We're very honoured to present an exclusive mix from the legendary Parisian DJ HARDROCK STRIKER in our birthday celebrations. Also the man behind Skylax Records and a veteran of the French Italo/House/New Wave scene, we have a special interview from him too!

HARDROCK STRIKER - MAXML II MNML by casionova

Hi Joseph! Please tell us a bit about your mix and the inspiration behind it.

Well, for the first time to be honest I did not want this to be a regular mix, I really wanted to select some of the tracks i've been digging and in love with for years, some tracks that explain why I am involved in music today. You can hear in it some of my musical roots as I come originally from Rock, Punk and New Wave. So I guess you will hear that. Also, I don't see the point of me mixing Flagio and Dharma and Penguins Invasion and so on. Not too tired about Italo as I love this genre and I've been part of its "expansion" but I thought it was cool to bring something else especially to a site which is dedicated completely to our music! :)

How did you get into DJing and making music?

Whooo that's a long story James. Well, to sum up I've been a guitarist for years and in 2000 I moved to L.A. to form a hardrock band (i.e. this is why Hardrock Striker!) but it did not work at all (thx god!). Instead I met the whole L.A. scene with Wax, Peter Black, Doc Martin, Harvey, etc. I started to listen to House, do some tracks and discover a new way to do music.

Skylax has been operational for quite a few years now and was an early leader in the Italo/Chicago revival - how did it start and what are your plans for the future with it?

Again, I can explain this by a very simple fact. As I had no clue about dance, I started to dig (for me dance music was Dr Alban at this time!) and I bought many Chicago tracks as those guys created this music first. Because I bought so many tracks - and remember back in 2000/2001 progressive house and all that bullshit music was ruling everywhere and nobody was paying the dues to the original masters (and I was thinking their music was so timeless and I guess time worked for me as today everybody says so) - thus I decided in 2002 to start releasing some old school Chicago tracks on my first label Parisonic/Square Roots. When my label ended I created straight away a brand new one in 2004 called SKYLAX and what was my first release? Jungle Wonz Bird In A Guilded Cage with a Danny Krivit long version edit! Also, I started releasing Italo for the same reasons, this music influenced A LOT all the Chicago musicians and it had a rock feel too so as you can imagine, it was PERFECT FOR ME: mixing black and white roots - heaven!

Future plans: still releasing tracks from artists that I discover (or like for years) such as DJ Sprinkles, Simoncino, Snuff Crew, Joe Drive, Carl Bias, Andreas Gehm, June, Jason Grove, etc... Keep an eye on our future releases, I am feeling that I just signed some of the best acts around. Honestly, I have faith in them, I love their music SO MUCH.

How has growing up and living in Paris influenced your musical tastes?

Well first I am born in a Parisian suburb called Sarcelles, full of Black, White, Muslim, Jewish, Pakistani, Turkish, etc ... There was more than 170 nationalities! Sometimes, I felt it was like growing up in South Central in L.A. (in the early days when there was not that much gangsta shit) ;) I can still remember telling my friends that if Dr Dre and Snoop would have lived there, they would have probably been elected as mayors! Indeed, HIP HOP was very influential in this town, I am speaking about 1984-1987, so when it first came out. It was so much all over the place that I considered it too mainstream and decided to listen to Punk Rock (I was already listening to Clash and Velvets when I was 13 years old). But obviously, it was all over the place ONLY in this litle town, in Paris it did not really came out until 1989/1990 :)

So Paris did not really affect my musical taste as I am living there for 10 years now. Though I really like it, it's a nice town. And let's say that maybe the Pulp parties were the best introduction for me. Indeed, when we created this first company Parisonic in 2001 we were managing all the best DJs in Paris (Ivan Smagghe, Dan Ghenacia, Djul'z, Jennifer, Chloé, Jef K, Erik Rug, etc...) and as you can see those guys are still on top :)

What's your favourite piece of musical equipment to use and why?

I just bought a Jomox 999, it's just great. You've got all the sounds from Roland TR 707/808/909 and you can mix them very easily all together; I love this machine. The sound is so old school and as you can imagine, it works prefectly for me.

What's the situation like in Paris at the moment with club-nights and venues?

Good - we have many venues offering some very good line-ups from Techno to House to Italo. I can say that the House revival we are living today is helping a lot... 1 year ago it was still the bangers all around the place and there was no home for some real club artists.

What labels and artists going at the moment would you recommend to our readers?

Mine! hahahaha (read questions 3!)

Please tell us 10 records that you think reflect Hardrock Striker's DJing from over the years.

1. M & G - When I Let You Down (Hardrock Striker Hi-Nrg Mix)
2. METRO AREA - Miura
3. JUNGLE WONZ - Bird in a guilded cage
4. DJ SPRINKLES - Hush now
5. MOODYMANN - Dem Young Sconies
6. DELIA GONZALES & GAVIN RUSSOM - Relevee (Carl Craig Mix)
7. DECADANCE - On And On (Fears Keep On) (Instrumental & Vocal)
8. Q - The Voice Of Q (Instrumental & Vocal)
9. LIBERTY CITY - Some Lovin (Murk Mix)
10. PETER BLACK - Trash