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Xtrah: Making Up For Lost Time

Xtrah: Making Up For Lost Time

xtrahtimeA blank canvas…

A daunting prospect for any producer. But one Xtrah self-imposed on himself during the process of Lost Time. Instead of relying on any template or pre-set controls, every single aspect of the track has been conjured with a brand new Xtrah spell.

We had to find out more…

How’s your year been?

It’s been a little bit quiet for me; I haven’t released as much music as I have previously but I’ve been deep in the studio working on a lot of new material.

Lots of stuff to look forward to?

Yeah man, lots of stuff I can’t quite tell you about yet, but there’s some really exciting things happening right now. All will be revealed by the end of this year!

Tease! Talk to me about Lost Time. It’s a bit different to your previous stuff. A little funkier perhaps. Is that a fair comment?

Yeah, thanks man. Every technique I used to create the track was consciously chosen as I’d never done it that way before. For example, running my Emu through the Virus filters and lots of different techniques on the drums. So yeah, this is purposefully different. I started with a blank project, doing everything differently to how I’d do it normally. If there were moments in the tracks when I thought I was reverting back to how I’d usually do things I’d stop and rethink. It was a really interesting exercise.

Did Codebreaker apply that same ethos? I’ve never heard him sing on a track before…

I think this is the first track he actually sung on, at the time of recording, but he’s got another track out which he’s sung on. A techno type of project called Morgan Jones. I’ve got to big him up massively.

Cool… Perhaps the singing on Lost Time may have inspired him to do more?

I’m not sure man, I think it’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time. He’s such a talented guy.

True. Where do you lose all your time?

Ha! Messing around with things and with people I shouldn’t have done. I’m back on track now, I’ve had a lot of music signed and I’m feeling super inspired. I had felt like I’d really stepped up at all in the last year. I kind of felt that all my music was on the same level, but now I feel I’m past that and I’m really excited about what I’m doing again. The lost time is over.

How about the Break remix of Cyrax… Must be two years old now. Is it strange hearing it presented with that wicked Break sheen?

Yeah it’s well old. I don’t know when he finished the remix but we’ve been speaking about it for a long time. The original is a good track from its time, I’m proud of the breaks I used on it but I don’t feel it stands up against anything I do now. So for Break to come along and smash this remix is very special for me. It’s a massive remix. It’s an honour. It was an honour remixing him, too. I remixed Something New for The Other Side album, and I think I’m one of the only people besides Calibre and Calyx & TeeBee to do that…

That’s a big thing to do! It’s hard as well; you have to step up and stand out. You can’t play Break at his own game so you’ve got to switch it up.

Is Break super fussy over who remix him?

I think it’s such a hard thing to do! Everything he makes is perfect so I think most producers wouldn’t want to touch him or tarnish his good work. He’s unremixable. Is that a word?

It is now. Let’s go from Something New to Always New with Break and DRS. Was that done together in the studio or the traditional online way?

Traditional online way I’m sad to say mate. It would’ve been great to do it together but DRS is from Manchester, Break is in Bristol and I’m in London. It would’ve been a big task to get us all comfortable in the same place. Break did an original version, he sent me the stems, I processed the drums and we eventually rang DRS. We’ve been chatting for a long time. I met DRS through Beau Thomas at Fabric one night and we’ve been talking about it since then.

Nice. Finally, you’ve had a boat party to celebrate this release… Fancy yourself as a sailor?

Ha! Nah, I’m more of a captain bruv! It was great, it sold out within hours which was really nice. I was shocked as it was just after Outlook and I didn’t think a boat party on the Thames would be quite as inviting as one on the Adriatic sea! Everyone smashed it, it was such a great way to launch a single, thanks to everyone who came!

lost timeLost Time EP is out now on Symmetry. Listen and download.

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.