We caught up recently with Russian producer LowXY to talk about music, life and trying new genres. Check out his story below…
Hey LowXY, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
Hi! I am in Russia. I am in my hometown, a little town called “Kingisepp”. I don’t go away a lot. Unfortunately, life is such that there is no possibility for me to get out of this town or the St. Petersburg area.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music?
Yes, certainly. It was when I was little. My father sold tape cassettes and music was in the house a lot. I listened to a lot of music, ranging from children’s songs, Russian pop music and various types of music from abroad. At the time, I really liked the music of Bad Boys Blue, Coolio, pop and garage culture and Detroit Techno. Those were my styles!
How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?
I started writing in Ejay programs in around 2006 – 2007. I remember it was Techno, DnB, and Hip Hop. But then it was difficult to call it “creation” it was rather just experimenting with different wav samples and not really understanding the creative process. I put these ideas on the shelf. Then, in 2009, an organisation called Sensation White came to Russia. I was still a minor and could not get to this event, but I really wanted to. The event was broadcast on MTV and I sat all night watching and listening to the music that they had played. And then I was so excited about all the beauty in the music from that event, that I wanted to make music, too, and I promised myself that someday I would play that sort of music just like the DJs who performed there.
How did you decide upon the name LowXY?
It’s simple. In 2013 – 2015 I was engaged in drum & bass music (specifically Neurofunk). The synthesis I had then was not particularly strong, basically comprised of so-called reese bass with a few sounds on top. I modulated basses with a regular plugin called Fruity X Y Controller. So the bass is “low”, and X Y is the controller. Hence, ‘LowXY’!
Can you describe your music for us?
Well, it’s gonna be hard. It’s something inspiring, experimenting music, not subject to any limits. Sometimes it’s light and calm, and other times it is dense, driving, and powerful. I hope that properly describes it!
Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?
Unfortunately I have never played live. And in fact – I’m not particularly interested. I would like to try it at some point, but it isn’t at the top of my list of priorities.
What have been your biggest influences?
Such artists a huge number. But in particular: Lorn, Kangdind Ray, Dolor, Atrium Carceri, Lustmord, Solar Fields, Michel McCann, Burial, Bop, Volor Flex, Akira Yamaoka and so on. I like listening to them and being inspired by their sounds to create a sound of my own.
Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?
I don’t know really. This music is a huge experiment. And in this music there is a huge number of people who do not really understand the technical component and just write. That can work, sometimes – but sometimes not, in my opinion.
Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?
Certainly, both. Sometimes I plunge completely into myself and began to write. I sometimes write a lot. This helps me get away from things that make me uncomfortable. For me, writing music is actually a very intimate thing. I never write it with someone sitting next to me. For me, writing music is like looking inside yourself.
Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon?
Not at the moment. Maybe in the future. I don’t know.
Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?
Yes, lots of genres. I am now beginning to experiment with techno and tech-house.
Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
Of course there will be development. Like I said, it’s one big experiment. Every day I see new artists and new people who come to electronic music. This scene has great potential.
Any new releases coming our way?
At the moment there is no time to write anything. But there’s a bunch of demo stuff I’ve made that’s good. All I have to do is sit down and finish it!
Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?
Not really, but I’m open to suggestions!
Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?
Burial – Untrue, Burial – Rival Dealer, Lorn – Weigh Me Down, Akira Yamaoka – Breeze in Monochrome Night
It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?
There are definitely difficulties. My personally difficulty is that I am associated with one particular genre – future garage – and now that I want to experiment with different types of genre like techno I am worried that my listeners will move away from me. It’s difficult because you don’t want to let your listeners down, but you do want to evolve and grow as an artist and perhaps change your sound a bit. I will try and deliver good music to those who stay with me!
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?
No. I think everyone should go his own way and learn from his / her mistakes. The only thing that I can advise is to listen to a lot of different music and not to dwell only on one particular genre. The musician should be multipolar in music, I think.
Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?
No. There are no special plans or ideas at the moment. Everything goes on as usual.
And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
I have very good friends. I think people would be interested to hear them: La Soul, 10GRI, Singular Mind, Seqtah, Cultrow, Gostes, Samuke, WooDMooD, Mahlow.
Thanks so much LowXY!
And thank you. Nice talking to you.