Schlindwein is a Berlin-based pianist, composer, and producer. Being taught classical piano from early childhood…
It has been almost two years since Raxon and I had a proper catch-up. The last time we met was at DGTL Barcelona 2019, the year before everything changed. Little did we know that would be the last party we would attend together. Fast forward to the present day and so much has changed.
‘It’s been an insane ride but, as cliché as it sounds, the light is finally at the end of the tunnel,’ Raxon says from his Barcelona apartment/studio. Without his usually busy touring schedule, or weekends to look forward to, he adds ‘all the days are the same now.’ As for many in the music scene, the pandemic was a forced pause, but it did have its bright side. As Raxon said, ‘We needed a pause one way or another, the earth needs to breathe, maybe it’s healthier for the planet.’ There have been two ways of looking at this situation, and I was happy to hear that Raxon’s everlasting positivity was still his guiding force.
‘I haven’t had a job in like 16 months but you just have to stay positive. There is no point in thinking/arguing about conspiracies, even if it is one, there is no point worrying about it, it is what it is. I made new connections during this time. It’s been a time to get to know yourself and what you want in general, your priorities in life.’
With this time of introspection came time to fully focus on studio time.
‘Music did really save my life.’ During the dark months when lockdowns were the new normal, people like us were missing the dance floor badly, but this was ammunition for creativity.
‘I feel lucky to be able to make music’ Raxon says. We spoke about the humility the quarantine brought and how his main reason for partying in recent years was to be able to test out his new tracks.
‘The best thing about not having shows is there is no pressure for making dancefloor-oriented tracks, and I was starting to get sick of breakdown/drops in general. The album was total freedom, it was meant to be played outside of the club and just enjoy it. The idea had been floating around for a few years, and the quarantine gave me the time to do it.’
How did the idea for the album start? I can hear a darker experimental vibe to it, was that the main mood when you were making it?
‘It started late 2019 but with no concrete idea, it was just to have fun, then lockdown happened. There is a little bit of sadness in there because it happened during that time. There are also a lot of ‘90s grooves which is a culmination of what has been happening in my mind, and there is hope in there. However, I want the listener to interpret it in their own way. When you see a painting, you see it through your eyes. I don’t want to force the feeling on anyone, you have to see how you feel about it, in different scenarios. I think it reflects the way I did it, it helped me get through the lockdown, and in general, I don‘t want to put emphasis on the pandemic, but it gave me the freedom to make music. When I started working on it I wasn’t thinking of the label at the time, I just did it.. then when listening to the finished album I couldn’t help but think of my Kompakt friends.’
Raxon continues with another top tip, ‘the most important thing is the personal touch, you need to build relationships with all of them (labels).’ Knowing this has catapulted Raxon’s career, from his early days in Dubai where he was able to network with top DJs and producers from around the globe, such as Hernan Cattaneo, who inspired him to make his move to Barcelona.
Back in Dubai, Raxon started as a DJ, best known for his weekly residency at the infamous 360 for Audio Tonic, the brand of Mike Bufton, who encouraged him to be selective when taking gigs. At the time nearly every venue in the city was asking him to play, but Mike said it was better to focus on one thing because it gives more value, and he was right.
Raxon then started experimenting with production and his sounds quickly got the ears of the scenes’ best labels. He was able to put his tracks into the right hands because of the relationships he had built. Now over 10 years later he is releasing his first album on the legendary Kompakt records. A journey that any aspiring producer would dream of.
Many producers start in the studio then learn to DJ to get gigs and share their tracks on the dance floor, and some have the opposite path like you did. How do you feel the producer world is different from the DJ world?
‘For example, doing b2b’s with friends is fun and even if you don’t know someone you can make it fun, but the studio time can get very personal. The idea phase, the mix phase, then wrapping it up, it mega drains you. You feel accomplished and then you start to feel down because you can’t be out and sharing it. I’ll be in the studio for weeks, even months, then break a bit but I get depressed and then need to produce again. The music is super powerful in that way.’
When asked about his studio, he shies away, ‘I don’t really like showing it off, it’s not the greatest studio in the world by any means but It’s my personal space and I like keeping the mystery element because it also reflects in the music,’ but he advises, ‘Take chances when producing. To me, making a track is challenging your mind, how to be a bit more creative than previous tracks, what to remove and what to add. You can always keep adding, but less is more. Just like cooking, a hint of salt is nice but not too much. Cooking became very important to me during lockdown, therapeutic in a way, I would play the tracks while cooking and hear it in a different way, with a third ear, if that makes sense.’
The album is short at only 45 minutes but as we had discussed less is more, and this is an exploration of sounds that will leave you wanting more! Grab your copy on June 25th, and go get that joint for added listening pleasure 😉
Raxon’s ‘Sound Of Mind’ LP will be out on June 25th via Kompakt. Pre-order your copy here.