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Talented DJ & producer, Prexse.

TGMS Future Stars: PREXSE

Welcome at Tanzgemeinschaft. Please introduce yourself.

Hey everyone and thanks for having me. My name is Justin Mckenzie, otherwise known as PREXSE (pronounced pretense). I’ve been making electronic music for over 20 years by now, mostly in and around Sydney, Australia. 

My journey with electronic music started in the late 90s when my brother purchased a pair of old belt-driven turntables. I would watch him play for hours on end, often playing the same six hi-NRG records over and over while he learned to mix. From the beginning, I was in awe and knew it was something I wanted to learn myself.

I decided to give it a shot and was instantly hooked. How could you not fall in love with such incredible music? 

Connect with PREXSE on Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram

From there, I started to go to the illegal raves that were popular in Sydney in the early 00s, often in old sports centres or even Putt-Putt golf courses. This was like diving down a whole other rabbit hole of dance music, where I was exposed to trance, hard trance and happy hardcore almost every weekend. 

Before long, and after a decent stint on a local radio show, I began to play at the very same raves I was going to every weekend. From very early on though, I was intrigued by how the records I loved were made, and I knew I had to learn. The only problem was that I had no idea where to start. 

At the age of 16, and with a little digging plus some guidance from my friends, I started making my own music and I haven’t looked back since.

How would you describe your sound and style?

I always like to describe my music as a melting pot of all the styles that have inspired me over the years: from 90s Hi-NRG to early 00s Trance and Hard trance right through to Electro and Progressive House. I love them all! 

For me, there are aspects of each genre that really stick with me, and resonate with me for some reason. So, I try to meld all these elements into something new and different. I feel that’s one of my strengths as a producer, I try to pay homage to all the incredible music and producers that have come before me whilst staying true to electronic music’s innovative potential. At times, that can mean my music is a little abstract, but I like it that way.

What triggers the idea for you to begin a new project?

It always varies for me but I’ve found the majority of the time mucking around on the keys works until something just sticks, and then I build it up from that idea. 

Do you have a recent release to showcase? Tell us all about it and something about the process behind it.

I do, my track Endorphins was a group effort that features a visual from my friend SNomad1. That clip has now surpassed 10k views on YouTube which I’m very proud of. My 8-year-old son also named the track and helped me design the cover art. It was actually his idea to have the brain as the artwork, which I love!

What other releases have you planned for this year that you can tell us about? Like when and on which label?

I have 4 songs scheduled for self-release, one of them being “Bisco Deat” which comes out on the 31st of May which I’m very excited about. I also have two finished collaborations with Fenn Soroll, for which we are trying to find a home.

When searching for a label, what is it that you are looking for? What do you expect from a record label?

Normally, when I’m looking for a label, I’m most impressed by their effort to promote the work. I’ve been on some labels that never really did much to get the tracks out there and that had a lasting effect on me. It’s all about the labels’ effort and belief in the music I’m creating and that they’re releasing.

What is one thing that would make your musical career more successful? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Honestly, for me, just seeing my music being played to a bigger audience would do it. To be able to provide young ravers with the same feelings that I experienced when I was young would be a dream for me. Getting to hand down to the next generation that same love of music would be truly special.

Which characteristics of other artists do you find annoying? Which encourages you to move on?

Transparency! One of the things that gets on my goat is the lack of transparency with writers and producers. I want to see more ghost producers and collaborators openly credited. And I also want to see people share their little secrets and tricks so we can all get collectively better, instead of gatekeeping knowledge that holds us all back.

Who are your musical or audio heroes and why?

I have two at the moment, Hardt Antoine and Trikk. I feel both of them are pushing boundaries. They’re different, original and sonically amazing. Any artist who is taking risks and is not copying what’s trending is a hero in my book.

And when it comes to your field, producing, are there any particular ideas or pioneers that you go back to frequently or who really influence your thinking about the work you do?

I always find myself going back to those big beautiful melodys from the early 00’s hard trance. There was something so special happening in that era of music.

It’s easy to listen back and instantly get inspired to create. Even if what I’m creating sounds only tangentially connected. It just puts me in that creative and inspired mood.

This is mix I did for my mate FEED THE STRAY’s radio show. It’s a vinyl mix from 2006 that represents the origins of PREXSE.

Thank you

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