XL Order – Groove Podcast 373

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Gaphic: XL Order

Here’s a new one for the two guy (conspiracy) theorists: XL Order is an anonymous duo hailing from Caen in France that has been receiving a lot of attention thanks to their maximalist yet intricate and stylistically wide-ranging releases on GODDEZZ and Deft’s B4 Music. While their contribution to our Groove podcast showcases the duo’s diverse range of musical influences from bass-heavy UK sounds to overdriven rave signals, their answers to our interview questions display a modesty rare in this field—even though they have exciting news to share.

You have not revealed your identities. Why?

XL hints at our real names and we are public about it on our personal social media accounts. But we wanted the XL Order project to be its own entity, with the focus being on the music and art itself. We are keeping a low profile on socials intentionally, we don’t want to add to the artistic exposure saturation that we experience nowadays. We would just post when we have a statement to make or an announcement to do. We are just two Frenchies from the same home town with a similar history in the electronic scene and the same passion for music.

Your self-description reads “Ultra-4D Trance Weapons.” What does that mean exactly? Is there a specific philosophy behind XL Order?

It’s actually an excerpt from a press release about our sound that we loved and thought fits well. We are always pushing our sound and try to get it to the next level, whether it’s from foundations and techniques for our production, to weird plugins that no one uses and obscure samples. We are not that good at describing ourselves, we love the idea to let the music speak with the many feelings the listener can perceive through it, like melancholia, nostalgia, hope, and renewal. XL Order is the sound of a new world order, an utopian idea we envision with our music. “No borders” is the idea, just like the variety of the genres we cross through from the airy melodies of “Quintessence” to the hard beats of “To The Hardcore” for instance.

The visual aspect seems to be important in the context of your music. Do you follow a certain aesthetic concept?

Just like our sound and the utopian idea of the new order, our visuals aim to guide the listener to new horizons. We have a strong connection with themes of unity between the ecosystem and mankind, and how there is a link of hate and love between those, just like the mix of utopia and dystopia you can hear through our sound. We like the idea that our visuals relate to this as well, and enhance the connection of the concept and the music. The time frame in which we started working together on the XL Order project helped us develop this concept because it was during the first COVID-19 lockdown in France, the strict one during which we couldn’t even go out without permission. We could easily imagine at that time how a new order could come about, and how the nature could get his rights back.

Even though you are based in France, you have so far released your music on two labels from London. How come you have such close ties with the UK scene?

We have locked ourselves in a homemade studio in the summer 2021 with nothing much—just two laptops, KRK speakers, a MIDI piano and a lot of samples and ideas. We made around 30 tracks, from trance to hip hop to breakbeats. We didn’t set ourselves any boundaries. Then, we selected about ten and sent it to a variety of labels we had in mind for a while, and GODDEZZ were the first to show interest in our sound. Deft is setting a new standard in sound design for club tracks and we respect that a lot, which is why we sent him our most clubby tracks and we naturally worked together for a release on his label. We probably are more influenced with the UK/EU sound, which is why we released on those two labels from London, but we don’t really think that hard about it. France doesn’t really have room for dance acts, it’s much more pop-oriented, which we are too quite a bit, but there wasn’t any interest in our project coming from French labels. If we exclude a legendary French duo [Daft Punk, folks, they’re referring to Daft Punk, ed.] and some others, the UK sound usually pushes the envelope and influences the French club scene, which we both come from.

You apparently do not play DJ gigs, at least not under this guise. What role does DJing play in your work with XL Order and also outside of that?

We didn’t get the opportunity to play yet, and even though we like to hear our songs being played out—we reckon that they can be hard to play. Some have a DJ structure with an intro and outro, others not, but we feel like most of the melodies are too personal. Hence we would love to directly implement a live show, but we didn’t get the opportunity to work on it yet. This is a passion project for us, as we are both not working full time on it. If we could get the chance we would, but try harding to make it in this industry does not really sound appealing to us. We are into natural connections and opportunities.

What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?

This one-hour mix goes from 130 to 170 BPM, it basically represents our influences from artists and songs we love to tracks we would play in clubs. It includes some blends from the 35 minutes mark because blends are cool.

Last but not least: what are your plans for the future? You’ve announced a debut album a while ago.

After the release of our debut EP on GODDEZZ, the cool thing is that quite a big label contacted us, asking “who the F are you guys?” We have always hoped and waited for this kind of natural connection, as it’s not comfortable to be always on the other side of things, to send songs to labels and waiting forever for a reply. We are going to release our debut album with them and we are really hyped about it. There will be a lot of visuals in various formats, physical objects, and a video. Ten songs from all the genres and emotions that influence us. We even sing in some. Stay tuned!

Stream: XL Order – Groove Podcast 373

01. Thugwidow – Vapour trails were callous scars on cut across an otherwise perfect sky
02. Overmono – Is U
03. Shardem – Ribs
04. Stella Explorer – Kill it before it dies (DJ Haydn Remix)
05. Tenshi – Talk2me
06. XL Order – Access Point
07. Mstk – Dancefloor
08. Kessler – Old Wives Tale
09. Cocktail Party Effect – Fixing the Roof
10. SAGE – Fears
11. Beacon – Gambler (Donmoyer Remix)
12. Pavel Milyakov – 202 days of summer
13. Hermeth – Once Again
14. SlowRolla – Octane
15. Raito – Foresight
16. Alé Araya – Janet
17. Prayer – I’m Still Here
18. Ivy Lab – Options
19. Disaffected – Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava
20. Life Sim – IDL (Aamourocean Remix)
Snow Strippers – Know My Name

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