While Red Axes tour the world delivering their dubbed-out and tripped-up sound, it isn’t enough for them to show up, play the gig, and move on to the next city. When the Tel Aviv-based DJ/producers Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi pass through a scene, they immerse themselves in it for all it’s worth. The party is international, and so are they.
Look no further than their Trips series of releases, the first of which, In Africa, captures the pair performing alongside local students and musicians while stopping in Ethiopia.
“Each Trips feature is released on !K7 records, with the proceeds of the record we make going back to the [local] community,” Sadovnik tells New Times. “We did it in Africa and India, and next month we’ll be doing it in Vietnam. Touring is one of the biggest influences on our lives, not just our music.”
It’s this ongoing travel — along with an intense curiosity about what different parts of the world offer culturally and musically — that led to Sadovnik and Arzi’s artistic breakthrough more than a decade ago. Shortly after their debut release as Red Axes, 2006’s Memory Card, the two spent an extended stint in Amsterdam and its rich club scene. Inspired by the likes of Justice, Daft Punk, Boys Noize, and other bloghouse acts that meshed brash rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities with harsh synthesized sounds, Red Axes had found the touchstone upon which they would build in the subsequent decade.
Like their favorite artists, Red Axes pull from an array of sounds in their music. There’s a discernible difference in mood and tone between fan favorite “Waiting for a Surprise” and the EP In Africa.
“It’s very nice and flattering to have this recognition from artists we like and grew up on,” Sadovnik says about the cosigns Red Axes has received from their creative forebears. This has included recognition from brotherly Belgian duo Soulwax, which has repeatedly presented Red Axes in its ever-evolving Spotify playlist, Dailee Deewee; they’re among the few acts to be featured more than once.
“Surrealism is definitely a frequent feeling for us on this path, in many aspects of our career,” Sadovnik says of the weirdness that ensues when their influences publicly appreciate their work. “It is great to have this kind of widespread support, and we’re definitely not taking it for granted.”
Miami has been among the cities that continually show support for Red Axes’ wide-ranging selection of sounds. The pair has performed at a variety of Magic City venues through the years, including sets at the sorely missed Bardot and a live show at the Ground during the Art Basel 2017. This Saturday, they’ll take their talents to Virginia Key, where they’ll grace Rakastella as one of the few acts to have performed at the 16-hour party’s inaugural and sophomore editions.
“Miami is a great city with a growing scene,” Sadovnik says of Red Axes’ experiences in the Magic City. “Plus, we have some very good friends there, so it’s always nice to visit in general — big shout to [PL0T promoter and Rakastella team member] Becks Lange, who’s been involved in all of our Miami experiences and has really helped introduce us to the scene there!”
Sadovnik admits, “It took some time to feel like we fit in with the American scene at first.
“Miami is a strong center for dance music, though it’s hard to compare it to other strong club cities in Europe,” he says. “In general, we’d say there’s a bit of a difference in perspectives between American and European dance cultures. Both are influential and powerful in their own way. We can definitely say there’s a big progression in interest in the underground, though, and the last gigs we played in Miami felt very good.”
Fortunately for fans, they won’t have to wait long after Rakastella for the next dispatch from the intrepid duo.
“We’ve been working on a brand-new Red Axes album over the past few months, and we’re proud to say we’re almost there. It’s been a huge project for us, and we hope to put it out sometime in 2019,” Sadovnik says. “A new EP on Phantasy Records and our India edition of Trips are both coming in the more immediate future, in addition to some new stuff coming up for our Garzen label and some other surprises. Stay tuned!”
Rakastella. With Red Axes, Âme, Apparat, DJ Harvey, DJ Tennis, Dixon, Job Jobse, Trikk, and others to be announced. 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, December 8, in Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Key Beach Dr., Miami; 305-960-4600; virginiakeybeachpark.net. Tickets cost $101.25 via residentadvisor.net.