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Interview: Xandr 

by: Devonkayne

Recently I found myself allured to the dark and intriguing production made by the relaxed powerhouse that is Xandr.

His use of verses that portray intricate imagery, paired with eerie sketches and an understanding of sound; has allowed him to produce anything from savage to subconsciously intimate tracks.

Whether it be the deepness of his voice or his craving for authentic visuals; Xandr shows to be undeniably versatile in any form of expression he chooses. I was fortunate enough to catch up with him about his music and even more.

So to start I want to talk about Honey x Trials of the Tribe. It’s so decadent & dark, I remember hearing it; reminded me of some sort of alternative intro to Frank Ocean’s Pyramids. It’s also the first thing you ever released via soundcloud.

What made you whip that up?

all illustrations by xandr

 

Xandr: I always trip out on how many people like that little beat (laughs), honestly I used an app on my old android phone to make that. I forgot which app, I was just barely getting into producing so I would use multiple drum machine apps to make little beats. I was really proud of that one so I uploaded it to soundcloud, I don’t know what made me do it, it was such a long time ago. I was just bored trying something new.

There’s a dip that starts around the ten second mark where you break the pace of the track and deepen it. Instead of it following the normal rhythm, you actually shifted the beat down, breaking the rhythm of the production. You can notice the same thing in certain tracks like the second half of Plan B too.

Are those shifts in sound on purpose or do you end up feeling it out as you go?

Xandr: I’m pretty shook because I didn’t even realize I do that a lot, the only track I did that purposely for was Mitsubishi, it’s about racing, and I wanted to like “downshift” on the track like you would in a car if that makes sense (laughs) ? Other than that it’s really just a feeling.

Plan B was actually one of the first tracks I heard that caught my attention. When you see a track called Plan B I feel like there is this like “oh shit what is he about to say…” but there isn’t any slick shit or disrespect towards females on the track at all.

Even going as far with verses like “losing you would be a tragedy” & referring to her as “my queen, my majesty.” Obviously you’re versatile but I would say Plan B is the blueprint for your sound. 

I said I loved her she laughed at me, she said undress take a bath with me, orgasmic screams from the balcony, got the top floor thinking it’s a conjuring.” 

 you can literally see this verse happening in your head, paired with the production.

XandrPlan B is the one song in my arsenal that I believe can push me into the big leagues, because ultimately that’s where I really want to be, and where I feel I belong. Also Plan B is actually not about a girl or girls at all believe it or not, nobody knows that. I want that song to blow up, see if rap genius can decode what I’m really talking about before I tell anybody.

Okay I see you with the hidden messages, I like that, different perspectives.

What about Tomboy?

The production on this is crazy too. You’re really good at using imagery and different adjectives. You have this Michael Seyer type of delivery when you want to convey what you mean affectionately, it’s refreshing to hear sprinkled on intricate production.

Xandr: Tomboy is such a dope ass song, it’s gonna be on my album next year. It was inspired by James Franco’s Palo Alto. I watched that movie with this girl in high school, she was a tomboy but she friend zoned the fuck out of me. It’s the most honest song I’ve written so far and there is some imagery there from the movie.

I really want to get Michael Seyer or Cuco as a feature on that song, I think that would make the track go super saiyan. I’m still surprised on how good it sounds to this day, I recorded that in my room and I can’t sing either (laughs).

You have no idea how hard I’ve been trying to make songs similar to Tomboy, it’s like the hardest shit ever man. I have so much respect for artists like Michael Seyer, Cuco, and even Mac Demarco.

It’s interesting you say that cause even though artists like Demarco & Cuco almost fall under a similar sound, you are inspired by them; yet produce a completely different and distinct sound. I think the deepness of your voice mixed with what you say is what keeps your work so intriguing.

Xandr: Yeah I don’t know why that is to be honest (laughs), hip hop just comes naturally to me I guess. It’s funny cause last weekend I was trying to make a song like Tomboy for hours and it was stressing me out cause I couldn’t come up with something good. Eventually I gave up and just did my own thing and ended up with four new tracks that just go hard as fuck, it was crazy man.

That’s dope. Even tethered through the end of Tomboy, is a faint sample of what sounds like a transition similar to the cassette switches sprinkled through Channel Orange.

Slightly recognizable sounds, yet even when the track is over you keep rewinding it, to try and tell what you heard.

Even sounds like there’s a “shhh” in there, eerie.

Xandr: At the end of Tomboy that’s actually a door opening, it does sound like a cassette player now that you say that though (laughs).

It almost sounded like you were at a party sneaking off somewhere with muffled music in the background. What made you add it ?

