Wax Motif & Neoteric Q&A
As Wax Motif and Neoteric present Strictly Rhythms Volume 9 gets ready to drop – stuffed with 27 exclusive new mixes from from the likes of Subb-an, Drop The Lime, Monkey Safari, Oliver and many more, we catch up with Wax Motif & Neoteric to find out the whys and wherefores.
For those who don’t know you how would you describe what you do and what kind of sound you produce?
Together, mainly house music. Separately, a mixed bag, a bit of everything. But our productions together have a similar vibe and feel.
Is there a track that people will know you best for?
Most likely Go Deep (Southern Fried Records / Dim Mak), or perhaps our collaboration with Crookers a track called Springer.
Have you always wanted to work in music?
NEOTERIC - It was so early on I don't think I considered the “working” part. But I knew from a young age I always wanted to hear the most exciting new tracks and share them with friends, Djing was a pretty natural path to follow. Over the years I've realized I really do want to do this for the rest of my life, but perhaps more on the business side than the creative. I want to DJ forever, when the time is right, but I enjoy working with and helping others too.
WAX MOTIF - To be honest I never really thought of it as a real job until the last few years. I graduated from university in Economics so this was never the plan but I realised when I finished uni I didn't want to be in the corporate work environment for the rest of my life and the hobby started paying for itself so I kept going down this path.
If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing instead?
NEOTERIC - I honestly can't call it, but whatever it was I'm pretty sure i'd be working for myself.
WAX MOTIF - probably Finance or Graphic Design.
WAX MOTIF, you are based in Sydney, how is the music scene there and how is Electronic music perceived?
We've had a really strong scene for years and I heard recently we are still the third biggest market for dance music in the world. Young people are really educated on electronic music here and in some ways spoilt for choice as we get so many acts touring during the summer months. Like anything there a positive and negatives about it but I think overall the quality of young artists is getting much stronger.
NEOTERIC, you've moved around quite a bit and are now based in Berlin, has this had any influence on the style of your music?
I'd be lying if I said no. It reinforced an understanding more than anything. The scene is unlike any other around the world, and in some ways it's opposite compared to other places. I've seen both sides and took from it. It's refreshing to find crowds that want to hear anything good, whether they know what it is or not.
You both DJ Produce individually, so how did the ‘Wax Motif & Neoteric’ collaboration come about?
I was in Australia for some tour dates, and had a couple days off in Sydney. I met Waxy on a previous trip, and he was just mad cool, an ambassador of sorts for Sydney. He invited me over and we started working on a few things. From there, he visited in Berlin, and we also worked together on this compilation in LA.
Do you prefer to DJ or Produce?
NEOTERIC - I much prefer Djing myself, I don't put aside enough time for productions as I should, but Wax is such a studio fiend, he brings out that inspiration to turn some ideas into reality.
WAX MOTIF - I really enjoy both sides evenly. They go hand in hand for me like two sides of the same process.
You’ve both played across the world at clubs and festivals, what is your best experience so far?
NEOTERIC - I love seeing friends along the way, exploring cities, eating great food, and of course, the parties! My best experience so far might be playing in LA in 2008 the night President Obama was elected, it was a wild night, something was in the air. Oh, and Daft Punk was there watching me. Fortunately I only found that out after my set ha ha.
WAX MOTIF - Its a tough one but DJing wise probably playing Cocorico in Italy with Crookers and Neo or playing at the MTV music awards.
How did you get approached to compile the Strictly Rhythms compilation?
I had been speaking with Dave Lambert for a few months, before a gig at Fabric in London. He came out and we had a chat, then sprung the idea on me. I was floored! I really have to thank him for having the foresight to see what we were doing. I've done A&R and management for a couple years, and always had my finger on the pulse of what was going on in the clubs. I think he saw those connections and realized we could put together something special. I'd like to think we did!
Rather than mixing the whole album yourselves you decided to share this compilation with not 1 but 25 other remixers. What was your decision behind this?
We were so honoured to be asked to do this compilation, that we were determined to do the best job we could. We didn't want to simply remix a few things and mix the catalog – not that there'd be anything wrong with that, we just wanted to craft something that was 100% unique. We reached out to our peers, friends and some producers we really look up to, and they were all so keen to take part. That meant a lot. It was a grand undertaking, and took us about a year to get together, but I couldn't imagine it happening any other way!
