Alexis: ‘The only place that’s had a real impact on my taste is London’

London-based DJ and producer Alexis, who spent her early years living in Texas, offers some insights into her musical upbringing, cutting it as a DJ in the capital and her exclusive mix for our PIONEERS series. Check out the full, hour-long mix here.

Alexis London DJ

How did you get into music and what’s your earliest musical memory?

My parents both love music, so we always had music on at home or in the car. My mum specifically was (and still is) into a lot of house, disco and club music, so I was exposed to that from a super young age.

My earliest musical memory was probably buying myself some CDs for the first time, one was NOW! 18 (lol) and the other was Infinity on High by Fall Out Boy – shortly before this, my mum gave my first CD which was the Gwen Stefani album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. 

Alexis DJ

You’ve lived in numerous parts of the world. In what ways has that influenced your music taste?

I think living in Houston in quite formative years of my life made my music taste relatively sheltered, as I would just kind of keep in check with mainstream UK radio as well as UK indie music at the time. The only place I would say that had a real impact on my taste is, and was, London.

I understand you were primarily raised in Texas. What was it like when you first moved to London and got into UK dance music?

It was extremely daunting. I’d lived in the UK before my time in Texas for about five years, but just outside of London, so moving into the city was a big step. I went to a lot of my universities Wired Radio nights at a tiny club called Bunker, which were so inspiring and were always fun. I then branched out a bit once I started working at Balamii and went to Corsica every Thursday night with my best friend, who I DJ’d with at the time.

Everything seemed unique and exciting as it was all new to me. As well as just massive and sprawling, there was so much to discover – which was, at times, intimidating.

Alexis DJ and producer

And if you had to pick one city, where’s the best place to play a set, in your view?

So far, from my experiences, London. It’s always fun to play in a home city and I think it’s where I feel I can experiment the most with what I’m playing and really push things left field and still get a good response.

What makes an ideal set in your view? What do you strive for?

Great question. For me, I strive obviously to make people dance and have fun but, secondly, I like the idea of getting people to listen to music they’ve never heard before, that might not be their go-to. I think taking a crowd on a journey with me is such a fun concept.

And what’s been the best set you’ve ever played and why?

UNFOLD! I got invited to play super last-minute (the night before in fact), just before I was off to play at The Pickle Factory. I don’t think I’d ever been as nervous as when I got to FOLD, it was absolutely packed. I went solo just to play but wow, I felt like I was on cloud 9 for about a week after. The crowd and energy in there was unparalleled. I had the best time and met the most incredible people.

I think also my Boiler Room is up there for me. It was something I’d wanted to do since I started DJing and doing it in collaboration with Tara Hakin was such a treat. What made it so special was all my friends being there, surrounding me, as well as friends and family who couldn’t be there in person, all watching it and sending me videos. It made my heart so full.

Tell us about the mix you’ve done for whynow – was there a particular intention you had for it?

My main intention for this was to have fun, I did it in one take to give it a natural feel. I jumped around genre-wise quite a lot, which I love doing whilst playing out too. I guess it’s a glimpse into what a peak-time club set might be.

Which artist or DJ do you think is most overlooked and why?

Beatrice Dillon, she’s crazy talented.

You have a podcast on RA, but you don’t play any of your own tracks. Why?

I didn’t feel anything I had made at the time fitted the sound I wanted to achieve through the mix, in all honesty. I also wanted to showcase some emerging artists and pals.

Alexis

You were involved in the HeForShe x femme culture project, from which all funds went to UN Women. Could you just explain what that project was and why you felt it important to be involved?

I was unbelievably flattered to be asked to be part of that project. Elkka is such a talent, so I was thrilled to be asked by her. On top of that, being able to contribute something that would go towards helping such an amazing cause was an absolute yes from me, as women’s equality is something I’m very passionate about, and the UN Women charity do such incredible work towards that.

If you could only listen to one track on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Tears for Fears, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule The World’. I grew up listening to that song, and for me, it’s just timeless and packed with so much joy. I also really love that little synthy breakdown that goes into the guitar solo.


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