Kaiju and ALXZNDR Unite for an Exclusive DEEP MEDi Mix
Kaiju and ALXZNDR Unite for an Exclusive DEEP MEDi MixJune 23, 2021
We link up with celebrated dubstep duo Kaiju and one of DEEP MEDi’s newest signees, ALXZNDR, to learn their story.
When it comes to dubstep, few imprints have made an impact like our Label of the Month, DEEP MEDi.
As Sean Beeby charted in his recent profile on the imprint, DEEP MEDi was at the heart of dubstep’s explosive introduction to the world back in the mid-2000s. Founded by dubstep pioneer Mala, the label’s discography includes several timeless tracks from dubstep pioneers like Skream, Loefah, Coki, Roni Size, Mark Pritchard, and Pinch.
Throughout its 15-year history, it has also nurtured a stable of fresh faces who are keen to put their own unique stamp on the ever-evolving sound.
Kaiju is UK production duo Jamie Schildhauer and Paul White. Initially making their mark on the drum & bass scene as Hunchbak and Shaded, respectively, the pair eventually locked into a low-end flow that has amassed a loyal following. First signing to DEEP MEDi in 2015, Kaiju is best known for its traditionalist and refined dubstep sound, which never fails to make a monstrous impact.
ALXZNDR is one of DEEP MEDi’s freshest faces. Originally from Miami, he fell in love with 140 culture during his time in Bristol, and first got noticed in a big way after uploading a killer bootleg of Sir Spyro’s “Topper Top.” After dropping his debut EP Golden Gate in 2020 and following years of back-and-forth communication with Mala, ALXZNDR has joined the DEEP MEDi family. His first release on the label is slated to arrive later this year.
Beatport got in touch with Kaiju and ALXZNDR to learn more about their early careers, how they first got linked up with DEEP MEDi, their favorite records on the label, their thoughts on the current state of the deep dubstep/140 scene, and more. In addition, they’ve each provided two exclusive 30-minute mixes, which you can listen to via the player above. And check out the interview below.
How did you come together to form your duo?
Paul (Kaiju): We were both making drum and bass at the time, and after sending some music to a label that was started and run by Jamie we decided to swap some 140 bits that we’d been playing with and it moved quite naturally from there.
Jamie (Kaiju): Yeah after some standard musical fuckry left me feeling pretty betrayed, I was basically in the right place at the right time, needed a new alias and project and here we are, nearly 10 years later.
Tell us about how you first got into the 140 sound when you moved from Miami to Bristol. Where are you currently based?
ALXZNDR: I was born in Miami but was actually lucky enough to live in a bunch of places before I ended up moving to the UK for school. I ended up in Bristol around 2013 and honestly it took me a while to get into the ‘Bristol sound’. I was on a UK funky tip at that point in my life… I’m a classically trained pianist, which heavily influenced my music at the start of my production journey, but as I started to delve into the Bristol music scene and go to more 140 nights I fell in love with the sound and the atmosphere. It’s actually a dream of mine to play one of the Medi Trinity Centre shows, so fingers crossed for the future…
I’ve been in Colombia for the last three months but I’m getting ready to move back to London at the start of July with the intention of finishing off some projects and hopefully playing some of the new music I’ve been creating on a proper system.
How did you first link up with DEEP MEDi?
Jamie (Kaiju): We have of course always watched DEEP MEDi, and it was always a goal to do something with the label. After working with Osiris Music for a few years and with them clearly opting for a change of direction, we decided it was time to move on. We had the contact for Mala from an agent that we were working with at the time, decided to send him some tunes including “Justice”, and here we are!
Paul (Kaiju): Yeah, to be honest, Jamie sorted that one out, think it was a pretty simple case of a few messages being exchanged and the rest is history.
ALXZNDR: At the beginning of my ALXZNDR project I hardly sent any of my music out. If I can recall I think the only person I sent tunes to was Commodo, and that’s only because we were playing a show together and he came up and asked for an ID of one of my tunes. Eventually, I managed to pick up the courage to reach out to Mala around the same time that I left Bristol to go back to America. I started by sending a couple of tunes I thought he’d be feeling. After a few emails back and forth he told me to just send him everything I had, which was probably close to 100 tunes. He hit me up a few weeks later with nothing but positivity about my music and said that one tune, in particular, stood out to him. That track happened to be a grime instrumental called “M4” that literally nobody wanted. He said he loved the track, ended up cutting it and I believe he ran it as his opener for a while, which was extremely humbling.
In 2018 our paths crossed in LA and we had a sit down for a coffee and a chat about the label. Just like Mungo’s Hi Fi I could tell from the minute he started to talk about my tunes that he wanted me to grow with the label, which is exactly what I was looking for, and I could tell that he wanted to support not only my music but also me as an artist. Everything he told me gave me full confidence to join the Medi family, and from then on we very slowly worked towards the release that’s hopefully gonna be out before the end of the year.
