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Michael David of Classixx
Classixx's Michael David Talks Playing Corona Capital Guadalajara And What Makes A Great Remix
The Recording Academy caught up with the L.A. DJ immediately prior to Classixx's set at Corona Capital Guadalajara
Los Angeles duo Michael David and Tyler Blake, also known as Classixx, have helped evolve dance music through their new wave disco, funk, indie-rock sound.
While remixes like their disco-infused take on Phoenix's "Lisztomania" show the duo's vibe in the electronic dance music realm, Classixx, who've known each other since they were young, have long established themselves as producers and songwriters via albums like 2013's Hanging Gardens and 2016's Faraway Reach.
The Recording Academy caught up with Classixx's Michael David at Corona Capital in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he covered everything from why he loves performing in Mexican cities, playing with his high school buddy for 20 years, and what makes a great remix.
So, how does it feel to be in Mexico?
Very happy to be in Mexico. We love coming here.
How often do you come?
Quite often. We're from Los Angles so it's very close and we come, maybe twice a year, something like that.
How does it feel to be playing Corona Fest?
The line up is so spectacular, here that it feels like a privilege.
And Phoenix are here too—that's a fun coincidence, given your history remixing them.
It's amazing. Those guys are our heroes. I think, yeah, they're the best. Any time we're on a lineup with those guys it feels like a dream.
Corona Capital's mission is to bring more international artists to Mexico. To what extent do you yourself prioritize taking Classixx to new cities on a global scale?
Yeah, I think part of the appeal of being a touring musician is visiting new cities and cultures. It's the best part of the job. It's very interesting; I think when you come to Guadalajara or specifically throughout Mexico, but almost everywhere in the world, you find that everyone that we come across is sort of very similar to the people that we know at home. But there's different languages and the cultures, there are distinctions, but for the most part it's nice that everyone is very similar.
What about the crowd vibe?
Yeah, crowds in Mexico are great. Because we kind of like party music, I guess, and yeah, that sort of [fits in well] here.
Classixx is credited with helping introduce a "new wave" into dance music. How does it feel to be able to spread that all over the world?
Yeah, it's cool. I think between touring and maybe the internet has helped spread that sound. Yeah, it's amazing to see the little things that you kinda work on in your bedroom or in the studio and they have a global reach. It's sort of overwhelming to think about, even in a small way it's very cool.
What kind of music influences your sound?
A lot. I think we are very influenced by the sort of classic-traditional electronic production where you're influenced by soul music and house music. Influenced by the legacy of different dance music from the United States in places like Chicago and New York and Detroit. And yeah, it's hard to say exactly. We don't have a very specific reference, but yeah, all over the world.
You recently tweeted about your Fender collection. What about the Fender do you love?
The Fender has done a job of like they make a very beautiful product and they don't really worry too much about trends, so I like Fender because they have remained true to their own voice for many years. I'm not a guitar collector but the Fender is very respected by most people.
I'm curious, when you remix a song, How do you go about it?
Yeah. I think usually we would only remix a song if we think there is material within the song that is worth sort of elaborating upon. We try not to influence songs that are from the past that are very beloved over time, because it feels like almost sacrilegious or something. But, usually if we connect with the vocal and it sounds like something that will relate well to our production style, it's usually the main criteria.
The challenge is trying not to spoil anything that's already beautiful about the song. And be respectful to the artist. And it's also hard trying to make an arrangement for a dance floor. Sometimes it'll be a challenge if the song is originally structured like a pop song. Those are the main things that can be difficult.
What's next for you two after Corona?
We're going back to L.A. for Mother's Day. And then we have a few DJ sets. We're going back to New York and in Los Angeles. And finishing a few productions.
Do you ever feel pressured to release new music within a certain timeframe?
Yeah, there's definitely a pressure to do that. 'Cause we're very slow, but I think it actually doesn't matter. I think as long as you're working hard and putting out music that is of a certain quality that the people that listen to you appreciate, then I think people are patient. Yeah, it's impossible to keep up with some artists who are churning out music, so. We don't really worry too much about that.
You primarily operate in a duo, with Tyler Blake. How's it feel to have been together for something like two decades now?
It's interesting. We've been together for almost 20 years, so it's interesting. Sort of like working with a sibling. We have different ideas in that we work by ourselves and we work together and we try to refine it together over time. And we're actually pretty slow, but it's yeah, it's amazing.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala
Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage
Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"
It's been four years since we've heard new music from Tame Impala, but their new release has come just in time for festival season
Tame Impala have released a new single appropriately called "Patience." The GRAMMY-nominated music project by Australian singer and musician Kevin Parker had not released any new tracks since 2015's Currents.
The long-awaited latest release embodies the exact feeling of having to wait for something: "Has it really been that long? / Did I count the days wrong? ... I've been waiting here / Waiting for the day to come," Parker's soft voice sings on the track featuring an equally soft piano.
Parker, who has come to fame for the psychedelic, dreamy pop sound he shares as Tame Impala, teased the single on Instagram last night. "New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones people," the post said.
"I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."
Lila Downs Announces New Album Paying Tribute To The Chile Pepper, Releases Tour Info
The announcement was made with the release of the first single, a cover of the Peruvian cumbia classic "Cariñito"
GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lila Downs, known for her eclectic mixture sounds from Mexico and beyond, has announced that her latest album, Al Chile, will pay tribute to the chile pepper and will drop May 3. The news came with the release of the first single, "Cariñito."
Al Chile, produced by the GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) and mixed by Mario Caldato Jr., who has worked with the Beastie Boys and Jack Johnson, is not a joke; it sincerely shows love for the fruit.
"Yes, the music is a tribute to the fruit that causes us so much craving and suffering, but that we really love!" Downs said in a statement. "We fry the chile, add beats from the city, then saxophones, trumpets and drums from the Mexican coast to keep the dance going. The village and the city are united by the same beat. With a mezcal in hand, we dream of a place with a palm tree where one falls in love and reflects."
The first single is Down's take on a Peruvian cumbia classic. The singer also released dates for the album's supporting tour that will take her to Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, New York City, Seattle and other cities across the U.S.
For more information on the tour, visit Downs' website.