Behind The Scenes Of Axii’s ‘Axii & Friends – The Mixtape, Vol. 1’

Axii Press Shot

Fast rising Swedish artist Axii has already made a huge impression on Dance music lovers around the world since he exploded onto the scene. The 18 year old multitalented DJ and producer, who is based in Malmö, boosts an impressive catalogue of releases which includes hits such as ‘Halloween’, ‘Sandwich’, ‘Banjo’, ‘Wild’ and ‘Blast’, so it comes as no surprise that he has been gaining the support from industry tastemakers like Nicky Romero and DJ BL3ND – a marvellous achievement for any calibre of artist.

Axii’s latest release comes in the form of ‘Axii & Friends – The Mixtape, Vol. 1’ and we caught up with the Swede to talk about the EP.

Hi Axii, thanks for being here with us. How are you and what’s going on around you at the moment?
Hi, thank you for having me here! I’m doing really well. As we speak, I have been working on some new songs and I’ve been exploring some new genres for me to produce. I have also just graduated from Upper Secondary School – there’s been a lot going on at the moment for me.

You’ve just released a new EP by the name of ‘The Mixtape Vol. 1’. How did this project come about?
It was actually unintended in a way, mostly because it started when I was taking my final exams – I quickly realised that the album was great in quality. It took me one year to complete this album due to laptop crashes and regular backups. I couldn’t have done it without help from my closest friends and teachers – they were there when I needed them the most.

How would you describe this EP in terms of style and sound?
It’s hard to say. I wasn’t really aiming on a specific style of album, nor sound. All I wanted was to make an album that allowed me to explore different genres. My final exam was about deeply looking into something and then trying to evolve it into a finished product. I chose to make an album and that was what was important for me. As for the sound, I would say professional. The album is well put together and it has taken me a lot of time to finish it.

Where did you draw inspiration for it?
At the moment of making a song it normally comes down to many artists individual talents and signature sounds. Alesso and Kygo were inspirational sources for the EP. I always try to not use one artist as a single ‘source’ of inspiration, but rather take lots of little bits of inspiration from a selection of artists. For the majority of my tracks I haven’t taken inspiration from anything other than myself – I try to just make something that works. ‘Back To The Future’ is a great example. I love 80s music and I was raised with Hip-Hop and Funk when I was a kid. I tried to draw those elements into play when making the verse of the song and then when the ‘drop’ hits, I still wanted to have the signature sounds of the Funk era in display, while it’s a rocking Electro House track to the core.

How long did it take to complete this production?
Some tracks took me a couple of hours to finish as I already had the basic idea down on paper. I had an easy system of recordings things down that I wanted to have in a song so when I was producing the tracks, I just referenced the list and ticked things off. In production hours I would say it took more than 3 weeks of work just to lay the basic ideas on all songs together. The mixing and mastering took me an additional week or two.

Could you walk us through the production process behind the tracks in ‘The Mixtape Vol. 1’?
I did something very different when making this album. I set myself different challenges on how to start a song and how to finish it. ‘Back To The Future’ was named before I even started producing it. I wanted to shape the track and sounds around the title. ‘Sommerlaune’ was me trying to do something more simple. I started with a simple bass-line, recorded some guitar and laid down some drums, and evolved it from there. ‘Animals’ was created from intro to outro, starting with the chords and finishing with the drums.

Which plug-ins and sounds shaped this project?
I normally use Spire and Serum for all my projects. They are fun, simple to use and have some cool preset banks. In Serum I love the fact that modular synthesis is fun to work with – it’s like having IKEA in your plugins folder. You shape the sound from the bottom up and that’s how I make my unique sounds. As of mixing, I use FabFilter and Waves plugins. My favourite mixing plugin has to be Saturn from FabFilter as the quality of its distortions are just too good to not use.

The Mixtape Vol. 1’ got signed by Blow The Roof Records – how did you spark a relationship with this label?
I was one of the founders of the label. Dan York and I are really close friends and I gave him the idea of starting a label. Since we got started we’ve been blowing up in the scene. When we first started the label I did most of the artworks.

Where would you imagine this production being played?
I could see it being played at festivals and in clubs around the world!

Describe ‘The Mixtape Vol. 1’ in three words.
Fresh, new, unique.

Why should people listen to ‘The Mixtape Vol. 1’?
I love making music, it’s what brings people together and this album has got something for all music fans.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline this year?
I do have some songs coming up and I’m close to finishing a few more projects. I don’t have that much time to work on at the moment but I still want to continue making music – you just have to wait!

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