Published on July 17th, 2017 | by Guest Editor0
Who Is producer LX Xander?
You call yourself a “spooky producer.” Define the meaning of that.
My music is both dark and playful. It’s often menacing, dramatic and moody but it’s also often peppered with irony and self-mockery. This juxtaposition is what’s led me to the term spooky as opposed to just evil or scary or something like that. It illustrates that playfulness in my sound, as well as the dark element.
How did the name LX Xander come about?
Try saying it out loud and that will give you a clue… It’s basically just a kind of urban/futuristic twist on my actual name.
You hail from The United Kingdom. What’s the local hip-hop scene like there?
Well, grime happened, so there’s that – but the UK grime scene is kind of insular, a lot of the big acts seem to all know each other and work in tight circles. We have some really, really dope hip-hop artists for sure but there still seems to be a significant divide between the US and UK in that respect, although it’s beginning to close with collaborations such as Skepta and Giggs on the latest Drake album (which was an awesome move, by the way). Bugzy Malone has put out some great records too and Lady Leshurr is probably one of my all time favorite rappers, from either side of the pond.
With your music career on the rise, do see yourself more in the UK or USA in the future?
People have always told me that my music has an American sound to it – and I mean always – and that’s probably because a huge amount of my musical influences have been major US pop acts like Michael Jackson, Prince, Justin Timberlake etc. and even American rock bands such as Saosin and Taking Back Sunday. As my tastes developed and I grew into listening to EDM and hip-hop, I still found myself agitating more towards US and Canadian artists over British ones. On top of that, the vast majority of the artists I make music with are American rappers and singers (we exchange files via email etc.), so whether I like it or not, my career is definitely headed to the States over local ground.
Talk about some of your upcoming projects.
I’m working with a few really spectacular upcoming artists right now:
– HighRise is from Iowa of all places… and is a very commercial but also quite a dark hip-hop act with a knack for writing dope hooks into his verses. I work with him an awful lot, we’re known as a bit of a double act in our social media circles. I’ve been working on his debut EP with him. It’s very, very good. His upcoming single features Hopsin.
– Yaydo is from Minnesota and he has a very authentic, urban flow and style. His vocal has a lot of his character and his writing is playful and clever. He put out a single a little while back called “Momma Knows Best”, which is kind of a remix of the classic “Stand By Me” which is super quirky. I’m producing a single for him that features Royce Da 5’9 and also HighRise and D. Lynch.
– Hyde is another one of my main artists. He is also very commercial but very authentic and urban, too. He can sing as well as he can rap and he’s very characterful. He’s going to appear on an upcoming track released through Red Label Records that features Wiz Khalifa.
There’s also a handful of other projects I’m working on with some other dope artists, but I’d be here all day if I went through them all. I like to stay busy… very busy.
How were you able to land features Hopsin and Royce da 5’9″?
I’m not really able to disclose too much about the upcoming major artist tracks at this point, but what I will say is that we took a pretty non-standard approach when it came to getting the features. There are some pretty crazy business practices going on in the online hip-hop underground right now and if you’re smart and you’re not afraid to break the rules a little, you can make power moves through clever networking and shrewd investments. It can lead to very good musical company.
The Hopsin feature appears on a single by one of my most consistent collaborators, Iowa rapper HighRise. The track has three other artists on too – Josiah Woods, MIRA and Yaydo. Royce actually appears on a single by Yaydo, that also has verses from HighRise and D. Lynch. As a producer, I’m a big believer in having multiple voices on a track. For me, music is all about color.
Talk about the upcoming Wiz Khalifa collaboration?
So the guys at Red Label Records already had this in the works when I started working with them, I’m coming on board as a co-producer alongside Sentury Status, who produced a D.Lynch track that’s just been released featuring Snoop Dogg called “Fuckin With Y’all”.
The Wiz track has a kind of dark but laid back vibe to it, with Khalifa on the hook and verses from three other artists including D. Lynch and my artist Hyde, who’s incredibly talented. He does a lot of these crazy switch-ups between bars and melody, spitting super fast and then suddenly taking off into powerful singing vocals and then returning to rapping again before you even realize what’s happened. Dope, really dope. Excited to have been able to hook him up with a track with an established artist like Wiz through Red Label.
Talk about Red Label Records.
Red Label are an imprint of Universal Records. My contact there is D. Lynch – he used to produce for Sony and he’s also an artist too. As I said earlier, he just recently put out a track featuring Snoop Dogg, produced by Sentury Status, which just got coverage from HipHopDX. As a label they’re great – willing to take risks, business savvy, creative and above all, they put out really high quality music. The three major feature tracks (Hopsin, Royce and Wiz) I’m working on will all be released through Red Label. They also help me out with best placements and any other opportunities that shit me and my brand. They’re at redlabelrecs.com.
JAY Z’s 4:44 or 21 Savage’s Issa?
Definitely 4:44. I dig some of the new skool stuff but in this case, I think the veteran takes the cake. There are some awesome moments on 4:44, lyrically and musically. It doesn’t feel forced, either. Confessional in places, cocky in others – and production wise, both modern and classic at the same time. Definitely my preference over Issa.