In 2008, the nascent EDM machine was still a couple of years away from dominating the charts. In Miami, any form of dance music was still relegated to the clubs and stayed away from radio and record executives. It was also the era of Hipster Runoff-approved DJ names and glitchy productions that fell under the umbrella term of "blog house."
Classixx, composed of Michael David and Tyler Blake, was certainly a product of that era, introducing itself to the world with the blog-house-friendly track "Cold Act iLL." The track shows its age in today's dance music landscape, but at the time it seemed like a breath of fresh air and certainly a precursor to the EDM monstrosity that was to come.
However, the duo found success a year later thanks to its Kitsuné-released cut, "I'll Get You," a glimmering track that repeatedly asked the listener, "Do you like bass?" The answer was unequivocally yes. For months after the track's release, you couldn't set foot on a dance floor without hearing it.
"We'll look back at some early demos and realize how long we've been doing it, and for the most part, it's just pretty humbling," David says over the phone from Los Angeles. "I think we've seen a lot of trends in dance music come and go throughout that time."
Classixx, however, kept up with the trends without sacrificing the familiar sound that first attracted its listeners. Their popularity only seemed to amplify as they gave acts such as Phoenix, Yacht, and Major Lazer the Classixx remix treatment, reworks that at times surpassed the popularity of the originals. It's something David says couldn't happen now thanks to the egalitarian nature of today's remix industry.
"A remix is a little bit less relevant now for some reason," David says. "There were things that kind of brought on the death of the remix, like remix contests and terrible remix EPs that people would put out for the sake of it. There was like a period of remix inflation. I don't think we would have been able to have been recognized simply for remixes today the way we were a few years ago."
Classixx remixes are few and far between these days, with the pair sticking to original productions. And listeners have no doubt gained a new appreciation for them. After the release of 2013's Hanging Gardens, Classixx reminded everyone of what it does best: shimmering productions that build on what David and Blake started with "I'll Get You" — but in a new, tropical-house coating.
This year, they've returned with more of the same with their sophomore effort, Faraway Reach. However, this time, along with tighter production come more collaborations, including How to Dress Well, Passion Pit, and T-Pain — yes, the man responsible for using Auto-Tune as an effect rather than a simple correction tool.
David says the oddball choice of collaborators is thanks to his and Blake's diverse tastes in music. And as far as T-Pain, well, they're just fans. They even wrote the track "Whatever I Want" with him in mind.
Beyond the collaborations, Faraway Reach also forced Classixx to keep things simple.
"On Hanging Gardens, I remember some of our sessions had like 80 tracks on them, and they were kind of bloated. I wanted to have production sort of be a little bit more minimal, at least in our way, and a little bit more tidy."
Classixx has hit the road in support of its new album and, according to David, is ready to show it off. Their latest tour will see them rounding out their live sound with more instrumentation and vocalists onstage. It will be a noticeable change for anyone who witnessed the duo's last live Miami performance as the opener for Cut Copy in 2014.
"I think if you're a Classixx fan, you'll be really stoked. I rarely say that with any confidence. I try to sort of manage people's expectations with our stuff, but I think the live show is pretty fucking good, to be honest with you."
Classixx with Alex Frankel and Harriet Brown. 10 p.m. Friday, September 30, at 1306, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-377-2277; 1306miami.com. Tickets cost $18 plus fees via epoplife.com. Ages 21 and up.