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:: Spotlight :: Interview with one of Australia's great DJs - BeXta

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

DJ BeXta is one of Australia's most lovable and charismatic DJs. She has been at the forefront of the dance music scene for several years, and she is very hard-working and diligent in what she brings to the music loving public - touring extensively around the country and prominent in her songwriting and production qualities.

BeXta sets high stanndards for herself and for the newcomers and veterans alike. It is in her own unique and passionate style that endeards her and makes the listener and club fraternity keen for more I had the pleasure of chatting to her recently as she prepares for the Melbourne leg of the Future Music Festival..

You have made a great contribution to Australian dance music. Tell us how you view your career so far?

It’s been my life for so long now and I still have a very strong passion for it. I still feel as though I’m just starting out. It’s a continual evolving nature in the music production – always learning and working with other people. Someone like Brian Canham, on my latest single V.I.P. He produced the radio edit with me and it was really fun working alongside him. He has so many years experience and brought great diversity to what I do.

Tell us a bit more about the single?

Amii (Jackson) and I have been working on a few tracks. People who heard it in the early stages thought it was a good song to move forward with. We put a lot of effort into the video clip, through my label (Mixology Digital Records) and invested quite a bit towards developing it, with remixes also. We’re getting some great feedback.

You’ve also recently released your 10th Mixology CD, a great achievement. This one being a 3-CD set of special anthems and new trance tracks…

It was a one-off thing (laughs). Then I thought that another one should be done. Now we’re up to 10. I’m trying to catch up to Nick Skitz. He’s done 27 Skitz Mix’s. He’s amazing. I wanted to do something substantial because it was No.10 – a retrospective of where I’ve come from and where I’m heading. When you put it all in one package, there is quite a big musical difference – part of the attraction of it.

Are you at the peak of your performance now?

In terms of production work I feel that there is a new chapter definitely starting, with the level of production and working with other people. The style of music is now more solidified and developing into something I’m particularly happy with now.

What has been the key to staying at the top?

I haven’t been high profile all the time. It comes in waves. The reason that I’ve been so happy with the level of production is because I’ve taken a step back from DJing. I’ve shifted my focus. I was DJing three to four times a week at places. I thought that if I continue like this, I mightn’t like what I do. It was then about refocusing and making sure that I was still passionate about the music I was playing to people. If you aren’t, then nobody else will be. I think that is very important.

You have your own label Mixology Digital Records. What is it like from a business sense?

In terms of running a label, it’s a seven day a week existence, with the gigs I’m doing also. It’s a learning curve for me as there is so much technical and business aspects to running as label and doing it properly. There is lots of paperwork. I still enjoy it because it’s another aspect of the whole picture of what I do. It is about finding the right people to work with you as well. I have contributors and promotions people – people that you contract to. It makes it a lot easier. A few of the artists signed to the label are enthusiastic about promoting themselves. They are young and keen to get the word out about themselves and others on the label. It’s good to have everyone working together.

Tell us your plans for the label…

There’s nothing set in stone yet. The V.I.P. track has had some overseas interest. I’m more interested in looking overseas from an artist production point of view rather than simply a DJ. You can’t walk into the UK and say “I’m A DJ”, as every second person there can be. I’m keen to get our label promoted over there.

What is the best overseas show you’ve done?

The best international gig I did was probably one I did in Vancouver, Canada – a gig called Summer Love – about five years ago. There were 10,000 people in a corn field with no lighting – just video projectors. It was a tremendous event with all different styles of music.

How was the recent Big Day Out tour?

The recent Big Day Out was really good. I was doing it every second year and then had three years off. So it was good to get back on the road with the rock band. It’s very different to touring solo. It was good fun playing a fairly new crowd too.

What do you do to stay healthy and in great shape?

I definitely have to balance my weeks with my weekends. Weekends you’re in clubs and you might have a couple of drinks. There’s so much travel involved. It’s almost like having jet lag every week. The important thing is to get a good amount of sleep. I eat heaps of vegetables during the week, knowing that I’ll have airline food and room service on weekends. If you’re naughty on the weekends you have to be good during the week.

Your recent promotional campaign has seen you in a sexier image than ever before…

It’s more of an expression of where I am at the moment personally – a bit more grown up.

Do you want to stretch your skills into another music style?

At the moment I am developing an album concept. From my recent releases (Mixology 10 and V.I.P.) you can see that there is a distinct move away from the harder style of music. That’s where I’m heading at the moment – more collaborations. I have a great interest in film music too. I have a complete passion for it and I will move towards that.

Looking back to your album “Conversations With Ones And Zeroes”, were you happy with the response? And is there another album on the way?

I can’t believe that it was about four years ago. For any artist, an album is very emotional and everything goes on the line. I did enjoy it and the feedback I received. I’ve been reflecting a little on it now as I’d like to do another album. I’m ready to step out there again and have another go. It’s interesting being a dance music artist, especially then doing hard trance. Not many people do it and it was quite a special event. There’s been a disappearance of live trance in recent times, except the mainstream ones that get a band happening.

What gives you inspiration away from music?

Last year I moved out of the city – doing normal things like renovating houses/landscaping. I’d never really done anything like that before, but I am finding it’s another form of creativity and whenever I want to step back from the craziness, I’ll go and knock a wall out. It might be good therapy! I’m always up for change – the city to the country and back.

Your live show experience is very visual – great lighting, dancers, etc…

I’ll probably have to rethink the live show if I release another album. In the V.I.P. clip I used more dancers. I’m quite keen to get them back. With Amii doing vocals we’re looking at that aspect of the performance too. Maybe some instruments to make it look interesting too.

What are the plans for the next few months?

For this year, I’ll be mostly off the road which will be very strange. It will be studio time with some great little collaborations lined up. One of my distributors came back from the MIDEM conference with some success for V.I.P., so we might go overseas and do shows during the European summer.

BeXta’s “Mixology 10” is out now through Central Station Records, as is her latest single “V.I.P.”

See BeXta perform at the Future Music Festival on Sunday, March 9.

BeXta launches V.I.P. on the following dates elsewhere around Australia:

April 4 - Rise, Perth
April 11 - King St, Newcastle
April 18 - Sublime @ Home, Sydney
April 25 - Stargarden @ Viper Room, Melbourne
May 2 - Bliss Nightclub, Ipswich
May 9 - One Nightclub, Albury
May 30 - Syrup, Hobart
Jun 7 - Ballina Hotel, Ballina

March 29 - Family, Brisbane
April 4 - Rise, Perth
April 18 - King Street, Newcastle

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