Interview with Infexzion
Joshua Smith, also known as Infexzion, is a DJ and producer from Virginia. He has toured multiple times all over the East Coast and shows no time of letting up any time soon. His latest single, "Rock N' Riddim" is available now!
Let’s start at the beginning by talking about your journey through music.
Man, I've been through so many genres and tried so many different things with music. I think that journey is a good word for it because it’s been a total trip. Even though I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember, I definitely haven't always been good at it. I could go on forever about all the details like how there are old cassette tapes of my singing on a toy recording machine from when I was seven years old or talk about how when Dad would play the Nelly album with "Hot In Here" on it in the car without my Mom knowing back in 2002. As much as I’d love to talk more about those special types of moments, for the sake of anyone who's reading this I'll try to keep it short.
Looking, back it’s pretty ironic that I didn't realize how important a bassist was given that I’m all about bass music these days! Anyway, I did the band thing for a little with some friends from school but it was hard to keep a consistent drummer and getting us all together to take it seriously between our other hobbies like skateboarding. I realized being in a band was depending too much on other people so I decided to go solo and pursue Hip-Hop and Rap. I was actually still rapping and producing Hip-Hop beats during the first year of being "Infexzion" and highkey I still want to put out some stuff I rap or at least put more of my vocals in my songs other than just the drops.
How did you go from there into the world of EDM?
That’s an interesting story and it sort of just happened by chance. I actually started producing EDM before ever attending going to any shows or listening to any EDM at all for that matter. I was a senior in high school when I was out at my friend’s house with my cousin and we were about to hit up a local skatepark but then it started raining. We're all just sitting around inside with nothing to do so we just started to listen to music and my cousin puts on that old Skrillex track with Korn. At the time I hadn't heard anything like it but I knew I wanted more of that! I asked what he was playing and he showed me about couple other Skrillex tracks and we jokingly bet that I couldn't make something half as good as what we’d just heard. I accepted the bet and started working on my first track one Friday afternoon and by Sunday night, I was uploading a really bad Dubstep track to my Facebook page and thus, what would soon be Infexzion was born.
But for real people were digging it and then out of nowhere, me and my music got mentioned in the comment section of a band looking for an opening act for a metal show and I guess the group really liked it because I got booked shortly after! I had never gotten booked as a guitarist, rapper or anything but that comment just got me my first show as Infexzion! At this point I still had never attended an EDM show or seen DJs other than at the local Top 40 clubs. Based on my limited experience, I thought you had to play all your own music so I rushed to make even more bad Dubstep music so that I’d have enough to play for a set. The show went well and people were moving to it so I’d call it a pretty successful first outing. It’s funny because I haven't played a 100% "Infexzion" set since my first like 3 shows but it was still a dope experience and got me hooked on performing.
What do you like to drink at shows?
Anything with Tequila! I’m partial to Tequila Sunrises but I'll take shots all night with no chaser, just pass me a lime! I’m a pretty simple guy and would be happy with a Bud Light as long as it’s in a bottle!
Would you say your relationship with music changed since you first started out?
There's a lot more business now but no less fun or love, in face I’d say it’s only kept growing. Music has changed my life and I love and appreciate it even more for that.
Take us through the process of becoming a headlining act. How did you get to where you are today?
I'm still trying to figure out the secrets myself so if you hear anything in future interviews, be sure to get back to me! For me, it’s just a lot of clichés but that’s how I’ve really been doing it: hard work, hard times, sleepless nights, and a fuck ton of emails. To be where I am now is a blessing, I truly believe that's a big part of it like huge shout out the Man upstairs! Combine that with consistent hard work and you’ve got the perfect formula for what some could call luck. I've definitely had a few "right place, right time" moments but I don't believe luck just happens, I think you have to create opportunities to make your own luck by working hard and always being prepared.
