Back To The Future: A Timeless Talk With Classixx

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Contrary to popular belief, hot tubs are incapable of sending you back in time. I understood this when I attempted to travel three months into the past to stop myself from discovering the popular community-based website, "reddit," which has single-handedly destroyed my social life and productivity. My methods were sound. I experimented with pouring every energy drink I could acquire onto my Jacuzzi controls, creating a phosphorescent rainbow of B-vitamins and caffeine that resembled a breach in the time/space matrix. Alas, at the other end of this "wormhole" was the same reality I so desperately wanted to escape.

Classixx2

Subtlety is always important to us. Few artists have been able to pull off blatant sexuality in my mind. Prince being the exception. Prince is always the exception.

I was dissappointed to say the least; and I admit that my frustration followed me into the interview I had scheduled with Tyler Blake of the Los Angeles-based group Classixx, coming very close to introducing him to my dilemma when he admitted that his partner, Michael David, enjoys Jacuzzis. But perhaps Classixx’s temporal mastery is best appreciated when one listens to their music, a smooth blend of electronic funk, disco and modern EDM, that transcends labels like “retro,” “revivalist” or Heaven forbid, “hipster vintage.” Instead, their sounds seem to radiate timeless, authentic warmth, as if they'd tripped to decades prior to soak up the energy of the eras from which their favorite genres sprang. While their catalogue isn’t extensive, their remixes (especially their interpretation of Phoenix’s “Lisztomania”) have launched them into critical acclaim and mainstream awareness, which has only been furthered by a collaboration with Mayer Hawthorne in 2010, “No Strings” and the recent release of the track, “Into the Valley,” from their imminent first album.

Whether or not Michael and Tyler have a Doc Brown DeLorean hidden in their garage, this interviewer was unable to discover. But what I can tell you: The only territory Classixx has left to conquer is the future.

It was kind of funny but mainly pretty awkward and embarrassing. He probably woke up the next morning and was like ‘Fuck, I told those guys repeatedly that I wanted to suck their dicks.’ Whoops.

Classixx version of Phoenix’s “Lisztomania”

You have mentioned that you were into West Coast Skate Punk in junior high school. How has the punk aesthetic translated into your current sound?
We still dig the attitude and philosophy of punk rock and the simplicity of the music. In most cases less is more and we follow that philosophy most of the time.

On the other hand, I’ve seen you do a jam cover of “Human Nature.” Though this seems contrary to Sk8 Punk, you seem to have drawn influence from Michael Jackson also.
He’s a huge inspiration to us, and it’s probably pretty obvious in our music. He was the best. We were both deeply saddened when we heard he had passed away but his legacy is one that will definitely live on forever.

I listened to a mix you guys did for Modular’s Modcast series described as “a laidback mix of night-time love tunes.” How accurate is that description?
We tested it. The results were satisfying.

Does this mix foreshadow the vibe for your upcoming album? The sensual and sexual undertones evoked by dreamy, '80s reverb synths?
I don’t know if it was deliberate, but there is a sexiness in some way in most of the music we like and our only goal is to make just that; music that we like. So I guess it's only natural that it would come through in our stuff. Subtlety is always important to us. Few artists have been able to pull off blatant sexuality in my mind. Prince being the exception. Prince is always the exception.

On that x-ray screen it must have looked pretty crazy. It was basically a tomahawk and a Rambo knife. TSA pulled me into an interrogation room and I almost got arrested.

On the subject of exceptions, you were the June Resident DJs for Mix Up Exclusives program on triple J. How did this experience differ from the live performances you usually do?
Well, we provided four separate hour-long mixes for each Saturday of June but we actually recorded them all at once. We just DJ’d in my living room for four hours straight on CDs and vinyl. Everything was completely spontaneous and we didn’t fix or clean up anything afterwards. Dan from Cosmic Kids dropped a few tracks as well. It's kind of weird DJing without an audience but it was good practice and was pretty fun. We also killed a 12-pack I think.

Cheers to that. Let’s backtrack a little bit. What has been the most interesting incident with a fan that you can remember?
Once while we were DJing this kid got really wasted and kept telling us he wanted to suck our dicks. The weird part though is he wasn’t gay; he was just shit-faced. He kept screaming it over and over “I wanna suck your dicks!” It was kind of funny but mainly pretty awkward and embarrassing. He probably woke up the next morning and was like “Fuck, I told those guys repeatedly that I wanted to suck their dicks.” Whoops.

What about airport mishaps?
Recently I was going through security at LAX on my way to Hawaii to DJ. I had just been on a camping trip and I forgot I had a hatchet and a buck knife in my bag. On that x-ray screen it must have looked pretty crazy. It was basically a tomahawk and a Rambo knife. TSA pulled me into an interrogation room and I almost got arrested. Luckily, they believed me and let me go. I learned that if I’d been arrested I’d have been placed on the “no-fly list” which would have fucked my life up pretty hard considering I fly more than 100,000 miles a year. Also, here’s a tip: If you do decide to walk through airport security with weapons make sure they’re sheathed unless you want to go to jail.

That knife probably would’ve come in handy when you were getting death threats for throwing your “Hush Hush” parties early on in your career. (Hush Hush parties refer to regularly held gatherings in Classixx’s Echo Park basement featuring sets by the hosts and their network of musician buddies. The group had to stop the parties after receiving an eviction notice and a death threat from neighbors with questionable lifestyles.) Still doing things to piss off gangster types?
(Laughs) No, we’ve gotten pretty tame in our old age. I think the “Hush Hush” thing might not be entirely dead though. We’d probably do something again if it was interesting enough and felt right. I think my party-throwing days are over though so we’d have to get a promoter that we trusted to take the reigns.

What about pool parties? Your sound has been described as “pool party music.” Would you still say this descriptor is reflective of your current sound, and moreover, the vibe of your new album?
Yeah I think most of the music on our album sticks to that vibe. There’re a lot of different flavors though. I’d love to play that festival Calvi On The Rocks in Corsica, which is basically like a huge pool party except the pool is the ocean and the location is paradise. The Holy Ghost! guys play it each year and told us we gotta do it. Hopefully, they’ll ask us next year.

And with that I said my goodbyes, donned my jet pack and boomed on over to Tokoyo for a mid-afternoon martini.

Cosmic Kids "Reginalds Groove" Classixx Remix