New Music Friday: DXVL
Nadia: Hi everyone, we're back at the Stooki Studio for another New Music Friday feature and today I have the lovely DXVL with me but I'll let you introduce yourself first...
DXVL: My name is DXVL and I am a rapper from South London.
Nadia: Perfect. What is the meaning behind your name?
DXVL: There’s not really that much meaning behind it. DL is my initials, Daniel Luke. I don't mind saying my government name and XV because I used to listen to A$AP Rocky and all of them back in the day, so the V and the X, doesn't really mean anything, but I just like the aesthetic and just how it looks.
Nadia: I like the meaning behind it.
DXVL: When people ask me, they expect to hear something deeper.
Nadia: How did you get into making music then?
DXVL: I went to sixth form in 2014. In 2015, I started delving into different types of music like Rap and Alternative Rap and stuff like that. Then I thought, let me try and start making beats and then I was like, you know what, there's a different alternative scene to what I've been hearing. As a child you listen to Grime and Drill and proper Rap, Meek Mills and stuff like that, so I thought you know what, let me try something. I just went from strength to strength and then I just have to thank God that I'm here today.
Nadia: Amazing, so we hear that you have some new music dropping soon. We're excited to hear it. Can you let us know what to expect?
DXVL: No, no, I'm not telling you guys… I'm joking. I've got a lot of new music coming and I've got some very good features that you guys probably wouldn't expect but when you hear it, you'll be like, yeah this is crazy. I've got a lot of new music coming before the end of the year. I’m going to Paris in a few weeks for my birthday. I'm gonna be 26. I can't even believe I'm saying that, I'm going to be 26. I've got a show there with some pretty special guests.
Nadia: What made you want to do this show in Paris? Is it because the artist you’re collaborating with is there?
DXVL: I've got a lot of fans in Paris, when I look at my Spotify and look at the algorithm and stats, France comes up as my second country of most streams. So I was like, let me just go and show them some love. Every time I drop music, they're always shouting at me saying “When are you going to come to France?” so I thought let me just do it. I've also just dropped this song with Wallace Cleaver - shout out to Wallace. It's called Murciélago and he's a French artist and very big over there. I just thought you know what let me just to go to Paris. I'm just gonna enjoy myself, it's my birthday, fans want me to come, so why not, you know what I mean? I need to get out of this country as well.
Nadia: Have you been to Paris before?
DXVL: Yeah I have, when I was younger. I haven't been there to perform, but last time I went was when I was 11/12. I've been there a few times because I've got family over there. I haven't been there over [the age of] 18, so it will be a different experience now.
Nadia: That’s quite a long time then.
DXVL: Yeah, that’s quite a long time.
Nadia: Great, I think that would be a great experience for you.
DXVL: I can’t wait, I’ll be so real. I can’t wait.
Nadia: Can you tell us about the visuals that you've got for these new releases?
DXVL: I just dropped a song called ‘M+M’. Stream it up. It’s out now produced by myself. I've got a song with my friend Kid Bracer called ‘Tints on the Shades’. That's my boy, we shot it in Chinatown together and it was a movie - that's coming out soon as well. I've got so much stuff to come, I just sit on my music for a long time until I know that it's the right time. More music on the way, if you want to tap into me, tap into me. If you don't want to tap into me, then that’s okay too. If you miss out or whatever that's up to you.
Nadia: Yeah, you miss out if you don’t tap into it.
DVXL: That’s up to you.
Nadia: Tell us a bit about your songwriting process. What are the steps you usually take or is it different every time?
DXVL: It is different every time. I think if I have to put it onto something that I do everytime it’s… when I'm actually in my feelings and I let my emotions out in my song. If I go through something in life, that's when you get the best out of me because that's when I will talk about stuff that's from the heart. I'm a quick songwriter as well. When I feel like I want to go to the studio and I want to do something, I'll do it that day regardless, because I'm a freelancer I don't work, so if I want to go to the studio on that day and I'm feeling to do something, I'll do it on that day. So I'll just write and then I'll just go to the studio and just bang it out. I'm very quick when it comes to working in the studio.
