EDC Artist Spotlight – RJ Van Xetten
Many do not get a second chance to make it in the music world
Taking time off, rearranging priorities to put something that is not music first can be a nail in the coffin that can’t be undone. Most of the time those choices have to be made, but it is not always easy, and trying to reclaim the spot you left is even harder. RJ Van Xetten is currently on that climb.
Taking time off to take care of his family, RJ has been determined to get back to where he was just a decade before. Dedication, talent, and hard work are only part of coming back. Remaining humble and having humility along the path is definitely needed as well. I wish him the best and continue to look forward to see him play, produce, and be the star he was meant to be.
Congratulations on playing EDC Las Vegas! What were your feelings when you first found out you would be playing this event? How was the fan reaction when the announcement went live?
I was ecstatic to play this. It’s been 7 years since I last played EDC Vegas. I had won the Discovery Project back in 2012 and played the discovery stage on Friday from 4-5am, that was a dream come true, so to come back and play again 7 years later on an even bigger stage. This is just unreal for me.
As far as fan reaction, I’ve had a lot of people congratulating me, and telling me it’s well deserved. Having so many people sending me beautiful messages, and lots of guest list requests (LOL).
You recently moved your podcast, Audiophile Sessions, to a monthly radio show on ascension.fm. Tell us about the show, what are you looking to showcase with your show? How has the radio show been so far? Any future guest mixes?
Well I’ve had the Audiophile Sessions running for quite some time now, I didn’t really follow up much with it in previous years, as my previous job had me working so many hours. I did not have time to devote to making monthly mixes, and working on my own original pieces. The show basically entails whatever trance (hard or psy)/progressive trance/big room, and yes…even hardstyle. I like to showcase whatever I’m feeling… sometimes I’ll throw up a vocal trance mix, or sometimes I just want to get hard and gritty with a hard trance mix. Other times, I’ll feel like a classic trance set. It really just all depends on my mood.
Originally when I set up the show, I wanted to keep it locals only, because being a local…sometimes it’s hard work, and not all the time will you get noticed with the saturation of the scene, and many up and coming DJs. The radio show itself has been doing well, usually after it airs, I upload it to my podcast server so it will be available on iTunes, and Podbean (rjvanxetten.podbean.com) with the track list as well on the website. I have over 9,000 downloads right now, so it is doing fairly well.
As far as future guests, I’m working on that right now, I’m actually hosting Edward Whitten (another LA Local) as my guestmix for next month May 6th, but as far as bigger artists goes… who knows …that’s a surprise, and you’ll just have to wait and see.
You have been working the LA local scene for many years and playing all over the city. What are some of the benefits you have found being a LA local, and what are some obstacles you face?
Some of the benefits I have found being a LA Local is being close to home. Nothing beats after finishing a show, and only driving a few miles to get home to sleep, but definitely another benefit is LA is a HUGE market for DJs, but you have to go out and work for it. You need to be hungry, because if not, the next person will come from out of nowhere, and take over all the stuff you’ve been doing.
As far as obstacles I face, I would have to say is staying relevant, and having your face seen all in, and around LA. If you’re not popping up here and there, promoting, or even just showing up to clubs and speaking with people, promoters, fans then you lose relevancy. You start to fade away like a forgotten song.
You weren’t always known as RJ Van Xetten, why did you change your name from X_Phactor? Any regrets from changing your name?
My old alias X_Phactor had been already been removed from the timeline in 2010. Back in 2009 when I met Heatbeat, he had told me if I really want to take producing seriously, I needed a more marketable name. He had said, “you need to keep the X in your name, but use your real name as well”, I jokingly played around with the name Van (since Armin is a favorite of mine), so then I said RJ Van Xetten (with an X). He said “it’ll work”, now just gotta make sure people know how to pronounce it (we laughed). It just kinda stuck, and now here we are!
As far as regret, I do regret deleting my old profiles under X_Phactor (not realizing what damage it would really do), and I had to start over again re-branding everything all over again, but from the ashes a phoenix is born, and I think it worked out for the better.
You are known to be a real family man. What are some of the struggles you have with raising a family and pursuing this career?
Being a family man has its perks, you have your number one fans at home listening to you work on music, or listening to your music in the car while they fist pump, bob their heads, or yell ‘AGAIN’ from the back seat when driving somewhere. It’s great, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Some of the challenges that I do face doing this though, is making time for music, family, and work life. There are times where I’m working lots of hours, and I have zero time to work on music, then other times I have a lot of family stuff going on (i.e. birthdays, sport activities, recitals, etc…).
If you’re someone who’s thinking of pursuing a music career and you have a family, you need to make sure that your significant other is okay with this, as it can be very taxing on a relationship. Sometimes, you’ll need to break away from your family time, and work on a deadline for music, or you might have a radio show that needs to be recorded. My advice to anyone, just make sure you take the time and manage it wisely.
You have a lot of tracks that are being released right now. Most recently, your track Ground Zero, with LA local Edward Whitten is out in April 2019. How does it feel to hear more of your music being played throughout LA and now on such a massive stage?
It’s an amazing feeling, ‘Ground Zero’ has been doing decently right now, and it’s been play listed already by an artist named French Skies on his recent podcast called Wave Casting 256 on Soundcloud. I have a few more projects in the works right now with Edward that are just mind blowing, but we will leave you all guessing as to what to expect from us. The feeling is like no other, especially when you just see people vibing to it. I got to play my first version of ‘Ground Zero’ at EDC China, and it had a really great reaction, so that was something really beautiful to see.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto what would it be?
Always be grateful for what has been given to you, small or big, because you never know. One day, it may all be gone in an instant. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, enjoy life. It all passes by so quickly, that you’ll miss it.