Budding Bay Area-based artist Xerxes gives us an inside look at his growth as an artist, breaking into the scene and playing Toxic Summer.
While the Bay Area continues to be a home base for many talented artists, Xerxes is one name that stands out against the grain. Being musically inclined from a young age, he has had a lifelong relationship with music that has only evolved over time. From being classically trained to playing in high school marching band, the young DJ and producer has had plenty of time to hone in on his craft and create a sound that is uniquely his own.
The years of practice become evident as Xerxes captures listeners with his discography, which includes high-energy tracks like “Sideswipe“ with 2Spade, and “Apollo“ with fellow Bay Area producer, Glasspvck. The Bay Area has seen him grace the stage with beloved local event company Pastel, including his first-ever headlining set at San Francisco’s YOLO nightclub.
This year, Xerxes is gearing up for even bigger things, including festival sets and major label releases starting later this year. Coming up soon, listeners will be able to catch his tracks played locally, as he is set to take the stage at Toxic Summer as part of the Olympus Presents stage takeover. In the meantime, hit play on Xerxes’ guest mix and continue reading for our chat with the artist!
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 378 || Xerxes on SoundCloud:
Hi Xerxes! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We’re excited to share your story. Let’s get into the origin of Xerxes. What musical inspirations or experiences led you to pursue music production? How did that influence the Xerxes alias?
Hi! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak a bit about my story. I’ve been a classically trained musician since I was a child, and I played in concert/marching band in high school. To be honest, most of my music theory knowledge comes from playing the ukulele, which I consider my primary instrument and biggest musical influence. I was first exposed to EDM by listening to Skrillex and old Monstercat releases back in middle school, but I didn’t really get involved in the community until college when I first started going to shows.
My main entry point into EDM as a whole definitely was dubstep, although I quickly found many other genres that I became just as interested in. Funny enough, I’ve been called Xerxes since high school, years before I started producing. My real name is Patrick, and there were like four other people named Patrick in the marching band I was in, so the name Xerxes was used to differentiate me from the other Patricks. The Xerxes alias actually came from a Family Guy episode when Peter got a pet falcon, and I thought, “That’s a cool name,” so that’s what everyone started calling me.
We see you’re based out of the Bay Area. What was it like breaking into the scene there? Do you feel like that community has helped you grow?
As with anything new, I feel like it’s always hard to break into any scene. There’s always a certain degree of luck involved when going about finding the right people to meet. But by continuing to go to events and being as genuine of a person as I can, the right people always eventually show up. I’m truly thankful for all the people in the Bay Area who have stood in my corner and believed in the art I want to put out. I wouldn’t be anything if it weren’t for all the people who’ve supported my music since day. Huge thanks to Pastel, the first event company to give me a platform to share my music.
Coming from the Bay, you’ve probably seen the nightlife scene there fluctuate in recent years. How has that challenge impacted you, and how did you surpass it?
In the years when we all were forced indoors, I think a lot of us were negatively impacted in many ways. I was mourning the loss of one of my closest friends right at the start of the pandemic, so I can say it was one of the most testing periods of my life. But I took all that time being stuck inside to really refine my craft and continue to build on the skills that I know will set me up for success in the long run. Short-term L’s for long-term W’s is always the way to look at things in my opinion.
We touched on your early inspirations, but let’s compare to what’s in your rotation today. Are there any artists you find yourself listening to on repeat lately? If so, tell us more about their influence.
As of today, a lot of the EDM I listen to is mostly from my peers and friends. I’m very grateful to be a part of the OTHERWRLD community, which has put me alongside some of the most insane rising talents the scene currently has to offer. People like Badlike, Killmatter, BAARIC, BLVDE RUNNER, and many others featured in the various releases on OTHERWRLD have continuously pushed me to diversify my sound and really hone in on my strengths as an artist.
While fairly versatile, your releases seem to lean more into the trap and bass genre. Can you tell us what gets your creative juices flowing when you get into production mode?
I’ve spent quite some time intently studying all of the artists that have influenced me, learning exactly what kinds of sounds belong in specific song sections, how they impact the tension and release within a track, and really figuring out what makes a song “good”. All of this was to serve the purpose of internalizing the tools used in effective song composition to utilize in my own music. At this point, anything can really put me in the mood to produce, be it hearing a cool song recently or even a random sound outside my window that I want to utilize in a different context.
Speaking of versatility, you have a release, “Apollo,” with fellow Bay Area producer, Glasspvck. The two of you have pretty distinct styles that have become your signature sounds. What was it like to collaborate and blend your two styles together?
“Apollo” was actually a really easy song to work on. I had shown Mitch the track when it still had only one drop, and he really enjoyed it. So I asked if he’d be willing to add to it, and he absolutely killed it with his contributions to the song. Really glad to see him taking off in the direction he’s going with his graphic design work and his music.
We see that you’re set to play Toxic Summer next month. Congrats on playing your first festival! What can fans expect for your set?
Thank you so much! I’m really excited to play Toxic Summer, and hopefully, it’ll pave the way for future festival lineups. You can expect a wide range of genres that feature about 80% unreleased original tracks and remixes from myself and my friends.
What’s coming up next for Xerxes?
What’s next? A whole lot of new music. Starting in July, I’ll have a huge schedule of releases that will carry me through the rest of 2023. Some are tracks signed to record labels I’ve wanted to release with for a long time now. I am super grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way and for the people who have been along with me on the journey.
Finally, just for fun, as a Bay Area local what’s your favorite place to grab a bite to eat that you’d take us to when we come visit?
If you’re into ramen, definitely go to Ramenwell. It’s this super tiny hole-in-the-wall ramen restaurant in SF that has some of the best ramen I’ve had in the Bay Area. I’ve got to go back soon, 100%.