Fresh out of high school and on their own separate professional paths, Tyler Blake and Michael David would eventually be reunited to form the highly acclaimed disco/electro/house DJ and production duo known today as Classixx. Blake and David first met in the 6th grade, both took music lessons, played instruments (Blake played the piano and David the guitar), and dabbled in music production at a young age. After high school, Blake left for the East coast to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston, and David spent the first half of the 2000s releasing his own music and touring in a band as a guitarist. In 2005, David’s band broke up, around the same time Blake dropped out of music school; and that’s about when the two started their music venture together.
Based in Los Angeles, CA, Blake and David initially started under the name Young Americans. However, they ran into some legal issues and had to eventually change their name. In an interview with Fancy Sounds, Blake describes the ordeal: “We were sued by a dancing choir group that was also called Young Americans based in Orange County. We could have either gone to court with them at the risk of losing tons of money we didn’t have or just change our name. So we just changed it. It was definitely a drag for a while but at this point it’s just kind of funny.” He goes on to explain how they eventually came up with the name Classixx: “We’ve always been into the kind of tracks that have gone on compilations with names like ‘Disco Classics,’ ‘House Classics,’ and ‘Minimal Classics,’ etc. We just wanted to make tracks like that. Then we decided to spell classics with 2 x’s because it looked pleasing and makes us easier to Google.”
From that point on, the trajectory of Classixx’ music career and popularity rose. They successfully made the leap from DJs playing a few shows here and there to highly sought-out producers, remixers, and artists. From 2007-2009 they came out swinging with epic remixes from various artists, such as their super-remixes of Phoenix’s “Lisztomania,” Shiny Toy Guns’ “Starts With One,” Fischerspooner’s “We Are Electric,” Ladyhawke’s “Magic,” and The Ting Tings’ “Shut Up and Let Me Go.”
In an interview with The Number Twenty, Blake discusses their musical inspiration, “We just love music. We listen to as much music as we can and it makes us want to make our own. I’ve heard basketball players like Kobe Bryant or Lebron James talk about how when they were little kids they’d watch Michael Jordan or Magic play basketball and all they wanted to do was go into their backyard and shoot hoops. I think it’s kind of like that for us. Creating music is all we really know. It sounds cheesy but it’s almost become as much a part of our lives as eating or sleeping. Sometimes more actually considering sometimes we forget to do either of those things because of it.” Some of their musical heroes include Brian Eno, Daniel Lenois, David Bowie, Talking Heads [a personal favorite of mine as well] and great songwriters and performers like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, and Prince.
Personally, I love Classixx’ fun and bouncy disco, pop, and electro sounds…makes you wanna dance! They make use of classic reverbs, delays, and effects and sounds that have proven timeless over the years. You can hear electronic and organic elements combined. They have currently been working on disco tracks driven by vocals, but they have also been working on instrumental stuff as well. Their diverse sound can be heard in the club or in your car. Some of it is deep, some of it lighter. Their weapon of choice for making music is Pro Tools, with a few analog synths and soft synths for production. They also record a lot of live instruments like guitars and drums, and DJ with Serato Scratch Live or CDJ’s.
Here ia a random and comical excerpt from an interview with The Number Twenty, describing their “weirdest gig” – “We once DJ’d at a party that was supposedly being filmed for a reality TV show in Orange County. It was a bunch of old crazy and creepy dudes with too much money to spend on drugs and the kinds of girls that hang out with those kinds of guys. There were girls you don’t ever want to see naked getting naked, a fight broke out, someone’s dog got hit by a car, etc. When I tried to get us paid the guy shorted me and when I tried to get the rest he got pissed and went on a cocaine rant about how no one tells him what to do and that he knew 5 different forms of Martial Arts and he would kick my ass.” Definitely pretty weird, sounds like quite the adventure!
One of my all-time favorite Classixx jams has to be their debut hit single “I’ll Get You,” featuring Jeppe (Junior Senior); I challenge you to just try to not dance or bob your head to this…impossible!
And another one (among many – far too many to mention in one blog post) is their tune “Cold Act Ill,” with Wolfgang Gartner.
When asked, in an interview with Pedestrian.tv, whether they were sick of clubs and/or still enjoyed the club culture, Blake responded, “It depends. When we go out here [in LA] it’s because we go out to see friends play, and so it’s more about support and listening to the music that your friends are into rather than going to try and get f****d up. So on that level we still really like it but we don’t really party that much. I think Tyler does a little more than I do. We go traveling a lot so when we get home it’s nice to just chill out.”
So what’s next on the horizon for these two musicians? Well, there has been some talk about different record labels and a debut album in the making. Lately, the typical day for these musicians is solely focused around making music and working on new sounds, as well as touring in California, Mexico, and soon Texas and Colorado, in May and June. In an interview with Killahbeez, David had this advice for up-and-coming DJs and producers, “Just work as hard as you can, and practice a lot before you introduce yourself to the internet.”
Keep your eyes and ears open for Classixx playing at a club or party near you, and be sure to bring your dancing shoes and do some proper stretches before heading out…no one likes to pull a hamy in mid dance off!
Have you seen Classixx perform live? Share your experience – your feedback is appreciated.
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By: Angelo Castañeda