TFword in Conversation With BiXX

The acclaimed DJ and producer spoke about his recent singles, how he intends to push his sound further, his style of DJing, and lots more.

Trance music takes an entirely different path when it enters the emotional foundations that it’s built on, something that BiXX has been championing despite the genre taking several creative turns over the past two decades. Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, BiXX has been an important cog in trance, being recognized as one of the biggest genres of electronic music.

With tracks like ‘Yes I Can’ and ‘Sound Of The Alarm,’ which found support at major festival stages, BiXX has released his uplifting trance melodies on labels like Nocturnal Knights, Outburst and FSOE, solidifying his reputation as a creator of immersive and emotionally resonant trance music that inspires and energizes listeners worldwide.

As BiXX keeps taking us on a journey of his euphoric trance, he has released two breathtaking singles, with Christopher Corrigan coming in on the first release on ‘Alignment,’ followed by ‘Other Worlds’ with Scottish tech-trance connoisseur Mark Sherry.

Following the release, we sat down with BiXX to know more about his collaborations, his quest to push the trance sound, how he goes about his DJ sets and lots more.

TFword: Two smashing tunes in the form of ‘Alignment’ and ‘Other Worlds’! What are your thoughts on how they have shaped up?
BiXX: First of all, I must admit that collaborations with other producers are difficult for me. I have always been a very controlling person. I don’t mean that I need to control people; I like to control the brand and product. My business background taught me that micromanaging does not achieve the best outcome. It does not bring out the best in the other person or the team. In collaborations, there needs to be a change in attitude—to push for what is important but also allow for what is important to the other person.

Alignment was created from afar. Christopher shared files and ideas electronically. I find it difficult to communicate by email compared to being in person. My schedule was extremely busy, and Christopher was the fastest to respond. He had an incredible work ethic, pushing the project forward. We asked Natalie Gioia to sing a vocal sample for the breakdown. She did an amazing job but is not credited in the track title. Her vocal in the break was the cherry on top that the track needed to bring out the emotion.

Mark Sherry and I worked on Other Worlds in his studio in Ayr, Scotland. Obviously, this made the process much smoother and more collaborative. The goal of this track was to create a dance floor stopper to give the audience a break from super emotional uplifting tracks in my set while keeping an uplifting component. The track turned out better than expected, marrying Mark Sherry’s techy call-and-response sounds with my uplifting melodies. The track ended up being a roller coaster ride of energy and emotions.

TF: Dancefloor leaning, powerful, and vibrant – both the releases have the dynamics associated with your style. Talk us through your journey to finding your formative sound.
BiXX: This is a good question because my formative sound is a journey. It is a constant evolution based on growth as a person and as an artist, influenced by new stimuli and new ways of thinking. But the underlying inspiration for me has always been to create an emotional trigger. Like having a switch where you get to control when to turn off and on specific emotions. My parents had very high expectations of me when I was growing up, so I worked hard and became very focused on achieving results. I showed strength and not emotion. But we all need to show emotion, so my trigger is uplifting trance music.

I try to put what I call BiXX Beauty or a BiXX Beautiful moment in each track, where the listener closes their eyes and surrenders to the emotion. I think of it as breaking down the defensive walls and then building the listener back up with a big, powerful melodic drop or a melodic reprise in a techier track.

There is also an inspirational component to most of my tracks. Delivering inspirational music through trance is one of my core principles. Combining an inspirational message with uplifting music creates a special feeling of confidence.

An artist needs to keep evolving within their zone of authenticity, constantly bringing in new stimuli to the brain through continuous education, working with other producers, vocalists, nature, relaxation, and other genres of music. The beauty of creative growth is we don’t know the limits of our own minds in the future. We just keep pushing the limits so there are none.

TF: Once again, both ‘Alignment’ and ‘Other Worlds’ are a confluence of the golden days and the modern-day aesthetics of Trance music. What are your thoughts on how the tunes have progressed creatively?

BiXX: This is a good case study of how creativity works from afar compared to in the studio together. Clearly, creative energy works much better in person. Christopher Corrigan and I worked on the track from our respective studios at home. With Alignment, it was more of a back-and-forth process. I provided the melody, and Christopher built out the track. It came back to me for more decorations and final touches, then back to Christopher and back to me.

With Mark Sherry and the track Other Worlds, I visited Mark in his studio prior to going to ADE in Amsterdam last October. We were literally together to create or choose every sound. I showed up with three different melodies to choose from. We chose a melody by hiding the number of fingers representing the melody behind our backs.

On a count of three, we both showed our fingers at the same time, choosing the same melody, which was a great start to this track. We high-fived, which broke the ice. The original track idea was based on a concept I call paralysis of analysis. This is why the track is an up-and-down roller coaster of emotion and energy. We pivoted to a cool concept about creating a better planet and travel to ‘Other Worlds’. This kind of creativity happens when working together in person.

