As he has admitted himself, LSDXOXO’s music isn’t for the faint of heart. The Philadelphia-born, New York City-based DJ/producer has built himself a sizable cult following for his consistently surprising sonic arsenal. Whether he’s pairing Depeche Mode with drum 'n’ bass-style production or contrasting charming Super Mario Bros. sound effects against hypersexualized refrains, LSDXOXO has a knack for taking sounds that listeners have become comfortable with and recontextualizing them into something altogether new and, more often than not, vaguely threatening. The young producer’s music has an antagonistic sheen, all but getting up in clubgoers’ faces and defying them to throw down to songs more befitting a twisted dream sequence than a dance floor. Despite — or perhaps because of — the dissonance, it works.
LSDXOXO will swing by Floyd tomorrow, March 3, for his first DJ set in Florida. The show, hosted by local Miami label Space Tapes, is arriving on the heels of LSDXOXO’s most recent release, January’s Body Mods mixtape. In addition to LSDXOXO, electronic Miami experimentalists Tama Gucci and Get Face will be in attendance to lend their own warped interpretations of dance music and nightlife.
In advance of the show, LSDXOXO spoke with New Times about his early experiences with his current label and ongoing New York City party series GHE20G0TH1K, his initial inspirations and forays into DJ'ing, and his expectations of Miami.
New Times: You’ve spoken in the past about how you became involved with GHE20G0TH1K as a New York City transplant via Philadelphia, but when it comes to electronic/dance music generally, what came first, the clubbing or the music? Were you driven to go to clubs because of your love for the music, or vice versa?
LSDXOXO: Music certainly came first for me! I was producing in leisure over ten years ago before I ever thought I could be taken seriously. At the time, it was just a form of self-expression.
I have a love-hate relationship with clubbing. The hate stems solely from the fact that I hate leaving my home. I love clubbing in New York, in particular, because the community doubles as a blanket of support. Going to the club with friends can be like coming home from a day of work to your family even if you don’t have one.
When were you inspired to make the transition to DJ'ing and producing yourself?
Growing up in Philly, Baltimore and Jersey club music were always in heavy rotation, even on the radio stations. My friends and I would listen to it at school and sometimes come up with our own ideas for tracks in fun. I remember there was this R&B track called “Strawberries” by a Star Trak artist named Natasha Ramos that I desperately wanted to be remixed, so I decided to do it myself. I think that remix is on an iPod somewhere in my mom’s basement.
DJ'ing came further down the line. After moving to New York and releasing two mixtapes, people would ask to book me for shows. At the time, I admired my DJ friends for their skill and dedication to the craft, but I was intimidated by it.
I didn’t have enough money for equipment, so I would practice with other people whenever I had the chance. It’s become one of my favorite things to do, both influential and therapeutic.
Creatively, how do you make sense of splicing up totally unlike sounds and genres for your own songs? And what do your own listening and music consumption habits look like that you’re able to reference and pay tribute to so many different sounds across the spectrum?
When I listen to music, genre isn’t a divider. I feel like all music ultimately draws influence from the same sources. The listening experience is more so about where the music takes you, so whatever is evocative of a certain feeling or mood is what I’ll utilize.
My iTunes playlists are laughable. I have one for each daily situation. I have a showering playlist that’s quite mellow, a playlist for taking public transportation that’s pretty hardcore, one for cooking (which rarely happens), one for cleaning, and a lot more, although my friends often describe my daily listening as 5 a.m. at a rave.
Tomorrow’s set marks your first in Miami. Do you have any expectations coming in from talking to friends or from pop culture as to what to expect from Miami clubs or what the city is like in general?
This will be my first time performing in Florida, so I’m beyond excited that it’ll be in Miami!
I’ve heard that the people are beautiful and that the clubs are crazy, so I’m glad that I’ve extended my stay. I’ve also heard great things about the drag show brunches.
For as fun and as popping as your music is, it also carries a sinister element to it. Did this come from your own musical sensibilities, or was it inspired by your experiences in nightlife?
I’m a spooky person, so that tends to bleed into my music. I’m also a huge cinephile and have an affinity for horror movies, so I feel that plays a part. Something about being scared gets your blood pumping. As I said before, I’m big on music being evocative of certain feelings, and fear is one of them.
You’ve previously described Body Mods as a precursor to your forthcoming debut LP. How is it coming along, and how does it differ from your body of work so far?
I’m excited and also extremely nervous about my debut LP. In a way, it’s the first project that I’ll release as myself. With past projects, I would focus on production and leave most of the subject matter and vocals to other artists. Going forth in making music, I want for my sound to be more closely aligned with my narrative. Because of that, I have very few features on my debut LP, and I’m mixing tracks with my own vocals for the first time.
Because it occupies this weird space between being a regional party and being a distinct product of the internet, do you see the values and principles of GHE20G0TH1K as being transmutable to other places and scenes?
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I certainly do. Although GHE20G0TH1K was originally established as more of a regional movement, I feel its influence branching out whenever I go to other parts of the world. Kids from all over tell me how they’ve been inspired by GHE20G0TH1K to create a space within their community that caters to the freaks and geeks of their generation.
What are you looking forward to most this Saturday?
I’m looking forward to meeting all of the people coming out to see me and also for my first taste of Miami nightlife!