Xandr: That’s actually from Palo Alto, this dude is getting his dick sucked in the restroom, after that he leaves the girl in the restroom and goes back to the party. I thought it was important to put that in there cause there’s a line where I said  “naked when we both wake up, hope you still talk to me” meaning like when you give that person what they want whether it be comfort, advice, money, help, whatever; you hope they still talk to you, or maybe even like you more.

I remember that, he goes to smoke a cig after leaving her & sees the girl he likes kissing some dude, he leaves mad upset.

It’s a scary feeling to feel complacent. Would you say you use music to tame or gather those type of thoughts? Thoughts of envy or nervousness when it comes to showing affection?

 

 

 

 

Xandr: Hmmm I suppose I do (pauses), subconsciously anyways.

 

 

On Leopard you stray away from the calm & relaxed delivery and end up just going in on this beat. Where were you mentally when this was made? You sound fucking over it and just savage. I imagine you speeding down side streets at like three in the morning, just heated, did you produce this too?

Xandr: Yeah I produce everything, it’s all me, I remember I made that track after a fall out I had with all my friends. I take a couple shots at social norms in the town I was living in at the time and some haters (laughs).

There’s another version of it on your tumblr, was that the original?

Xandr: No that’s version number three I think. I’m still messing with it and Turismo is actually the name of the album I’m working on Leopard is also gonna be on it.

The cover art for Vibrations is abstract but soon unravels & makes sense after hearing the track. I liked that. It definitely is a switch from your normal style.

What inspired that track and how did it come about? Saiko’s production is very different. The hook stays getting stuck in my head.

Xandr: Yeah I even made the cover art for it but I fucking hate that song though (laughs). I wanted to experiment and see what I can do collaborating with others. It doesn’t sound the way it sounds in my head, and that’s what pisses me off. I really want to go back to the track when I have better equipment and fix it, but yeah it was just me stepping out of my comfort zone. Seeing what I can do with other styles and I definitely wanna work on that particular part of me more (laughs).

 Which is good to do, otherwise your content just remains stagnant.

  Untitled 91, are you ever going to spit on that beat?

Xandr: Yeah, still writing for that one.

Will there ever be an extended version of Photosynthesis?

The short visual you have for the it is simple, yet again holds an eerie feel to it. I know it was just done on your phone, but I can see where you would go with visuals just by that little snippet. It is literally hypnotizing. 

Xandr: Yeah that’s a little snippet of a song called Highlight I’m working on, I just put “photosynthesis” because there was a plant and it was on my camera. That shit would not focus the way I wanted it to (laughs), I really wanna make a music video though so bad.

What are some concepts for a music video that you would play around with & for what track?

Xandr: I would say FILA, my favorite line is when I say “showing of her little tits” and I just imagine a girl in an Audi hanging out the window flashing the camera (fish eye lens) and right before her nips are revealed, it changes to another shot of me rapping. I think the whole song is perfect for a video.

Speaking of the Audi, you seem to talk about and draw different cars, as well as other sort of sketches. I remember talking about it to my home girl and called it the “CVS collection.”

 When did you get your first CVS notepad? How long have you been drawing? 

 

Xandr: I work at a CVS actually (laughs), those are the doodles I make during my lunch breaks. I like drawing cars cause I suck at drawing cars and it makes me feel like a little kid all over again. I’ve also began to develop an obsession for them lately. Oh and I’ve been drawing since I was like four years old.

 

 

touch picture.

touch picture.

This is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing pieces of yours.

Would you call this a self portrait?

Xandr: Yes thank you, finally someone got it, yeah I took my time on that one.

Who’s behind you? or what?

Xandr: It’s a dementor (my job/responsibilities) and it’s sucking the life out of me, hence the unhealthy looking leopard. I’d rather leave it open for interpretation though, I do a lot of things subconsciously.

It’s a tantalizing piece, from the color choices, the line work, to the concept; it really speaks for itself. I remember seeing it and instantly having some type of odd connection to it.

Xandr: Thank you man.

Three tracks you’ve been allured to recently? Any genre, any artist.

Xandr: Mac Demarco’s For the First Time, Franks Oceans Nightsand Kali Uchis’ cover Sabor a Mi.

 

 

I also fuck with Tyler’s new album of course, I still need to check out Lana’s album. Oh yeah, I’ve been bumping Brockhampton too shit is fire. I’m also really looking forward for Asap Mob’s Cozy Tapes Two.

 

 

Lastly,

What would you probably tell the sick leopard if he asked you about falling in love?

Xandr: I’d probably tell him (pauses) that’s maybe what he needs…

Stay tuned for more interviews with quiet creatives.

Thoughtfully,

Devaughn