Throughout the past 15 years, Berlin-based, French producer and DJ, PMX SoundZ has earned himself a reputation of igniting crowds through performances in major events across France, Germany, and other European countries.
By creating unique sonic experiences, PMX SoundZ has established a "trademark" style, which has allowed him to enter and perform in the most iconic, exclusive clubs alongside many famous international electronic artists. His club-ready productions have reached audiences across the globe with releases supported by Green Velvet, Claude VonStroke, Gene Farris, Tocadisco, Joris Delacroix & The Avener, Maxxi Soundsystem, and Vazik and played out in festivals and parties such as BPM Festival, Awakenings, Rainbow Serpent Festival and Boiler Room.
Now living in Berlin, he’s developing a deeper approach to music, through collaboration with producers and DJs from the international and underground electronic scenes like Lutzenkirchen, Daniel Boon, Thomas Lizzara, and many more…. One of his latest releases ‘My Soul’ debuted at #4 on Beatport’s Tech House charts and was played by international DJ Maxxi Soundsystem at the famous BPM Festival.
How did you get involved in electronic music production?
I started producing music in 1999 when I was 16 years old after having already attended my first Raves, Frees and Festivals, on this game called Music 2000 on Playstation 1 (the old heads out there will remember it). In this game you could compose with a bank of samples and standard loops and create your first songs, etc... That's how I wrote my first songs and then the following year I started to make a first draft of an album that I never released, of course, as it was very limited. This was followed by the first purchase of CDs, vinyls, turntables, mixers and sound systems.
What was the first obstacle?
The first obstacle in terms of music production was obviously the hardware. We can’t forget that we were in the 2000s and that computers were not what they are today. So without hardware it was quite complicated to create something qualitative, computers did less and sound cards cost a lot. Whoever wanted hardware needed a lot of money, and I was 18/20 years old: it was complicated.
On the stage side, I never really had a problem, except for the human side. I've always tried to be honest with myself but I can't hide the fact that I've always had a "big mouth" which caused me a lot of problems early on. However, when I went on stage, other people were never a problem. I always went on stage to win, to be remembered. It's all about the audience, whether it's the production or the performance. This two-sided approach has always oriented me towards producing tracks that should turn the dancefloor upside down, no matter what emotion/energy the audience has.
Let’s look back at your musical path. What kind of musical influences did you have that inspired you when you were growing up?
When I arrived in Berlin, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the right people very quickly and to meet influential people. That's why I joined the famous Berlin collective Ostfunk, managed by Daniel Boon and Oliver Tatsch at the time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them warmly, I owe them a lot.
I immediately found myself on big clubs and beautiful stages, I became a resident and that's how I was able to quickly make my place in Berlin and rub shoulders with artists who influenced me a lot such as Anthony Rother, Westbam, Monika Kruse, Extrawelt, Worakls, Sascha Breamer, Andreas Henneberg, AKA AKA, Superflu, René Bourgeois, Martin Books and the one who has a special place in my heart: Thomas Lizzara. Beyond that, Patrick Topping, Jamie Jones, Green Velvet, and Gene Farris are a constant source of inspiration for me.
You grew up in France and later moved to Berlin, how has the European electronic scene influenced your sound?
That's a rather complex question and one that doesn't have an answer. It's not the European electronic music that influenced me, it's more all the clubs I've been to as a dj or as a clubber that have considerably impacted my production with sounds, smells, lights and human experiences. A club is not just a place to dance, drink, party and see artists. A club is walls, a dancefloor, a sound system and a resonance, people from different backgrounds and cultures, smells, sweat, lights, an inner courtyard and an outer courtyard, etc. . It's not the electronic scene that influences me, it's the experiences in the clubs, the line-ups, a moment of life shared on the counter of a bar with a friend, or a toilet bowl with a stranger in an after party, etc... It is this hidden and futile poetry that will create powerful emotions in me, that will remain anchored in my head and give rise to a memory, an emotion, a melody, a rhythm and therefore the soul of a piece. Living emotions, as you want and as you can, living without concession: that's what has influenced my music.
