wasn’t till I was about 18 and met a girl who played guitar in a band that I thought it might be something I could do. Then I started playing bass - did a gig or two got a 4 track recorder and quick smart hooked.
T: How do you infuse your heritage in your music?
F: Yup good question- if you mean cultural heritage up till now I haven’t, I am aware of Celtic music and obviously there are bands around fusing these styles The Afro Celt sound system springs instantly to mind. I think my influences come more from my London background and the mix of people and music who live here.
T: What was your first creative piece?
F: I made lots of strange pieces using the 4 track my bass, a drum machine and an old echo box- luckily none survived.
T: Why do you feel that Protools is such an essential part of producing beats?
F: I love Protools because it is such an elegant and simple program but I am a huge fan of Ableton live - Logic has fabulous virtual instruments- Reason rocks -like most people I fantasize about the perfect combined application.
T: What should music producers be doing to prepare for the constant changes in the music industry?
F: Get flexi, Embrace the flow and move forward.
T: Do you think that new waves of technology are making it too easy for less creative individuals to get into the industry?
F: I absolutely love how the new technology makes it easier for people to make music I teach and facilitate workshops for all kinds of people to use instant access programs like Garage /Ableton / Soundtracks I am constantly inspired and amazed by the great music people brand new to music making come up with, I am a Big believer that everyone is creative. If they then want to take that further and deeper, like all art forms it will take time and patience
T: What are some of the musical genres that are reflected in your music?
F: Hopefully all the music I love- Reggae / Dub / D'n'b /Indian classical / Breakbeat / Soaring Guitars / funk -all kinds of electronic noises - anything with a cool beat and deep bass line.
T: Do you feel that your music reaches a diverse population?
F: I would love it to - hopefully the internet makes it available to everyone.
T: As a sound engineer, re-mixer and producer explain the advantages that come with having such experience.
F: I have always thought one of the great things with engineering is that you get to experience how other people work in a studio creatively, I mean by being present at their session- there are huge differences in approach and attitude- some people work on the fly -some prepare every last note. With my own projects, I love the freedom it gives me to be able to actually realize ideas from start to finish i.e, write, program, record and mix. Also either to be private and work entirely on my own, or be able to facilitate a nice atmosphere for other musicians. My two favorite things are, to work on my own and to work with other people.
T: Who are some of the producers and artists you’ve worked with?
F: Mat Fraser -Fusion -Transglobal Underground,- JC001,-Daddy Freddy, -DJ Ritu, Asian Dub Foundation-P-Nut -Donaeo.-MC Navigator -DJ Pogo -Katia Labeque -Visionary Underground Z Star I have listed some people off the top of my head- there are shed loads of others (as well as lots of people you won’t of heard of- yet)
I notice you have Imani Uzuri on your up and coming section- I recorded her for Marque Gilmore’s project when she was over in the UK LOVE HER VOICE (Madly the studio had a huge flood and those particular tapes got lost) I would love to work with her again sometime. (Editors Note THE UP & COMING SECTION HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY TAKEN DOWN FROM THE FEMMIXX.COM SITE)
T: Who was your favorite?
F: Can’t tell you that. Lot’s of favorites.
T: Do you have a mentor?
F: I would say my main mentors have been: musically Rik Kenton - bass playing don and in the studio Steve Parr at Hear No Evil Studios - king engineer. I also have to mention Lesley Willis and Lesley Wood who run Overtones studios in London - Overtones is a female led / staffed / engineered recording studio - they have been very influential and helpful. Big up!
T: Why did you feel that your production in Pandora could be blended into the Gary Oldman’s film, Nil by Mouth?
F: The Nil by Mouth thing came about- because the film is based in Deptford, which is where Gary Oldman grew up. (a poor and very artistically vibrant part of London)
He used a lot local people and artists in the film including the singer in the club scenes France Ashman. France had been a member of my band "Control Group". The original backing track "Pandora" was an abstract piece of music- something I had written for a project with my sister. When France heard it she instantly came up with this beautiful melody and strange lyrics about an unborn baby - we only performed it live a few times before the band split up. Some tunes have a vibe of their own and I loved the tune so much that after the band broke up - even though France and me weren’t speaking at the time, I suggested that we should record it at Spyders (a producer and another Control Group member) home studio on separate days. Kathy Burke is one of my favorite actors (in the film, the tune plays as she dances with her mum after being badly beaten up by her geezer) I am really proud that the tune made it on to the soundtrack.
T: You’ve worked with both Trisomie 21 and Aref Durvesh how did that come about?
F: I met Aref when I recorded and mixed his solo album - he is such fun to work with and comes up with a mix brief like "xxxx those tablas up big-time" Or "make the shenai sound like its wearing a suit." He is very speedy-quick in the studio, so am I so it works well. Triesomie got in touch through the internet. Their very charming manager Olivier sends really funny French-glish emails. They are doing a album of remixes using only female producers, it should be out this spring 06
T: Tell us about your upcoming work?
F: Got some more tracks Xfile vs Aref Durvesh coming- these are breaks and speed break tracks with dirty tronix and tabla-mayhem. Basically I will get some ideas together then Aref will come in and record- I then make more sounds and bits and bobs from what Aref has played/sung etc. I thoroughly mash them up -manipulate and reintegrate them- then we get back together once I have a final mix ready. We are also planning to be recording some more classical and solo tracks for him Sonic Devis - me and another female producer Sushi (Chan-Ray) are dong some remixes for Indian classical label Navras. This is a fun project as she is also an engineer and so we get to split the work and pass the buck back and forth. I just finished a remix for Coil member Danny Hyde’s very interesting new project "Aural Rage " I am busy making loads of new tracks with the X-Kollective which is an ongoing collaboration project with me + MC Alaska / guitarist D-Lox / Aref (again) and various singers including Fola and Fiercemoon. I am gagging to play live again - so that is definitely in the game plan and I really want to find some interesting visual artists to work with - anyone out there?
T: In the end, what do you want your listeners to feel when hearing your music?
F: The intention is UP. I hate gloomy music so basically I believe in using music for mood elevation.
T: Where do you see yourself in the industry five years from now?
F: I would love to think I could be in a position to be working on interesting projects including movie soundtracks- collaborating with all sorts of eccentric and interesting peeps and helping support and develop new artists. Thanks very much -lots of love Xfile xx
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