You may have heard his name bandied about by the influential Zane Lowe for quite some time. Xilent, a Polish producer who made his name whilst studying at university in the UK and resultantly dropped out to pursue a career in music, is on the verge of dropping his debut album.
It'll be a true nod to his talents and endeavour as a producer, which he first broke during dubstep's ripened years with his most acclaimed hit 'Choose Me' (below). Refusing to be consigned to that genre and to make head way from the success of that track, Xilent exercised his production forte to broaden his output and correspondingly land him where he is today.
He now stands as front runner in bass music, with a lead that'll lengthen when his album is dispersed to the masses. There'll be a chunk of that played at Building Six, where he plays as part of a line up that includes Netsky for UKF on Thursday 2nd April. In sync with that appearance, we caught up with him for a chat to get the ins and outs on his meteoric rise in bass music.
You're heading to London's Building Six as part of a massive line up for UKF, what do you enjoy about playing in the UK and are you looking forward to it?
After I left my home country, it was in the UK where everything started for me Xilent wise. That alone is enough of a reason for me to feel attached to the island big time. I haven’t visited the UK since my Bass Music Award in 2013, which makes me even more excited to have the opportunity to join the UKF crew on yet another massive line up this year.
You started producing at quite a young age, was it your sole intention to make it as a DJ/producer? What sacrifices did you have to make for this to become a reality?
In 2009, when my punk rock phase was about to be over I was already a 19-year old dude in Scotland trying to study and work. Despite there being an Edinburgh band hitting me up to join them as their new drummer, the focus on university had overpowered my ability to continue with writing and playing music in any way.
In my spare time though, I taught myself production on my laptop and was finally able to push the songs that’d been playing in my head for years into an electronic medium. I started releasing weird drum & bass on a bunch of labels and had my first vinyl releases, which at the time was a milestone for me.
It wasn’t until 2011 however, when I got noticed by someone who would later turn my life into a full blown career. With the support I got from Shimon, AudioPorn Records and outlets such as the BBC and more - along with a tour of Australia,New Zealand and Japan on the way - I knew I couldn't continue with uni. I didn’t think of it as a sacrifice though, more of an opportunity, a step up.
And when you really broke the scene with 'Choose Me II' back in 2011, how did you refocus yourself as a producer, and stay grounded after the mighty success?
After the ‘Choose Me’ explosion I just knew I had to continue. First off, the fact that it was my first attempt at dubstep made me realise that I shouldn't just stick to one genre, but try more. I started pushing the melodic supersaw ideas into a variety of different tempos and beats, which in turn also broadened my audience.
Secondly, the three years to follow have been busy with tours and festivals, so I had the chance to take a break from producing and focus on performance - especially recently. Breaks like this help me 'sleep' on tracks and in turn help me focus on trying to reach for quality, not quantity.
Would you agree that dubstep is making a resurgence of late to perhaps what it once was when 'Choose Me II' was released ?
This is one of those things I can never decide on, it might partially be true. But I think the people that do it these days, including me, aren’t reaching the same size of audience as before. Yet a lot of what I hear these days is deep house and Melbourne bounce instead. It might be time to bring back ‘lovestep’, as some like to call it.
Your latest single 'Animation' premièred by your long time supporter Zane Lowe demonstrates your versatility in the studio, was it always your intention to cut it in the drum & bass scene as well as Dubstep or do you see it as a natural progression?
Well since 2009 I've been involved with D&B, but the need for versatility from 2011 has driven me to the point where I don’t want tempo boundaries to exist anymore. I think ‘Animation’ is a bit of a come back to my older days, but still compliments my fresher style that I integrate in my dubstep and electro house these days.
I’ve been following Zane ever since I tuned in to MTV2 as a kid. Having him support my music the way he does is an honour as well as major help for my career, and I respect him for that.
And that single is the last to come before your debut album on AudioPorn, is 'Animation' a taster of what's to come from the album, what can we expect from it overall?
Yes, ‘Animation’ (below) is the final of the three album-preceding singles, the first two being ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘The Place’. The album will incorporate a complete package of every genre I’ve ever worked with. Starting with dubstep and drum & bass, as well as electro house, glitch hop, ambient and symphonic elements. All of it will be put together into a 60 minute cybernetic adventure.
Is there anything else we can expect from you, perhaps any collaborations in the pipeline?
I’ve recently completed remixes for Dub FX’s ‘Prove Me Wrong’ and Au5’s ‘Snowblind’, which currently await their April releases. There is a remix for one of Seven Lions’ recent EP tracks in the planning phase.
As for collaborations, I’m working on and off with BT on an atmospheric electro house track and a dubstep collaboration with Au5. I'm really excited about both.
And finally, if you could curate your ultimate rave, what three DJs would join you and where would you host it?
Just three? Tough. I might sound like a broken record, but playing an ultra-melodic, futuristic, laser-filled, bass-heavy party with SevenLions, Au5, Fractal, Prismatic, Virtual Riot and Isqa. Then all of the people dancing with us on the WOMB stage in Tokyo followed by inflatable raft crowd sailing covered in foam, UV confetti and champagne sounds like a sweet deal.
Want to catch Xilent in action? Head to his artist page here or find tickets to his date at Building Six for UKF in the box below.