We all have dreams, right? Some of us have even been fortunate enough to live those dreams. However, it’s not an overnight process. Like a plant growing from the ground, a seed needs to be planted, and a dream needs to be cultivated. After some time and some uncertainty over what’s happening, one can see some beautiful results.
Thus is the career arc of one Jamie Churchill, better known as producer/DJ, LAXX. The UK native has pioneered his infectious “Twitch” sound with his collabs with SKisM and his remixes of artists such as 3LAU, Flux Pavilion, and Zomboy. Like so many of us, LAXX was unsure of his path in life growing up. However, when I asked him about a childhood memory that stood out, he immediately recalled being a young lad with a toy guitar and a CASIO keyboard. Maybe you played a toy instrument when you were young – a toy ukulele, or a harmonica, but for LAXX, these innocuous childhood memories planted a seed.
Fast forward several years, and the young LAXX learned a few instruments and started incorporating it into electronic music, laying down riffs he came up with on the bass guitar or keyboard. Like the plant, LAXX wasn’t desperate to be a musician, over time, it just kind of happened.
“Basically, it took me, like ages. It took me years and years to get good at producing, to even get a decent beat together that I’d be proud to show people. I didn’t show anyone for years and years, and when I did people didn’t get it. Some of my friends were just like “Yeah, this is cool.” And there was a point where I’d been DJing for a couple of years…I remember I met one of my best friends, and walked into the house…and there was a pair of decks, and this was when I was living in a cupboard. I didn’t have my decks set up and I’d been wanting to mix for ages, I didn’t really know that many people who were into that sort of thing. I was having a spin and everyone around the house was crowding around, and it was like “Oh, you can spin?”…So for the next three years, I DJ’d like every house party…It was wild.”
It’s clear the Brits have a sense of their music history. LAXX cites influences going back to the 60s and 70s. As LAXX puts it, “No one is stepping on anyone’s toes” in the UK, there’s something for everyone and the music scene is diverse. However, “UK sounds don’t necessarily translate everywhere else in the world. It wouldn’t necessarily work in the States.”
“I don’t really worry about anything, I get really stressed sometimes, though. But, I don’t worry…I’m kind of fearless. I think the biggest show that I played at the time a couple of years ago, I actually opened for Knife Party. This is in front of like 4,000-5,000 people. At the time, I was playing to like 500-600 maximum, and then that happened out of the blue. I’ve had loads of little things that have made me go, like, holy fuck!”
This stress manifests itself during the sometimes arduous process of producing music. As LAXX puts it, he works constantly, and even after a tune is finished, he’s still thinking about things he could have done with it. However, he admits he finds himself more impressed after a track is released and he’s heard it. In case you can’t tell, LAXX values hard work and staying true to oneself. For him, each song is an emotional release, relief from the stress of life. Some artists get into music as a hobby, for others, it’s more of a spiritual experience. LAXX falls into the latter category; as we spoke he recalled being essentially homeless, but he found emotional healing from producing music.
“Mate, I’ve been through a lot. Not having a house, I moved houses maybe five or six times in a space of about a year, so that was pretty rough. I’ve had it pretty bad on and off, so I think that’s why I’ve got such a connection with music. It’s not a safe zone; it’s more than just a hobby. It’s more than just a career. I’m emotionally attached to everything I write.”
Going back to the day-to-day stress, he says working under a deadline can be particularly challenging. He recalls the story of how he came up with the hit title track from his “Step Two” EP. With three days to come up with the track, LAXX came up with it “off pure adrenaline.” It just happened randomly with him writing some stuff down for a few minutes, and over the next couple of days, one of his biggest tunes was born. As he puts it, “I didn’t have a Step Two, and then I had it, in the space of a couple of days.”
Jamie’s advice for anyone in life is quite simple – when you know it’s right, it’s right. He takes the same attitude toward songwriting. As he puts it, “Everyone is self-conscious when it comes to writing tunes.” He says the only time he finalizes his tracks is when he feels just right about it, no one else.
As far as his fans, LAXX will go to the end of the earth for them, because that’s what they do for him, or at least to the end of the USA. Jamie talked about how wowed and inspired he is by the long distances that people have driven to see his shows. He recalls a father and son who came to a show in Denver, another “holy fuck” moment.
“I met a guy, he brought his son down, as well. He’d driven about 6-1/2 hours from Oklahoma to Denver. He had to take a whole day off work the next day, and he might not have even met me, but because I stuck around and got to interact with everyone, that was just awesome. It makes travelling like 20 hours for that show so worth it…on top of the show being sick as well.”
If you happen to be at a LAXX show, make sure to stick around, it’s for reasons like these that he always hangs out after shows too. He wants to meet his fans. As far as the impact he’d like to leave on the music, he wants people to find a message in the music, even if that message is “go sick after a rugged week at work, dance like nobody’s watching!”
For Jamie, it’s all about the connections. Some people jump for joy when their favorite song is playing, others “put their headphones on and disappear into the background.” LAXX again falls into the latter, but he knows each type of connection is equally important. Through his music Jamie hopes that he is giving back, because music has given him a lot. As Jamie puts it, “If people can hear my shit, and go that’s cool, or that’s different, or just spark an emotion in someone, that’s really all I want.”