Over the past couple of years, it’s become increasingly impossible to ignore the waves the Bristol-based DJ and producer known as Axel Boy has made in the arena of bass music. With releases on some of the scene’s largest imprints like Buygore Records, Most Addictive Records, Never Say Die Records, and more, the young producer continues to make his lasting imprint on the scene with his versatile and forward-thinking style. Shunning the idea of limiting his music to one sound, Axel Boy impresses the masses by pushing the boundaries with each and every release.
Having just released “Magnetism” and “Gas Mark 10” as part of the full release of his Hypnotism EP due to drop Friday, it’s clear that 2018 will his biggest year to date as he’s also scheduled to play some of the biggest festivals in the US. With so much to look forward to, we caught up with Axel Boy to chat about his inspirations, process, and more.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! How’s life treating you?
No problem! Going well, thanks. Happy to be back releasing more music. Also grinding on lots of more sounds and gearing up for the summer!
We hear you have some exciting releases coming up, can you tell us a little bit about those?
Yes! I have lots of new music soon to be released spanning through all shades of the electronic spectrum. This next EP, Hypnotism, is a mix of five tracks: four dubstep-influenced and one bass-house groover. My intention with the EP was to re-introduce a sound that I feel is missing in modern dubstep, which, for me, is all about the groove and swing. Early UK dubstep through the golden era was all playing off of groove and rhythm as a fundamental attribute to the music. Producers like Benga were really translating these garage-type rhythms into their tunes and I realized that this is something I have really missed in the modern dubstep sound. I had approached this vibe in my previous releases “Flashback” and “Days Gone,” but with this release I wanted to build a whole EP around it.
With that said, I’ve also been switching up my approach to sound design, so a lot of my new tracks are being driven with much thicker, wobbly bass-lines. Of course, I still have tracks that are on the crazier side, such as “On the Grind,” which is the fifth track on the EP. I have lots of new stuff coming out after this release as well, including a handful of melodic tracks featuring collaborations with some really great singers and songwriters.
Where do you pull inspiration from for these particular projects given that they seem to have different styles?
Hypnotism was inspired by looking to the past and molding it back into the future—that was really quite easy. Over the last few months I have also been getting very inspired by bass-house and particularly UK bassline. I have several tunes stacked up in that style that I really can’t wait to start putting out. When it comes to dubstep, it’s mostly all the older stuff from 2009-2013, so I really look to that era for inspiration.
The inspiration for the melodic future projects comes when I take a step back from bass music, in general. I write this sort of stuff when I am just trying to make a “song” and it mainly comes from listening to the radio and producers outside of dance music. This wave of inspiration comes through every so often so when it comes, I try to ride it. It’s happened a good few times over the last year.
Other than that, I’m from the UK, so I’m always watching what’s happening in scenes here. UK bass-house/bassline has built a real hype up over the last six months. As I mentioned, I’ve written a number of tracks in that style but I’ve been adding a bit more Axel Boy melody and uplifting vibes that I think could also translate well to the US market. What I love about it is that much like the dubstep I’ve been on recently, it has loads of groove and rhythm. It’s full of hype.
What do you hope fans take away from the music you’ll be putting out this year?
I just want people to get dancing and vibing to it! The music shows that my mind is constantly stimulated by new things, so hopefully that means there’s something for everyone. My creative journey is constantly evolving and I appreciate everyone who follows me on it. I hope that people who follow me know that whatever the vibe of the music is, it’s a reflection of how I feel creatively at this point of the journey.
I feel like every producer’s struggle is finding and capturing their sound. It's not something that happens overnight. The key to keeping the ball rolling is to keep on going.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process when it comes to writing music.
I spend a lot of time listening to other music and gathering inspiration, then I let it build up to a point when I can unleash it all in a wave of creativity. I’m always trying to break out of my “usual” creative process, as exploring new things is why I love writing and that’s why my music results in different genres and styles.
Looking back at the past couple of years of your career, you definitely seem to have fine-tuned your sound. What advice do you have for up-and-coming producers trying to do the same?
I’ve been working hard at the technical side of things for years, but I’ve always felt the music has existed somewhere in my head. The hard part is to learn how to translate that to listeners! I feel like every producer’s struggle is finding and capturing their sound. Beyond that, honestly, it’s a matter of natural progression in your own creativity and if you keep working hard enough you will get to a point where your consistent techniques and approaches will translate into your own sonic imprint, no matter what style you are making. For me, it’s still an ongoing process and I’m just where I’m at. It’s not something that happens overnight. The key to keeping the ball rolling is to keep on going.
How did you get into production initially? Was there a particular moment you realized that this is what you wanted to pursue as a career?
As a kid, I always loved music, but never persevered enough with an instrument. I grew up in one of the main bass music cities in the UK. Bristol was the home of drum & bass and the second home of dubstep in the country. I used to hit up all kinds of bass music events and festivals and it was a revolution for me and I began working on learning to create electronic music myself. I realized that this was how I could be creative. After giving acting a go, I finished college and decided to go full speed with it.
Is there anything else you have in the works that you can share with fans as of now?
I’m talking with some great labels and working with one or two heavyweights on some collaborations that I’m really excited about! I’m always working on new music and planning releases that will be coming out sooner than you think so stay tuned!
Any special shouts before we wrap things up?
Shout out SLVYVLL for grinding along with me and shout out you guys for taking the time to interview me, big ups!