How did you go about choosing which remixers you wanted to be on the album?
First we reached out to close friends we knew would be down, then made a list of some dream producers we thought would be ideal for a project like this. Some weren't available to meet our deadlines, but those that could really came through for us.
Did you suggest the tracks for them to remix or was it their decision?
At first we made a list of about 50 tracks from the catalog that we loved, but also weren't super obvious. We didnt want to rehash what had already been done. But a good many of the producers made a list of their favourite Strictly tracks and asked us. That made it easier, because they'd already have some ideas as to what they'd like to do to the tracks.
You picked DJ Sneak’s Throw Your Hands and Todd Terry All Stars Get Down to remix, what was it about these tracks that stood out for you?
NEOTERIC - I think that Sneak track was the first one we picked out, and right away knew we had to use that one. It's just such a jam, and the feel of the track is so timeless. For Get Down, we picked that one because there was stems, and the track is just so classic. Having stems for that one was great, as most of the songs used didnt have original parts.
WAX MOTIF - Yeah the Sneak one has this filtered loop which was just so catchy it jumped out immediately.
You are on opposite sides of the world, how does reflect the way you work together?
Well, because of that we don't work together as much as if we were in the same city. It can all be done online but it's not really the same. We both have our own projects and obligations, so we try to get together a couple times a year and knock some tracks out.
How does this compilation differ to other volumes in the series?
I think we cover a few genres and styles here, from deeper stuff to club bangers. And of course, all the tracks are exclusive!
What are your favourite mixes from the album?
NEOTERIC - Ah! Don't make me do this! Ok, first off I must say I really do love every single track. But if held at gunpoint I would say my personal favourites are the mixes from Monkey Safari, Subb-An, Oliver and '96 Bulls.
WAX MOTIF - Yeah this is a difficult one. I'd probably say Jet Project, Oliver $, and our Sneak one.
Why was it important for you to have an album sampler available on vinyl?
It just felt like there had to be vinyl. Classic house music, Strictly Rhythm, it just made it all that more real for us. Plus we had to make sure the DJs could play the records, if they're still packing crates.
Do you use vinyl?
NEOTERIC - Just for personal listening at this point. Maybe once or twice a year I can play vinyl in the right setting. I hope to do more all vinyl sets though. It's great when you can show up and play only the records you had meant to play.
WAX MOTIF - Not live anymore because I never get good working condition ones but at home I only own turntable so anytime I want to practice I have to use them.
For the techies, what is your DJ set up?
NEOTERIC - I started with vinyl, then went to Serato with turntables. Nowadays I prefer CDJ 2000s and USB stick, but when I get the chance to play with records, I still feel right at home.
WAX MOTIF - Yeah when i'm out these days I'm either on Serato or USB on CDJs but as I said above at home I only have turntables.
Do you think you have set the bar for whoever mixes the next compilation?
Ha ha. I suppose we have. Good luck topping this one!
What's next for Wax Motif & Neoteric?
NEOTERIC - I'm not too sure, I guess we'll see next time we cross paths! Personally I'm working on developing my label Main Course, carrying on with some A&R, and expanding my artist management roster. I enjoy that side of the biz. I should also plug the podcast I currate, The White Light Mixes. Its a real passion project, and the older I get, the more it means to me. It's basically the anti club, night driving music. I'm also an aspiring hand model.
WAX MOTIF - Yeah I guess there is no real plan. The biggest thing was getting this completed amongst our own work so there hasn't really been a chance to think about it. On the solo stuff I've just put a record with Fools Gold on their Clubhouse series and my next two releases are coming up soon on Mixmash and One Love. Also a lot of remixes coming up for Dim Mak, Rebecca and Fiona, Goodwill & more.
Where can we see you play?
NEOTERIC - I'll be around at ADE, and doing a few parties in Berlin in October. After that I'll be back in Canada and will be putting together a North American tour for sometime in March.
WAX MOTIF - I'm playing at the Mixmash records party at ADE and also at the Sweat It Out ADE party.
Any final words…?
Do what you love and you'll be alright.
Wax Motif & Neoteric Present Strictly Rhythms Vol.9 is out 15th October available as a Two-Disc CD, iTunes mixed version and DJ friendly digital version featuring unmixed WAV files of each individual track and two separate DJ mixes. The album will also be available on 2 Limited Edition Sampler Vinyl EPs.