Tell us about your recent Troll release on DEEP MEDi.
Paul (Kaiju): Nightmare…
Jamie (Kaiju): For years, Troll has been a bit of a sore point. It was made when Paul used to use an old DAW called Acid, but Acid had different ideas and decided to munch the bassline to a point that we could never fix it to export. After years of trying and failing we finally figured to just record it live into Jamie’s computer… facepalm emoji??
Paul (Kaiju): It’s a tune that has always got a decent bit of love so it’s nice to finally see it out there.
Following the release of your debut Golden Gate EP in 2020, what are some career goals that you’ve set for yourself moving forward?
ALXZNDR: I mean to release on Medi was my number one goal when I started the ALXZNDR project and couldn’t be happier with the support I’ve gotten from Mala over the last few years. I’ve also started to produce leftfield techno under the alias DJ ADHD pulling influences from my dubstep background.
I’m also in the early stages of writing an acoustic piano album with the idea of having UK-based vocalists on top to try and combine classical sounds with raw UK club vocals. But that’s very early in the works.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the deep dubstep / 140 scene?
Jamie (Kaiju): Obviously we’ve just spent the last year or so apart from each other so that makes having any kind of scene almost impossible. It’s tried to go online but regardless it’s not the same and sadly people don’t have a Sinai or Void system attached to their computer. However, from doing the “Cotch with Kaiju” sessions on YouTube I would say there’s a huge amount of music out there currently that is actually very good. Massive love to anyone that’s sent us music by the way. You’ve helped us through it more than you know.
Paul (Kaiju): It’s a difficult question to answer from an artist’s point of view after the whole covid thing, I feel like we could at least have an idea based on shows in the past. Fingers crossed everyone can get back to it soon.
ALXZNDR: To be honest I’m in my own little dream world when it comes to the deep dubstep/140 scene. My forthcoming Medi release definitely leans heavily towards dubstep, but the tracks were written around 2017 when I was still based in Bristol. Recently the majority of music that I’m making is around 140 – 150 BPM and sticks very far away from that traditional dubstep sound, drawing influences from people like Rustie, Hudmo, and Mr. Carmack. Some people call it trap, some call it hip hop but I just like to keep things simple and say 140.
What are some of your all-time favorite DEEP MEDi records? Would you say that the label has been instrumental in guiding your sound?
Paul (Kaiju): I think if you make any style of dubstep, you have for sure been influenced in some way by DEEP MEDi whether you know it or not. This is the label that brought us Mala’s “Changes” and Kromestar’s “Kalawanji” after all — classics!
Jamie (Kaiju): I’ve always had a soft spot for Kahn’s “Over Deh So,” such an eyes down and skank tune. Medi allows us pretty much complete freedom creatively, which definitely helps us to experiment and explore different ideas. That being said, we have sat down to make a ‘Medi’ tune in the past so you can’t help but be influenced by their history or sound.
ALXZNDR: Mark Pritchard’s “Elephant Dub.” Can’t get enough of this tune. Also, a whole bunch of Commodo releases really push the boundary of the scene which I really rate. Because I grew up in the states and I’m only 26, unfortunately I missed out on the golden age of UK dubstep, so I honestly can’t say that Medi had too much of an influence on my sound. I tend to just start a project and see where it takes me!
Tell us about the mix you made for us
Paul (Kaiju): The mix is just a small selection of Kaiju tunes from over the years, including some dubs and remixes alongside some music we have released with DEEP MEDi. Hope you enjoy it!
Jamie (Kaiju): Yeah this one is a little bit of this, a little bit of that but all Kaiju as per usual. We’ve been working on a new new mix for what feels like forever now, but studio woes keep getting in the way!
ALXZNDR: This mix is a really special one for me. I like to think of it more like an album to be honest. All of the productions are mine and I decided to bring in every stem of every tune into Ableton so that I could layer different elements from all of my tunes over the drums, bass, percs, and effects from other tracks. I then got a bit carried away and ended up making tunes inside the Ableton mix project to fill the gaps. The majority of the tunes you’ll hear in the mix are combos of multiple tracks or pieces I put together just to keep the flow going and will not be heard anywhere else. All in all, it took me about six months to string this mixtape together and every song holds a memory for me. Some good and some bad, which I think can be seen reflected through the music.
MC and Chimpo laid down sparse vocals to tie the tracks together and Logan came through with some serious bars over M4. The mix is definitely intended for home listening as it mainly shows the softer side of my productions (although there are a couple of heavy hitters inside) and I hope that anyone who listens takes the time to appreciate the journey that the mix takes you on!