We caught up with Xaao, the elusive, hooded West London producer. With recent airplay on Skream & Benga’s Radio 1 show, it looks like 2013 is set to be a big year for the bright young talent.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Name and age?
Erm, real name? Middle name, let’s say, Anthony. I’m 20.
Before we start, how do you pronounce your name?
So if you were to describe your own music, what would you say?
Electronic really. Other terminology is too black and white. Bass music, bass music, I can’t stand that.
We were refreshed to see your press photo wasn’t a headshot of you wearing a 5 panel supreme hat against a brick wall. What was the idea behind the photo and what’s the hood about?
The hood was by two friends of mine called Boo designers. We sat down and I showed them some images I had in mind with a bit of chinese influence; I wanted something to do with dragon scales. They came back with some ideas, and over the space of about 6 months they made a few masks. I didn’t really feel the first couple but the hood seemed to work really well.
Do you plan to play out with it the hood?
Yeah. It’s going to be a bit weird but yeah. (laughs)
You name your influences on facebook as Kindness, Joe Hisaishi, Justice, Basement Jaxx, Dave Brubeck and DMZ. Was there a specific album or track that inspired you as a producer?
Daft Punk. I would definitely say they are one of my biggest influences, and one of the guys you just mentioned, Joe Hisaishi. His film scores are just magic. Literal magic. He definitely made me think of songs in a different way, as opposed to just beats. Those two as a combination would be my biggest inspiration.
So, are you a big movie guy?
In a way. I’d definitely say animé, and sci-fi films. Good films scores for many films can give me inspiration. ‘Spirited Away’, the soundtrack was done by Joe Hisaishi, that is one of my biggest titles I’d say.
How did you get into music production originally?
It was actually going to college. I’d never done it before. I liked collecting vinyls when I was younger, when grime was about and stuff, but when I went to college was when I met a friend called ‘Didier’. He just showed me the music he was into and it kind of just went from there.
Your song Lonely Star was played on Skream and Benga’s Radio 1 show. Following this, what future goals have you set for yourself?
Well, any music that can touch a generation I suppose. In terms of financial goals, it’s not really a thing, it’s just about making timeless music, if that’s possible. Timeless music is the most important thing.
If you were not in the music business, where do you think you would be?
I’d be a bit lost! I work part time in a shop, and I do a lot of sports and stuff too. I was doing music technician work in college which was the initial thing to do, but for now it’s just making music and seeing where things go. Yeah. I’d be a bit lost.
Xaao has left us with an exclusive remix and free download for your listening pleasure.
Don’t miss his upcoming performance at Audio Doughnuts 2nd Anniversary on November 30th alongside Roy Davis Jr, MK, Marshall Jefferson, Will Saul, Zed Bias and more at Fire & Lightbox, Vauxhall, London. Very limited £15 tickets left via Resident Advisor.
Interview and words by Ian Massoth and Sylvia Witter