In Conversation With: X-Press 2
The partnership of Rocky and Diesel, otherwise known as longstanding British dance music trio-turned-duo X-Press 2, ultimately boils down to one thing; high quality club-oriented music. Throughout their career, high octane percussive house, inherently inspired by the acid period through which they came to prominence, has been their raison d’etre, from the Muzikizum LP released on Brighton’s Skint Records back in 2003, to the string of seminal releases on Terry Farley‘s Junior Boys Own, including the unforgettable “Lazy” featuring Talking Heads frontman David Byrne.
Starting initially as a three-piece alongside Ashley Beedle, X Press 2 have always been renowned for their high energy, audacious DJ sets taking on a different direction each time. Rumour has it they’ve even played sets with a frankly ridiculous 12 decks in the past. Since Beedle’s amicable departure from the group in 2009, the remaining two members have far from slowed down. Releasing again on Skint Records, Rocky and Diesel have collaborated with PBR StreetGang and Fatboy Slim in the past few years and have played key dates in the UK and across the globe.
The duo’s latest release Metrowave, also on Skint Records, has announced their rambunctious return to the fray – with lead single having already been premiered by Pete Tong – and pairs two original tracks with remixes from Matt Karmil and balaeric remix heavyweight Leo Zero.
We caught up with the lads on the eve of the release to talk live shows, Metrowave, future album material and a tantalising possible return to X-Press 2 for Ashley Beedle.
Before talking about your new EP lets catch up on how DJ has been for you two. You seem to have been selective with your shows over the last year or two. Where has been your favourite gig to play recently? What’s your most memorable show from back in the day?
Last Summer we played at an open air club in Italy. The Voga Summer beach club. It was fantastic. Outdoors with a fabulous sound system and a wonderful crowd. Also playing at the last ever Cream at Nation on Boxing Day was pretty special too. A club that we’ve played at many times over the years and an incredible send off in the main room. Too many memorable shows to mention but we always love playing in Japan. Air and Womb in Tokyo are always both special, but to be honest, anywhere in Japan is amazing. Our first gig there was at the Fuji Rock festival in 2001. We took a massive crew with us. It was a lot of fun!
In the very early days, I think our first residency in London, the Yellow Book at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden would be up there. We were there every week, playing all sorts of music, from house to reggae to Balearic and hip hop.
Your new EP ‘Metrowave’ is a belter of a track. Tell us a bit of the production behind this material.
Metrowave started out as a demo that we did with Leo Zero a couple of years back. It was one of those things that we worked on together, but then forgot all about. We were going through our hard drives recently and found a bunch of things that sounded amazing. It’s often the way that when you leave something, then go back to it, you hear it with different ears. Basically, the track was about 15-20 minutes long. It was just a long ‘live’ mix. We just split the 2 sections up and got the tracks for the ep out of it, Metrowave and Um Bah Be.
Six years now have gone since Ashley left to pursue a solo career. Now it must feel like a long time ago. Is there any chance of a reunion?
Absolutely. When Ash left, it was always under the proviso that we could always get back in together at some point. So watch this space and never say never.
Dense & Pika took on your seminal track Smoke Machine to remix and it turned out pretty well. Are you open to have more of your older material mixed? Which artists wouldn’t you mind having a play around with it?
Yes of course. It’s only all just sitting there, not really doing much, so why not. I’d love someone like Floating Points to have a go. I think that would be interesting.
Have you dabbled in running a label before, is it something you’d consider?
We had a label for our Ballistic Brothers project back in the day, and both of us have been partners in labels at one point, but to be honest, it’s far too much work for us. We’re pretty lazy!
What about your production; what’s in the pipeline after this release?
We’re working towards another album for release later in the year for late spring/early summer. It’s pretty much finished now, we’re just in the process of completing vocals and editing some of the tracks. Can’t say who we have on board for the album just yet but we’re pretty excited with the collaborations.
Finally, is it true you have played with twelve decks before?!
Six technics and six CDJs. So yes, I guess it is true.
Get your hands on the Metrowave EP on Skint Records from Jan 29th.