Now and again, a success story in dance music makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up on end. And here it is. Sand under your feet as you groove has never felt so good…
Well Mr Foxx, congratulations on bringing the world the anthem of the Summer ‘La Musica’ (The Trumpeter) out on Defected. Smiles all over the dancefloor. And what an amazing story how your track first burst onto our airwaves, tell us the whole incredible story…
“Thank you so much! It’s all taken me by such surprise that I’ve hardly found the time to reflect on any of it. This particular part of the adventure started about 4-5 months before Annie Mac played ‘The Trumpeter’ on Radio 1 for the first time. I was (and still am!) working on a number of vocal projects under the guidance of one of my managers, Ben and had agreed not to work on anything but these songs. They had taken quite a while to put together and, quite honestly, I was a little sick of hearing them, so I decided, in secret, to start a new instrumental project. My only aim was to make something that people could connect with and dance to with a smile on their face, no matter what language they spoke. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I played Ben the first version of ‘The Trumpeter’. He was like “this is wicked – you have to get this finished – why didn’t you play me this before?!” – forgetting any notion of going nuts about me not working on the songs!! I then spent Christmas working on an 8 track mix tape, with the aim of getting as much of my sound to as many people as possible. We managed to get my CD into the hands of a couple of BBC Radio producers – one of them being Annie Mac’s, who in turn passed in on to Annie. By this time it had hit March and I quite simply wasn’t prepared for Annie going nuts and rewinding ‘The Trumpeter’ live on air!! As she continued to play it on Radio 1, DJ Target of 1xtra waded in with relentless support and eventually the tune reached the ears of Simon Dunmore, boss of Defected Records (thanks Shovell!!) who signed it straight away. After that it just grew and grew!”
How did you actually feel when Annie Mac played it for the first time on RADIO 1?
“With ‘The Trumpeter’ it was actually hard to contain myself when she rewound it, but I did quickly regain my composure..it’s very important when these things happen not to lose your head. When she played ‘La Musica’ for the first time it was an entirely different story. I had literally just finished the radio version of the song when I got a call from my manager telling me to get to Radio 1 in three and a half hours to appear on Annie Mac’s show as her ‘special delivery’!! It was actually quite nerve wracking as I was going to be in ‘the lion’s’ den (for lack of a better phrase) and see the song that I had spent months on, and only just finished, sink or swim with my own eyes!! Needless to say, and with a great deal of hindsight, there was actually no need for any stress as Annie loved it and I got some very positive messages from some of the listeners.”
What did she say to you off air about the tune…?
“Haha. She was amazing. We spoke about the first time she heard and played ‘The Trumpeter’, the infamous ‘Screw Face Rewind’ and that ‘La Musica’ reminded her of ‘Hey Hey’ by Dennis Ferrer – which was extremely flattering!”
But it could have been of so different as the first instrument you picked up as a child was the violin, your choice or a parental push?
“DEFINITELY a parental push! But something I’ll be eternally grateful for! I’ve heard it described as a very hard instrument to learn and master. The technique alone is just crazy – you don’t have frets like a guitar; instead you have to place your fingers millimeter perfect on the instrument to play in tune. Combine that with the fact that you have to keep the bow absolutely level, otherwise you risk playing two strings at once, and you are presented with quite a challenge! Struggling with and eventually learning the violin taught me never to give up when learning new musical instruments and skills.”
What music were you listening to growing up, was it a big musical household?
“There was fair bit of music in my house when I was growing up. My mum was into things like Carly Simon and Roxy Music and my dad was into stuff like The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. When I was young and whenever we went on long car journeys, I remember hearing things like FYC and Chris Rea. For me, as a child, it was all Guns ‘n’ Roses, Oasis, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Michael Jackson and Eminem until I was introduced to some early Outkast albums and discovered their producers Organized Noize! It was then I really started to focus in on writing music and production.”
What tune first got you into dance music?
“The Prodigy – ‘Fire Starter’. I was hooked on Wipeout 2097 and when I heard the instrumental for ‘Fire Starter’ as part of the in game soundtrack, I think I made it the only track that played during the game?! That tune and really the whole of ‘Fat Of The Land’, for me, is a text book on how to produce electronic music using samples – amazing – the guy even sampled a theme from James Bond (‘The Man With The Golden Gun’)!! But regarding dance music though, garage was ultimately the way in for me. Wookie was the first garage producer that I championed and to this day, I still have a lot of respect for him. If you haven’t heard them, check out ‘Sia -‘Little Man’ (Wookie Remix) and the lesser known Sia ‘Where I Belong’ (Wookie Remix) – I love these records.”
Favorite clubs back in the day that saw you jumping around?
