Skinned 5: Alex-Ander [Ander-Traxx]

Founder of the fledgling Ander-Traxx imprint, Alex-Ander serves up a mix of deep and soulful cuts from the likes of Jay Simon, STL, Floating Points and Santiago Salazar

Feature by Ronan Martin | 04 Dec 2014

Beneath the surface of Glasgow’s ever-expanding electronic music scene, from which hotly tipped names come to the fore continually, Alex McVey has been slowly perfecting his craft and quietly releasing his own brand of richly layered electronic soul music since 2012. With nods towards the classic Chicago sound, as well as the more raw vibe found in contemporary Detroit house, McVey’s early releases show considerable promise – as does the armoury of unreleased gems which make short, teasing appearances on his SoundCloud, before they are taken back to the lab for more tinkering. Being something of a perfectionist, when Alex-Ander commits a track to wax, you know it’s fully cooked.   

Despite McVey's commitment to pursuing his craft with little fanfare, and at his own leisurely pace, the first two records on his Ander-Traxx label have been particularly well received. The likes of Neville Watson and Gerd picked up on his debut offering, Because of Me, while a digital release for Glasgow’s Cold City Cuts received glowing feedback from Chicago Skyway, Cottam and Dom of the legendary Subculture.

As a DJ, Alex-Ander’s patient, smoothly blended approach is his hallmark and his mixes immerse you fully from the opening minutes. In his hour-long offering for us, he sets the scene with a cinematic intro from past collaborator Carlos Nilmmns, before burrowing deep into his preferred brand of laid back house jams. The sparing use of a heavily filtered vocal from Jay Simon’s Faith is an early example of McVey’s ingenuity and the mix continually builds steam, taking in the likes of Theo Parrish and Drew Lustman along the way.

Ahead of the release of his remix of James Johnston’s After Everything, forthcoming on No Matter What next year, McVey gives us an insight into his work to date.

The Skinny: What kind of background do you have in music and what kinds of artists did you first connect with as a youngster?

Alex-Ander: Growing up, I never really listened to much music, until first year at high school when I got into a few bands – Nirvana and a bunch of metal bands. I picked up playing bass around the same time and got really into hardcore – bands like Champion and Poison the Well. I still love that stuff.

What was your first exposure to electronic music and Scotland’s clubbing scene?

My first exposure to electronic music was through a band, The Postal Service. Then I got into stuff like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and a lot of the other stuff on Warp and Planet Mu. Going clubbing in Glasgow is pretty special – my friends and I didn’t really know much about anything to start with, but the more we went out, the more people you meet. Clubnights like Numbers and Monox played a big part and exposed me to a lot of music I now love.

How did you first get into producing?

I went to college to do a sound production course, but it wasn’t really what I expected. But luckily my lecturer gave me a cracked copy of Reason. From that point, I didn’t leave my room for ages!

Your sound is very rich and warm, compared to a lot of the artificial-sounding house music that has been doing the rounds in recent years. What methods do you use to produce your tracks?

I still use Reason – it’s all purchased now though! I also use Ableton. I wouldn’t say my setup is anything special, but I try not to think about my production too much. I just mess about and try and get some musical element down then just add drums and stuff.

Why did you decide to set up your own label, Ander-Traxx, and what can you tell us about it?

I always wanted to start my own label, but never knew when it would happen, until Carlos Nilmmns wanted to remix one of the tracks I had on SoundCloud. I wanted to put it out, so I asked a few other friends to do remixes for the first release. I have only brought out two records on the label, but I have a few plans for where I want take it in future.

Given the high standard of the few mixes you have done here and there for blogs and so on, it’s surprising that you don’t DJ more. Is production always likely to be your main focus?

I don’t think production will always be my main focus. It is at the moment, as I don’t really get much of a chance to play out. I’m hoping to devote more time to DJing next year. I would love to have more time for both production and DJing, really. I am not in any rush though. I’m just doing what I love.

And finally, tell us a bit about your mix and how it came together.

I never have much of a thought process when recording mixes. I like to plan the first few tunes, get a nice vibe going, and just take it from there!

Skinned #5: Alex-Ander [Ander-Traxx] by Theskinny on Mixcloud


Carlos Nilmmns – Untitled [Ornaments]
Jay Simon – Faith [Wild Oats]
Scott Ferguson – Train from Castellamonte [Kinda Soul]
Tophat & Art Alfie – Vacation Bye Bye [Closer]
Owen Jay & Melchior Sultana – Mesmerised [Moods & Grooves]
STL – Mind Picture [Something]
Floating Points – King Bromeliad [Eglo]
Theo Parrish – Long Walk in Your Sun [Sound Signature]
Drew Lustman – Put It Out There [2000 Black]
Omar S – Annoying Mumbling Alkaholik [FXHE]
Glenn Underground/Soul Survivors – ??? [PAN]
Ugly Drums & Chesney – Soul to Keep [Kolour]
Santiago Salazar – Caramelized Biotics [Finale Sessions]