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John Talabot DJ-Kicks

If where a musician comes from inevitably influences their music, that's doubly the case with John Talabot's instalment of !K7's renowned DJ-Kicks mix series. "I wanted to do something special", explains the Barcelona based DJ. "I thought that it would be good if people could discover what my influences are, where I've come from, the people that I admire and tracks that have been important to me over the last ten years, plus some tracks on my label that have never been released." The result is a mix steeped in Talabot's home town, the clubs he went to growing up, the music he heard, the sound he's gone on to craft with his own productions and take to the world.

And it's been a great 18 months for Talabot. Last year, his debut album, 'Ƒin', was garlanded with praise. "All of humanity seems to be here—and it's busy celebrating being alive," wrote one critic. Add to which, he toured with The XX for much of 2012, and his label, Hivern, released some killer electronic music by artists such Kresy, Aster and New Jackson. Talabot feels very much like the man of the moment.

His DJ-Kicks mix takes it back to the beginning, where it all began. There are obscurities such as ‘I Love’ by Paradise’s Deep Groove, a moody, bass-driven deep house track from 1992. "Those are tracks that are part of my history as a DJ, things that I discovered going to club nights in Barcelona," explains Talabot. "They are really obscure old records," he continues. "It's hard to buy them on vinyl and you can't really get them digitally. So putting them on this mix is like rescuing an old vinyl record. I've had both those records for ten years and I listen to them a lot. They are really special to me."

Then there are the tracks that he played when he first started DJing. For example, the Jurgen Paape remix of 'Silikron' by Kron. "That sums up that Kompakt sound perfectly, very Cologne," says Talabot. "I've never heard anyone else play it, either in a club or on a mix. When I was compiling the mix I went to my mum's place and went through my whole collection. When I found that one, I was like, Yes, this has to be on there. It takes me back 15 years or something, to when I first started."

All DJ-Kicks mixes contain an exclusive track, written by the artist for the album. Talabot did two. His own track 'Without You', plus a collaboration with Axel Boman 'Sideral'. 'Without You' was an idea Talabot had while recording 'Ƒin'. When he was working on the mix, he didn't know where to slot his track in. "Everything was so good, I didn't want to put my track in the middle of them because it's hard to stand up to music that I respect so much," he says. It was recorded while Talabot was travelling and he thinks it's got that wandering vibe. "It has a feeling that it's different from the stuff I've released before," he says. "It has a housey feeling, but it's a bit slower too. It's not a party track; it has a more ambient atmosphere that fits with the rest of the mix.

If it's not your average mix when it comes to the track selection, it's also not your average mix when it comes to the narrative arc. There are club tracks on there, but this is not the kind of thing you'll hear in a club. "It's not a mix to dance to," says Talabot. "It starts really slow, 90bpm or something like that. It has some dance tracks towards the beginning, but as it progresses it chills out. It's not an easy mix. It's quite strange. It doesn't really build up in the way many mixes do. A lot of the tracks I've never played in a club because they wouldn't work. It's definitely not a club mix. When I DJ in a club at 4AM I play a dance-oriented set, but I wanted my DJ Kicks mix to show a different side of me, where I come from and what my influences are."

"I think you get a good idea of what I'm all about from the mix," Talabot concludes. "It represents my musical world, the sounds that I've been into over the years." It's that history that sets this mix apart. It's something you can't buy, something you can't fake. John Talabot has got it and then some.