Alexis Raphael Interview

House | Wednesday 8th February 2012 | Osh



We catch up with House DJ and Producer Alexis Raphael to talk about is upcoming EP and ever rising popularity.


What were you listening to when you were a child?

Well, I suppose I was listening to a lot of my parent’s old jazz and soul vinyl’s. Then when I was 10 I started listening to rave music, which was hardcore back then. Things like The Future Sounds of London and the Ragga Twins around nineties, so I was really young getting into it and from there it kind of progressed through. But that was the early kind of dance music I was listening to.

I’ve known you for a quite a while. I didn’t really know that was really the essence of where that started for you. It was the same for me. It’s what spawned the thought that ‘music is deep’.

For me, I just had this natural love of music. I don’t know what it was. I was 11 buying these rave CD’s. That progressed to tape packs from the rave DJ’s, and that went onto vinyl after a bit. Then the music evolved into early drum and bass, which lasted a few years. Then the house and garage crept in and I started listening to more house music. I was given a crate of the early late 80’s early acid-house stuff and that started my love of house music. So that was the beginning for me really.

Can you remember which house track at that time was the one?

Frankie Knuckles – Tears, that was the first one really. And String of Life – Derrick May. A lot of the early stuff like French Kiss. I’ve still got the vinyl’s right next to my decks at home, so they’ve got prime position.

What kind of kicked it off production wise? I know you have a musical background.

I was put in piano lessons quite young. My dad said to me ‘You’ll thank me one day’. I actually thanked him last year. I started playing the piano from five to about seventeen. That was my first proper introduction into playing music.

So if your parents actually keep making you play an instrument, keep at it. What made you actually want to start producing the music?

Well, I dropped out of school a little bit early, not too early. I was doing landscape gardening and all sorts of jobs at the time, but my love was music. I was playing all over North and East London pirate radios back then, so the next thing for me was to start making some tunes. I did a sound engineering course. That was about ten years ago. But the truth is I couldn’t knuckle down, I was too busy partying and going to raves and doing what not to really put the time into it. It was only about two years ago that I really knuckled down into the actual production. I took a break from DJ- ing for a few years and took a degree of economics, which is totally the other way. I used to go to university with my bag of records and a financial times in the other hand. In the end I finished that and got on with the DJ- ing in London.

Right about now, you’re kind of getting hot property?

Things are going alright. Like I said, production started two years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to get signed to some good labels and have some good music out. So at the moment, things are good. I’ve just got to carry on putting the word in and hopefully things will continue the way they have been.

Have to mention Kitchen and Bedrooms on Lower East. How did you actually get linked up with Jamie Rogers?

Creche, my party that I run with Cossy D in London. We only started it in Feb 2010, but we felt there was a lot of music that wasn’t being showcased that should on a Sunday in London. Sunday daytime in London should be fun, but a lot of it was very deep and serious. So we thought let’s play some funk, soul, boogie... mix it right up. So that’s how Creche started. From there we started booking artists that were making music that we liked. One of those artists was Robert James, before he really blew up as an artist. Then we booked Lee Foss two months later. Spaceship was a track I made and sent to Lee and he emailed me saying that Jamie wanted this track for a new compilation, and that was Hot Waves. I really loved all the music they were doing, so I was really happy to be asked to put a track on the compilation. That’s how that started really.

What else have you have got going on? I know you’ve got a new EP in February.

After I got the track signed for the compilation, I thought ‘right, I need to get an E.P done’. So I was chatting to Richie Ahmed, he does a lot of the A&R for the label and I kind of knew him on a personal level anyway. I told him this was something I really wanted to do. I worked hard getting some tracks done, and luckily one of the tracks, Into the Light, I sent to Jamie and he got back to me the next day saying he loved it and wanted to sign it. But I had to get a B- Side done, so that was the pressure. Hot Creation releases are strong, there’s no B-side that’s weak. So I started working on the second track and luckily it came together on the first try. The first track, Into the Light, that’s been played by a lot of big guys. The second track, I Know, that’s got a 1989 vibe to it, I take a lot of influence from the music I grew up on. So that’s the E.P and that drops next month, I think. I’m still waiting for the release date.

You’ve also got a host of other remixes...

I did a remix of a track by a good friend of mine called Clinton Houlker. He’s going to be big, I’m telling you. He’s my tip for next year. That remix was for legendary New York label Nervous, which I was really privileged to do. I’ve also done a track for the Lower East compilation called ‘skalamoosh’, which people seemed to like. Then I also did a remix of a track called ‘Dark Arts’ by a big band from Sheffield called Starlings. They contacted me after Spaceship saying they liked my stuff and they’ve got a track they want me to remix. I gave it a go and it did really well. I’ve got another Lower East E.P. I’m really excited about it. There’s different sounds coming through. Hopefully that will drop in April or May, and that’ll have three tracks. One of them is called Beverly Hills, which was possibly going to go on the Hot Creations EP, but it’s not, so people are screaming for that one, and hopefully it’ll do well. As long as people keep liking my music, I’ll keep pushing them out. It’s a dream to be able to make music that people like and play. I’m loving it at the moment.

Right, I’m going flip the script a bit. If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could take three famous people with you, who would you take and why?

Well firstly, I love food so I need a chef of some sort. Some famous chef like Gordon Ramsay, he’ll do. Then obviously I need a girl there... Denise Van Outen from the nineties. Then somebody to talk to, so one of the famous Greek philosophers. Socrates, so I can have some interesting conversation.

Food, women and some intellect. And that’s Alexis Raphael.

Thanks for having me here. Catch my E.P Into the Light on Hot Creation in February.