Dax On Sax hails from the north of the UK. A musician from an early age, his intense classical training and wide-ranging experience have given him the foundation to excel as one of the most exciting sax players in the game. Following an array of tour dates this summer, including his Sintillate residency at Nikki Beach in Ibiza, plus standout performances at Café Mambo and alongside Tom Zanetti at Ibiza Rocks, Dax On Sax gets set to unleash his debut artist album ‘My Vision’ on Discopolis – demonstrating that as an artist he is so much more than just a global touring saxophonist. We dive in…
Words by Ratha Gud
Hi Dax, welcome to DMCworld! Where are you in the world right now?
I’ve just arrived in Ibiza for my weekly residency at Nikki Beach…. its been a crazy summer and I’m really looking forward to playing the Ibiza closing parties over the next couple of weeks.
What’s the best new record you’ve heard this week?
The best new record for me this week has to be ‘Talkin Bout’ by Saison…. I just love the groove and this records feel good factor!
You’re releasing your fantastic debut album ‘My Vision’, tell us what we can expect musically?
So the album was really a collection of records that were made based on inspiration from tracks that I had enjoyed listening to over the many years that house music has been one of my biggest passions. The album has content suitable for your beach poolside chill together with content for the club with some straight up hands in the air anthems. Musically the album has a definite disco influence coupled with very deep bass lines throughout all of the tracks. Couple this with some fantastic vocal lines (and a bit of sax!) I’m really happy with how the album is sounding.
How long did it take to put together and are you pleased with the results?
I started putting building the foundation for the album in May 2016 and since then it took a year to get the tracks fully mastered and finished. There were many changes and many frustrating studio sessions during that year but it’s safe to say that it was worth it and I am very proud of the finished product!
You’ve got some amazing collaborations on the album including PowerDress, Sweet Female Attitude, Lisa Shaw and Mike City, among others… how did you go about selecting them?
The collaborations on this album were naturally very important to me. Being a house enthusiast I chose artists that had given me inspiration over the years and artists that I knew could deliver something special for each track. I knew I wanted the vocals to form a core part of the album instead of the album just being known as ’that sax album’ which was full of repetitive sax riffs. The sax parts were always going to feature where appropriate but it was imperative that the artists performing on this album maintained a standout vocal part which was capable of working with my sax parts which I strongly felt would give the whole album something very unique but more importantly give each track its own identity. I think we achieved this with all the collaborations.
Tell us about the writing process and what fuelled the decision to write full songs as opposed to a Sax instrumental album?
The thought of even beginning to write an album would only have been a pipe dream 2/3 years ago and when my business partner, and manager, Carl Hanaghan and I decided to look at producing a 12 track album I have to admit I did think it would be mission impossible but at the same time felt very excited about the prospect of scheduling regular studio time to produce something really special- more importantly something that I had full control over the output hence why we called the album ‘My Vision’. If I was to produce this album, there was only one proviso…. this was not going to be an album full of typical sax house tracks but one where the vocals and all the instrumental parts (including the sax) were equally as important to the overall composition. This was particularly important to me because I would be using music influences that I had grown up listening to and wanted to maintain the album’s originality and credibility with the music. This album had to be unique, fun and exiting and more importantly a collection of records that I enjoyed listening to in hope that others would too.
Were you taught to play Sax at an early age or was it something that you learned later?
I learnt to play sax at school from the age of 7. Learning the sax was actually something that I didn’t want to play initially. For whatever reason I was adamant that I wanted to learn clarinet but due to demand there were no spaces on the after school classes so I had to settle for the sax. I now know someone somewhere was looking down on me telling me I was destined to play the sax and that’s where it all started.
What attracted you to writing and performing in the dance music world as opposed to taking a more traditional Jazz or Soul route?
I have always had such a passion for house music from an early age. I always remember listening to my manager (Carl Hanaghan’s) compilation HedKandi mixes (my particular favourite was always the beach house volume) thinking that I would love to be able to use the skills I had developed from playing soul and jazz in electronic music. I guess you could say my passion for electronic music coupled with my desire to play sax since an early age has been a perfect fit me in terms of beginning to write and perform within this genre.
Who are you biggest musical influences?
Being a sax player I get asked this a lot and many people would expect me to mention legendary sax names like Courtney Pine and Charlie Parker. Don’t get me wrong I have huge appreciation for their work and their * but for me my musical influences are very much of those in the electronic music world. Obviously I have one fellow sax idol who has heavily influenced my playing style and that is Candy Dulfer as I just love her techniques, style and tone but other than that many of my musical influences are actually DJ’s including legends Masters At Work, Frankie Knuckles and Todd Terry.
Who else would you love to collaborate with?
My all time favourite DJ duo have to be Just Kiddin’ so an opportunity to collaborate with these guys would be the ultimate. Other collaborations I would love to do would be with Franky Rizardo and Sonny Fodera as I just love their energy and vibe.
You’ve spent the season performing as a resident at Nikki Beach in Ibiza, how’s it gone this year?
It’s been a fantastic summer, I have been performing alongside a good friend of mine Chloe Sharville (Loeca- who also features on the album!) at Nikki Beach this summer and we have had a blast. The parties have been poolside so very relaxed but as the momentum’s gathered we really have bene able to push the boundaries and play We test drove a few of the tracks out there over the summer and we had some great reactions!
The likes of yourself and Lovely Laura have been rocking Café Mambo and across the island this season, what are the benefits of bringing live aspects to a bar and club environment and is there an increasing trend of live musician’s now jamming with DJ’s?
I think the live aspect to a DJ set really adds that something special for the DJ set. First there is the entertainment value in terms of the real energy the performer is able to bring to the show but also the seems to be something quite captivating about listening to a live instrumentalist work their interpretation into a live DJ set- it can really take things to another level and when it’s right people really do feed off the energy. I personally feel that the more unplanned and spontaneous the sets are the more exiting they are- in my eyes this is what gives the sets the extra magic!
We come to your house and raid your record collection, which embarrassing record do you need to chuck out the window as we arrive?
Wow…big one this. Obviously I am a sax player so my background in music has been so varied. It would have to be one of those old Jazz tracks…perhaps ‘Songbird’ by Kenny G. This was one of my sax exam tracks so I would probably be pleased to throw that one out of the window!
Which record makes you say “Damn, I wish I’d made that”?
This is a really simple answer for me ‘Want You in My Soul’ by Lovebirds is an incredible piece off music. It has some fantastic melodic content and the track has some incredible depth to it- if only this was something I could come close to producing I would be very happy!
You’ve also got an album launch party in Manchester, can we come?
Yes, the album launch party is being held on the 28th September in a city that has been very kind to me, Manchester, The party is being held at a venue who have also been very kind to me over the years and that is Neighbourhood in Manchester. If you haven’t reserved you space yet make sure to contact the Six15 Artists team to reserve your space- its going to be busy!
Will you be heading to ADE?
Yes, we went to ADE last year with my fellow six15 artists and management team and this year I am looking forward to getting back to Amsterdam for some great networking and obviously some top parties!
Finally, what’s next for Dax On Sax?
I’m super busy at the moment so the immediate priority is my gig commitments. I really looking forward to the response from the album and seeing where things go from this- we are definitely looking at a Dax tour with much of the album content providing a soundtrack to the live shows so watch this space!
‘My Vision’ Album will be released on September 29th 2017 on Discopolis.
Preview ‘Naturally High’ http://www.wearesoundspace.com/premiere-dax-on-sax-x-mike-city-naturally-high