Better known under the moniker of XO, Sunil Heera is an up-and-coming, Stoke-on-Trent, UK-based teenaged producer, who has gained quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, across major media outlets such as BBC Radio 1, NME, XLR8R, Ministry of Sound, and Mistajam’s Speakerbox, and in electronic music circles for an incredibly effortless and self-assured production style comprised of diverse elements including drum ‘n’ bass, jungle breakbeats, electronic drum programming, explosive flashes of cymbals, sensual synths and the like.
If you’ve been following JOVM over the past year, you’d know that back in April, I had written about XO’s single “What’s Luv” featuring Emma Corbett-Usher. The track was a prime example of the sound that has won over the blogosphere and the electronic music world paired with Corbett-Usher’s seductive and soulful vocals. And interestingly enough, the track reminded me a bit of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs in the sense that the track possessed an almost radio-friendly pop-oriented sound.
His latest single “Pulling Me Under” is a collaboration with vocalist Leo Kalyan, and it’s not just a change in sonic direction for the young producer, it reveals quite a bit of growth, as the track is comprised of swirling electronics, handclaps, layers of sinuous synths and skittering percussion paired with Kalyan’s silky smooth vocals. Whereas “What’s Luv” displayed the contemporary electronic music sound, “Pulling Me Under” leans heavily towards house music – it’s much more contemporary house music but it pays homage to the familiar, old school house sound.