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Sandra Collins

   photo: Marc Goldstein

Sandra Collins on Raves
    photo: Marc Goldstein




Coming at you from Los Angeles... don't touch that dial, you are locked in on Radio JXL... this broadcast promises to bring you the inside track on the hottest import from Amsterdam, the gear pounding, collared-shirt-wearing bundle of talent that we know most often as... Junkie XL.

Watch our Junkie XL video interview

He's turned his website RadioJXL.com into a virtual radio station, complete with "live" audio broadcasts of his mix sets, in-studio guests like Sasha, plus a plethora of downloads including a full, not available in stores 2-disc album entitled "7am/7pm" for the low, low price of $6.99. It's the perfect complement to his latest retail release, which also features two disks, these ones called "3am" and "3pm". The concept behind JXL's latest release is strong and clear: "The first disk is like what you would hear on the radio, on my radio station, in the afternoon." Its more rock/song oriented fare features an incredible array of guest vocalists and musicians. "I sent out a dozen requests to some of my biggest influences, thinking that maybe one or two of them would reply - but they all did and said yes!" This is do doubt due to the incredible, surpise success of his Elvis remix, a topic we tastefully step around due to the overwhelming media attention (and countless interview questions) he's been asked about this particular track in the past. To fine out what we did ask him, click on the video interview lin above, and check out a few of our favorite answers that didn't make the edit:

JW: Your website also had a "Win a fridge" contest... um, why a fridge?
JXL: Well, everyone needs a fridge, right? Actually, it was because one of our videos has this girl dragging one around... but the one you win is much nicer!

JW: Salmon Burke in the "Get Up To My Step" video, you see him sitting on a throne, he jumps out of the chair and starts break dancing... was that really him?
JXL: (winks)



I was born in Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands in 1967 to a musical family. When I was eight my parents bought me my first set of drums while my cousin also introduced me to the weird psychedelic-pop of Pink Floyd and King Crimson. At ten I started playing the piano and at 14 I traded my drum kit for a bass guitar, intent on never doing anything other than music for a living. When I moved to the town of Leeuwarden, I began working in a local music store (named - of course - Music Store) where I was immediately fascinated by the string of new synthesisers arriving each week.

I joined the Dutch group Weekend At Waikiki, which was inspired by Talking Heads, Yello, The Clash and Peter Gabriel. I was sort of a multi-instrumentalist producer, and was able to mix my twin loves of rock and electronics, using a Fairlight computer to produce the 1987 album. WAW toured Russia around the fall of the Iron Curtain - an experience which was amazingly insane - yet in true rock 'n' roll style it wasn't to last, and personal differences brought about about the end. I then formed industrial band Nerve, which was a harder fusion more like DAF and Nine Inch Nails, and released the 'Cancer of Choice' and 'Blood & Gold' LPs before splitting in 1995.

But by this time, I had already started to work as a freelance producer, working with bands like Sepultura, Fear Factory and Dog Eat Dog. But as my friends continuously remind me, a near-obsessive work ethic drove me close to the edge. The life I was leading as a producer definitely took its toll because of my workload, and I was only sleeping two or three hours a night. That's where the Junkie XL name came from, since my friends always called me Junkie because I spent so much time in the studio.

After a bit of a break and a new outlook, Junkie XL was born in 1997 with the release of our album, 'Saturday Night Teenage Kick'. I called myself Junkie XL from the point of view that once you're completely overworked you never want to go there again. The 'XL' stands for '(e)xpanding limits', broadening up your vision. And I found that a decade in studios had given me a huge advantage compared to other dance producers in that I knew how to put layer on top of layer. What was new to me was, 'How do I make a dance track?'

After that, we joined The Prodigy for a roller-coaster tour of Germany, conquering international festivals from Fuji Rock to Roskilde and taking on the burgeoning US rave scene. Our second album 'Big Sounds of the Drags' returned to the psychedelia of the sixties, where we began to minimize the vocals and experiment with guitar effects and delving deeper into dance. When my friend Sander Kleinenberg played the track 'Future In Computer Hell' down the phone to Sasha, Sasha immediately demanded its inclusion on his Global Underground Ibiza compilation. Since that time, Sasha and I have become quite close (including the exclusive interview and set for this site), and I often send him my latest CD-Rs. This relationship resulted in me collaborating on Sasha's great album, 'Airdrawndagger'.

Sasha and I really clicked right away. It was like picking up a guitar and knowing what to play. The moment we sat down I knew it would work. With allegiances with people like Sasha, Kleinenberg and Ti╬sto, I suddenly found myself in the midst of the progressive house scene. My outlook has always been progressive by nature and I felt I had found my niche - although I still try to stay away from overgeneralizing and too much categorisation.

In fact, in many ways I still don't feel really comfortable to be put in that scene, because wehn a musical style gets a label, it loses the original synopsis and I think that's what's happened with progressive. What's important to me is to push the boundaries of dance and see where you can go. It's something I realised when I played the first Leftfield album: How can we push the boundaries of house without losing the feeling?

Throughout these initial albums, I was also writing scores for commercials, video games and movies like Blade and Resident Evil, but there was definitely a big bang when my track for Nike's World Cup 2002 commercial, Elvis' 'A Little Less Conversation', hit number one in 24 countries. And yes, without going into too much detail, I did alter the name to JXL to avoid tricky name-related questions. After all, when you're being interviewed by NBC News, people can be a little anal about the name!

So now we're on the third Junkie XL album, which was created in my Amsterdam studio. The album features a lot of really cool and influential people, and is based around the concept of a virtual pirate radio station. The album features special vocal appearances by artists like Saffron, Peter Tosh, Gary Numan, Dave Gahan, Robert Smith and many more, which really helps with the pirate radio feel. And to top it off, the timing has worked out so weel with the 'Red Pill Blue Pill' remix for The Matrix; I had a blast playing some of these tracks at the Pinkpop Festival on June 9th, and it was great to see so many people understanding and appreciating the set!

Now what I want is for Junkie XL to become a mark of quality when it comes to a certain sound. I feel really comfortable saying I make progressive dance music that can cross over between different genres - and I'm always asking, 'How far can I go?'

Tour dates and more at www.radiojxl.com




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