New Music Friday Yxngxr1
Welcome back to another edition of New Music Friday! This week, we had the pleasure of hosting the rapidly emerging DIY artist Yxngxr1 at the Stööki studio. Maintaining his impressive productivity, he introduces his enchanting album, 'Front Porch,' that is out now through STORM GVNG / EMPIRE.
A true representative of the internet generation, Yxngxr1's music has amassed over 410 million streams across DSPs. Enjoying national radio support from BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, and 6 Music, he has also received acclaim from publications such as Dork, The Line of Best Fit, TMRW, and The Guardian, commending his 'lovable lo-fi indie-rap.' Despite his rapid ascent to success, he remains dedicated to pushing artistic boundaries in the studio, seamlessly blending the worlds of hip-hop and indie.
Nadia: Amazing! Since we're talking about that album, do you have a favourite song on it? If so, what one?
Do you know what? I really like Budapest because it essentially summarises the album. The lyrics go, 'Found a pound, chucked it in the slot machine. I won the jackpot. It must have looked like a movie scene. I packed my bag and headed straight back east.' It's like, I found a pound, found music, took a chance on it, it succeeded, became big, packed my bag, and headed east—from Wales to London, from Cardiff to London is east, you know. I packed my bag, went straight to London, and now I want to find my way home again. I don't want to be here anymore. That's what that song kind of means, and I really, really love it. Also, fun fact, the song has the same chords as Katy Perry, do you like her?
Nadia: I know her songs.
Yxngxr1: Do you know ‘Hot and Cold’?
Yxngxr1: Same chords as that, which we only found out, actually, two, three weeks ago? So no wonder I like it, because I love that Katy Perry song.
Nadia: That song is a classic.
Yxngxr1: It really is you know.
Yxngxr1: Budapest you mean right? Not Katy Perry.
Nadia: Yeah yeah, of course. Katy Perry songs are alright.
Nadia: If it's the same chords, then you're onto a winner.
Yxngxr1: Yeah, of course. So what you're telling me I should steal everyone's chords and make new songs?
Nadia: Haha did that happen by accident?
Yxngxr1: Yeah because it's super simple. It's just the G, D, A minor, C and that's essentially what the Kate Perry one is.
Nadia: How did you find that out?
Yxngxr1: Oh, I have this website. I won't reveal what it is because, if I do, everyone else might start creating fantastic songs. But basically, if I need to find chords and stuff, I can go on there. You can set a key to whatever you want, and it'll give you the chords in that key. You click one, and it'll tell you where you can go from there.
I thought, 'Oh, I know these chords...' so I typed them in, and you can see all the songs that use the exact same chords. 'Hot and Cold' was one of the first ones to come up, and I thought, 'Oh, that's sick.' If you want to come to the London show, there might be a surprise. There might be a little rendition of 'Hot and Cold' on tour. I can't say too much though.
Nadia: That will be amazing! So what is your songwriting process like?
Yxngxr1: It's mainly about finding flows, and I can usually sense something within a flow. Sounds pretty artsy, doesn't it? It's about the flow of the music and how you find the rhythm of the tempo. If there's a nice flow and I can hear a word that fits, then I'll just build off that one word and write about things I've seen in the past.
It's about finding words in flows and building off that word or how it might evoke a certain feeling, without making it sound too artsy or anything. I don't know, for me... this might sound a bit arrogant, but whenever I'm on Discord with our group, everyone's like, 'How did you write XYZ?' And honestly, writing songs seems relatively easy to me because I have my own method. But when I try to explain it to people and say you have to find a melody and a flow over a bunch of beats and baselines, it can sound overwhelming or confusing. Say it like that, and it's like, 'Oh, actually, that does sound really difficult or horrible,' and I can't do that, you know what I mean?
Nadia: Does it come naturally to you, would you say?
Yxngxr1: Yeah well like I was saying I've found my little pattern. It's not anything like Beyonce where it goes higher and lower. It's just the way that I do it and it's thankfully worked, you know? It's super, super cool.
Nadia: So, who would you say are your musical influences?
Yxngxr1: Oh so back in the day, Lil Peep. Weirdly enough yeah and these next four are gonna sound like, what? But XXXTENCION.
Nadia: Oh is it?
Yxngxr1: Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp. That was my back in the day ones. That was like when I was really in my Soundcloud era. Nowadays, Matt DeMarco, The Beatles, Tyler The Creator. I love what he does, with his music and how he takes it and kind of storyboards almost everything around the music, you know.
Nadia: I think that's super cool. I was gonna ask was he your inspiration for the song Tyler?
Yxngxr1: So on Soundcloud the name of the song is Tyler the Creator because I say “flames on my trousers chilling and that” it's about the flame golf trousers he wore. Tyler has always been an inspiration from day dot till even now, even though he might not be at the forefront, he's definitely still in the top five and has always remained in the top five. I think everything he does is super cool. I think now that I'm getting a bit older I can kind of see the artistry in what he does more than just like oh, that's a cool video.
Nadia: He was in London recently? Did you go into his pop-up shop?
