Secret Thirteen Interview - Xhin


Interview with Xhin

By following Xhin's retrospective mix of favourite records on Secret Thirteen mixes we present an exclusive mini interview with a mastermind himself. It wasn't very easy to develop a conversation with mysterious Singaporean artist, but as Albert Einstein once said: "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources". This interview reveals some constructive, but useful facts about Xhin's past, present insights and his sharp and concrete advices for upcoming artists. Also, we are very grateful to Stroboscopic Artefacts for our cooperation.

Xhin's Biography

Lee Xhin (pronounced as “sheen”), the Singaporean electronic music producer, DJ, performer and sound designer, who lives and works in Singapore. Xhin has been diligently exploring diverse compositional techniques and colossal rhythmical textures since the late 1990's. He is mostly related to more experimental and inventive side of techno music scene. By incorporating various stylistic fragments from distinct music styles such as IDM, ambient and bass music, Xhin constructs intensively expanding and shifting architectural sound structures. Xhin has had a very productive and progressive decade since 2003, when he independently released his first production. 3 studio albums and numerous solo and collaborative records were released by the authoritative labels such as Stroboscopic Artefacts, CLR, Token and others. The key point in his career was joining a Berlin based Stroboscopic Artefacts label, which was founded by Xhin's good friend and colleague Lucy. Together they produced a couple of critically acclaimed records such as “LX2/LX3” and “LX4/LX5”. Constant support from techno scene legends such as Speedy J, Luke Slater and Ben Klock strengthened Xhin's as well as SA position in the whole alternative music industry. Xhin has also been rapidly developing his name and skilled artist reputation by regularly touring all across the globe.


01. Intro
02. Broadcast - Beautiful Hair [Warp Records, 2013]
03. Lee Gamble - M25 Echo [Pan, 2012]
04. Nurse With Wound - Approaching Darkness Fish [United Dairies, 1996]
05. Autechre - Recks On [Warp Records, 2013]
06. Loops Haunt - mun Rhul [Black Acre, 2012]
07. Xhin - Them [Stroboscopic Artefacts, 2012]
08. RYU - Iléktrik [Polydor, 1999]
09. DIR EN GREY - 輪郭 Eternal Slumber Mix (Akira Yamaoka rmx) [Firewall Div., 2012]
10. Mouse On The Keys - Ouroboros [Machu Picchu Industries, 2009]
11. TM404 - 202/303/303/303/808 [Kontra-Musik, 2013]
12. Popol Vuh - Nachts Schnee (Ambient Edit - Mika Vainio Rmx) [SPV Records, 2011]
13. The Haxan Cloak - Mara [Tri Angle, 2013]
14. Point 7 - One Movie [Toytronic, 2009]
15. Reel By Real - Glass [a.r.t.less, 2011]
16. The Tuss - Alspacka [Rephlex, 2007]
17. Mouse On The Keys - Forgotten Children [Machu Picchu Industries, 2009]
18. Venetian Snares - Walmer Side [Planet Mu, 2002]
19. Tao - Larvae [Language, 1997]
20. Autechre - Basscadet (Bcdtmx) [Warp Records, 1994]
21. Photek - Trans 7 [Astralwerks, 1997]
22. etp - Burn My Books, Cut My Flesh [Ante-Rasa, 2009]
23. Sunn O))) - Mocking Solemnity [Southern Lord, 2002]
24. Brambles - Unsayable [Serein, 2012]


Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes? Maybe you were directed by your family or your first school teacher? How important is it to you?

When I was little, my dad used to be a huge fan of all disco/electronic stuff like Yellow Magic Orchestra, Kraftwerk etc. And my uncle was a rocker, who was obsessed with bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dokken etc. I started playing piano and guitar at a younger age and then got into forming bands during my teens before I had a keen interest in electronic music, when detroit techno was introduced to me by a good pal, while we were still in our national service years.

What is your studio practice like? Can you describe the process of making your pieces? Are you self-critical?

Ideas and inspiration have to come first. I will start to work on that by creating the desire elements on the synthesizers before jamming through on the computer.

Could you talk about a significant success or a noteworthy failure that was an important turning point in your career?

I think it was that time, when I decided to go back to my experimental and harder side of me after the release of the album "Greyscale". I would say that was pretty much an important turning point in my career.

What is the most helpful advice anyone ever gave you when it comes to music? Can you share one or two examples?

When I was in my 20's I remember there was this client, who said this to me: "Do things one at a time. Master one before moving on to the next." It wasn't really related to music at that time, but I still relate that to whatever I do these days.

In what other activities apart from music you are interested in? Do you feel sometimes that you are not giving enough time to other activities (math, science, arts, sports etc) that you are interested in? How do you schedule your time? Does other activity someway recharges you and inspires for perfection?

I manage my time on a reminder/calendar. I have been taking pictures lately. Photography is my new thing now. Not an expert, just a hobby to keep me inspired besides music making.

What are your thoughts about depression, insomnia and alcohol/drugs? Does these components are useful to make a successful and thoughtful work or maybe there are other much more effective ways to create something sublime?

I can't really comment on those components, but I would say imagination and emotion can be quite powerful for inspiration.

What are some artists (past or present), whose work really excites you?

Too many to name… OK, here are some from my past and current listening: Autechre, AFX, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ben Frost, Nurse With Wound, The Observatory, Dir En Grey, Sugizo, The Haxan Cloak...

Your sound seems very dimensional and architectural. Who are some of your favorite installation artists or architects working today? Why do they draw your attention?

I don't have any particular installation artist that inspires me, really. I'm just too obsessed with big cinematic soundscapes.

What are you working on now? What ideas or plans do you have for your
 future work? Could you elaborate on this?

I am working and experimenting on some newer stuff at the moment. Hopefully it will be another EP to be released this year.

What is your advice for beginner music producers? What awaits them in the complex music industry and what they should never do? Can you share your knowledge with our curious audience?

I'm not quite good in giving advices. All I can say is just do what you can do best with what you have. Also, diversity is the key word.

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An interdisciplinary journal, offering eclectic mixes and smart interviews with original artists and label owners as well as contemporary art reviews.

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