You know, the emotion and the moment of life of a Tribe Hardcore sound from a Sound System of a lost free in the Markstein in Alsace in France is not the one of the House Music scene or of the big clubs in Berlin. In Berlin, Wilde Renate does not have the same sound as when one plays at Treasure. The sound of the Raschdingue in Barcelona does not have the same aura as the big stage at a festival at Postbahnof in Berlin, or one of the clubs destroyed by European policies along the Spree that closed down spaces such as Lichtpark in Berlin, which had taken the place of the Katerholzig at the time. The emotion, the moment, the memory, the carefree life: this is my influence.
You’re building a pretty big name in the tech house scene. What do you like most about it as a genre?
You can’t really describe tech house as a genre, as it's one of the many subgenres of house music. I don't want to pretend to explain the complexities and depth of house music here. I will rather quote the lyrics of a famous track: a timeless cult vocal of house music, which dates from 1987. It's about sharing and brotherhood, and I invite you all to listen to it: "My House" by Chuck Roberts.
What are the top 2 tracks you would recommend to people who don't know PMX Soundz to check out first?
Tips on Production
Where do you begin, when writing a new track?
There is no ready-made formula: it can be a sample in a piece of music, a voice in a song, a daily situation, a smell in a park, etc... It's varied and unpredictable, and above all, always linked to an emotion, to a feeling.
You have collaborated with some big names. Do you link with them on social media?
Yes, I sometimes have contact with some of the big names. It is a fact that the big names never answer your requests except in exceptional cases. Most of the time these collaborations came through other big artists during EP collaborations, events we were booked on together, or through some labels that contacted me. Some artists have become friends, others one-off collaborations. It is a fact that even if social networks are undeniably important, human relationships and sincere long-term exchanges prevail. If a big artist needs you, he will come and get you.
Digital Music Distribution
Can you tell us more about digital distribution for electronic music?
It is an undeniable fact that nowadays the electronic music market is saturated and flooded with releases. It is important as an artist to create your own identity and style that sets you apart, to have a recognisable sound and a message of your own. Once you’ve established your identity, it’s important to build your presence and maintain communication to your fanbase on all available networks, through established systems that bring you visibility. 20 or 30 years ago it was possible to make a name for yourself with a single song (hit).
Today this is no longer the case. Creating hype on all available networks by targeting the right audience is necessary to the success of your release and long term career. The marketing tools put in place by platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok etc. are essential in today’s landscape. If you end up with an attractive product, with a fanbase that follows you, and you put in place a strong communication strategy: you maximize your chances of success in any genre of electronic music.
Succeeding on Beatport
Current favorite label on Beatport: Defected
Some artists that fans of your music should be paying attention to right now: Gene Farris, Denis Ferrer, Solomun, Riva Starr, The Martinez Brothers, Marco Carola
In 2014 your track (‘My Soul’) debuted at #4 on Beatport’s Tech House charts. Looking back, what lessons did you learn from the creation process and the release that you apply to your current projects?
You can put all the communication tools in place, believe in your song, apply the best mastering techniques, and work on the best machines: you never control the song that will work, the one that will stick with you for years. That's the magic of it. With my songs today I try to create space, accidents between different styles that were not supposed to meet, and this element of freedom that makes us all travel and touches our sensibility differently, in order to leave the interpretation to the public.
What would you say has been the most positive and negative changes since then?
The good thing is that it gave me a name, the bad thing is that we're still chasing that same success. The loss of public interest hurts when the hype passes. But it forces you to renew yourself, to understand and learn from your mistakes, your qualities, your weaknesses and to grow your music with your experience.
What tips do you have for artists who are looking to start their career in the electronic scene?
Create a recognizable sound that is different from others. Put passion into it, work on it, find your sensibility, and once you have the concept, add shape to it. Produce music that touches you first so that your music can touch others and you'll have won.
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