Since his very first EP, released in 1995 on Ozone records, Olivier Raymond aka Oxia has been at the forefront of the French techno scene. With his friend The Hacker and their label Goodlife, Olivier has helped regenerate the sound of French productions. There where The Hacker is more situated in dark sober sounds and new-wave, Oxia represents the funky side: groovy & funky techno, pure dancefloor, and frequently influenced by electro and melodic sounds.
Before taking a sneak preview to the future, let’s step back in time a little, to the beginning, yes to 1971! Born in Grenoble (France) Olivier’s musical talents were far from being predestined. None of his family ‘walked the boards’ nor played any sort of instrument. Against all odds, via a rogue gene perhaps, Olivier’s musical soul was formed. From a very young age, Black Music is Olivier’s preferred companion: The Jackson Five; Prince; Chic; Disco followed when Olivier experienced ‘Cerrone in concert’ in 1978 with his parents ’ one of life’s defining moments as he refers to it. Only a few months later his parents bought him his first synthesizer.
During his college years, Olivier befriended Stephane Deschezeaux, another young man passionate about Black Music. They made their debut on a local radio station presenting a ‘Funk’ radio program. Olivier, only 15 years old, started mixing with a simple cassette player and deck (without pitch). Soon tiring of his limited tools, he invested in a proper pair of decks and began mixing funk, rock and pop at student parties.
Other influences are added to his repertoire: electro-funk of Afrika Bambaataa, italo-disco, new wave from Depeche Mode, New Order! The early house scene had just started to take its form (Todd Terry, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Marshall Jefferson). ’ For us the house scene wasn’t new but a continuation of the Funk movement’
In 1991, Olivier & Stephane bought their first bits of ‘music making’ equipment and started composing melodies incorporating sounds from Black Music, Acid Jazz and New Jack.
Two years on and the 1st dj residency was set in Grenoble. Olivier’s electronic mixing style and deck technique took on new shapes and forms with sways from new genres of electronic music: European trance and progressive (Eye Q, Guerilla, Harthouse ).
The live act, Oxia, saw light in 1994 as Olivier and Stephane got more and more into professional production. A few gigs later, they released their first EP in 1995 on their own Ozone Records (which they created together with Kiko). Also on this label Olivier co-produced Jack de Marseille’s first releases.
The musical identity that is Oxia today was fully nurtured when finally in contact with American techno (the likes of Jeff Mills, Damon Wild), acid, the Detroit scene but also artists such as Slam, Dave Clarke!
The musical affinity and friendship between Olivier and Kiko also lead them to work together. The Phunky Data duo went on to achieve great successes throughout France. Two albums followed: ‘Fashion or Not’ (1998) and ‘38’ (2000). Two things become apparent: First, not enough time for Oxia to explore his music mind set. Second, he felt uncomfortable with the lifestyle attached to being one half of a commercially successful duo. Olivier realized that he’s much more affiliated with the independent music scene and created a new label in 1998 with Michel Amato (The Hacker) and Alexandre Reynaud, both of whom he met a while back in Grenoble. They named their label Goodlife in homage to the mythical Inner City track.
A new ep ‘Body’ EP was released in 1999 on the young label. A striking change at that moment: Stephane started loosing interest in techno and wanted to diversify into deep house. Olivier continued carving the road that is Oxia today, without losing the true friendship with Stephane (Now Stephane Deschezeaux is Gino’s and also one half of Human Body)
Oxia refined his sound and anchored it in groovy techno tainted by old Skool influences releasing ‘Etat d’Esprit’ ep Goodlife 2000, gaining credit on the International circuit and getting signed by Carl Cox and DJ C1 onto their label Intec (‘Influence’ 2000 and ‘Finally’ 2002). Worldwide DJ bookings, releases on labels like Monoid, Phont, remixes on Missile, Scandium, and Terminal M followed in no time. ‘Goodlife’ ep with The Hacker and a mix cd were released (‘Vital session’ 2001, and ’Oxia on Monoâd 2002), the cd is a subtle mix of groovy techno and melodic sound verging on the boundaries of electro.
A page still unfolding, in 2004 Oxia released his debut solo album ‘24 HEURES’ on Goodlife. His first full album floats between groovy melodic techno and electro. The album climbed into the 2004 top 5 albums chosen by readers of French leading magazine Trax. UK reviews did not mount less as they also embraced Oxia’s musical evolution. As known for his mixes of funky techno with an open musical mind, Oxia got more and more into an eclectic trip: Mixing electro-house / electro-techno to groove / deep melodic techno or simply making the finest combination of it all. Taking a glimpse on his production work this evolution is also crystal clear.