In Interview with OXIA

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
January 31, 2019

In Interview with OXIA

Ever since his first EP in 1995, OXIA has prevailed as one of France’s most influent actors in the electronic music scene. He has built an impressive catalogue on respected imprints such as Kompakt, Hot Creations, 8bit, Knee Deep In Sound, and many more.

The Frenchman released his debut album 24 Heures on Goodlife in 2004 and his second widely acclaimed album Tides Of Mind was released in 2012. Several collaborations were established as well, with Miss Kittin, Agoria, or Nicolas Masseyeff.

With the latter, OXIA also launched Diversions Music in 2016, on which he has so far released three EPs. In 2017, OXIA’s classic hit “Domino” (40 million views on YouTube) was re-released on Sapiens, and came with a number of very successful remixes. In parallel, OXIA himself released a few remixes, notably for Moby (Suara), as well as for others on Moan and of course Diversions Music.

2018 has been a strong year for OXIA with his Reset To Zero EP plus a remix on Diversions and a contribution to Knee Deep in Sound’s Ibiza 2018 Sampler. His touring schedule is taking him across the globe, from the intimate clubs to festivals such Resistance by ULTRA, B My Lake, Untold, BPM Portugal, Dreambeach, Brunch In The Park and, for the fifth consecutive year, playing for Music On at Amnesia Ibiza.

OXIA is gearing up to release his next EP titled Second Mood, which is scheduled to come out on March 1 via his burgeoning Diversions Music imprint. We sat down with the Frenchman to talk about the release and more, in our exclusive interview below.

Hello mate, nice getting to chat with you at the beginning of the year. How was 2018?

Hi, likewise! 2018 was a good year for me, with lots of good gigs a bit everywhere around the world, and meeting really cool people …

What was the most memorable thing that happened to you last year?

It’s always a little hard to choose the most memorable thing, because there are so many new ones happening every year. The first that comes up to mind is the Music On festival in Amsterdam because so many friends were there, in addition to the Music On team. Kittin, whom I’m very close to, was there with us, as well as a bunch of very good friends. It’s always cool when you play, surrounded by so many people you know well and with whom you party.

Do you think you’ll be able to top it in 2019?

It’s a bit too soon to tell, but I hope this year will at least be as good as 2018, if not even better. Every year could bring its share of unexpected new things, in this business that we work in.

Your latest release is on Diversions Music, which you co-founded in 2016 alongside Nicolas Masseyeff. Why did you choose your label for this one versus releasing elsewhere?

Yes indeed, my latest EP “Reset to Zero” was released on Diversions Music, although I also released one track featured on Knee Deep in Sound’s Various Artists EP. The reason I chose our label is linked to why Nicolas and I decided to create Diversion in the first place: to be able to release or tracks when we feel like it while retaining control. And so when we want to release an EP the quick way, and don’t feel like waiting for the labels to answer back – they often take so much time – that’s what we do.

And that exactly what I’m also planning to do for my next EP! I’m finalizing the tracks in January and the EP should be out in early March. Not sure it would have been so quick with another label. Afterward, another EP will follow in the spring, in collaboration with the Italians from Artslaves, but it’s still too soon to say on which label. Won’t be on Diversions, though.

How would you say the label has been doing in the last 2-3 years since you launched it? 

It’s been two years and a half since we’ve launched it and things are going quite well, despite the fact we haven’t released a lot; we’ve only totaled nine so far. We’d like to do more, but managing a label takes a lot of time – and that’s something we don’t always have, with our projects, gigs and respective careers … But globally we’re happy.

How do you and Nicolas split the work on the label, who does what?

For the artistic side of things, the decision is really taken by the both of us. We each try to listen to the demos sent to us, even if I must admit Nicolas listens to much more material than I. But when he has doubts about something, he sends it to me and we decide together. If one us disagrees, then the tracks are not signed.
In parallel, a graphic designer is in charge of the artworks, and a label manager takes care of the administrative part and also deals with the distributors …

Now that you’ve been at it for a few years, where do you see Diversions Music going in the next 5-10 years?

Diversions is mainly about us having a good time and releasing material, in my opinion. So we don’t really have a career plan of sorts for the label, even if, of course, we do and will keep doing everything to ensure the label is functional, has good visibility and that our signed artists are happy. I think the evolution will certainly happen genre-wise though; maybe we’ll open ourselves to a bigger musical spectrum and start releasing even more different things we like, or albums … But yes, hard to tell where we’ll be in 5 or 10 years.

You’re coming over to this side of the Atlantic to play SXM Festival in quite the beautiful location! What are you expecting from that?

Yes, I’m very happy to be part of this festival. The lineup is truly fantastic and the venue is on a beautiful island so it’s always cool to perform in places that differ a bit from what we’re used to. I went to Saint Martin a little bit more than 15 years ago, and I’d found it very cool. It’s great that the organizers decided to have a new edition. When the island was ravaged (by Hurricane Irma) less than 2 years ago, they could have dropped the project; so it’s cool that they decided to carry on.
In terms of expectations, as always I hope to have a good time with cool people, and to enjoy myself performing in front of a nice audience; so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be nice in this sense.

