At home with: Madam X in Athens

At home with: Madam X in Athens

Continuing her residency on NTS Radio allowed Crissi to remain tuned in to new music during lockdown. However, her main motivation was to feel present in Greece and do activities that provided “immediate dopamine”, like exercising, eating well, stroking the kittens and connecting with her sister. While MDMXERCISE classes took off, the girls launched an eponymous mix series, inviting DJs like SHERELLE, Shanti Celeste and OK Williams to record high-energy soundtracks for the sessions. “There was just no pretension in that Zoom Room,” says Crissi fondly. “There wasn’t a weird hierarchy like, ‘I’m the DJ, and you’re the punter’. We were all in it together, and I didn’t realise how much it really helped people’s mental health.”

The series stopped once Crissi returned to touring two years later, and Zoe returned to work. But the classes helped MDMXERCISE morph into the fully fledged brand it is today, with its top-quality apparel, pop-up shops, and real-life sessions at Albania’s ION festival and The Friendship Miami-to-Bahamas cruise festival. On New Year’s Day in 2021, Crissi, Zoe and the cats took the ferry to Athens. They both craved a metropolitan vibe despite the city being in lockdown. Like their lives in Crete, they explored their surroundings and continued to programme the MDMXERCISE classes. Not long after, Crissi landed a residency on Movement Radio, now called Stegi Radio. “That really gave me a new lease of life because I was really proactive, reconnecting with music again,” she says. “I actually got to be behind the decks, mixing live. It was just me doing what I’ve always done. It was such a saving grace being able to do that.”

We head out for a stroll through the maze of Kypseli and into the bustling neighbourhood of Victoria, passing the fish taverna, Ouzeri tou Laki, where Crissi had dinner on the day of her At Home With photoshoot. She relishes Greek food, and it’s something that’s been in her life since day dot. “I love my horta, my Greek salad, my feta, my fish, grilled octopus, fasolakia. Just anything green and tomato-y, I love it all. It takes me back to my childhood when my grandpa was living with us, cooking every day. We’d come back from school, and so much food would be on the table.” She describes her teen self as a “rebellious kid” who didn’t take well to rules and regimes. Listening to pirate radio and tuning into Annie Mac’s show on BBC Radio 1, she ventured into the rave world at the age of 15. Armed with a fake ID, she saw Shy FX play at a club in Oxford. “I discovered drum & bass, and the rest is history.”

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