Artist Spotlight: Boxer & Amy Wiles
Off the back of their latest remix, Boxer & Amy Wiles are in the spotlight 🔍
For this month's artist spotlight, we've tracked down Boxer and Amy Wiles for a quick chat on their collaborative remix of Tenth Planet's 'Ghosts', out now on Anjunabeats. Read on to find out what inspired them to remix this trance classic, how they got into dance music, their top production and DJing tips, and more...
Tell us a bit about how you got into dance music, and how you started out DJing and producing.
Dan: My love of dance music started in the late '90s. I used to pinch my mum's CDs and play them on my little bedroom hi-fi, no doubt blowing the tiny speakers to bits.
My best friend's dad, Mark, was a DJ: we used to tag along with him to gigs when we were teenagers, and we started doing our own gigs a few years later. Mark used to be good friends with the late Tony De-Vit, an icon in his time and arguably the most popular DJ in the country back then. We used to hear about all their gig stories, which gave me a direction I wanted to follow with my passion for music.
By the time I hit my late teens, I was playing residencies in my home city of Worcester, and I had the opportunity to play venues like Ministry of Sound, Passion at the Emporium and Eden in Ibiza.
I started out producing in 2009. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it!), I had a nasty car accident in 2010 where I broke my back. I was paralysed from the waist down and had to undergo major surgery. I was unable to work for around 12 months which gave me the time to study production, watch Ableton tutorials etc. The Sonic Academy platform helped me then, and it wasn't long before I started making music. Luckily I made a near-full recovery, however, I am very thankful for the time it gave me to learn my craft.
Amy: I’ve always been quite musical throughout my entire childhood. I played piano, guitar and clarinet for many years, but it wasn’t until I reached 16 that I wanted to try something ‘cooler’ let’s say - so I went to a DJ school in London and learnt there!
When I learnt how to DJ it was purely just a hobby at the time, I had no intentions or any idea that it would become my professional job, which is mad. Producing came a bit later on, I started producing nearly four years ago now. But the real turning point for me was lockdown, it gave me so much time to focus on finishing track ideas, learning new things and teaching myself more.
I’m into dance music and trance in general because of my upbringing. My mum was a bit of a raver back in the day (still is to this day!), and played all of the trance classic CDs at home when I was a kid. My dad also LOVES music, but he’s into bands and indie dance and other things. I also listen to a lot of this stuff when I’m not listening to dance music, so that’s also had an influence.
Tell us a bit about how your remix of Tenth Planet’s iconic record ‘Ghosts’ came about.
Dan: We decided that following our remix of Above & Beyond's classic 'Home', we would like to focus our collaborative project on remixing tracks that had an impact on us in the early days and bringing them up to date. We both share a similar selection of music that inspired us both growing up.
We were on the hunt for our next challenge when I pulled out a vinyl copy of 'Ghosts' by Tenth Planet. I had the original and also another white label copy which was remixed by Phil York & Dark By Design. This record was a big favourite of mine in those early days!
Amy: Boxer mentioned that this was one of his favourite trance records and how much he loved the vocal. We did a bit of digging and found the right people to contact regarding stems and if we could remix the track. They were very open to hearing our ideas and sent the stems over. We had a couple of sessions on it and took it down a slightly more progressive route, but still sticking within the old-school trance sound. Happy with how this one turned out!
What gigs do you have coming up in 2023, and which one are you most excited for?
Dan: I'm really excited about my first international artist tour next month! I'm heading to India, A country I've always wanted to visit. There's a real buzz in the dance music scene over there at the moment, they host some amazing parties and I'm looking forward to playing them some music!
Amy: The one I’m most excited about currently is Printworks once again, I have so much music I’m trying to finish for that and I’m already putting together a short list of tracks for it. Printworks is my favourite venue in London. I am of course very excited to go back to The Gorge (the most stunning venue ever!) and Anjunabeach Brighton will be insane, that’s a new one I’m really looking forward to.
Do you have any tips for anyone who’s just started in music production/DJing?
Dan: With music production and writing, I'd say being experimental and exploring new directions is vital to making unique music. It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to make music to fit a certain genre or label, which I have been guilty of in the past.
Some of my best results have been when I've been playing around with ideas outside the box and making sounds that are unusual or different from my typical style. Also, don't be too hard on yourself, it's difficult to make good art when you put yourself under pressure or are in the wrong frame of mind.
Amy: If you're just starting out, it’s going to feel like you’re a long way off and it will feel easy to give up on the first hurdle. But I think if you have the passion for it, you’ll just keep going. You might not enjoy the learning part at the start so much but once you know what you’re doing (to a certain extent, because I still have so much to learn), you’ll absolutely love it. Try to teach yourself something new every week.
Finally, which Anjuna artist is your one to watch in 2023?
Dan: There are so many artists I love at Anjuna, on both labels. Being a big fan of the deep progressive sound, I really enjoyed Ezequiel Arias's remix of James and Jody's 'Space Time', so I hope to hear more from him this year. Dosem is killing it for me right now though, and as a fan of his, he is a DJ you never want to miss live.
Amy: I wrote a tweet not so long ago about this. I included Leena Punks, anamē, Stephen Kirkwood, SØNIN and Alex Sonata & TheRio. I’ve heard some of the upcoming music, and it’s all amazing!