What other gigs have you lined up for 2019 that you can give us a sneak peek of?

Well, I’ve got a lot of gigs in clubs a bit everywhere in Europe: UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France…This year again I’ll also be part of Music On festival in Amsterdam; I’m very happy to go back on May 11th. And obviously, there’s a lot of gigs that are still optional or haven’t been announced yet so it’s a bit soon to list them!

Hello mate, nice getting to chat with you at the beginning of the year. How was 2018?

Hi, likewise! 2018 was a good year for me, with lots of good gigs a bit everywhere around the world, and meeting really cool people …

What was the most memorable thing that happened to you last year?

It’s always a little hard to choose the most memorable thing, because there are so many new ones happening every year. The first that comes up to mind is the Music On festival in Amsterdam because so many friends were there, in addition to the Music On team. Kittin, whom I’m very close to, was there with us, as well as a bunch of very good friends. It’s always cool when you play, surrounded by so many people you know well and with whom you party.

Do you think you’ll be able to top it in 2019?

It’s a bit too soon to tell, but I hope this year will at least be as good as 2018, if not even better. Every year could bring its share of unexpected new things, in this business that we work in.

Your latest release is on Diversions Music, which you co-founded in 2016 alongside Nicolas Masseyeff. Why did you choose your label for this one versus releasing elsewhere?

Yes indeed, my latest EP “Reset to Zero” was released on Diversions Music, although I also released one track featured on Knee Deep in Sound’s Various Artists EP. The reason I chose our label is linked to why Nicolas and I decided to create Diversion in the first place: to be able to release or tracks when we feel like it while retaining control. And so when we want to release an EP the quick way, and don’t feel like waiting for the labels to answer back – they often take so much time – that’s what we do.

And that exactly what I’m also planning to do for my next EP! I’m finalizing the tracks in January and the EP should be out in early March. Not sure it would have been so quick with another label. Afterwards, another EP will follow in the spring, in collaboration with the Italians from Artslaves, but it’s still too soon to say on which label. Won’t be on Diversions, though.

How would you say the label has been doing in the last 2-3 years since you launched it? 

It’s been two years and a half since we’ve launched it and things are going quite well, despite the fact we haven’t released a lot; we’ve only totaled nine so far. We’d like to do more, but managing a label takes a lot of time – and that’s something we don’t always have, with our projects, gigs and respective careers … But globally we’re happy.

How do you and Nicolas split the work on the label, who does what?

For the artistic side of things, the decision is really taken by the both of us. We each try to listen to the demos sent to us, even if I must admit Nicolas listens to much more material than I. But when he has doubts about something, he sends it to me and we decide together. If one us disagrees, then the tracks are not signed.

In parallel, a graphic designer is in charge of the artworks, and a label manager takes care of the administrative part and also deals with the distributors …

Now that you’ve been at it for a few years, where do you see Diversions Music going in the next 5-10 years?

Diversions is mainly about us having a good time and releasing material, in my opinion. So we don’t really have a career plan of sorts for the label, even if, of course, we do and will keep doing everything to ensure the label is functional, has good visibility and that our signed artists are happy. I think the evolution will certainly happen genre-wise though; maybe we’ll open ourselves to a bigger musical spectrum and start releasing even more different things we like, or albums … But yes, hard to tell where we’ll be in 5 or 10 years.

You’re coming over to this side of the Atlantic to play SXM Festival in quite the beautiful location! What are you expecting from that?

Yes, I’m very happy to be part of this festival. The lineup is truly fantastic and the venue is on a beautiful island so it’s always cool to perform in places that differ a bit from what we’re used to. I went to Saint Martin a little bit more than 15 years ago, and I’d found it very cool. It’s great that the organizers decided to have a new edition. When the island was ravaged (by Hurricane Irma) less than 2 years ago, they could have dropped the project; so it’s cool that they decided to carry on.

In terms of expectations, as always I hope to have a good time with cool people, and to enjoy myself performing in front of a nice audience; so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be nice in this sense.

What other gigs have you lined up for 2019 that you can give us a sneak peek of?

Well, I’ve got a lot of gigs in clubs a bit everywhere in Europe: UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France… This year again I’ll also be part of Music On festival in Amsterdam; I’m very happy to go back on May 11th. And obviously there’s a lot of gigs that are still optional or haven’t been announced yet so it’s a bit soon to list them

Looking beyond 2019 and with a big career behind you, what are some of the larger scale objectives you’re hoping to achieve?

Truly, I would never have thought I’d still be in the game when I first started all these years ago. In the short run, my main project is to release a new album. I’ve been wanting to work on finishing it for a long time but I’ve got so many projects aside, plus the gigs … so it’s been a bit in stand-by mode.

But it’s important to me to finalize that. I’d also like to work with other artists, producing singers for example, or, why not, try one day to do something with the cinema industry. But no matter what, the main goal will always be for me to keep enjoying what I do, in every single thing I work on; it’s crucial for me.

Second Mood EP Tracklist:

01: OXIA – Moodulations
02: OXIA – Second Change

OXIA’s Second Mood EP is out on March 1, 2019 via Diversions Music

Connect with OXIA: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | Beatport

Connect with Diversions Music: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | Beatport