I vividly remember the first time meeting Xavier Walker. I walked into Hush Nightclub for my first ‘Oh Great! It’s Monday With W.A.X!’ with a group of girlfriends that introduced me to Xavier the minute we walked in the door. I was instantly greeted with the most comforting, heartwarming hug I had ever experienced. It was as if I had fallen into the arms of the Tenderheart Care Bear. He instantly made me feel comfortable, and showed me how Monday’s could be the new Saturday’s, with one of the highest energy sets I’ve witnessed by a local DJ duo. Although “Oh Great!” threw their last party on Valentines day back in 2010, Xavier continues to DJ, and be a heavy presence in the Victoria club scene with his camera in hand as a well respected photographer. Xavier has become the number one Wolf/Sheep fanboy, and was stoked when I shot the idea at him to provide creative with an interview and exclusive mix!
Dr. Xavier, Hello!
What! haha, ask me a question – I’m not a doctor.
Yeah, but that’s the idea behind your name, right?!
Well, yes. I changed my name legally when I was 13, because my mom said that my sister and I had the opportunity to do that. It was either keep the names we had, or change them to whatever we liked, so, after having my name being.. something else… for 13 years, I changed my name to Xavier after watching X-Men one morning because I thought it was cool, and I think it suits me, hahaha!
You’ve been a DJ now for 11 years, when you started DJing, what was your process?
I actually learned how to DJ in 2001 on vinyl. I was going to local record stores and using the records, and turntables they had in store to practice for the first year and a half. I couldn’t beat match still after a year, so I gave up for a couple months, but kept buying records, and then six months later I picked it back up and got it within a month.
So you were playing on vinyl to start?
Yeah, I was playing on vinyl up until maybe 5 years ago, then I got into CD DJ’s, as it was more cost effective. I didn’t start into Serato until beginning of this year and it is way better.
More fun? More technical?
It’s easier with what you can do, and with everything right in front of you on a screen rather than having to flip through cases of CD’s, and burn CD’s. Burning CD’s is such a process, and can be really frustrating. Where now I can just click and drag a file into Serato and it’s there. It’s still a visual thing, and brings me back to using turntables after not using them for four years. That was tricky for the first few weeks but I got right back into it, playing on Serato vinyl seems easier than playing on normal vinyl.
So you’ve kind of evolved through all these technical stages of DJing – what do you think is next?
Yeah, I think Serato and those types of systems will be around for awhile, everyone seems to use Serato, and I think it will be the thing for a long time yet, and it should be. I still have all my vinyl, and if someone asked me to play vinyl at a party, I still would for sure, I haven’t sold any of it. Serato is very user friendly, after using it for a while and becoming used to it, I feel like i’m not staring at my screen as much which deterred me from using it at first. I believe DJing is 50% stage presence, 50% track selection, and 100% rocking out. Nobody wants to watch a boring DJ, it takes away from the whole experience. When I DJd with Wes as W.A.X, we would always just feed off each other, and I feel like that’s so important, and people feel that energy, and want to dance along to your music more. It’s always fun playing with him, we’ve gone on separate paths for sure, but on Friday November 16th, there will be an ‘Oh Great!’ Reunion on my birthday with Gumbootz, and of course W.A.X. There will be cake, balloons, and the ‘Oh Great!’ atmosphere will come back full force down at Hush.
How old were you when you started into the rave scene on Vancouver Island?
I went to my first rave in October of ‘99, it was called Fun House, the main headliner being Juan Atkins, and when Noble house was around. The party was at the Memorial Arena before it turned into The Save On Foods Arena. The following summer I went to a party called Summer School with Sasha and John Digweed, I was 15.
So was it then that you fell in love with electronic music?
No, I fell in love with electronic music when I was in the eighth-grade sitting in science class when my friend at the time, Lindsay, had a track she was playing on her Discman that she wanted me to listen to. At the time I had been listening to a lot of Nirvana, Green Day, Rage Against The Machine, etc. not anything close to electronic music. She put on Three Drives by Greese 2000 old school progressive trance anthem, and that was it, I was sold. I listened to trance for a couple years, and Hard House, then straight into Drum and bass, then into breaks.
Breaks turned into your passion for a while.
Yes, breaks was absolutely my passion for about 9 years. Lately i’ve been pushing over to house music and expanding my horizons with different sounds.
During the time that you were into breaks you did Oh Great! It’s Monday with W.A.X, with Wesley Bain, which is where I got to know you!
Yeah! That started in summer of 2008, and went on for almost two years every Monday, at Hush. The name adapted from one of our close friends Jason Maurer who himself, along with a bunch of our close friends just started saying “Oh Great!” it was more of an exacerbated weird little saying we all had, so it worked for a name. Over the course of ‘Oh Great!’, we threw in headliner DJ’s, guest locals, and my birthday happened to land on a Monday which was pretty amazing. Pimpsoul was in the area, so we had him headline one of the Mondays, which was extremely sucessful, and we flew Farace all the way in from Jacksonville Florida as well to play a Monday.
You’ve played a few key local music festivals as well!
Yes – I’ve played Soundwave Music Festival with Wes, as W.A.X three years in a row, and in 2005 solo.
You are also very well known in the club scene as a photographer, when did you start into photography?
Photography was something I started back in 2003 when I bought my first camera. It wasn’t really until 4-5 years ago that I started getting into nightlife, and band photography. It’s getting really exciting, i’m getting booked a lot for shows and events in the city. I’m starting to really find my angle with my photography, and I am getting to have my own kind of style.
You’ve been on the media team for Shambhala for the last two years, how was that experience?
Yeah, they’ve pretty much made me a resident photographer more or less. I always have a place there, and Shambhala is the end all of event heaven for photography with endless possibilities, and endless options it is a playground for sure.
What’s next for you?
More mixes! I really want to start pumping out more, and I’ve got the newest one I did for you guys, which we’re listening to right now! It’s called “Counting Sheep”, a dreamy Wolf/Sheep mix exclusive. I have been working on making a lot more chilled out, dreamy, easy listening mixes. I now am working on one called ‘High Heels’ and it’s going to be all peak hour disco, party-rocking type stuff, and a few tribute mixes to artists I have always admired, and a couple other artists that are similar. Other then that I am still doing photography basically full time while working at Noodle Box.
When was the first time you were down at Wolf/Sheep, and what did you think?
The first time I was down was during the July Summer Simple event that you had put on. I had always heard a lot of good things, it’s a great place with amazing things happening, and great people. Summer Simple was a really good idea, and I think there should be more of those events happening down here. People seem to be unsure of going down the stairs from Trounce Alley for some reason!
What do you think about dropping a mix and working with us?
Oh man, I think it’s great! I definitely want to be doing more work for Wolf/Sheep for sure, as many mixes as you guys want, and I love hanging out here. It’s a good mixture of the whole tattoo “lounge”.
Yeah! It’s a tattoo ‘lounge’! It’s kind of a parlour, but this place has more of a lounge feel to it. It can maybe use another two couches hahaha but other then that it’s nice. I like that there’s a DJ set up in here, with the art gallery to perouze, and the clothes are rad. I wear too much Wolf/Sheep stuff all the time.