Since his very first EP, released in 1995, Olivier Raymond, a.k.a 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.
Whereas the majority of the first wave favoured
dark and New Wave sounds, Olivier epitomises the
Funk side of the movement: Hardgroove Techno,
100% Dancefloor, personified by rhythmic avalanches and loops inspired by, amongst others, the “Purpose Makers” series by Jeff Mills. On the flip side, his reflective moods are apparent in his unique dry Spartan electro sound.
Olivier had his first taste of success in 1998 with Phunky Data (duo with Kiko) with compositions very
much French Touch in sound. Moving away from the public eye and this “popular” genre of music,
Olivier embarked on a journey of self discovery to find his own musical style, his own true identity.
The journey led to the creation of Oxia – originally launched as a duo with Stéphane Deschezeaux
before reverting to a solo project – which soon traversed many a frontier: Signed to the German label
Monoïd and Carl Cox and DJ C1’s British label In-Tec. After many EPs and numerous DJ tours, the
project has today reached its pinnacle: the release of Oxia’s first album.
Before looking to the future, let’s take a step back in time…To the beginning…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 (not even the spoons!). Against all odds, via a
rogue gene perhaps, Olivier’s musical soul is formed. From a very early age, Black Music is Olivier’s
preferred companion: (The Jackson Five; Prince; Chic …), Disco follows when Olivier experiences
Cerrone in concert in 1978: “On the Côte d’Azur on holiday with my parents – one of life’s defining
During his school years, Olivier befriends Stéphane Deschezeaux,
another young man passionate about Black Music. Together they
present a Funk radio programme on a local station and Olivier turns
his hand to mixing - messing around with a cassette player and a
turntable without pitch control! Soon tiring with his limited tools,
Olivier invests in a proper pair of decks and mixes at student parties:
“like a traditional DJ”
Other influences are added to his repertoire: Afrika Bambaataa, Italo
Disco, New Wave, Depeche Mode, New Order then M/A/R/R/S, SXpress…
The burgeoning house scene turns Olivier’s head (JM.Silk,
Todd Terry, Innercity…): “For me, the house scene wasn’t new but a
continuation of the Funk movement…”.
In 1991, Olivier buys his first bits of “music making” equipment and
starts composing melodies incorporating sounds from Black Music, Acid Jazz and New Jack.
In 1993 Olivier becomes resident DJ in a club in Grenoble. His electronic mixing style and deck
technique helping initiate new genres of soirées - European trance and progressive (Eye Q, Guerilla,
The arrival of 1994 sees Olivier and Stéphane’s previous efforts come into fruition. Their style is
shaped, they are drawn to American techno - by the likes of Jeff Mills, Damon Wild… and Acid house.
Oxia goes live and after a few dates they release their first EP in 1995 on their own label Ozone
Records (the name is taken from Kiko’s record shop). Olivier co-produces Jack de Marseille’s first
releases on Ozone.
Aside from this, Olivier and Kiko’s musical affinity and friendship
leads them to work together. The Phunky Data duo goes on to
achieve great success throughout France. Two albums follow:
“Fashion or Not” (1998) and “38” (2000). Two consequences
become apparent: Firstly, not enough time for Oxia; Secondly,
Olivier feels uncomfortable with the lifestyle attached to being one
half of a commercially successful duo. Olivier soon realises that
the indie music life is much more palatable and in 1998 creates a
second label with Michel Amato (The Hacker) and Alexandre
Reynaud both of whom he met in Grenoble a few years
previously. They name their label Goodlife in homage to the
mythical Inner City track.
The young label releases Oxia’s “Body” EP in 1999, marking a
structural change between the duo: “Stéphane started to be
disinterested in techno and wanted to diversify more into deep
house”. They parted ways amicably and Oxia became one.
Release after release, Oxia refines his sound anchored in groovy techno, tainted by old Skool
influences. Goodlife 04 (“Etat d’Esprit” EP, 2000) gains credit on the International circuit and is signed
by Carl Cox and DJ C1 onto their label Intec (two Eps: “Influence” in 2000 and “Finally” in 2002). Oxia
reaches turning point: DJ bookings multiple worldwide; he is signed to the German label Monoïd
(“1003” EP in 2001, “Delay” EP in 2002); Goodlife releases the “Goodlife” EP with The Hacker in 2001
then Phont music in 2002. Remixes for labels such as Missile, Scandium, Terminal M… are
commissioned. CD mixes reflecting Oxia’s live sets - a subtle mix of groovy techno and melodic
sounds verging on the boundaries of electro - are also released (“Vital Session” in 2001 on
Human/Uwe and “Oxia on Monoïd” on Monoïd the following year),
Today, like his good friend The Hacker, Oxia has achieved the accolade of being one of France’s
techno Godfathers, on a par with the likes of David Carretta, The Youngsters, Vitalic, Kiko, Agoria,
John Thomas. He now has his next feat to conquer – an album. A task that has been undertaken
seriously, yet hesitantly, since the end of 2002: “I am a very slow and punctilious composer. Very
This, Oxia’s first album, risks to move feet on the dancefloor and take the ear on an electro adventure.
Due out january 2004.
By Damien Almira
Translation: Sarah Agasse
Maria am Ostbahnhof, Berlin
Hotel Arena, Amsterdam
Recreatieschap Spaarnwoude, Velsen Zuid