X-Press 2 are back. Now just Rocky and Diesel after Ashley Beedle pursued differing pastures, the duo are still one of the best in the business for dance music. Their history showcases it all, the early rave days where they were part of the burgeoning fanzine era of acid house (when the hooligans dropped the fights and raised the hands in the throes of acid house’s summer of love), they then made musical history with the killer ‘Muzik X-Press’. The late nineties was all about their killer six deck three mixer shows at superclubs like Cream and Bugged Out!, with a glut of tribal house records, not least the ice cannon homage that was ‘Smoke Machine‘. Oh and they did a record with the guy out Talking Heads.
Anyway, they’ve got a new album out which is something of a belyter. The above Soundcloud links direct to a downloadable min-mix, but you can stream ‘The House of X-Press 2’ directly as well here. Their show on Ministry of Sound Radio is also something of a must listen; follow this link.
They also play a global tour starting this weekend, taking in Carlisle’s Uber on Saturday 25th February.
“Places like Carlisle are just as clued up and up for it as the other gigs where you’d perhaps expect more people to know what you’re after. The internet, the longevity of dance music and a few other things means that people really know the score; we’re not really surprised when we go somewhere like that and it goes off.”
I originally submitted this intervibew for another site in the past but it has since been deleted. With X-Press 2 due to play Uber again at the end of February I tried to dig out the link, but discovered it was deleted. So the Interview is transcribed here instead. A fresh chat with the boys is due later on this month.
Uber have got something special up their sleeve this Easter, inviting down chart toppers and acid house heroes X-Press 2 for a huge party. Popularly known for the smash hit of 2002 ‘Lazy’, X-Press 2 perform as a trio with six decks and three mixers, and have been at the forefront of dance music for over fifteen years. Boasting club appearances all across the globe, they return once more to Carlisle’s Uber after a stunning show last year for the crew.
The night is picking up pace rapidly, being invited to host the VIP tent in the upcoming Forgotten Valley festival near Kendal and hosting club tours in far flung destinations around the country. We caught up with X-Press 2’s Rocky for a quick Q&A ahead of their gig to find out what life was like as one third of the band:
You’re due up in Carlisle soon for a gig at Uber. How do you feel about the party and are you looking forward to it?
Well, we’ve played here before and the gig certainly sticks out in my mind as being absolutely fantastic. As a DJ we get to go to a lot of places and sometimes you forget where you’ve been, but certainly not here. It was a great atmosphere, really great crowd and you could tell that the people behind the night had gone to a lot of effort to make sure everything was right and that rubbed off on the crowd and us too. It’s a lovely feeling when something goes that well, a really great buzz. We can’t wait to do it again.
How does gigs like this compare to other places across the world, in particular bigger cities where perhaps you’d expect people to be more accustomed to what you do?
Well it’s funny you say that, because we’ve been doing this for a while now and places like Carlisle are just as clued up and up for it as the other gigs where you’d perhaps expect more people to know what you’re after. The internet, the longevity of dance music and a few other things means that people really know the score; we’re not really surprised when we go somewhere like that and it goes off. But, it’s still a really great feeling when a gig goes as well as the last one did.
You scored a big hit with Lazy back in 2002. Did it change your life?
Well, in all honesty, not really. There was a moment when we all got into a cab after performing on Top of the Pops and we thought, hang on, this is where our life changes, but it didn’t really happen. We got a bit more media attention, got some more work, but it certainly wasn’t the start of a pop star lifestyle all of a sudden. We just carried on doing what we were doing before, playing clubs, making records, and all Lazy did really was make more of that possible.
Do you think you could ever pull another hit like that out of the bag?
Well, who knows? When we made Lazy, it wasn’t crafted around making a ‘hit’. We just wanted to make a really good house track with David Byrne singing, when it was finished we didn’t think top of the pops, huge single, we just thought we had an underground record on our hands. Just a track that we could play out, our mates could play and would pick up a bit of attention elsewhere. It was kind of a glorious fluke, all things considered.
And finally, we’ve talked about the past, but what’s in the future for X-Press 2?
Well, right now we’re promoting a new mix compilation that’s on NRK records, it’s a fluid DJ mix of ours that’s been well received, and it’s something we’re really happy with. In the summer we’ve got a retrospective album lined up, a collection of some of our old songs, some remixes we’ve done, remixes people have done of us and a few new tracks as well. It’s called ‘Raise your hands’ and will be out on Skint. And of course, much more djing.