Exposing X-Change: Electrical Engineer With Electric Vibes
It is scary enough to change from one job to another, let alone to a entirely different field and lifestyle. However, for Michigan native X-Change his shift has been blessed by exotic travels and rays of sunshine. Caribbean sunshine to be exact. The journeyed artist went from designing electrical system to creating electrical sounds. Exposed got the chance to catch up with him at Miami Music Week and go a little more in depth about his experiences so far.
Exposed: I saw you have a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan?
X-Change: Yeah I have a degree in electrical engineering.
Exposed: What made you take the switch from your typical 9-5 to music?
X-Change: I was in college I really loved music, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, exactly, with it. Then one of my friends introduced me to the world of DJing, and I started to just DJ at parties for friends. I fell in love with it instantly, but my dad said, “Make sure you finish your degree, get your masters, do what you’re good at, and you will always have that for the rest of your life.” So I followed my dad’s advice. I got my undergraduate degree and my master’s degree and then started actually working at General Motors. I was the one of the lead audio engineers on advanced development at General Motors. It was cool. I tried to merge my love of music and engineering into something. I was working with people from Bose and JBL, designing how the infotainment system would work. It was really cool to approach audio from that side.
I wasn’t producing at this point, I was still just DJing. My buddies were saying, “You’ve got to start producing that’s the next step” So I started just messing around in the studio using Logic, now I use Ableton Live, and Pro Tools and just wanting to learn more and more. I ended up still working the day job and then I was doing music on the side. I did that for a few years. Then I made the transition a few years ago to do music full time, because it just became too many 18 hour 19 hour work days.
Exposed: So did you have a musical background, did you play any instruments?
X-Change: No. No, so that’s the thing. I had no musical knowledge at all until I was about 21, 22 years old. I went to the local community college at night just to learn piano, ear training, sight read, read music and just wanted to get as much knowledge as I could to help. I don’t know what chord progressions. I wanted to know. I heard stuff in my head, but I didn’t know how to translate that into music in the studio. Every time I would do it I wasn’t happy with it. I started learning piano and it helped me get my ideas out of my head and onto this canvas. That was the transition really. It was just blending everything together, and then using my engineering knowledge to approach things differently in the studio.
Exposed: We listened to your new song “Excess” and felt that it was a really good example of how you mixed in those Caribbean – Latin vibes with electro house. What inspired you to make that sort of new combination?
X-Change: I met these guys(Ultimate Rejects) at Miami Music Week last year. I happen to be on my way to Trinidad for my friend’s wedding, so I skipped aboard tour and went to the studio with them instead. We instantly had a vibe. Johann is in Trinidad working on stuff right now and Johann and I became kind of best friends overnight. We straight away made a track called “Thunderstorm”. Then we started talking as I flew back to L.A. and we started working on stuff. I just I didn’t realize how much Caribbean type stuff I had always loved in music. I didn’t know really much about it, and one of their things they do is Caribbean dance music. So when I was down there I was like, “Wow! This is cool. I want to start infusing some of the stuff”. That’s exactly we’re trying to do with “Excess”. I knew I was on my way to go down for Carnival, so Johann and I start talking about the track. How can we do something that blends the electric house vibes, with the Caribbean vibes. We wanted to make something that would work for carnival, work for the states, and worked worldwide
Exposed: Where can we catch you post Miami Music Week?
X-Change: I think we’re talking about possibly a show in Ibiza this May. We just did South by Southwest, and after this I fly back to Los Angeles.
Exposed: The busy tour life can be quite taxing at times. The times that you have off what do you like to do?
X-Change: I’m a video game guy. I like to play FIFA, I’ve played Final Fantasy for years. I like to do that and do something different, but I also have music on. Not just EDM, I love everything. I’ll listen to punk rock, Blink-182, stuff like that and I’m always trying to listen to music.
The vibe of the isles has certainly left its mark on the American. Working and touring extensively with the ‘Ultimate Rejects’, X-Change has definitely found his sound. Attempting to bring unknown music or genres into a new environment can be a daunting task, but his love for the music seems to motivation enough to make it work. Exposed is expecting many more big things to come from this cultural X-Change. Be sure to connect with him via Facebook, Website, and Soundcloud.
PC: Sara Tollefson Photography, X-Change Facebook Official Page
Contributors: Simone Grach, Evan Holden
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