Oxia Interview

From 'Domino' to Diversions

Best known for minimal techno anthem 'Domino', Oxia, aka Olivier Raymond, is also co-founder of his own Diversions Music. Having moved in a housier direction from Oxia's harder techno roots (when Raymond was joined by Stephane Deschezeaux), his recent releases have brought his sound to Saved, Material Series and 8bit Records. 

Hot on the heels of having 'Domino' re-released this year by popular demand, featuring remixes from Robag Wruhme, Matador and Frankey & Sandrino, Oxia headlines The Zoo Project X Warung this Saturday 24th June.

With just a few days to go we quizzed him.

Tell us about your label Diversions. What the sound you're aiming for? Are you still doing vinyl or are those days gone?

Diversions Music is a label my longtime friend Nicolas Masseyeff and myself created. We launched it in July 2016 and the first release combined tracks of mine and Nicolas’. There have been two other releases since, one by myself and the other by Nicolas. A fourth one is due for July; it will be an EP by Italian duo Artslaves from  the label Moan and will include a remix by our good friend POPOF as well as another by Nicolas and myself.

We are not aiming for a particular sound. On our first releases there were very melodic tracks as well as housier or more techno-oriented ones. I think it’s more to do with a certain mindset than a type of sound, because we both love very different things within electronic music. Basically, as long as we like it, we sign it. For the time being we still haven’t done vinyl. We first launched our label digitally; this said, we are considering issuing our next releases on vinyl, while reissuing the first ones on vinyl, too. Even though I do not personally play on vinyl, I know it’s still important for some people.

You've been working in the studio with your label partner Nicolas Masseyeff. Were you getting lonely after going solo? What's the dynamic when you're working?

I like working on my own, though it’s also cool to work on collaborations from time to time. It gives you the opportunity to do things a bit differently, to learn new tricks and maybe to be less doubtful about something. It’s a different dynamic, really. When someone comes up with an idea, this may inspire the other with another idea. Also, there are no fixed rules, just like when I work solo, because it really depends on our mood, our needs, our inspiration. It’s a bit different every time.

You started your career off playing the faster, harder end of techno. Who were your original inspirations and what do you miss, if anything, about that era?

Actually, my very first inspirations are mainly house. I started listening to Chicago and New York  house back in the mid-eighties, then I gradually started getting into techno in the early nineties, while at the same time enjoying harder stuff such as Detroit techno and UK artists like Slam or Dave Clarke …

I’m not one of those who keep saying “it used to be better before”. Things were different, that’s a fact, because our generation witnessed something exceptional which was the birth of a movement, the first rave parties and so on. So yes, it was unique, but it’s in the past now along with many wonderful memories. I do have one regret though. There is one thing nowadays I dislike, and it’s that so many young people care more today about an artist’s image than they care about his or her music, which was totally not the case back in the early nineties when we didn’t have large-scale social media…

We read you saying you always got asked to play 'Domino'. Have the remixes made it easier for you to fit into your current sets? Which is your favourite?

Yes, there’s always a bunch of people - including promoters - asking me to play ‘Domino’ at every single gig I do. And even though I’m a bit tired of playing it, I’m always happy to see the crowd still so enthusiastic when they hear it. So yes, the remixes did it for me! I’m glad Agoria offered this project to me and that I eventually accepted it, because it gave me the opportunity to diversify things a bit and not always play the original version. Mind you, I did do a reworked version of ‘Domino’ as well on the remixes EP. I like every each and one of these remixes, though I have a small preference for Frankey & Sandrino’s. They all brought something different, a unique vision of the track; for me it’s very successful.

Name three other of your tracks that you'd equally like to be remembered for and tell us why you're proud of each or what they represent.

Oh, that's a very tough question, because there are so many of them after all these years!

There is this one track … ‘Harmonie’, off my last album, ‘Tides of Mind’, released in 2012 on Infiné. I often say it’s the one I’m the most proud of, though it’s always quite hard to play it in front of a crowd because it’s a bit too soft. I’m quite proud of the melody I came up with and the atmosphere I created on this one, it exactly matched the type of tracks I wanted for my album.

There’s also ‘Whole Life’ (2009, 8bit). It’s an important track in the course of my career because it signaled my going back to making housier music, hence back to my very first influences in terms of electronic music.

And finally there’s ‘Troisième’ (off the ‘Finally’ EP) which celebrates the 15th birthday since it was released in 2002 on Carl Cox’s label at the time, Intec. It was thanks to this second EP, amongst others, that my international DJing career really took off.

How is work going on your new album?

I started a while ago working on new tracks that I’m intending to keep for my next album. But these past months, unfortunately, I haven’t been really able to take time to go to the studio because I was working on other things while touring quite intensively. I will resume working on them as soon as I can.

Name three tracks that sum up what you're likely to play at Egg?

Another tough question, because I never really know in advance what I’m going to play! But here are three tracks I play all the time at the moment:

Emanuel Satie - 'Come As You Are (Nick Curly Remix)' – Saved

Definition - 'Drums & Arps (Athea Remix)' - Hive Audio

Nicolas Masseyeff – 'Unbalanced' – Diversions Music