So says the press release to Classixx new album and we’d be inclined to agree.
Tyler Blake and Michael David, childhood friends, started putting on parties in the suburbs of Los Angeles under the name Classixx. Citing old school R&B, Paul Simon and Kraftwerk as influences they’ve since gone on to remix an absurb amount of people from Phoenix to a sublime one for The Gossip (a free download of which you can grab below – has definite hints of a slight melody lift from Aphex Twin’s ‘On’… I’m just saying like!). Their Nancy Wang (yes she of LCD and Juan Maclean fame) has bee causing a bit of a stir of late too.
Touching down in the UK this weekend for Kitsune’s Summer Session on Saturday 22nd June we caught up with the duo for a lil chit chat about the LA Scene, their remixes and their favourite disco record ever. Thoroughly decent chaps they are too…
Tyler, Michael – where are you from, where are you now?
We’re from Oak Park, CA. Its a suburb of Los Angeles just north of the San Fernando valley near Calabasas, Agoura Hill, Thousand Oaks, etc. Right now I’m at home in the Silverlake area of LA packing for our upcoming European tour for which we leave tomorrow.
What was the music of your teenage rebellion?
When I was in middle school i listened to some rebellious sounding music. Lots of punk and a bit of metal here and there. I memorized a lot of Slayer’s lyrics at that age. For some reason though my group of friends would listen to stuff like modest mouse when we first started partying or whatever. We’d get really drunk and rowdy and chant Isaac Brock’s lyrics lyrics together imitating his lisp and crazy delivery.
Youre from the LA scene. Describe how its evolved over the years and where its at now.
There are lots of different scenes here in LA; Hip Hop, Funk, Rock, Electronic, etc. but I guess we’ve sorta fallen into this evolving dance music scene here. When we first started making music to dance to and tracks for DJs we weren’t super educated in dance music’s origins. We, along with lots of our friends were influenced by stuff like Daft Punk and DFA. Through reading about their influences and all that we started picking up on stuff like early Chicago house, underground New York disco, Detroit techno etc etc. We had always though of the “Dance” genre as something pretty Euro and it was interesting to discover that it kinda started over here in the states. I think the evolution of the scene here if anything has just been people getting more educated in that way and having more places to pull inspiration from.
Youve remixed a crazy amount of people, whats been the one youve been most proud of over the years?
We always go back to our remix of “Lisztomania” by Phoenix. Phoenix had been one of our favorite bands since we heard their first record when we were like 16. It was super inspiring and exciting to be asked to do a remix for them officially and we had a great time making it. To this day I’m still really happy with it. I think its had the most powerful response from people and actually helped us find our sounds in some ways.
Favourite disco record ever big question!
At this particular moment I’m gonna say “Dancer” by Gino Soccio just because that’s the first thing that came into my head.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
We’re both really into with Radiolab. Every time Jad and Robert come out with a new episode I get so excited to listen and learn. We do a lot of touring and podcasts are really great for long flights or van rides.
If your sound was a visual thing, what would it look like?
That’s what we’re trying to figure out right now. So far, for this record we’ve got all the artwork that Jonathan Zawada created and I think that’s the closest we’ve come so far. Its really beautiful and looks like the music sounds to me. We’d love ideally for you to see those images and almost hear the music viscerally and vice versa with hearing the music. I’d love for everyone who listens to the album to see those pictograms, stripes, and colorways in their mind. We recently had an ad running for the album in times square and the animations was really stunning. There’s a video online of it that my brother Jordan shot. I hope that’s what our music looks like.
First and last record bought?
The first album I ever bought on vinyl was “Goo” by Sonic Youth. I hadn’t really listened to any of their music but I had heard they were an important band at the time and that album cover was so famous that i figured that was the one to buy. Its a great record. I have to admit that the last record I bought was ours along with “Random Access Memories”.
Whats the best piece of music youve ever heard?
I don’t like saying “best” because everyone has different tastes and for me to call something the “best” implies that my taste is the “best” which I can’t back. But perhaps my favorite song is “Mercy Street” by Peter Gabriel.
Whats your favourite place on earth?
Los Angeles, of course. Easiest question.
Who would you say has been the most influential artist of the twentieth century? And the 21st?
I guess the Beatles for twentieth? Maybe Daft Punk for 21st? Who’s to say though?
Cats or Dogs?
Who’s more techno and why; your Mum or your Dad?
Definitely my mom. Techno is her bitch.
Finally, big question: Zapp or Zappa?
Funny, I’m listening to the new Daft Punk record right now which sounds like a combination of the two. For me, I gotta go with Zapp but only if that includes Zapp & Roger.
Classixx play the Kitsune Summer Party Saturday 22nd June @ Village Underground. Details and final tickets here.
‘Hanging Gardens’ is out now.