“A night called ‘The Surgery’ at a club called ‘The Clinic’ in Soho – which I was probably too young to be in!”
What one type of music do you always turn off when it comes on the radio?
“I don’t have one type of music that makes me turn it off, it just depends on whether it’s a good tune or not. Sure there are some ‘genres/types’ where I like very little of the music associated with them, but I don’t believe that a genre can contain all ‘bad’ music.”
How did the vocal come about on the track?
“I had been working with Lovelle for the previous six months and she had heard ‘The Trumpeter’ in it’s infancy and loved it. Since then she had always been in my mind to be the vocalist on it. She is amazingly talented and brilliant live and after I heard her sing ‘La Musica’ I really believed that something positive had been added to the tune and that we had finally taken ‘The Trumpeter’ to a new level.”
Who has given you the biggest compliment on ‘La Musica’?
“Annie’s comment about ‘La Musica’ reminding her of ‘Hey Hey’ has to be my favourite so far.”
How did you feel about the track crossing over from the underground?
“I don’t think that anyone in their right mind would object to more people experiencing their music! It’s an amazing feeling and it opens up so many new opportunities. I’m so excited about the future!”
Tell us about the video, what can we expect?
“People…lots of people…Lovelle…and myself..and maybe a pair of glasses..?!”
What are the big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
“Dan – in no particular order…
01 – Sia – Where I Belong (Wookie Remix)
02 – Roger Sanchez, Mobin Master and MC Filpside – Worldwide feat Mobin Master and MC Flipside (Adian Lux & Blende Remix)
03 – Style Of Eye – Sexx
04 – Ray Foxx – La Musica (The Trumpeter) feat Lovelle (Vocal Club Mix)
05 – Dirty Super Car – Get A Grip (Original Mix)
06 – Torro Torro – Knocking Boots (Original Mix)
07 – Duck Sauce – The Big Bad Wolf (Original Mix)
08 – Ray Foxx – The Trumpeter (Chocolate Puma Remix)
09 – Toddska – Cowboy
10 – Ray Foxx – Uppers
DMC own the iconic Back To Mine series, if we came back to yours after a club, what 10 tunes would you spin for us as either a chill out or music to carry on the party?
“Again in no particular order…
01 – Outkast – SpottieOttieDopaliscious
02 – Gwen McCrAe – All This Love (That I’m Giving)
03 – Rick James – Cold Blooded
04 – Brothers Johnson – Q
05 – Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
06 – Cee Lo Green – F**k You
07 – Juelz Santana – Okay Okay
08 – James Brown – Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
09 – Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke
10 – Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
What DJs and producers do you admire?
“I’m sure that I’m going to miss a lot of people out, but here goes..
Quincy Jones – Absolute Bad Man.. ..he gave us MJ!!!!
Liam Howlett – Fat Of The Land was the album that most inspired me to want to explore electronic production.
Dr Dre – Aside from being an amazing producer, he got the best out of Eminem – to get the best out of someone is a rare skill.
Timbaland – The guy has got some serious groove and such a unique style. I love his tunes with Aaliyah.
Organized Noise – It is almost as if these guys can do no wrong!
Vangelis – Amazing – plays his synths – no midi! The Blade Runner soundtrack is a landmark piece of music.
Wookie – Smashed it up in the garage scene. Little Man is still one of my favorite tunes.
Noisia – These guys really killed it when the first started to get big – their sound has been massively imitated!
Pendulum – Again, these guys killed it when they first started to get big. I was always in awe of their balance between their brilliant sound and their musicality.
Deadmau5 – His uncompromising approach to his music is one of dance music’s biggest assets. I’m a massive fan of his Morgan Page remix.
Dennis Ferrer – His Cure and The Cause remix was one of the tunes that really got me into making house music.
Nu Tone – After hearing Strange Encounter in a club, I went home and just listened to it over and over again. It’s so well done!
David Roddigan – This guy is just an incredible DJ. He has to be seen to be believed. Don’t turn down the opportunity to see him play!and so many more..!!
What’s next coming from the Foxx studio?
“So many secrets, but all will be revealed soon…”
Best club you’ve ever been to?
“Well, I’ve never been to Ibiza, but I’m going this weekend to perform, so I’ll probably have a new favorite then! But right now, my favourite has to be Matter (before it was shut and re opened – haven’t been back yet) and Fabric here in London. Great clubs, great sound systems and great times. I’ve seen David Roddigan twice at Matter and he is another level…the guy has no equal and I always feel sorry for whoever has to play after him! I also saw Noisia and Andy C on the Valve sound system in Vauxhall once, which was really eye opening!
And finally, what one artist dead or alive would you like to record with…