Lightining in a Bottle was one for the books this year, with a plethora of amazing music, incredible art, and a host of exciting experiences. The DoLab knocked it out of the park with the attention to detail with their own art exhibits and bringing in other talented artists to contribute to the overall vibe. The music was on point across the board as well! Standout sets from the weekend include the iconic G Jones B2B EPROM, Of The Trees, Ivy Lab, and Mr. Carmack. The Stacks stage had a whole host of talented artists and special guests all weekend long, with an extra special surprise set from Zeke Beats B2B Sumthin Sumthin, who threw down banger after absolute banger.
One act that tore it up at the Stacks was the duo Xotix, comprised of Jake Bragonier and Richie Lucov. In the last few weeks, they have dropped tracks with INNOCENT and Shanghai Doom, and have a massive summer ahead of them, playing a number of festivals across the country. The duo also contributed to our HIHF guest mix series, which you can listen to here. During their set, they showcased their upcoming collab with Shlump which went absolutely bonkers. Today marks the release of their newest track “Wagmi” with Dalfin and Star Monster.
This collaboration starts with a slow build before dropping down into a glitchy dubstep wonderland. Complex sound design is present throughout the work, with an abundance of stylistic components that meld together with ease. Each of the collaborators brings their own unique sound to the equation to create a sonic mural unique to its own. We had the opportunity to sit down with the Xotix boys at Lightning in a Bottle and talk about their roots, musical influences, and more. Read our conversation below to get to know them and their sound a little better!
HIHF: What sparked your initial interest in bass music?
Jake: For me, the first festival I ever went to was Enchanted Forest 2018 and I was blown away; honestly I had talked a little bit of shit about bass music before I got into it, I had never heard it with an actual sub, I was like ‘it’s just like drums and weird noises’ and then I heard it in front of a sub and I was like ‘ok I get it now’. So I think that and hearing CharlesTheFirst’s music — RIP — I was in future bass before, and he has that bridge between melodic and heavy bass.
Richie: I’ve been into dubstep and heavy music for a while now, and eventually moved more towards the bass music side of things. The bass music scene is a really cool, and accepting group of people and producers. I feel like it’s not some big contest of who makes the sicker sounds – obviously, there’s always a small element of that – but it’s more about bringing people up and helping homies grow, the bass music community is about that support.
HIHF: Who are some artists who inspire you, both within bass music and outside of it?
Jake: LSDREAM, because he puts on the underground super hard, and he’s constantly playing out underground act’s music and shouting them out and doing what he can to pump people up. Sound-wise, definitely Charles like I said, and career-wise, Peekaboo — being where he’s at in the scene would be a dream. I hella respect that dude’s hustle.
Richie: LSDREAM is a big influence as well; I love that he produces bodies of work in album form, I also really appreciate the range of his sound. An artist on the rise that I really love is SØMETHING, they have a unique sound, that twerk bass sh*t.
Jake: It’s such a vibe!
Richie: Also, the homies Slang Dogs, they crush it with their whole aesthetic, branding, and sound.
HIHF: Can you tell us a little bit about how the Xotix project came to be, and how it’s been evolving recently?
Richie: Well I initially met Jake at a friend’s party, and he was playing a set, I believe it was an all-original set, it was super sick stuff, and then we just started talking after that and decided we should link up and work on music together. This was in 2017. We made a tune together — actually no, I was doing a mixdown for him (now he’s our mixdown guy) — I kinda went off the rails and just remixed it instead. He was into the final version and was like ‘oh we should release this version instead’. He came to me a couple months later and asked to start a project together. That’s pretty much how Xotix started.
Jake: I learned Ableton from this fool!
HIHF: The whole COVID time period was (and still is to some extent) insane for everyone in the industry, but it was probably exponentially more difficult as you guys were making your way into the scene in 2019. How has that affected your journey and greater experience in the industry?
Jake: I think in a lot of ways it made things harder, but also it made us work harder. We saw that the scene was changing so rapidly and we saw that not only were small acts not getting booked, but nobody was getting booked and we knew when people did start getting booked again it wasn’t going to be the people who were just coming up. We knew that there was going to be a period of time where it was going to be hard to pop off, so we kinda spent that time working super hard pumping out a bunch of tunes in 2020 and 2021. Getting our sound down, releasing sample packs, and stuff like that, trying to really get our foot in the door so that when the door starts to crack open a little bit, we’re right there.
Richie: Yeah in 2020, we had three members at the time, so in that period of time we kind of looked at all the acts around our size and were like what’s our edge on everyone else? And we were like ‘oh we can pump out tunes like a machine.’
Jake: I mean there were three of us so that helped.
Richie: Yeah, so all of 2020 we released like two to four tracks a month, and just stayed grinding — our promo wasn’t great like we’ve learned a lot since then, but we were able to just pump out tunes. Now, we’ve taken a step back and are more focused on the quality of our sound and putting together good releases with good marketing behind them.
HIHF: You guys are part of Muze Talent, run by MeSo who has been taking the scene by storm with his management company and greater collective. What does it mean to you guys to be a part of that and how do you think it’s shaped your success?
Jake: Kevin (MeSo) is one of the hardest working, most driven people that I know in the scene — he’s got two labels that are both killing it, an agency that’s killing it, his own artist project that’s killing it — the dude is just everywhere, all the time. He does not stop. So kind of just tying into that energy of working so hard all the time and then getting wins so hard all the time — he was the one that approached us, so when that door opened it was an easy yes. There’s really nobody at this tier that is doing as much as this guy. He’s brought us a long way for sure and helped us out with a lot of different things.
Richie: Yeah I think that Kevin has opened us up to a lot of new markets, especially places like Florida, he’s brought us out there a couple times, and all over the country for that matter. Since Kevin took us on as an agent we have played a number of out-of-state shows, nearly once a month.
Jake: And we’ve definitely seen an uptick because of it.
HIHF: Well that’s awesome to hear. Who are some of your dream collaborators?
Jake: Skrillex — if you see this, shoot us an email!
Richie: We’ve honestly had the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of people we look up to.
Jake: And there’s stuff in the works that we can’t really say yet, but we’ve been able to check off a lot of boxes recently.
HIHF: What’s next for Xotix? Anything big on the horizon, or goals for the future?
Jake: Lots of big things! As for shows, next up is Toxic Summer in SF. The next festival we play at is Bass Ribbon Pines in Minnesota, and after that we have North Coast booked in Chicago later this summer, plus a couple other ones we haven’t announced yet. Also, a tune coming out on Friday!
Richie: Lately we’ve been really trying to expand and experiment with a lot of new sounds, some more melodic stuff. We’re trying a lot of new things lately!
HIHF: If your music had a spirit animal, what would it be?
Jake: Honestly, like a dung beetle or something lol or like a squirrel or a rat
Richie: A flying squirrel!
Jake: Ok, yeah, a flying squirrel, that’s sick. Final answer.
Huge thanks to the Xotix boys for chatting with us and throwing down an awesome set at Lightning in a Bottle! Make sure to follow them on socials and check out their full discography.
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