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PAX: “You Have To Pick Your Battles And Find Balance”

PAX: “You have to pick your battles and find balance”

Exploding onto the scene in 2015, house and techno duo Aaron Taylor and Charles Robinson have taken the dance music scene by storm, under their moniker PAX.

With signings to label heavyweights Elrow, Sola, Toolroom, Abode, Kaluki, Lost, Roush, WOW, and more, they have quickly established themselves across some of the most sort after labels in the game, whilst consistently featuring in the Beatport charts. Here’s our latest conversation with this unique duo.

Electronic Groove: Hello guys! Where are you right now and what are you up to?

PAX: Hi! Cliche response we know, but we are currently in the studio trying to get through a tsunami of work commitments. Everything has gone supersonic these last six months, and we’re very mindful about the importance of consistency and follow-ups, so it’s very much heads down. But we couldn’t be more excited about the bits we’re working on behind the scenes.

Electronic Groove: You recently released ‘Catfish’ with very positive results. What was the inspiration to produce this track?

PAX: Ha! Actually, we wrote ‘Catfish’ as a bit of a swipe at the narcissism culture of social media. It was a track made more for a radio audience as well, rather than being aimed as a club track, but it’s done great in both areas. Actually, as we’re writing this we just heard it was played on BBC Radio One’s Dance Anthems, so that’s about as much validation as you can get for trying to make a radio friendly dance record. The music video has also been picked up by MTV, happy days.

EG: Can you give us some insight on how the production process works between you two?

PAX: We always start off ideas individually, be that writing vocals, chord progressions or drums. Once we have a foundation down we tend to pass the project back and forth until we meet up in either of our studios to finalize any details and nuances and tweak the mix. Then after a bit of road testing, we can wrap the tracks up.

EG: Are you guys working on any new material currently? And what is your workflow like?

PAX: Always. It never stops, and writing is completely habitual as well. Our phones are full of ditties and ideas that are sung or hummed (poorly) out and about anywhere and everywhere. Definitely looked like a fruitcake more than once caught humming into a phone on a treadmill or at a restaurant table.

We write and produce everything ourselves, and this is a real advantage for an act as you’re able to deliver a constant output of material in a game very much reliant on momentum. We’ve had requests from labels one day, and been able to pitch them several ideas by the following week. So it’s great for identity, and for workflow.

“We learned pretty quickly that if you want to be on the top of your game you have to have self-control with the partying in this business”

EG: How do you guys find a balance between work and lifestyle?

PAX: We learned pretty quickly that if you want to be on the top of your game you have to have self-control with the partying in this business. We’ve done loads of gigs and drunk nothing but water, which is inconceivable for a lot of DJs. It’s a tough one though, because in essence your paid to party, and the industry networking and connections that can be made at parties can be invaluable. So you have to pick your battles and find balance.

It’s much easier for us being a duo, as with being a solo touring artist you have the added pressures of being alone in what can be intense social pressures, so the lure of alcohol as a social lubricant is all the greater.

Obviously there are outliers who can just get absolutely off their nut every weekend, and still get business done midweek, but we think people would be surprised to know that some of the guys at the very very top of this industry don’t even drink, and they attribute their sobriety as being an integral part of their success. Food for thought.

EG: We heard Beardyman was doing some impromptu MCing over a set of yours recently?

PAX: Yeah, that was mad. We were both billed at this Beech festival in Lithuania, and he came strolling into our tent after his show with his tour manager, and we just got talking and hit it off. We were closing the festival, so we were just partying on stage having a laugh, and we just handed him the mic mid-set. We were playing Adam Beyer’s ‘Losing Your Mind’ at the time and he just started doing these mad top lines over the top which sounded fully like part of the track. But yeah, to get some shout outs from Beardyman, to a packed out tent with a raucous crowd was definitely one for the books.

EG: What can you tell us about your local scene? What clubs stand out?

PAX: Historically, Leicester hasn’t had the greatest scene, but the tides have turned massively as of late. The ‘On The Menu’ night is killing it, as are emerging brands like ‘Full House’. It’s a legit exciting place for house and techno at present, which is mega to see.

EG: What about up and coming artists, who should we watch out for?

PAX: Roger That and Cloonee are killing it right now. Also, Iglesais, Rooke, Joshwa, Sandor, Brandon Caballero and James Saunders are also just some of the up and coming producers we’re supporting heavily in our sets of late. We expect to see great things from all of them.

EG: Can you let us know 3 of your favorite tracks on rotation?

PAX: We’ve got some massive personal productions doing serious damage for us at the minute, including some high profile collaborations we’re buzzing about. But until we can announce them, three that stand out would be the Will Clarke Remix of Idris Elba’s ‘Badman’, Chris Lake’s ‘Dance With Me’ is going down every time, and of course our own ‘Electric Feel’ gets a great response everywhere.

“How many people do you know have built an orphanage man?”

EG: Are there any DJ’s or industry figureheads you draw inspiration from?

PAX: For a DJ, and a universal answer we know, but Jamie Jones is the benchmark. Somebody who has worked from the ground up and achieved so much, not through industry connections or favors, but through hard work and talent. Likely the reason he has stayed so humble and grounded as well.

Another would have to be Kai Cant from ABODE. How many people do you know have built an orphanage man? It’s just unreal, and we know it comes at a massive personal sacrifice as well. So for people such as Kai, and also Ryan Keary now from Switch, to use their platforms to help kids who have literally nothing, is nothing but inspirational. In a very superficial industry, they are examples we should all follow.

EG: Summer is almost over, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

PAX: Our release schedule wise we’ll be back on Toolroom, ABODE and elrow before the year is up. Notable gigs top off the of our heads would be the new Forbidden 42 aircraft hangar party, a couple of ADE shows, back to Mint Warehouse in Leeds, a Danny Howard and friends party at the Egg in London, playing for MK’s Area 10 at one of the final Warehouse Project shows in Manchester, and then quickly into the new year we’ll be straight into our Australia and New Zealand tour.

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