If you've been following Resident Advisor in 2011, you will likely have heard something about our tenth anniversary event series, RA X. We couldn't stop talking about it frankly. Problem is, we couldn't tell you perhaps the most important thing: The headliner at each of the ten shows around the globe.
Our secret headliner concept meant that it was hard to pay tribute to who we picked and why. The names below, however, should make it pretty obvious: Each of the ten acts below positively influenced electronic music, and us, in the past decade.
To pay tribute to the artists that kept tightlipped up until the moment they took to the stage, we asked them to tell us a little bit about the RA X experience through their own eyes. Without their help, it wouldn't have been possible. The same goes for all of the artists that the "X" picked to play with them. Most of all, though, we couldn't have done it without you—the ones reading this—that came out and supported them (and us).
It was a beast to pull together, but the fun we—and hopefully you—had along the way made it totally worthwhile. As a token of our gratitude, feel free to enter our competition giving away a complete set of all ten of the posters that were made especially for the series by some of our favourite visual artists in the world.
The RA Team
It was an interesting feeling [being the X], because I couldn't prepare in the usual way. I had no clue about the club and I had not clue what crowd to expect, so it was an interesting opportunity for me. But as a DJ you have to entertain and make certain compromises throughout the night. In the end, though, the repertoire you got is the repertoire you got.
We had been talking about the RA X and the wrestler [Doctor X] from Mexico and decided that I needed to hide myself in some way. I couldn't just put a towel over my head—that is too hip-hop. Nick [Sabine] said, 'I think I have a mask at home,' so I said 'bring it on.' I thought it was great, because when I took it off there was a reaction. Perhaps it did have some people a bit disappointed because they were expecting a Detroit or Berghain hero, but I think in the end most people were happy.
I don't think I had ever played in Barcelona before. That is probably my only second visit. I went there thirty years ago on an inter-rail ticket on a teenage drug safari in Europe in 1984 or something. It was good, a small to medium-sized club with a revolving dance floor—that was interesting. One minute you are chatting up some girl and the next you are chatting up some bouncer.
It wasn't weird for me—it may have only been weird for the people there, really. For me it was like, 'OK, it isn't my fault if nobody shows up and it isn't my fault if nobody likes it, because it hasn't been promoted.' It just took a couple of records to settle in into what is going on. Ninety-nine percent of dance music goes "bam-bam-bam" at 110-130 BPM, so it is all the same in many respects. They were not going to be too surprised, unless it was something like, "Ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Swift!"
[D-Edge] is one of my favorite clubs, so I was very happy to be chosen as the X there. It's just a magnificent space; everything is in the right place and it has one of the most comfortable DJ booths in the world. [I invited] Ewan [Pearson], who is one of the greatest gentlemen in this business. I really appreciate him as a DJ and producer, and even more as a person. I wanted to invite people that, a) I like being around, b) who I like to play with, and c) that don't get too much exposure in Brazil. Losoul is a veteran. I have known him for 15 years and have always liked his production. [The party went long,] I played until 2 PM. I remember the owner of the club coming up to me like, "Hey, it's midday soon—don't you want to stop?" I think I played for 8 hours!
You rarely get a chance to play with guys that don't necessarily have a [big] name or props around them, but are still solid—one of the guys who [is like that] is Masashi Nakazawa, which is why I added him on. He is one of the best DJs I've ever heard from Japan. I thought that people needed
to hear this dude. On top of that, he is a really dope dude, and on top of that, he is fearless! When he is playing he will come at you and make you play your best, and that was what he was doing with me [in Japan]. There are very few people in the world that can really make me really check myself and bring my game up, but he is one of those guys.
[Unfortunately] the sound man didn't set-up the booth properly. Without the sound being sorted, what is the point of having this guy [Masashi Nakazawa] come 3,000-plus miles across the world and not get treated the proper way? His sound at home is better than what he came over to play with, and that was embarrassing.
