Junkie XL a.k.a. Tom Holkenburg may be best known for his remix of Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation,” which shot to number one in 24 countries, but his career spans much further than just the worldwide smash single. Born in The Netherlands in 1967, Tom learned piano, drums and bass at an early age before getting switched-on to synths and joining the Dutch New Wave group, Weekend At Waikiki, as multi-instrumentalist and producer. He went on to form industrial rock band Nerve with vocalist Phil Mills, yielding two LPs before splitting in 1995. Meanwhile, Tom had began fervent work as a freelance producer, earning credits for bands including Sepultura, Fear Factory, and Dog Eat Dog as well as major video games, movies, and TV commercials.
His obsessive work ethic drove him to drink and dangerously poor health and, at the still quite young age of 27, Tom was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. It was during Tom’s recovery that Junkie XL was born. “I called myself Junkie XL from the point of view that once you’re completely overworked you never want to go there again,” he explains. “The ‘XL’ stands for ‘Expanding Limits’; broadening up your vision.”
In 1997, Junkie XL released his debut album, Saturday Night Teenage Kick. Tom shot to stateside fame with his rock-slanted break-beat angst on tracks such as “Billy Club.” Junkie XL hired a full band and joined The Prodigy on a tour of Germany in support of the release. Junkie XL’s second release, Big Sounds of the Drags, expanded the limits into psychedelia. The huge club track, “Future In Computer Hell,” made a fan of famous British DJ, Sasha, and resulted in Tom’s collaboration on his Airdrawndagger album.
However, it was Tom’s previous working relationship with Nike that led Junkie XL’s assignment as music producer for Nike’s World Cup Soccer ad--a remix of a certain deceased singer--that changed his world forever.
Radio JXL: A Broadcast From the Computer Hell Cabin is the staggering new album from Junkie XL. It’s also the keystone of a concept born of the digital age. Imbued by Tom’s radical interweaving of audio and cyberspace, Junkie XL has simultaneously created a double album and a virtual radio station broadcasting from www.radiojxl.com. The brand new, fully interactive website allows Tom’s musical vision to take it’s full shape as a vital interface between Junkie XL, a cast of illustrious collaborators, e.g. Sasha, Nerve, etc., and you, the user. The first transmission from the radio website, A Broadcast From the Computer Hell Cabin, has also been distilled onto this double CD.
Junkie XL’s outstanding third long-player represents two typical transmissions from the not-so-typical Radio JXL. It’s an electrified sonic soup with ingredients gathered from the corners of the Earth and fused together in Tom’s Amsterdam HQ--known, for obvious reasons, as the ‘Computerhell Cabin.’
The first CD, entitled 3pm, simulates Junkie XL’s ultimate daytime radio experience. From the frequency-mashing intro sequence through to its closing digital breakdown, Tom has invited some of his greatest musical heroes to join him on airwaves, including Public Enemy’s Chuck D, synth-pop giant Gary Numan, ex-Special Terry Hall, Depeche Mode’s iconic front-man Dave Gahan, and the late, great reggae icon Peter Tosh. A multi-instrumentalist as well as a studio wizard, Tom has also played all the instruments himself, including guitar, piano and live drums.
The second CD, 3am, examines Junkie XL’s nocturnal persona; a slow-building odyssey that demonstrates the production capabilities that have propelled Tom to the forefront of the electronic dance scene. The journey moves through Casio‘s stripped-down beats before picking up pace with the 12” mix of “Angels” and the anthemic, guitar-led “Breezer,” Tom’s collaboration with the world’s most sought-after DJ, Sasha.
This is just the beginning. There will also be a third, ‘hidden’ transmission located on the website, especially for those twenty-four hour people who just don’t want to go to bed. Radio JXL is also going live, with broadcasts on location from some of the world’s largest festivals.