Sardinian DJ, producer and graphic designer Simone Deiana, better known as Arp Xp (particularly by implike attendants of the legendary Sun and Bass festival in his home base where he played alongside notorious DJs such as Grooverider, Hype, Sabre, Chase & Status, Noisia, State Of Mind, Roni Size, Logistics, Skream, Marky and many more) has got a remarkable DJing and producing experience (he could brag about remixes for Subsonica, Zion Train, Sikitikis and so on as well as many drum and bass and dubstep tunes on labels such as Critical, IM:Ltd, Dbox, Essence Of Dub, Absys, Modulate and many more). His first full-length album ”Closer” is released by IM:Ltd and is a great opportunity to appreciate Arp Xp‘s versatility: his tracks enucleate many hues of the genre as well as some hooks from IDM knights (for instance Autechre fans will recognize some similarities with their first bleeps in Arp Xp‘s “What We See”). On the occasion of his debut release, we had a chat with him. Enjoy!
Chain D.L.K.: Hi there. I’ve just listened to your new album “Closer”. Very nice, my compliments! Could you introduce it to our readers in your own words?
Arp Xp: It engaged me for a very long time. It’s my first LP (maybe the last one!!!) and it’s a collection of what I’ve produced last year, with a couple of important pieces from my first release on IM:Ltd. I wrote it while I was going through some really bad times in my life so I think you can kinda feel the negative side of it. It’s dark, dirty and deep at the same time.
Chain D.L.K.: After many stylistic changes and sub-genres spreading around this scene, I think it’s quite logical to ask about the state of health of the D’n'B scene. What’s your viewpoint?
Arp Xp: There are a shitload of young producers, who are very talented in comparison with the past. They try to improve much more, moving quite far away from the “old” standards that used to define the scene. Quite often these producers open their mind to several genres / BPMs, which is something that didn’t happen in the past. Back in the days a D’n'B producer wouldn’t try to produce a new house or techno record. Things have changed and I’m quite happy about it to be honest, because your creative level can get influenced.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you remember the exact moment you fell in love with the D’n'B sound?
Arp Xp: It was 1997 when I saw Roni Size’s “Brown Paper Bag” video clip on TV. I used to play guitar and bass in several useless bands before then. Something slowly changed and after a while I found myself into a new musical planet and I felt the unstoppable need of producing new music on my own.
Chain D.L.K.: What about your equipment?
Arp Xp: Just Ableton with a couple of midi controllers and keyboards and a firewire soundcard.
Chain D.L.K.: I was talking about the D’n'B state of things with a friend I knew from when I used to write for a famous Italian zine (the first one dealing with D’n'B in Italy, until a denial-of-service attack arguably by some metal or fake anonymous fans (!) brought it down) and he argued that the main problem of the D’n'B scene is the proliferation of a plenty of low or average quality micro-projects, which makes it quite difficult to find the real pearls… would you agree with this analysis?
Arp Xp: The Italian scene has been ruled by techno rave parties for a long time and I never really appreciated the way a lot of promoters merged these two completely different subcultures taking away from the D’n'B’s own soul/funky/black influences. That’s way in Italy we have always been compared to the hard / power side of the electronic scene or have always been seen like a wing of that, and it’s always been really hard to find some room for soulful attitude. That was the main problem to me. And yeah there are plenty of average micro projects but people’s mentality is what ruins the movement.
Chain D.L.K.: You grew up within the Sardinian Sun and Bass festival… any anticipation about the forthcoming edition?
Arp Xp: Even if you tortured me, I can’t say anything, sorry. I can promise you it’s gonna be the best thing ever, as always.
Chain D.L.K.: Tracks like “Upon Waves” or the title-track are almost Balearic. Is it a way you imbued your music with Sardinian sun?
Arp Xp: I actually got inspiration from the winter, the cold, the rain. Sitting on a rock, alone, in the middle of nowhere. As I said above this album is like a personal path through some of the darkest moments of my existence.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve seen you involved with some collaborators for the final release… some words about them?
Arp Xp: Maurs is a young producer from Cagliari and he’s one of my closest friends. Estel is a singer from Turin, her voice is amazing. Caine is the IM:Ltd’s boss. I like their style so that’s why they’re involved.
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any track you particularly loved for some reason? If so, why?
Arp Xp: ”Curiouser” and “Keep your Head” are important in the process of the album. Both represent two different moods and approaches to the production. “Keep your Head” sounds like a multi-layered D’n'B song with tons of different drum samples and a long deep bass line with dark orchestral sound. The other one is the opposite. Simply 808 drum kits and bass with stupid voice samples. Simple. Nothing more.
Chain D.L.K.: Any future steps after “Closer”?
Arp Xp: I’m trying to explore different genres. One of my latest tunes has been included in the “June Festival” compilation, and it’s my very first 125 bpm release, so far away from my own “standard”. I’m loving what people like Trevino, Boddika and Jon Convex are doing in this moment. Beyond that, I’ve got a few releases out after the summer on Avantgarde, on the forthcoming Sunandbass LP and a few collaborations with Fade, Roy Green and Protone, Quentin Hiatus, Maurs and others.
visit Arp Xp on the web at: www.arpexperiment.com