Xenia Ghali: Music into Life

Raised in Athens, Greece, to Greek and Egyptian parents, music has always been a part of Xenia – from piano and flute, to guitar and drums, to performing and writing: Xenia does not make music to live – she lives to make music. She is only 24 and an uprising DJ/producer/songwriter, yet she has managed to stand out and win the iStandard Producer Showcase in New York City, while performing in several well-known and highly credited clubs across Europe and in the United States.

How did you get into music? Did you know from an early age that you wanted to DJ?

I actually started playing classical piano and flute when I was six years old. At the age of fifteen I went through a ‘rock’ phase and learnt the guitar and the drums. I was lead guitar in a band here in Athens too! I spent my entire life studying and playing music and through the band, began songwriting as well. That was when I decided that my love for writing, producing and playing music was greater than anything else. When I moved to the UK for my Bachelor’s degree, I bought a pair of Technics 1210 turntables (which I still use now) and taught myself to mix using vinyl. That’s how I used to DJ for the longest time (I refused to use CDs or laptops!). To be honest I never really thought about DJing before I moved to the UK. I got very into the Dance and House scene there and began producing a lot of electronic and dance music. Eventually one thing led to another and I start- ed getting booked at various venues including the Ministry of Sound in London.

What kind of music do you play?

Due to the fact that I am primarily a songwriter, composer and producer I don’t like to restrict myself musically even as a DJ. I have played various types of music in the past and continue to do so presently. In a club however, I especially enjoy playing Tech House, Deep House and Progressive House.

Tell us a few things about being a composer and producer.

As a songwriter, composer and producer I work on a lot different things. I have written songs and tracks (music and lyrics) ranging from Pop, Dance, Reggae, Rock, Motown and RnB/Hip Hop. As such, I write and produce for myself but also for other artists and bands. In addition to this, part of my training as a composer was heavily focused on Film and Theatre scoring. I can compose music for film, animation and theatre. While I was living in the UK I actually composed and orchestrated the entire soundtrack (a total of 30 classical pieces) for a play called ‘Her Naked Skin’.

What do you like about DJing that you don’t get from producing?

The performance! There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing a crowd being moved and touched by your performance. The energy and passion you feel is incredible.

Do you think that music suffers today because it’s so easily available?

Actually I think music benefits because it’s so easily available. There are so many amazing independent bands, artists, DJs etc who are discovered through the Internet. In the past, most of us were exposed to the music that was marketed and promoted the most. Nowadays, people can identify with music and artists that truly touch and inspire them.

If you could choose the most relaxing song/track, what would that be?

I would have to say Nightmares on Wax – Rise. It’s also one of my favorite tracks of all time. I can literally listen to it all day.

Interview: Nelly Skoufatoglou