Spanish duo Surit and Samot, aka NX1, have always had a strong DIY ethos. Their debut 12” hit stores with the bare minimum of information, an ‘X’ stamped to the centre label and the tracks titled simply 001-003. The record was also self-released by the duo, and their Nexe label has acted exclusively as a platform for their own material ever since. Aside from their growing catalogue of self-released material, NX1’s dense, slow-burn techno has also found itself pushed by some of the most discerning techno labels out there, such as Semantica, M_Rec & Inner Surface Music.
As performers NX1 have shot to international acclaim similarly rapidly, their live sets mediating between abstract and dancefloor timbres with a similar charge of adrenalin found in their recorded works. With a performance at Festival Forte coming up next month, we decided to catch up with NX1 to discuss some of their most memorable gigging experiences in years gone by.
The first gig that comes to our mind is one of our first experiences playing live as NX1. It was three years ago and we had only played once before that. We had only released our first three records and a couple of remixes, but we were requested to do a live show in Tresor. It was for a night with Tadeo, Oliver Deutschman and Freddy K. For us it was special because it was in the beginning and the idea to prepare a live set for the first time in that historic place was really exiting, we never expected that our first live set would be there. Once in the club the hour that we played felt as if we had just played five minutes. This is why that night was so memorable for us.
From many years ago when we first discovered him, we have enjoyed the music of Murcof. All his first albums (Martes, Utopía, Remembranza and Cosmos) are special and unique for us. We have also been related to some audiovisual projects in the past, so a lot of people who know this world will know the excellent work of AntiVJ. There is a Festival in the north of Spain, in Gijón, called L.E.V. (Laboratorio de Electronica Visual) which we used to attend for some years and in 2010 we realised that AntiVJ and Murcof were doing a live set together.
It’s a project they’ve been performing at a few festivals during the last year, and that was one of the first times they did. It’s a festival where you can see very special and interesting, inspiring things and investigate new ways of expression using sound and video with other artistic disciplines. The location is truly amazing, a thundering architectonic piece with mystery and beauty in almost every corner. We saw AntiVJ and Murcof live in a theatre, everyone seated in armchairs. When they finished people stood and started to applaud as if it was an opera. The quality of the performance was overwhelming for us and the feeling we had there was just indescribable, we never enjoyed another performance so much in that way.
Back in the days when we were living in Mallorca (where we’re from) we started to collaborate and organise parties around the island. We were totally isolated in terms of music and venues that were interesting for us, so we decided to start booking artists that we used to like to give people ourselves an alternative to the usual acts around the island in those days. One of those times we found an open air venue and booked Sir James Ruskin among other artists. Just a few minutes from that location we had a club where we used to program events for many years - a very small but very powerful club that used to be our “headquarters”.
James did a great set as usual in the open air (we already booked him a few times before that), so when the party finished we invited him to come and play there. The place was packed and very hot as it was Summer… the walls were sweating. He started to play, scratching two Jeff Mills records, the same on both turntables, and the following three hours were totally different to what he played at the open air stage that night. There we could see how a real DJ, when an artist feel totally comfortable, is able to be.
It was our first time in Lithuania. We were going to a festival that takes place in the Lithuanian National Park, a huge remote forest so beautiful that you can feel totally at harmony with nature. We remember driving from Vilnus to the festival took more than two hours, and one of those hours was totally across the forest, raining and going very slow. The location was totally amazing. Pure, and also we were able to enjoy some really nice performances from renowned artists and locals.
We started to play when it was totally dark, but the last half an hour of our set was during a lovely sunrise that revealed to us a gorgeous lake not so far from the forest. We had magnificent views from the stage and that moment was precious. We enjoyed the people, the artists and everything involved in that gig a lot. It was that magic of raving between nothing - lost in the nature that trapped us. We stayed two days there, and would have been happy to have never left that place.
If we have to mention one of the best gigs we played recently it could be the night that we played at Trouw in Amsterdam. We stayed for a few days at a friend’s place, which already change the dynamic of going just for a night or day in an hotel room. We both love the city and that gig was epic for us due to the connection with the people. The club was busy from the start and there were a lot of people coming from “Welcome to the Future Festival” that took place that day, so the mood in the club was excellent. It was one of the warmest performances we have ever played.
The distribution of the club as well, with the DJ booth at the same level as the dance floor, with all the people around you dancing and screaming is amazing. They also had really powerful, clean sound. Definitely one of the gigs that we could never forget.
For more details on Festival Forte, you can visit their website here.