Chord Progression: The Next Step For Alix Perez
Second albums can be a difficult proposition. Even more so when your first is so critically received and lauded as a classic. The pressure to come up with something that good again is intense, particularly in the occasionally fickle world of Drum & Bass. So what do you do? Do you take the ‘if it aint broke don’t try to fix it’ approach? Or do you push yourself creatively and hope that the people who loved what you did the first time round trust your (and their) instincts enough to go with the finished product? Shogun Audio soldier Alix Perez, currently on his second long-playing effort Chroma Chords, is, thankfully, leaning towards the latter.
There’s no doubting the Belgian born, London based producer and DJ’s debut 1984 is a benchmark of how to write a coherent, diverse yet musically interesting album in the 170+ genre. Tracks such as Myriads, Contradictions, Voices, The Cut Deepens and the sublime Forsaken showed that he was adept at crafting tracks that were in one instance dark and moody yet beautifully soulful all in the same vein. It still gets heavy rotation on my turntables and iTunes to this day, either whilst working or simply passing a lazy Sunday away.
So now it’s time for him to shine once again on his follow up. Musically it’s got some of the elements of what we loved about 1984. This time it’s the sound of a man that’s matured and feels comfortable being able to take a few more chances with his sound. It’s not so much just about writing beats on Chroma Chords but also about crafting songs. This is evident on tracks such as We Could Have Been or lead single Annie’s Song. It’s a snapshot of what he’s doing now and its all the better for it. If you don’t take risks you don’t get anywhere. Fortunately for us, it’s a risk that has paid off and the rewards are now there for all to hear. He took a little time out of his current busy schedule to give us the scope on Chroma Chords and all things Alix Perez.
So… Chroma Chords is album number two. It’s your time to shamelessly plug it. Go!
It’s out now on Shogun Audio. Go check it!
Did you feel any kind of pressure this time round? Were you worried about the ‘sophomore jinx’ people tend to talk about on second albums?
Naturally yes. I think it’s always going to be a difficult task as an artist to deliver the second album. People have certain expectations, but I feel I delivered what represents me at this point in time. You’re never going to please everyone musically, especially when you develop your sound and experiment as an artist but I felt the need to deliver what felt natural to me. I wasn’t trying to please anyone in particular.
Was there a certain goal in terms of sound for this album? Or did you write and see what worked and felt right?
My main point with this LP was to create a body of work that represents my current musical standpoint as an individual artist. I certainly didn’t want to repeat myself and let’s say write 1984 part 2. That wouldn’t be a challenge so to speak and certainly wouldn’t have been innovative on my part. The approach was very natural. I wrote the music that translated from my ideas at the time of the creative process. I most importantly wanted to take the 85 / 170 bpm template and see where I could take it individually. I wanted to push myself and realise something new.
Does Chroma Chords feel like a natural successor to 1984 or does it represent where you are as an artist now?
I think it takes moments of 1984 in parts and certainly has some reminiscent touches but generally it’s a snapshot of my present and future as an artist.
Even though you’re known as a D&B producer Chroma Chords isn’t strictly a ‘drum & bass’ album, more a man showcasing his ability to make good music regardless of genre and tempo. What would you say to people who may have been expecting 1984 part 2?
Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to repeat my past as a producer. I think there are moments that do so on Chroma Chords but I have to keep myself challenged as an artist and naturally that is the result of my new album.