OXIA is one of France’s most respected DJs and producers, with a career spanning over twenty years and intensive touring on all continents. He has built an impressive list of releases and remixes on respected imprints such as Kompakt, Knee Deep In Sound, Hot Creations, All Day I Dream, Sapiens, Bedrock, 8bit, in addition to his own label Diversions Music.
Recently OXIA released an EP on his Diversions Music, the first since 2019, and he’s gearing up to play a series of parties around Europe this summer. We reached out to talk with him about his new music, his creative process, and even more; this is our interview with French legend OXIA.
Hi OXIA, nice to e-meet you. We would like to start this interview from the beginning. How did you start producing music?
Hi, nice to e-meet you too. I started producing a long time ago, and the first EP was released in 1995 on Ozone Records, a label we created with Kiko. At that time we formed a duo with Stéphane Deschezeaux until 2000, then I continued alone and Stéphane let me keep the name OXIA.
You have been in the industry for almost 20 years. According to Spotify, your first release was back in 2004. How the industry has changed all this time? Do you feel it’s better now or back then?
Yes, I have been in the industry for over 20 years. So on Spotify, you don’t have my whole discography, because Spotify didn’t exist before. So it’s part of this evolution, before that (digital), to get the tracks you had to buy them on vinyl, if not you could sometimes hear some tracks on some radios, or then at a party. And since digital technology has developed, it has been possible to listen to any track, anywhere and anytime. And also for the DJs, it was possible to get the tracks instantly and to play them the same night, and that’s a positive point of this evolution for me. There has also been an evolution to make music, when we started, we had to be able to buy equipment that cost a certain amount of money, but now all we need is a laptop and some plugins to start producing, and that’s cool for young people who want to start.
And I never say that it was better or worse before, it was just different.
Being able to transform your passion into a career, especially in the music field, is not easy. What do you think was your turning point if any?
It is true that it is not always easy because it can sometimes take a long time to get there and make a living from your passion. For me, it happened quite gradually, and at the beginning, it wasn’t always easy, I had to work a lot… And I was also very lucky.
I don’t know if there was really a turning point, probably when I released my track ‘Domino‘ in 2006, it’s true that this track changed my career a bit, and I went to a higher level, even if it had already started to work well before.
You started your record label, Diversion Music. Why this choice and what are the challenges of running a music label? Have you found yourself becoming a businessman besides being an artist?
I had been involved with two labels before that, Ozone Records and Goodlife, which we stopped a long time ago. And I was without my own label for a few years, but I was fine with that. But several times, with my long-time friend Nicolas Masseyeff, we thought it would be cool to have our own label, especially because sometimes the labels we send our tracks to, take a long time to answer, or often it takes a long time before the tracks are released… So Nicolas and I decided to create our own label, Diversions so that we can manage everything as we want and release what we want when we want.
And we don’t really see it as a challenge, even if of course we want the label to work, so we have to invest a minimum. But no, I haven’t become a businessman, at this level it’s just fun, we don’t do it to make money, even if we are happy when we do, and we put it all back into the label.
You recently returned to your label with a three-part package ‘Fate’. Could you tell me more about the EP? How the idea was born?
Yes indeed this EP is released in December 2021, and it’s been two years since I did an EP on Diversions. But to be honest I don’t really remember how the idea was born. I just wanted to make a track a little bit more techno and so I made this track and then we thought about remixers, and Dense&Pika and Matt Sassari accepted and made very good remixes.
The package also includes remixes by Dense & Pika and Matt Sassari. Why have you chosen them and how has the collaboration has born?
It’s just artists that Nicolas and I like, so we made a list with Nicolas and my manager, which included D&P and Matt, and they accepted very quickly, so it was quite simple.
Exactly 10 years ago you released your first studio album. Can we expect another one in the future? This new EP could set the ground in that way?
So actually it’s been 10 years since ‘Tides Of Mind‘ was released, but it was my second album, the first one ‘24 Heures‘ was released in 2004, but it’s some of the stuff that isn’t on Spotify for example.
So I’ve been thinking about the third album for a long time now, but time has gone so fast, I’ve done a lot of EPs and remixes since then, so I’ve never had time to work on a new album, plus the touring… But you could say that the situation with the pandemic has given me more time and so I’ve been able to start working on this album, I’ve already made a lot of progress, and I hope to be able to finish it and release it at the end of the year if everything goes well.
But my track ‘Fate‘ has nothing to do with this album, because the album will be more melodic, with much softer tracks, not only directed for the dancefloor.
Let’s talk a bit about your creative process? How is an OXIA track born? Do you go to the studio and you stay there until you can write something? Ideas pop up during the day, you write down and you go to the studio to develop? How does it work? Also, are you a digital or analog person when it comes to producing?
I don’t really have any rules in the studio. Sometimes I already have very specific ideas, and sometimes I don’t and I try things and the idea comes little by little… And yes often I stay in the studio until I have finished what I have in mind, I can stay there all night sometimes. To start a track, it also depends if I have an idea or not, sometimes I start by doing a rhythm and then I find the sounds, sometimes I start with a sound and a melody and I build the rest around that. In recent years, I have worked a lot with digital, but I regularly use hardware and analog.
Talking about a new thing, there’s this wave of NFT in the music industry as well. What do you think about it and have you thought to include something like that for your EP or, it’s not for you?
It hasn’t been that long since I started getting interested in this, so I don’t really know what to tell you yet. But I saw some very interesting things, especially what my friend Agoria is doing. So for the moment, I’m thinking about it, but I’m pretty open, and why not do something with NFT in the future.
Being in the music industry for a long time means you have experienced a lot of different stages of it and the pandemic has been one of them. How the pandemic has impacted your work, as well as your creative flow, productions, etc if it did?
Yes indeed I have lived through almost all the stages of the electronic music industry, but nobody expected this one, it was really special and difficult for many of us.
It had several effects on me, at the very beginning I enjoyed staying at home because I hadn’t really stopped touring for a long time, it was quite soothing. And I was able to take more time to make music. And I think It didn’t really impact my creativity.
But after a few weeks, I really started to miss playing and sharing with people. But I always stayed positive and started working on my album.
Luckily, according to your schedule, you are back on tour and you’ll head to South America very soon. Where can we find you behind the decks in the next month and what can we expect in terms of music and new releases?
Yes, finally everything is starting to return to normal, and so the gigs are coming back. I’m actually going to South America in April, in Mexico for Cancun Music Week, then Tulum, and then Brazil, and other options are underway. But before that, I’ll be in Romania, France, Israel, and after that in Holland, Spain, Germany.
Musically, my sets will always be quite “eclectic“, even if I play much less tech-house than two years ago. I’ve always played melodic stuff, but now more and more. And sometimes I like to play a bit more techno at the end of the set. But of course, it will depend on where I play, the atmosphere, my mood… I like to improvise and react according to people’s reactions.
Thanks a lot to OXIA for this interview and don’t forget to follow him on his socials, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, and Beatport.