TF: What was it like working with Christopher Corrigan and Mark Sherry on the singles?
BiXX: As I mentioned before, these were two different situations. Christopher is very kind and respectful. The process went fairly smoothly. He was the driver of the work pace because I was traveling and had a very full schedule. He pushed to get the track done, and since we were not working together in person, there were longer delays waiting on me to get my portion finished.

Working with Mark Sherry in person was an entirely different process. He is very honest about what he likes and does not like. Mark is very disciplined and works hard. We spent more time building the track and less talking about life. I like to get sidetracked at times, talking about life lessons and sharing inspirational stories. Mark likes to stay focused on the track.

This dynamic worked well for our chemistry. It’s important to find a good communication process that brings out the best in each other. Mark and I are on somewhat opposite ends of our music styles—uplifting versus hardcore tech trance. I call this new style tech-lifting. It was fun pushing Mark into uplifting while using his high-energy call-and-response tech sounds.

TF: Going forward, is there anything you have in mind that you intend to pursue stylistically?
BiXX: I am working on my first-ever album, which I hope to start releasing in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2024. The problem I’m experiencing is trying to add even better tracks. With this philosophy, the album can never get finished. At some point, I need to say that enough is enough. I am replacing two tracks on the album with two vocal tracks from Cari and Susana. The album title is The Voice of Reason. This album tells a story with each track, helping you discover your own internal voice of reason. Combining uplifting trance music with inspirational messages creates a feeling of confidence.

In terms of new styles, I have been experimenting with a new tech lifting style. I have a new track coming out in June called The School of Hard Knocks, which communicates a unique message about living life through the School of Hard Knocks. I am working on a new track based on an 80s track called Passion by The Flirts, explaining my message of living a passionate life. It has an 80s feel while using classic trance sounds. Also, a new tech lifting track called Naysayers, a tribute to all the people who told me I couldn’t do something.

The sky is the limit on new styles of music as long as I follow my inner passion for uplifting. I constantly look for new music and new sounds to stimulate new ideas.

TF: How do you look back on your journey and what are your thoughts on the scene’s modern exploits?
BiXX: There is a quote that perfectly describes this: “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” There are so many distractions today with all the social media platforms trying to give users a dopamine shot and get them hooked. It can get confusing and exhausting.

What has not changed is staying true to your brand. It’s important to focus on what is important to you, what you are passionate about, and what you want to convey through your social media posts. Think of technology changes as better ways to communicate a well-thought-through brand strategy that builds brand integrity and reach. While technology constantly changes, the branding strategy remains the same.

TF: How do you go about working on your DJ sets?
BiXX: Great question. Actually, a very fun question. Since I don’t play a lot of gigs due to living in the USA, I struggle with whether to play all BiXX tracks or include current big uplifting tracks from other artists. When I plan out a set, it has to start with a special intro track—something slow and epic that will grab the audience right away. I am not a fan of starting a set with beats. I want to take the audience on a journey of emotions and energy.

I take the set into super uplifting mode while understanding too much uplifting can get boring. After the first epic track, I look for some transition tracks to get me out of the first track into a lot of emotion. Depending on the set length, I try to go through phases of emotion, breaking down emotional barriers (defensive walls), then shocking the audience back into harder energy with different degrees of uplifting. This is accomplished by choosing tracks with harder baselines.

I play some tech-lifting tracks that don’t have melodic drops but good melodies. Then I find a couple of transition tracks to bring the crowd out of this state and back into full uplifting and full energy, taking the emotion and energy level even higher than they thought they could tolerate. I don’t let them go until the last track, which is often a classic track or one that shows my appreciation.

I need to read the crowd and have backup tracks to change the energy level if what I am playing is not resonating. A long-winded answer simplified: take the audience on an emotional and energetic journey. I learned this approach from my friends at the DJ School of Amsterdam.

TF: Talk us through your favorite moment on the road so far in 2024.
BiXX: My favorite moment on the road in 2024 is driving myself from my house to the local gym to build back my body. In December 2023, my colon got infected unexpectedly. It was very serious. The surgeon removed 31 cm of my colon. I gave myself the first four months of 2024 to recover. I am fully recovered now, stronger than before.

My favorite moment of 2023 was playing at the Luminosity Beach Festival for the first time. Meeting so many fans and artists that I have communicated with on social media from all over the world was very special. Experiencing something for the first time brings a high level of gratitude and appreciation. It’s like being a kid again and remembering how you felt when you experienced something wonderful for the first time. When trance music fans get together on the beach from all over the world, special moments happen.

The experience at Luminosity was validation of so much hard work over the last five years. However, we must be careful about external validation. If we do something for external validation only, we will eventually be disappointed. Internal satisfaction and enjoyment are much more important than outside validation.

TF: What can we expect from BiXX in 2024?
BiXX: I am slowly getting back into the gig scene with events in May and July in Europe. See my socials for details. My first album will be released in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2024, with lots of PR and promotion accompanying each release. I have been working on this album for almost two years. An album tour is still under consideration. I have several new track projects in the works that I probably won’t release until after my album is fully released. I am reviewing whether it makes sense to sign with a booking management company. Plans are to attend ADE again this year in October.

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