John Xie: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix

5 Minute Read

The Orientate founder steps up with a heady mix of breaks and house.

There are so many excellent parties in London, something for everyone you might say. However, Orientate founder John Xie spotted a gap and an opportunity to improve and better the representation of the East Asian community through an eclectic series of nights which showcase leftfield electronic music from across the region.

Originally from the US, the now East London based DJ is creating a place in which he can call home.

From a musical perspective, his background is wide, as influenced by abstract sounds as he is that for the club.


That being said, when it comes to the dancefloor, he has more than a trick or two up his sleeve as the mix showcases. It weaves and wanders between breaks before entering faster territories toward the close.

Listen and read the interview below:

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?

John Xie here: friendly American-expat-recently-turned-British-citizen residing in East London. Working in music licensing during the day, and cutting teeth as a DJ and promoter at night. Most recently running an event series and radio show named Orientate, which focuses on highlighting artists of East Asian background.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

Where was the mix recorded?

In my living room on one of the rare warm and sunny weekends this summer’s seen so far.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

In a convertible, 45-50 miles per hour, top down, sunny skies, and no traffic in sight. Good luck finding that in London!

What should we be wearing?

Meller sunglasses, an ugly bucket hat, and sunscreen. 

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

Honestly, Pirate studios works just fine for me. 

But I do have to say those Cercle videos are pretty bonkers – recording a mix on a hot air balloon in Turkey or under the Northern Lights in Lapland would be pretty rad, even if a little impractical. 

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

I’ve been really enjoying the opening track, Stella Z’s Watercolour remix of Echo Juliet’s Red Sun. 

I’ve really enjoyed everything Stella Z has put out so far – she’s a really talented producer and DJ.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

Honestly, couldn’t tell you. But I did recently find myself trawling through random mixes from 2011-2012 which were formative for me as a young American recently graduated from uni discovering UK dance music, coming around in that distinct “Post-Dubstep”/”Future Garage” era. 

I had this Mary Anne Hobbs guest mix from a producer named iO Sounds quite frequently on rotation back then.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

My friends Malcolm and Matt (who I can go back to back with whenever I want to) just because they’re my pals.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

I started off with two beater 1200s that I bought off Craigslist from a guy in Brooklyn (I still have these laying around) and a Xone:23C. 

The past few years I’ve set aside enough money to get myself a pair of CDJ-2000NXS2’s and DJM-900NXS2, which this was recorded on.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Recorded mix – the track you start on. 

Live – the track you end on. 

What were the first and last records you bought?

The first CD I ever bought was ‘Lateralus’ by Tool as an 11-year old. 

First vinyl I ever purchased was probably some dusty disco classic from A-1 Records, something like Chemise ‘She Can’t Love You’. 

Latest vinyl I bought was Lew E – ‘Touched / Teardrop’, like a year ago, as I mostly purchase digital nowadays. 

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

Cheese and onion Kettle crisps – crunchy, cheesy, powdery, and slightly metallic. 

If it was an animal what would it be?

A charizard.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

I spent 30 minutes trying to think of an answer here and couldn’t, so I’ll just say there’s always a way to mix anything…. 

Upcoming in the world of…

I’m very excited to be hosting the next edition of our Orientate party series on August 31st at Venue MOT, alongside object blue, Stones Taro, JiaLing (her UK debut) and Fliss Mayo. 

Really excited for this one to happen – we’ve got a wicked lineup, and we’re also bringing over talent who don’t usually get to play London (Taro all the way from Kyoto, and JiaLing from NYC).

Anything else we need to discuss? 

The weather! Wtf!