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X-Ray Ted: “Recontextualising music through sampling is pure magic to me”

A bright and eclectic album, ‘Moving On’ finds its true identity by blending organic funk, soul and sampled breaks, with a generous amount of punchy hip-hop stylings; it all makes for a record that’s vibrant and evocative, but also nostalgic and traditional. A slice of musical history, ‘Moving On’ sees X-Ray Ted showcasing his impressive genre-based knowledge and production techniques along with an impressive series of talented guests – the likes of Jungle Brother’s Afrika Baby Bam, Jurassic 5’s Fullee Love and Professor Elemental. 

Hailing from Bristol, X-Ray Ted has made a name for himself thanks to his DJ and turntable skills, later moving on to producing; such a multi-disciplinary curriculum made him a catalyst for the music scene of his British hometown; one can easily notice that in the list of collaborators for ‘Moving On’.

Intrigued by the project, we caught up with X-Ray Ted to learn more about his artistry and future goals… Interview below! 

Hey X-Ray Ted, thanks for chatting with us! You are nationally recognised as a talented producer, DJ and turntablist. Some of your offerings sound quite organic and human-like; do you ever employ studio musicians to achieve the desired outcome?

Hey! Thanks for inviting me to chat. You’re right, there’s a lot of real playing on the album, but almost all of it is actually me on guitar, bass or keys. My mix engineer, Angus Malcolm, plays on Dance With Me, too. Most of the time, I’ll replay a sample once I’ve chopped and changed into a new pattern.

Taking the cue from the previous question, ‘Moving On’ – your latest album – is certainly soulful and vibrant, plus extremely groovy. We appreciate the ambivalence between traditional soul and modern hip-hop. Is there a genre or production style that you feel particularly close to?

Thanks! My biggest influence is 90s hip hop – it’s what I grew up on. But anything “cut and paste” or Big Beat influenced really gets me going, too. I just love big drum breaks. Acts like Fatboy Slim, Double Dee and Steinski, The Avalanches; the way they recontextualise music through sampling is pure magic to me.

Your current work is the result of a long journey; What first drew you to making music? Are we correct in thinking you owned a pair of Technics turntables at some point in the last 20 years? 🙂

You’re spot on; I bought a third-hand pair of Technics 1200’s in 2004 and they’re the same ones I use to this day. I’ve been playing music most of my life, though. I was brought to sampling, funk, and soul through hip hop – it’s actually come full circle. My friend at school gave me a tape of the Jurassic 5 LP his sister had brought home from California – it changed my life. That’s one of the reasons I was so stoked to work with Fullee Love on this record, he was fundamental in this journey.

Is there an overarching inspiration behind ‘Moving On’? What would you say are some of your references? (or simply some of your favourite records)

There’s a big overarching theme to Moving On, and that’s progress. I wrote this record at a real crossroads in my life, so there’s moving on from that; and also stepping into my own sound, moving into a new era.

What’s your songwriting and production process like? Do you work in an analogue or digital environment? Do you favour collaboration or working alone?

Working with samples, it feels a bit more like the ideas come to me. I find parts or sounds I like, isolate them and pair them by texture. From there, it’s more like a puzzle or a collage, and it could be a while until I find the missing piece to complete the puzzle. Once everything is arranged I replay guitar lines, bass lines etc and add scratches.

You are lucky enough to be calling Bristol your home. How’s the local music scene at the moment? Still thriving like a few years ago?

Absolutely, I’ve been here half of my life. It’s such an inspiring city, and we have an incredible community of artists here.

Artistically speaking, what challenges have the last two years presented you with?

Mainly, it’s been staying creative whilst sustaining myself as an artist. The demise of the UK arts scene, alongside the cost of living impacting nightlife & a gargantuan loss of festivals, has made it a very mentally taxing environment. The 12-inch record has “Dedicated to those who weathered the storm when their ship was sinking” on the back.

What are the next steps for your project? Anything exciting on the horizon?

Right now I’m in the middle of festival season, then off on my Canada Tour in August. Then I’m straight back into writing the next record. My goal is to keep making music, collaborating with amazing artists, and to keep trying to push the art forms of DJing and sampling.


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