X-Change & Ultimate Rejects
by Hannah Carlson
X-Change met the Ultimate Rejects during Miami Music Week 2016 for the first time. From there X-Change visited them in their home country; Trinidad, and attended the world renown Carnival; a two month long party. ‘We planned on working in the studio the entire time, but it turned into show after show” said X-Change. The Ultimate Rejects track, ‘Full Extreme’, was released in December 2016 and became the number one song in the Caribbean. It still remains number one on ITunes and continues to be one of the biggest downloads in Trinidad. The music video was released shortly after. Since the release of ‘Full Extreme’ Ultimate Rejects have performed ninety shows in two months with X-Change joining sixty of those shows. The Ultimate Rejects are a group of four talented individuals. MX Prime is the main vocalist which Raver Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing with X-Change in Miami. What started out as business collaboration turned into a brotherhood between X-Change and Ultimate Rejects.
What is the point of networking?
MX Prime says, ‘At the end of the day if you want to succeed at anything you have to go to the World Series, the World Cup, the Super bowl, etc. For us you have to go to Miami Music Week to expose your name and network’. X-Change says, ‘Exactly! Last year I went to Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) and met Hardwell and the Revealed team. I shot them over one of my unreleased tracks and boom Hardwell played it on his show (Hardwell On Air). I received a good amount of exposure that way by premiering my song on his radio show’. ‘We are fans of music, we love music, we breathe it. Always working on music, getting new concepts, helping each other like brothers’.
Raver Mag: Where did the name Ultimate Rejects come from?
Ultimate Rejects came out of an experience which is what everybody else goes through when they try to do something that is unprecedented at the time. Basically we were 5-10 years ahead in how we were creating music and based on that it was greeted with less than rave reviews. So based on my experience along with Johann Seaton when the time came to choose an appropriate name for the group that we were starting that we needed to have something that was strong and told our story, so Ultimate Rejects was something that came up and the name stuck because only us could represent that name based on what we went through and we knew that there are many stories of other people who have gone through something similar so the name will continue to be relevant for many years to come since it’s always about daring to be different and sticking to your guns.
Raver Mag: Let’s talk about the New collaboration track ‘Kings in Town’.
X-Change says, ‘I’ll never forget the creation of this track because I was on my way to Greece and I was mixing the record on the plane and sent it to them to put vocals over it. They cut it in the studio, and played it over WhatsApp while I am sitting in the lounge of JFK. When we hear ideas we work over WhatsApp all the time, it’s a great way to work when we are all traveling but when we come together in the studio it’s like family’.
Raver Mag: Why is CDM- Caribbean Dance Music becoming such a trendy music style?
There are so many different types of rhythms and beats and ways to make a track different and unexpected, that’s why we are combining Caribbean with EDM. We have a bunch of different things to keep it interesting. X-Change says, ‘There definitely was a lot of inspiration by visiting Trinidad last year and I also pull a lot of inspiration from all different types of music.
Raver Mag: What were you doing before your music career? How did you become a DJ?
I received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan. I then became a lead audio engineer at General Motors. X-Change says, ‘ I have a different perspective on music production because I studied from an engineering perspective and then I went on to study music. I learned how to sonically listen to music and pick it apart. Also before I was writing music I learned mixing and mastering so I still do all my own mixing and mastering ‘It brought me to this unique perspective from all my different engineering studies and experiences. ‘I am living my passion, I am lucky that my parents support my passion and come to shows when they can. I have a shared Dropbox with them so they can hear what new songs I’m working on and see the latest pictures. My dad plans on coming to the big festivals soon to support me and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got on the stage and started dancing along with the crowd’.
Raver Mag: What is a normal day for you?
Mx Prime says ‘I have never had a normal day, music has always been in my life, I wear many hats in the entertainment industry. I believe that we are all students, some are gifted to teach but even teachers can learn something, we can all learn something everyday. I don’t see things as normal, waking up and having the ability to breath is not normal for a lot of people. We should make every day count, meet new people each day. Everyone that comes into your life has a purpose; to change you in some way is your choice’. There’s a big part of Miami Music Week to create relationships and inspire others. ‘We are all originals. No one can be like you. I would rather be uncomfortably uncomfortable. Push yourself and continue to grow. That’s what we are doing everyday as students of life.
Where do you find most of your inspiration?
X-Change says, ‘Living life. Traveling and having different experiences while seeing various cultures and then coming back to the studio and putting a track together,
Also, listening to a lot of different genres and music. For example Matoma was saying at South by south west that he likes to listen to classical music. For me I love listening to punk rock like Blink 182 and stuff to get different ideas. I am a melody guy, so if I wake up in the morning and hear a melody in my head and wonder what it is and realize it’s the song I was working on last night that’s a good thing (X-Change laughing)”
Raver Mag: What’s your favorite part of Miami Music Week?
X-Change says, ‘I love coming down every year to MMW and seeing guys I only get to see in person once or twice a year like DubVision, Jay Hardway and the Disco Fries. And then getting to meet a ton of new amazing people like Steve Aoki and Morgan Page this year.Attending these events helps you to get ahead. It has definitely helped us get to where we are right now and we definitely plan on coming back for more next year!’