Olivier Raymond, AKA OXIA, got into music in his early teens, with a predilection for Funk and disco, and a debut on a local Funk radio show. Olivier already had started mixing, influenced by a large spectrum of music styles: Funk, Italo-disco, New Wave and the early House scene. He met in high-school his future musical partner, Stephane Deschezeaux, with whom he bought his first bits of equipment and started to compose music in the early Nineties. Not too long after that, Olivier became a resident DJ at a club in his hometown Grenoble, jumpstarting a career in electronic music. Now, he is one of France’s most respected DJs and producers, with a career spanning over twenty years and intensive touring on all continents.
We caught with OXIA to talk about his recent release ‘Second Mood’ via Diversions Music.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Olivier, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with Electronic Groove. How’s everything going with you?
OXIA: Hi, thanks a lot for having me, it’s my pleasure. All is good, wish you the same and thank you for asking!
EG: Your brand new EP ‘Second Mood’ was released on March 1st on Diversions Music. Can you tell us a bit about that?
OXIA: Yes, my new EP was just released on Diversions. There are two tracks; the first one ‘Moodulations’ is a “techno” track which develops in intensity over the course, with the help of mesmerizing arpeggios in the second part. The second track ‘Second Change’ is more tech-house, complete with old school vocal samples, frenetic snares and hypnotic synthesizers throughout.
EG: You set up Diversions Music in 2016 with your label partner Nicolas Masseyeff. Is there a particular concept or philosophy behind the label?
OXIA: Indeed, it will be three years in July since we’ve created this label. Our philosophy is the same we’ve ever had concerning our own music, i.e to have a good time and release music we appreciate. It can belong to slightly different genres, as long as we like it. It therefore can range from very groovy tracks to more techno or melodic material. Nicolas and I have always been quite open, which is something that can be felt in our own productions. I think my new EP reflects this.
EG: What would you say have been some of your biggest achievements or proudest moments since you launched Diversions?
OXIA: It’s hard to say, I’m not sure there are moments or things we are prouder of than others. True, Diversions’ first EP represented a big moment for us because we’d finally managed to complete an EP together, which is what we’d wanted to do for ages. Also because it was our label’s starting point so… It’s always special when a label’s first EP is out, especially that it was really well received by the critics. This said we’re proud of every single release we’ve had since.
“I’d really love to finish working on my third album”
EG: And what are some of your goals for the future?
OXIA: Mainly, to keep doing what I love, just like I’ve been doing for all those years; and that’s something that I consider myself very lucky to have. Now, I’d also really love to finish working on my third album. I’ve been thinking about this for a while but, after the last one was out, I released a lot of EPs and remixes and wasn’t able to find the time to work on my new album. And time flies by!
EG: How do you guys split responsibilities on the label?
OXIA: For the artistic side of things, the decision is really taken by the both of us. We each try to listen to the demos sent to us, even if I must admit Nicolas listens to much more material than I. But when he has doubts about something, he sends it to me and we decide together. If one us disagrees, then the tracks are not signed. In parallel, a graphic designer is in charge of the artworks, and a label manager takes care of the administrative part and also deals with the distributors.
EG: We recently saw a picture of you partying with Laurent Garnier and a few others in Grenoble. Have you guys known each other for a long time?
OXIA: Yes, it was the one taken with Laurent, The Hacker, Scan X … We had so much fun! The Hacker and I have been close friends for more than 20 years, we met in one of the first electronic music parties happening back then in our hometown Grenoble. It’s probably during one of those parties that Laurent and I met as well, about 20 years ago I think. I was still very young and was a fan of him. I can’t remember exactly how it went but I think he must’ve been playing one of our early tracks (OXIA was originally a duo; after an amicable split I kept the name for my solo career) I went to see him and said “I’m one of the OXIAs” and so there! We met several times afterwards in parties, then we started performing in the same events and so we naturally became friends. He’s someone I like very much; he’s got so much good energy and he’s still so passionate after all those years so it’s always a pleasure to see him.
EG: You are both pioneers of the electronic music scene in France. How would you say this scene has evolved over the past three decades?
OXIA: Laurent is much more a pioneer than I am though, because I was an unknown kid when he was already headlining events. This said, what we witnessed at the time was insane because it was literally the birth of a new musical genre… The first raves were this mysterious, underground, illegal even thing that got swept away by the mass popularization of electronic music; which is fine by me even if there was something really exciting about the fact it was the forbidden fruit, much less accepted than today. The new generation hasn’t lived that era so it’s obviously much more different today when a youngster goes to a techno party for the first time. This said, I’m not one of those people who say things were better before. I think they’re just different, and personally I’m still having a blast; it’s a good thing that it’s evolved. The scene’s gotten bigger and countless clubs and festivals have emerged around the world. The music’s continued evolving as well, especially production-wise – even if these past years, up till today, Nineties’ techno has clearly been a major influence, though with a more modern production. New technologies have also allowed us to do things which would have been impossible to concretize with the gear we had twenty years ago.
“The first raves were this mysterious, underground, illegal even thing that got swept away by the mass popularization of electronic music”
EG: You played some amazing shows all across the world in 2018. What are you most looking forward to this year? Any cool projects you can tell us about?
OXIA: I played in many amazing places in 2018, and so I hope it will be the same this year, that I’ll have the chance to keep discovering places I’d never been to before, and that I’ll still keep on meeting new cool people… In terms of projects I’m currently working on stuff but it’s a bit early to talk about it. This said a new EP is due to be out in the spring, in collaboration with Italian duo Artslaves, label Moan’s bosses.
EG: Any final words for the Electronic Groove community?
OXIA: Keep listening to good music, stay open and enjoy yourselves 🙂
OXIA’s ‘Second Mood’ is out via Diversions Music. Grab your copy here.