Alix Perez: Experimental Mastermind Talks Evolution & Sonic Bloom
Always experimenting yet never straying from his distinctive style, Alix Perez is a name that needs no introduction. Famed for his diverse discography and the 1985 Music label, this multigenre producer is building an empire that celebrates obscurity by fusing music and imagery. MP3 Mag spoke with Alix Perez ahead of Sonic Bloom Festival to discuss his inspirations, career, and future plans.
Since debuting on London’s drum and bass scene in the early 2000’s, Alix Perez, known to family and friends as Alix Depauw, has been unwaveringly dedicated to his craft. A man of many talents, he continually expands his skill set, whether in the studio, curating his label, or applying his graphic design degree. His constant evolution is a testament to his work ethic.
Depauw’s hypnotic sound, with tracks spanning a wide range of tempos, has earned praise nationwide. As his American tour nears, he delves into his all-encompassing record bag, excited to showcase new tracks at Sonic Bloom 2023.
Depauw’s sets, eagerly anticipated and unpredictable, are never pre-planned. He syncs with the audience’s energy and confidently selects tracks that feel right in the moment. Expect a seamless blend of groovy grime, ethereal basslines, and numerous unreleased 140 BPM tracks and beyond when the master takes to the decks.
Influenced early on by punk rock, metal, hip-hop, and boundary-pushing French cult films like La Haine, Depauw’s artistic genius is evident in his shows, merchandise, and artwork. He finds beauty in darkness and uniquely expresses that perspective in his artistry.
“People often associate darkness with negativity, but I don’t see it that way,” said Depauw. “[…] My favorite music is melancholic, where it’s sad but kind of happy, with some hope in it.”
From deep dub to drum and bass, Depauw’s creative vision permeates his label and all his projects. 1985 Music (pronounced One Nine Eight Five Music) amplifies his stylistic viewpoint by spotlighting like-minded artists. Drone, Visages, and Submarine are just a few contributors adding their personal touch to Depauw’s imprint.
Armed with a keen ear for music and an eye for graphic design, Depauw adds depth to the brand by visualizing the aesthetic of his sound. Using this creative outlet as an anchor when he gets stuck musically prevents him from overthinking or forcing projects. Intuitive and always exploring his identity, he frees his mind by approaching each track differently.
“It’s cool to be influenced and find something new and take that on board but obviously, it’s about translating it in your own way,” Depauw explained.
Since the 2007 release of “Solitary Native,” Depauw has been celebrated for his transformative perception and imagination. An enduring fan favorite, his and Sabre’s ethereal rendition of the classic Billy Cobham song sampled in “93′ til Infinity” marked a significant turning point in his career.
Depauw recalls, “When I first discovered that sample, I showed Sabre because I was so excited that I found the original sample that Souls of Mischief used. We were both very excited. […] The track came together very quickly.”
The secret ingredient to his success? It was the producer’s unwavering grit that set the trajectory for his evolution. For years, he attended university, worked a side job, and spent nights at drum and bass events advocating for himself and seeking out feedback. Depauw fondly remembers showing up to clubs with demo CDs at 19. “It was quite intense, but also rewarding after a while. […] There was something special about those times that I do miss now.”
Human connection and collaboration are essential to Depauw, who harbors mixed feelings about the internet era. While direct access to artist tutorials and Patreon-like services are beneficial, there are pros and cons to instant gratification. In an age where technology blurs the lines between isolation and unity, Depauw is grateful his career began when in-person experiences were the norm.
“I think it has given me a sound,” Alix Perez explained. “By trying to imitate, but not knowing how to, I ended up forging my own sound.”
A lack of immediate information could have been a setback, but instead, it became Depauw’s secret weapon. Dedicated to the grind, his thirst for exposure and insight inspired him to seek it out. From sitting with discomfort to developing mutual respect with icons like Fabio & Grooverider, his rise to recognition felt surreal at the time.
“When I moved to London, I sort of put myself right into all of these cultures, amazing music, and people.”
Born in Belgium but raised in London, Depauw’s journey began the moment he moved to the city with his mother, who he credits for initially sparking his curiosity. Certainly the coolest mom around, she had turntables, records, and a love for techno and jungle. From teaching him the ropes to supporting him at his London shows and sharing the excitement of his greatest milestones, their relationship is an unparalleled mother-son dynamic.
“Having a parent that not only understands what you do but connects with it and enjoys what you do is quite special.”
Now residing in New Zealand with his partner, Depauw manages the responsibilities of being an international tastemaker, label owner, and multifaceted creative. Whether he’s immersed in production or coordinating 1985 Music magic, he’s always juggling tasks and striving to raise the bar.
During his 2023 American tour, winter will be at its peak on Depauw’s side of the world—making Sonic Bloom’s Hummingbird Ranch the perfect spot to soak in the sunshine and drop some unreleased bangers.
Don’t miss out on seeing Alix Perez at Sonic Bloom 2023. Buy your festival passes here.