Nadia: That's so cool, so you have that flexibility as well because you are a freelancer, so whenever you're in the mood you can just really adapt to that time when you're in the mood?
DXVL: Yeah I guess so. Being a freelancer… I guess is good and bad. Obviously sometimes you're like I don't know when my paycheck is gonna come in, but you know when the paycheck's coming in, it's gonna be sweet. That's the only problem that I have with myself. It is good to be a freelancer and get to do what you want to do in life.
Nadia: One of my favourite tracks of yours that I've been running up is ‘John Cena’. Do you want to tell us a bit about how that track came about? I think it's very vibey.
DXVL: I love WWE. John Cena's not my favourite wrestler, but he's up there and he's top three. I kind of wanted to be a bit more versatile because obviously if you've heard old DXVL, it's more like my sound, so I'm trying to be versatile and try to step up my name a bit. So I was like, let's try and do something fun and thought let's do something wrestling related, with the help of my team around me, so we made a track called John Cena. We have the wrestling things in the background of the video, have you seen it?
Nadia: I haven't seen the visuals actually. I've just been listening to the track.
DXVL: You need to watch the video, it's hard and very creative. It's just funny and I’m being a goofball. I'm very goofy and I just love doing wrestling things and all that stuff.
Nadia: I didn’t even know it had a video. I’m going to check that out for sure. So you were playing on that WWE?
DVXL: Yeah, we were playing. That’s how we got the track around.
Nadia: Amazing, why did you choose John Cena then if he wasn't your favourite wrestler?
DXVL: Marketable, really, innit? John Cena's probably one of the biggest wrestlers.
Nadia: The track is very fun. Shout out to JB Made It, who produced it as well, so it's a fire track still.
Nadia: Good thing that you mentioned about your producer. Are there any producers that you haven't worked with yet, that you would like to work with in the future?
DXVL: That’s a good question. Just UK or worldwide?
DXVL: LORD FUBU, ICYTWAT from America. I would've said J Dilla but God rest his soul because J Dilla is a legend. Off the top of my head, you put me on the spot but I can't lie J Dilla would've been number one.
Nadia: Are there any UK producers?
DXVL: There are a lot of them, but do you know what it is? I'm the type of person that I don't work with people just because they're big. I work with people based on their talent and I just like them. I work with people with like 100 followers or 50 followers or something like that, I'm that type of person innit. There's so many that I just can't name them off the top of my head.
Nadia: It should be about though, it shouldn't be about the stats and stuff. It should be about the talent.
DXVL: Yeah, 100%.
Nadia: Great, so who are your music influencers?
DXVL: J Dilla, Joey Badass, ICYTWAT and a few other people. My boy Jordan in America. It's mostly my friends you know. I’ll be so real, JD Cliff, Manny Dubs is a crazy producer. There's too many people to mention, but those people are the people that have grounded me. They've put me on a path to be like yeah, just do better.
Nadia: Would you say that those people that you've named, they've helped to kind of elevate you?
DXVL: Yeah a hundred percent. A hundred percent. You need friends around you that will elevate you to do better. Even when you might make something that you might like in yourself, but they'll be like “nah do better”. That's the friends that I have. So I'm grateful to have people like that around me.
Nadia: I love that. What's your favourite thing about performing live? What's been your favourite show to date, would you say?
DXVL: It's knowing that you've put time and effort into something that you've grafted so hard for and seeing people genuinely appreciate you when you're actually on stage. You're like rah, it's wholesome. That's one of the main things for me, just to see the reaction from fans. I don't even like saying the word fans because they’re not fans, they’re just normal human beings. Just people just being like yeah this is what I came here for and I just reciprocated energy and I'm just like yeah thank you for coming. Come and chat to me, do you know what I mean?
My favourite show… I was going to say my headline show that I had at Peckham Audio in 2021. I stage-dived three times, I was like nah this is crazy. There were so many people that showed up, I was so overwhelmed. I was just like this is crazy… But because I don't like London, I'm gonna say Manchester. I had this show in Manchester and there were like 300-350 people there. I was there with all my peoples and it was lit. When people turn up for you that don't actually know you, it's a different type of feeling. Yeah I'm going to say Manchester, but London was lit still, but yeah I'm trying to get out of here.