[Arma 17] reminded me of the old E-Werk in Berlin in the '90s. The sound was great, the stage was cool and the crowd was good. It was a pity that I missed the other acts especially Ra.H [Morphosis]. I'm a big fan of him and his label from the beginning. After meeting couple of times in Berlin at Hardwax and doing a remix for him, we became friends.
I invited him to my birthday party at Panorama Bar in October and so I finally saw him playing live and it was awesome! Margaret [Dygas] I have known for a long time. In the old days, when I finished my sets at Berghain I used to go up to the Panorama Bar for a last "afterwork drink" and there she was playing quiet often. It was always fun. Matt [Radio Slave] is a good friend of mine too, and we're always having a great time together when we're playing in the same places.
I am playing totally different clubs and festivals and situations all the time—almost every second gig I am outside of my comfort zone. I might be playing a festival with 10,000 people there, and maybe 1,000 know who the fuck Dixon is. So it has happened before when there were people in front of me that expected something [other than what I was playing]. I actually heard that some people thought when I came on stage that I was James Holden.
I would do it again because it was so different to a normal club gig. I didn't play that late, but because the party sold out and was crazy busy, people arrived super early, so the warm-up sets were more like "party on." So after two hours of a crazy party, I came on and dropped it down to 110 BPM. It was a really great experience.
[Choosing the X lineup] was kind of like putting up tracks for a mix compilation. You think of what could work together and what could give the best flow for the night. Sometimes it can be good to have various styles going on, but I would rather have people in the same area with one playing more house-y, one with more techno, and one deeper so you can build up a nice night. I chose people like Deetron, Will Saul and Sebo K that work together musically so I think it all makes sense—for me, at least.
I heard all of the others' sets before I went on, so I didn’t have to repeat records that they had already played. But it was quite funny, because I thought we would have a lot of records in common, but we didn’t have many. There was so much music that I hadn't heard about. A lot of time you hear a DJ play there is usually records in there that you would play. It was more like listening to them and hearing at least five records in each set and being like, "Why do I not have this? I should have this!"
When we got to Japan, we went to a shop to get a bunch of things for the party: Some cannons to shoot confetti, party gags, fake glasses and mustaches. I also had an alien mask to hide my identity. The best thing about the party was that it was like a huge family. Sammy (Dee) with Perlon, Mathew (Jonson) with Wagon Repair, Sety with Circus Company: They've all had a big impact on me over the past ten years, and they've also made quite a mark themselves over the past decade. They're also really cool guys that I like to hang out with. Sammy and I even played the next day at Dommune.
The worst thing, though, was that I'm pretty sure that I gained 15 cholesterol points while I was in Japan. Heart palpitations, the whole deal. There was this ramen there that was unreal. You know that Saturday Night Live
sketch where Chris Farley is that Bears fan where he has to hit his chest all the time to resuscitate himself after a heart attack? It was a little bit like that.
Panorama Bar is always an adventure. You just never know what is going to happen there. Sometimes it's just a regular night where people are rocking and having a good time, and sometimes you have bricks thrown at you.
[Being the X] is about you when someone finds out
that it is you. But what if no one there knows who you are? It brings you back to when you were struggling trying to make a name for yourself. It also introduces you to an audience without prejudice, which is cool. The people asking who the fuck I am is a new audience without prejudice and [they judge you] based on what you play, which was great. At least they didn't boo me off the fucking stage! That's always a good thing, you know? I think everybody was quite surprised about who the X was.
I think it was over ten years since [Craig, Alex and I were in a DJ booth together]. My friend Nancy has "rave knowledge" like no other, and told me. Sadly, however, red wine on the night and generally never paying attention allowed that very knowledge to slip away again. It was a strange and wonderful time [at Trouw in Amsterdam]. There were records, computers, USB sticks and CDs everywhere. What stood out [the most] was Craig. He always blows my tiny mind with records from God knows where.
- Lee Burridge