Opa's Alexx Antaeus unleashes a remix album
Though his musical background was put on hold while relocating to Jamaica, Greek restaurateur Alexx Antaeus has been leading a double life - between managing his restaurant on Hope Road to working in his decorated studio in Manhattan, New York.
On the tail-end of the release of his first music in decades, Antaeus shows no sign of slowing down. On October 21, the producer released a compilation of remixes based on his earlier release, Angel, featuring dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta and the Gregorian chanting of Steve Wilson of the New York Polyphony. Since the release of the single, Antaeus has uncovered limitations to this style of musical expression and is tackling it with an adjusted approach.
According to Antaeus, people in New York are enjoying the sound of the classical church music and dancehall-fused track, "Because, to them, it's something different." Even so, the reception of Angel has highlighted a gap in the producer's judgement of his intended target - the club and dance circuit in the United States.
"The club and dance scene is not responding well to a male voice," he told The Gleaner.
In a logical next step, he decided that the follow-up single to Angel should be carried by a female voice - particularly by the vocals of up-and-coming Jamaican singer Kim Nain.
Antaeus said a few female artistes were recommended to him, but the selection pool was limited to vocals more suited to 'hardcore dancehall'. Nain and Antaeus were connected through Geejam Studios' engineer, Dale 'Dizzy' Virgo, who was familiar with the artiste.
After making the connection, they planned a trip to New York to coincide with a trip Nain already had planned. In a matter of days, the singer and producer had recorded the vocals for two complete tracks.
"Kim and I sat down and talked about what the world wants. We have Jamaican artistes who only appeal to a Jamaican audience, and you have the ones who cater to the Jamaican audience and the rest of the world," Antaeus said. "The only difference is, how do you keep your Jamaican identity, and the rest of the world still understanding you?"
Antaeus is now trying to produce a sound that is Jamaican, but one that is also understood in the international club and dance scene. This was the goal with recruiting Nain, and the producer believes that he may have nailed it.
Like Thompson, Antaeus considers the affinity for communicating in comprehensive English rather than indigenous, indiscernible Patois as one of the avenues to success - as proven by the likes of Shaggy and Sean Paul.
"She was quick - quick with her harmonies. I'm very excited about working with Kim. She impressed me," he told, The Gleaner.
"That's what separates some big names in Jamaica, but no one knows them outside of Jamaica - because if you don't understand what the person is saying, you're not going to have a big following. You might have a dancehall following in Japan or Germany, but you're not going to be hitting the charts like Shaggy and Sean Paul did," he concluded.
During his last interview with The Gleaner, it was still not clear as to the specific genre of music Antaeus was producing, whether it was reggae, dancehall or EDM.
"We're still trying to figure out where to go with this, because the tracks are there and now we're actually recording the vocals. The goal of this album is not really about Alexx. I project out there the talent from Jamaica. I'm not a singer, I'm not an artiste in the sense of go out on stage and perform. Yes, my name is on the album, but I'm more the studio guy," he said.
Antaeus is of the idea that the production of this album could unleash the potential of Jamaica's next breakout star. With that in mind, the producer aims to feature at least one Jamaican artiste on all 12 to 14 tracks on the album. Currently available for streaming on SoundCloud, the Angel remix album features the following remixes: Raphael Valentino's (Billboard, KTU 103.5, New York) Tribal Remix, Mark DeLange and JD Arnold's (Dirty Disco, Texas) Main Room Remix and Space City Remix, DJ Easy's (Jamaica) Dancehall/Trap Remix, DizTroy's (Geejam Studios, Jamaica) DizTroy's Trap Remix and Alexx Antaeus's House of Angels Pop House Remix.
"People are really loving the Tribal Remix," he told The Gleaner. "That seems to be getting a lot of attention." The release of the second single, featuring Nain (to be released in January), will be followed by the release of Antaeus' complete album by Easter or early summer.