Despite the fact JXL has been working on his 3rd album "Radio JXL A Broadcast From A Computer Hell Cabin" for the best part of the last three years, for some people he will always be the person who remixed Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation". It's not a tag he feels particularly comfortable with and therefore is the track is not included on his forthcoming album which features collaborations with Solomon Burke, Chuck D, Gary Numan, Dave Gahan and Terry Hall amongst others. Designer Magazine caught up with JXL to find out why he signed to Roadrunner Records (home of Slipknot and Sepultura) and how his internet radio station is set to revolutionize the music industry
Q: The new single "Catch Up To My Step" is out nearly a year after "A Little Less Conversation"
A: The thing is that "A Little Less Conversation", from my point of view, should never have come out as a single...since i'm not making any money on that single anyway.
As Junkie XL I focus on 3 major things. One is being an artist releasing music myself with collaborations with other artists. I produce records for example Sasha's "Airdrawndagger". I remix tracks Fischerspooner to Natalie Imbruglia to Rammstein to Dave Gahan. And I do music for movies, for instance the new Matrix film, and also computer games and adverts. That's how it all started with Elvis. I was asked by Nike to do the music for that Ad which I did. And then it was released as a single by the record company of Elvis - it was never intended as a serious JXL release.
The double album which i'm just about to release with the website, because I'm starting a real radio station on the website, has took 3 years to put together. The Elvis remix for the Nike Ad was something that I did in-between and it now feels like he released a single and what happened next.
Q: You must have needed time to step back and think f**k what's happened here?
A: Oh yeah. After that track went Number 1 in twenty four different countries I got pretty much p**sed for a week with my mates and then it was time to move on. It's also the reason it's not on the album -I don't want to cling the rest of my career on that Elvis track and aesthetically it wouldn't be right to put it on the album.
Q: On the "Radio JXL A Broadcast From A Computer Hell Cabin" album was it always the plan to feature a series of high profile collaborations?
A: The idea was 3 years ago to start a real radio station from where I'm going to broadcast together with the people that I've worked with and will be working with in the future. And there's a 3rd album on there "7AM". So I had an idea to release a double album which would be a reflection on what my radio station stands for and the 3AM disc which my view of night time radio and the 3PM disc which is my view of daytime radio...and of course for that CD I needed vocals.
I wrote 20 tracks with a vocalist in mind without knowing whether that person would end up working with me. I sent it out and hoped that one or two would come back, but they all ended up coming back so that made it all the better.
Q: Numan, Chuck D, Terry Hall, Dave Gahan - it must have been a wish list?
A: I didn't expect them to all come back. Of course Robert Smith, Dave Gahan and Gary Numan on one album is a blast. Gary Numan was the first I recorded in Amsterdam and I was like "Oh my god is f**king Gary Numan" and literally fell of my chair.
Q: Even though you're making dance music, you're coming at it from the angle of a rock musician. Would you agree?
A: I come from a musicians background in a sense that even in my family since I can remember everybody played instruments around me. By the time I was 18 or 19 I played drums, bass and guitar and the only way to play in bands and to do well was if you were a damn good musician. And in that time I started working in a music shop selling instruments and that was around the same time the price of electronic instruments dropped drastically and it was really interesting to combine the electronic instruments with the acoustic instruments. That's where I've been focusing on for for the past 15 to 18 years and sometimes I would end up working with a metal band doing the programming or just doing pure dance music. Working with so many different people and so many different areas you pick up so many production skills that are so useful now.
Q: You're signed to Roadrunner records, home of Slipknot and Sepultura. Aren't you the only dance act on the label and does that mean we can expect any Slipknot collaborations?
A: At the end of the day the music industry is a people's business and you have to sign up with people that you trust and are are motivated working with you. Of course you can be signed to the newest hip dance label, but for me it's all about working with people and I have a great relationship with the people at Roadrunner.
I know I don't fit in with the rest of their profile, but Slipknot Vs Junkie XL - serious shouting over a trip hop beat or something. You never know it might happen one day.
Q: Dance artists always have difficulty transferring it over to the live shows. Is JXL the album totally separate from JXL the DJ?
A: It's one of the big misconceivings that I am a DJ, which I am not. Of course it's the damage that record company of Elvis did by saying "Dutch DJ remixes Elvis".
I play live in two set ups and one of those is very connected to the 3AM disc, which is me on stage with a bunch of laptop and computers doing a full on dance gig. And the other type of gig is way more special but it's very difficult to put together. Were going to do one in Holland on June 9th to close down the Pink Pop festival, which is very similar to Glastonbury with 75,000 people. I'm going to play their with a full on band and most of the vocalists who have performed on this album are going to be there and the ones who can't make it are going to be there through a satellite link up.
Q: Obviously the Internet Radio Station is being launched with the album. Do you feel this is the way forward for music or is this just an element you're embracing for the time being?
A: I think it's the way forward. I don't want to approach the consumer in the way Madonna does by saying "You're A Thief. You're A Criminal. You're Wrecking The Music Industry and You're Wrecking My Career". I just want to approach the consumer from the other end and understand where they come from - you've got £20 a week and you can buy a pair of second hand sneakers or a CD.
What I want to do is create huge amount of music and information on the website by creating sympathy on the other end of the computer by saying "This is all yours, you can download my artwork and put it online yourself which there is no point in doing because every week there is a new broadcast of 3 or 4 hours...but kindly question if you're supporting this and you by the CD please keep that to yourself".
"Radio JXL A Broadcast From A Computer Hell Cabin" is out on June 2nd
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