Nadia: Can I ask why you don't like London?
DXVL: It's just too egotistical. I don't even want to talk about London, it’s just bare egos, nobody wants to be themselves, everyone just wants to be someone else. Not everyone, but the majority of people. I work with people that don't necessarily have clout, lots of listeners or likes. Everybody deserves love and everybody deserves something in life, regardless of your numbers or your stats or anything. So London is just… yeah they need to find love.
Nadia: I hear that. So what are your goals for the rest of this year and next year, 2024?
DXVL: I'd probably say that I don't like setting goals on anything. Personally I think if you put a goal on something, if you don’t hit it you're going to be disappointed. I would rather just keep making fire music for myself and if people enjoy it, they enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, you don't enjoy it, you can't please everyone. So I don't actually have any goals to be honest. Just grinding and grafting and looking after myself, my family and just making music. That's all.
Nadia: Describe your ideal day off… Do you get many of those?
DXVL: Oh my God, sleeping in my bed. Cooking, I cook a lot actually. Watching funny stuff on YouTube or a series on Netflix and just chilling out. Maybe watching football and going to football matches. I've got a season ticket for Crystal Palace. I go to the matches. That's my leisure, man, football, athletics, cooking and sleeping. Nothing else, that's me, I'm just very chilled.
Nadia: That's awesome. How would you describe your fashion style?
DXVL: Retro. I love retro stuff. I'm not a designer boy, I'm very retro. I like my thrift shopping, when I go to Brick Lane and Shoreditch stuff like that. I'm not going to no Harrods, none of them things though.
Nadia: Just getting those vintage one-off pieces that no one else has. Thrifting because you don’t wanna be looking like anyone else.
Nadia: What do you like about Stööki Jewellery and the Stööki Movement?
DXVL: Stööki you guys are very unique. Your pieces are very cold, they look like they're designer, but they have their own unique element of style to them as well. I really like them, still, because I ain't really seen any jewellery that's like this and it's good quality as well. I actually really like them, I’ll be real. Got some cold pieces here, still. Shout out Stööki.
Nadia: The piece you selected was the Havana Bracelet, why did you choose that one in particular?
DXVL: Do you know what, now that I’ve chosen this one, I’m looking at everything else and I’m thinking. I should’ve just selected everything. There’s so many cold pieces that I can’t even pick one to choose from, I can’t even tell you why. This is cold though. This is very cold. I like gold.
Nadia: It’s the classic Cuban as well.
DXVL: Yeah, this is cold, still, I can’t lie. It even says Legacy on it. It makes sense, “make your mark”. Legacy. Makes sense.
Nadia: That’s what we’re trying to leave behind.
DXVL: Yeah, that’s all it’s about.
Nadia: Awesome, thank you. Do you have any advice for any aspiring artists that might be coming up in the industry?
DXVL: Be yourself! Be yourself! Be yourself! Do not conform to anything. Don't listen to other people, just be yourself.
Nadia: That's all you can be because no one else can be you, right?
DXVL: Just be yourself, don’t let all these TikTok things, blowing off, one song, not having a backlog. Come on, be yourself, be unique and that's how you know that you have longevity.
Nadia: That’s good advice, where can we find more of your music?
DXVL: Everywhere really. Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal.
Nadia: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
DXVL: Nah, just type in DXVL and you’ll find me. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
Nadia: Trust me.
DXVL: I don't have anything else, just stream up DXVL. Shout out to Stööki and everyone that supports me. I don't treat you as fans, I treat you as normal human beings, and you can always reach out to me, as busy as I am, you can always still message me when I have time I will message back. Yeah so shout out to you guys.
Nadia: So you heard it here first guys. Thanks again for stopping by the Stööki Studio for your New Music Friday feature. It's been a pleasure talking to you and getting to know a bit more about you. Thank you everyone for tuning in to another New Music Friday. We'll be back again for the next one soon.