T.O.P Interview: NX1 (Nexe, NX1)

Words by Helena Markos

Photography by Teresa Espadafor

NX1 is the first project of Nexe Records born at the end of 2011. NX1 is the duo consisting of Surit and Samot, artists based in Barcelona, devoted to creation of first class techno. NX1 are already counting numerous of robust releases on top-tier labels, such as Semantica, Modularz, Grey report, Odd EvenPlanete Rouge, M_RecInner Surface Music and End of Dayz. Their live acts have been relished at important venues and rooms across the globe from Japan to Lithuania, Germany and Switzerland.

Their serious, heavy sound is a strong reminder of the old good days of techno. At the same time, it contains futuristic aspects pushing music a step forward, taking into consideration and expressing modern challenges.

Samot and Surit, are definitely two well-established artists with lots of energy and strong vision for their music. We had the amazing opportunity to ask them about their music making, perception on techno, upcoming release on Phase Fatale‘s BITE and of course, their sick Utter EP, armed with industrial “weapons”, recently released on their own NX1 imprint. These guys are not messing about, they have a real taste for techno and they have not stopped proving it. Each release seems to be better than their previous one.

Nexe means Nexus and it reflects their approach around music production and arts. It is union between music, visual and graphic arts. That’s why we are attracted to NX1. They push music further and they represent something more than merely a sound. There is a whole concept and perspective behind anything they do. We are proud to have them on Tales of Psychofonia.


T.O.P: Hi guys, we are delighted to have you!  First of all, I would like ask you few things about your dope project NX1 and your record label NEXE. How did you two meet? 

J – Well, actually this is a common question for us. We know each other since we were really young kids. We’re from the same town, and we grew up together. So it’s more than 20 years that we’re friends and doing stuff together.

T – As Joan said, we are childhood friends, and from very young we’ve been involved in electronic music. After many years making music together we decided to start with NX1 as a label and an artist project, and later Nexe Records was the idea that we always had in mind.

T.O.P: What is your vision within electronic music? 

T- It’s complicated, the answer could be very wide. Electronic music offers a lot of possibilities in its multitude of genres. I’ve always listened many different genres and even though techno has been the most important one, my vision has been influenced by several others, for sure.

 J – I think this is a very broad question. In general terms, it should be pure and genuine, it has to transmit certain kind of feelings and emotions, has to involve freedom and always be exploring and pushing new limits and technologies, without loosing the essence, which is the music itself. But we could be discussing about so many points of all of that for hours and hours…!

T.O.P:  What was the milestone of your journey within the music so far? 

T – The moment when you realise all the path is complete and that music has become something daily integrated in your life.

J – I guess there are so many and all together contribute, in the end, to the same thing. First record, first shows at some particular venues, to be asked for collaborations from artists and labels we always followed and respected, to be conscious about the evolution we had during these years, in terms of concept and sound, to keep loving what we do after all…

T.O.P: As modern producers based in Barcelona, how do you perceive the scene and do you think they are any challenges you need to deal with? 

J – Honestly, Barcelona is a city which offer a lot of possibilities. Talking about the techno scene here, there are always things happening. It’s not that we’re living in a small town, far away from everything (that sometimes we really wish), but it’s not Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris, with an integrated, variated and healthy scene. A few more small venues with a regular program, but not the usual burned things would be refreshing and really helpful.

T- I always like to answer these kind of questions with positive aspects. I think it’s slowly getting force again. There are so many artists living in the city, several good record shops, little by little there are more venues / clubs, here it’s also happening one of the most renowned festivals as is Sonar with all the movement and parties around during a week… but yes, as a challenge would be cool to give space to names that are not usual here, to avoid watching always the same faces at the stages.

T.O.P: Would you like to tell me few words on your hefty, recently released EP – Utter 01?

J – From the very first NX1 in our label, we kept the concept of doing one track from which we developed two more to complete each release. It was something natural in our way to work, even some other releases on some other labels were conceived and made with this idea. After the years, we felt we needed to change and that feeling came when we were close to do the 10th release of the label. So we decided to close that way of working and start a new one. This is why we started the “Utter” series, where the idea to configure an EP is totally different.