Also to be honest, I still see myself as being at the beginning of the journey, not just with Rock N Riddim but in my career as well. I've been doing this for a while and been blessed with some amazing opportunities to make and play music but there's still so much I want to do with music. I need to keep moving forward and for me that means playing as everything from a headliner to opener; there’s always ways to keep growing and improving.
Speaking of being prepared how do you go about preparing for your main stage gigs?
Pizza for breakfast day of the show is a MUST. I try to make sure that I've eaten at least semi-decently on show days and definitely try to throw back a few Gatorades throughout the day; I'm never hydrated because I hate water, but I've learned the hard way your body needs it so I'm working on that this year! On my tours, I usually have a rough playlist of around 90-100 tracks I'm loving at the time with some of my own thrown in of course. I usually play about 65-70 of them in my hour headlining sets just vibing off what I feel that night plus a few staple tracks. If you’re at an Infexzion show, you’re definitely gonna hear some 2000s era Rock/Punk music thrown in between Riddim and Trap. I don’t make a setlist or anything for these types of shows, I just play as I go for the most part. It's a little different for the HUGE shows, like I made a specific set for each of my bookings at Imagine Music Festival the past two years. Last year, I actually made two sets because had two different slot times at the festival on two different stages. It was dope to be able to share so much different music and vibes in each. Usually on the way to shows and venues I don't listen to any EDM, I'm normally jamming to some Indie Hip-Hop or Punk band. At the shows, I like to have a beer or two at the venue before I get on stage, because I’m super introverted and shy so the beer helps with that.
Your performances have taken you to quite a few places. Which have you loved the most and where are you hoping to play to next?
It's so hard to pick since there's different experiences and cool things everywhere. I feel like there's always something new and dope to enjoy. Atlanta will always have a special place in my heart for all the love the city has shown me and the opportunities I've been given to play there. The fans and people who come out to support me always just go so hard for my sets regardless whether I'm headlining, supporting, or playing a show like Imagine. The people there truly rock and the love they show me makes me feel like I'm a homegrown ATL DJ myself! Shout out the "A" a million times, ATL heaux!! Plus shout out my ATL squad real quick, the DropSquad DJs: they couldn't be more of a family to me. Of course I can’t leave out Louisville, Kentucky for being the first place where I crowdsurfed in a crowd of two thousand for my headlining show. Detroit is also one of the wildest and most fun cities I've visited for a show but the best part was all of the wild shit outside of the show. I'm not sure how much detail I can or should tell about that trip on here so I’ll just leave it at that! Home is home and there’s nothing quite like Virginia full of that hometown love and my beach fam! Last but not least, shout out my Zombsquad in every city! Spread the Infexzion!
What have been some of the best moments when you really connected with the crowd?
A few stories come to mind: I've had the crowd rush the stage in Louisville when I called for the girls to get on. There were so many that they broke the stage and tipped the DJ table over mid-set! I'd have to say my current favorite moment was last year at Imagine Music Festival. For my second set of the weekend was at 4 A.M. on the last day of the silent disco. One of my "go-to" tracks that you'll hear in almost any set I play is a remix of Fall Out Boys "Sugar, We're Going Down." So out on the internet somewhere is a video of a sea of around a thousand people wearing green headphones singing along to that song without any instrumentals and I’m at the front leading them all with the mic. When you’re performing, it can be easy to get lost in the moment and but in this case I felt like I was really able to stop and take in what was happening. It was just such a genuinely magical moment in my life and I’m so glad that I got it on video because every time I watch it again, I just get goosebumps.
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Be patient, be persistent, be passionate, be creative and be yourself. Also don’t DM random SoundCloud or promo links!
What are some of your goals for the future?
There’s such a huge list! I want to write a book, be a producer for Hip-Hop artists and Pop artists and maybe even work on a soundtrack for horror films. One of my interests outside of music is clothing and fashion in general so hopefully I’ll find the time to work in that industry as well!
A huge thanks to Josh for taking the time to answer all of our questions. For all of his upcoming show dates and releases, be sure to follow him on social media!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
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