X-Press 2 are a DJ duo who shot to fame in the early 90s after releasing smash hit ‘Lazy’, featuring vocals from Talking Heads front man David Byrne. Like so many others, they quickly faded away from the mainstream. But they’ve maintained a large audience ever since and have now released their third album. So we caught up with DJ Diesel (Darren House) and DJ Rocky (Darren Rock) to chat about their latest offering.
Q. You started out in the mid-80s – how do you think the music you’re making now compares to what you were doing then?
A. To be honest, we work in the same way we always have done. It’s just that the technology enables us to manipulate sounds and samples a lot easier. We still look to our record collections for initial inspiration. If anything, it’s easier to make the sort of music that we make, as is evidenced by the amount of promotions we receive every week.
Q. Do you think music tastes have changed since you started out? How have you adapted/reacted to this?
A. Of course musical tastes change, everyone’s change as they grow older. We’ve adapted by hopefully remaining relevant to people that listen to and ultimately buy our music.
Q. Tell us some memorable moments/achievements from your career so far?
A. Receiving an Ivor Novello song writing award for ‘Lazy’ and doing Top of the Pops with David Byrne [of Talking Heads, who provided vocals on Lazy]. The fact that Muzik Xpress is still getting played twenty years after we made it. Remixing Missy Elliott and meeting Tommy Silverman at Tommy Boy records.Playing hundreds of gigs all over the world and generally meeting some truly wonderful people.
Q. What are the best and worst gigs you’ve ever played?
A. We’re not going to say the worst, it’s not fair. As for the best, pretty much every gig we’ve played in Japan. The Fabric gigs around the time we made ‘Lazy’ were pretty amazing. Marrakech in Malta this summer will be like Ibiza 25 years ago. Our South-East Asia tour this summer.
Q. Any artists you’d love to work with?
A. Stevie, Lana Del Rey, Barrington Levy and Thom Yorke.
Q. What/who’s music inspired you when growing up?
A. Tim Westwood’s.
Q. You recently became a two-piece when your third member left – will this make a difference to the sound of your music?
A. No. We still have the same sound. Check the new album.
Q. Tell us about your writing/composing process?
A. It’s a jam. We just throw ideas around the studio, some of them are great and get used, and some are shite!
Q. DJing means you’re often in a high-octane, party atmosphere. How do you wind down?
A. By spending time with family and friends away from it all.
Q. What can we expect to hear on the new album? Any notable collaborations?
A. Our version of classic house music and lots of big dance floor tracks. [Some are] straight up instrumental hackers and yes, a there are a few collaborations including Roland Clark, Doll [of Doll and the Kicks], Alison Limerick, Rob Harvey, James Yuill, Tim Deluxe, Timo Garcia, Amber Jolene and Analog People in a Digital World.
Q. What are you most looking forward to this year – music related or otherwise?
A. Just continuing doing what we’ve always done. Writing music and going out to play it to people around the world.
Q. What are you currently listening to?
A. A filtered, twisted one bar loop. It’s been going for about an hour and starting to do my head in to be honest!
Q. Any upcoming artists you think we should look out for over the coming months?
A. Maertz, Chordasians, The Weekend and Legendary Children.
Thea de Gallier and Vicky McNaught-Davis