T – I could also say that we’ve chosen “Utter” for the many meanings that this word has, as a verb; to pronounce, express, publish and as an adjective; total, and absolute, complete or pure.

As Joan said, we totally changed the way we do each EP from now on, they will have 4 tracks, which, on the first one, are all straight 4/4.  We changed the design for these new series and added colour for first time in our label.

T.O.P: Also, do you wanna tell me how the collaboration with Hayden (Phase Fatale) occurred? What makes your release on his BITE label special? 

J- It was in a very natural way, we had shared music and met some times before. He talked to us about his new label and asked us to do an EP. We found it really interesting and we understood each other easily. We’re really happy with this EP, as we feel we express so many things in just three tracks.

T.O.P: Regarding your statement your music  is a “Mix of excitement, agony, joy and anger. We digest the trip thinking about the next one. Music as nexus.” we love that…

What is the ideal mindset or situation/environment for you to make music?

T – For me any environment could be good if I feel like and I’m inspired. I can create an idea anywhere, recording any sound and later developing it at the studio, for example. It could be early in the morning, or late at night, whenever I feel comfortable, I don’t mind.

J -That statement you mentioned it’s perfect for me.

T.O.P: Do you see music through an individualistic perspective or through a more social one?

T – Both.

J – It’s difficult to understand one without the other one. Many individuals with similar perspectives compose a social one.

T.O.P: Is for you music creation a solemn expression of one’s self or the modern expression of our collective mind?

T – Like before, both have the same importance here. In the end, an individual artistic expression it’s always influenced by a collective mind.

J – Maybe a modern expression of a small collective of minds, through a one’s self experience?

T.O.P: What are your views on techno nowadays? Are you partygoers or you prefer the life of the studio and creation? 

J – About our views on techno nowadays, I could say there are so many good things and music happening out there. If we are partygoers or studio types…It always depends on the period, but if I like the party and I can, I usually go. For sure the life of the studio and creation is fundamental and it’s difficult to skip this routine, this is always part of our lives. 

T- There are lots of variety on the same genre, maybe if you don’t know what techno music is and you want to find it, you could be easily confused. From my point of view, it could be counterproductive, because from one side, it can be good in regards to diversity but not so good in terms of excessive content, each one has their own point of view. And as per your question, studio or party, I like both, but I prefer playing 😉

T.O.P: Have you noticed any major changes in the way you produce since your early days? 

 J – Yeah for sure, it’s something natural after so many years making music. Your sound and idea, even just a bit, are in constant evolution.

T- Of course, there are always things to improve, things to change, new methods to try… electronic music is linked with technology, so it’s always moving further year after year.

T.O.P. : Is there anything that had a big impact on your music? It can by anything a moment, a person or a place… 

T – The music is always linked with feelings and state of mind, so any important moment, place or thing that could happen to me could have a big impact on what I’m doing.

J – I think all the music we listened and played in our very early days, when we were still teenagers  since we were twenty or so marked the base of what we like and what we do nowadays. Of course, we have always had new influences that fed our way of expression, but the main message and idea behind it’s still the same.

T.O.P: You have performed in so many different countries of the world. From Germany to Japan and South Korea. Is there any of these live act experiences that is quite unforgettable and why? 

J – Well, we could say so many. For sure, Tokyo could be the most recent, as it was our first time there and we were able to do a Nexe Records showcase at Contact. That was ACE.  

T – Any new place it’s always a great experience, but there are always places that become special or unforgettable. Asia was great, but I could also say in Paris, like 3 years ago we played in a kind of huge rave that was from totally empty to full in just five minutes and everyone came in already dancing and in the mood, that moment will be always in my mind.

T.O.P: Any upcoming collaborations you want to share with us? 

J – We’re already working on the “Utter 2”, hopefully to be released before the end of this year. We’ve also done some V/A where we’re involved and some remixes also.

T – Nexe Records will come again later this year with two EPs from our personal projects as Surit and Samot, with some great remixes involved. Hopefully, we could announce some more NX1 / Nexe Records news soon.

T.O.P: Finally, my T.O.P. question…Psychofonia is a rare method of treating migraine through sound waves. Which album or piece of music would you suggest as a mind/soul healer? 

T – Carla dal Forno – You know what it’s like

J – Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan