I am Xan Müller, composer of original rave music. In 2013 I founded record label Surveillance Party with my fellow producer Haptic. Today I work with my music colleagues and loyal audience to build a united music scene, a powerful creative movement that says no to oppression and yes to expression.
I have studied classical piano and composition since I was a small child. I played violin and learned the beauty of the orchestra from my various conductors. I got interested in alternative music as a teenager via a discovery of Nirvana and a subsequent cavalcade of alternative bands including Regurgitator, Itch-e & Scratch-e and The Prodigy.
In the late 90s, a personal discovery of the synergy between psychoactive substances and the music of my emerging heroes The Chemical Brothers, Portishead, Squarepusher, Nam Shub Of Enki and the plethora of main stage trance acts like Paul Van Dyke and Ferry Corsten solidified my love for the magic of electronica.
I studied music new media at Queensland University of Technology, learning how synthesisers and samplers worked from a technical and musical standpoint. I spent countless hundreds of lost nocturnal hours fusing the teachings of my lecturer Andrew Brown with my passion for electronica and a newly acquired taste for retro 80s kitsch.
I got my first gigs playing at bush doofs in the Queensland and Northern New South Wales hinterland. I was enamoured with psychedelic trance, but brought my own sense of cheek into the scene, and I'm certain I annoyed the odd hippie with Fat Boy Slim-esque big beats and overtly new romantic synth riffs.
I formed electro duo Kid Kay Ferris with fellow music student Joel Joslin in 2001. We rose in the ranks of Brisbane's club scene very rapidly. Our career highlights included appearing on Ministry Of Sound, receiving high rotation airplay on Triple J, playing at the biggest festival of the times Big Day Out and supporting every touring act from The Orb to Aphex Twin, Miss Kittin to Freq Nasty, Bassment Jaxx to Pendulum.
The lowpoint of my life was a miscalculated move to Sydney, where our duo had toured a few times and thought we could gain a foothold. Everything fell apart as my colleague and I drifted apart musically, in a time when the world was kind of drifting apart too. It was a golden age for Australian dance music, with Cut Copy, The Presets and Bag Raiders leading the pack. I wasn't a part of it. Sydney just wasn't working for me.
The duo split and I launched myself into a bunch of short lived projects. I rented a dilapidated studio in an abandoned radio station and set up my synths and a bunch of recording equipment. I took a few forays into film composition, I wrote TV ad scores and hired myself out as a producer for local bands. I taught classes on production, I auto-tuned wannabe child stars, I did anything I could to stay busy.
It was around this time I came across a band called Mirella's Inferno. I joined them as a live-in producer and keyboardist. We didn't have a rehearsal space, so we rented an extra room at the studio. We couldn't get gigs, so we put our own on. We couldn't afford a film maker, so we made our own videos. Working with my bandmates has taught me the true value of collaboration. It's hard sometimes to compromise, but our sound is a true blend, as is our audience.
In 2013 I took a deep breath. I went to Berlin and soaked up that infamous freedom. Clichéd? I came back to Sydney determined to put the whole story together. Haptic and I advertised for a bunch of interns to help us put together the framework of a record label. Six talented students visited us once a week across two sessions, split into teams of three. We gathered artists. We built a website. We got our music on iTunes. We'd started a label.
To be continued...