Yxngxr1: Ah no I didn’t but I have a bad story about him actually. I don't want to hype it up too much. I was in LA and I think we were heading to Rolling Loud, me and Morgan driving down one of the main streets. I'm looking out the window and kind of thinking to myself, 'Imagine if we saw Tyler The Creator? That'd be crazy.' Next thing, he's there with all his boys and everything. So I'm like, 'Pull over, pull over.' We find a spot, park, and go up to him. He had said before, 'Please don't ask. Just don't ask for photos, speak to me, I'm a person.' The thing is, because he's always been such a big inspiration, I just crumbled. I went up to him, and the first thing I said was, 'Can I have a photo?' He replied, 'Sorry, I'm just chilling with the gang.' I was like, 'All right, cool.' In my head, I was telling myself not to ask for the photo right away. Tell him about how much you love the new album, talk about how he's an inspiration, discuss the music you make. But instead, I blurted out, 'Can I have a photo?' What? Looking back I'm like 'What are you doing?'.
He seemed polite about it. He's a lovely person. When I say it's a bad story, it's more about me. He handled it well, and if I ever meet him again, I probably won't even bring any of that up. 'Oh, I met you before and asked for a photo. Can I have a photo again?' Nah, not again. Sorry, I ruined it again.
Nadia: You never know, he might be asking you for a photo.
Yxngxr1: Oh hopefully, that'd be cool. Yeah he'll probably be asking me to take a photo of him with someone else. I'm assuming it's a random guy, not a picture of him and Paul McCartney. You can have it.
Nadia: So moving on, what is your favourite thing about performing in front of live audiences?
Yxngxr1: Do you know what? The coolest thing about it is people singing songs or words back that you've written. I don't know why, it's a really strange concept. I don't know how to explain it. I would sit in my mum's house, in my room, writing lyrics that would mean something to me. But then having a room of like 250 people singing it back is something else or that song was listened to X amount of times by that person is the coolest thing.
I also love meeting people at the end of the shows as well.
Nadia: And you let them take pictures?
Yxngxr1: Oh yeah I always charge them a fee. You know if you've got ten grand on you, then you can have a photo. That's what I'd say, but no I don't actually charge - just for anyone who's out there trying to come for me. It's lovely meeting people and they have their own stories to the songs and it's like, oh I met this girl at this point, or I met this boy at this point and it’s like that's so sick. When I was writing it, I wasn’t thinking of it that way.
It's like a song which might be really sad and depressing for me might be someone's song that they bonded over, you know really that song out of all of them? That song where I'm literally talking about like the saddest things ever and you bonded over that? That's fair enough.
Nadia: That's crazy, but I suppose, everything means something different to someone.
Yxngxr1: One hundred percent yeah that's so true. What’s your favourite song do you reckon?
Nadia: Your latest one. Budapest! So what are your goals for 2024?
Yxngxr1: Do you know what? I want to do a lot more live shows. We were talking earlier about how we were coming up during COVID and stuff. A lot of the time, where I should have been doing shows, things were kind of restricted, which is no one's fault obviously, but now I'm kind of ready to go into it and start playing properly and going from venue to venue. Just showing the music that we made, maybe in a different light. I think when you go to a show and you might only know one song from the artist, then you hear a different song or it's played in a different way, that then becomes your favourite song, you know. I think that's the craziest thing ever. I think that's super sick.
I'm also excited to record the next project. That'll be really, really fun. I have a name for it already, and I'm gonna build a little board around that, what I want it to sonically sound like and how I want it to look and where I want to go with it and maybe do I want to do less shows? Or do I want to do more online shows? Or do I want to look into it in a different way than I have before rather than just putting the song out and moving on to something else, really taking a year or so to kind of really think, what can we do with this album now that it's out which is what we're doing with this next album really, it's like I want to take it on tour, and maybe if any TV show people want to pick it up or you know, Jimmy Kimmel and all them, that'd be pretty cool playing. Yeah, so this is our shout out right now.
Nadia: Well, we've put it out there now so it's manifesting in the universe. How would you describe your ideal day off?
Yxngxr1: Well, the thing is, I'd be lying if I said I take no days off. I make music almost every day, but it doesn't feel like a job to me. I'm thankful for that. Sitting in my room, playing guitar, singing vocals, sending beats to others, or receiving beats—it's just making music. But if I had a day off from anything related to music, I think I'd enjoy go-karting; as I mentioned it earlier, it's pretty cool. I've also started getting into golf, not playing it though, just watching. I'm not very good at it, but it sounds like I'm being active, even if it's the most inactive sport—I'll just watch it instead. Not a fan of F1, but go-karting, that's pretty cool and I like football.
Nadia: Now that you know a bit about Stööki, what do you like about what you've seen so far? Whether it be in terms of the jewellery, or kind of what we stand for as a brand?
Yxngxr1: I love the story that you were telling me about where the name came from. It's just so nice that you can then bring the name along with you after, you know, after what's happened and the fact that Quincey is still living through the brand. I didn't know that, coming in, but I think that's so sweet and I just love that. I think Quincey would love to see exactly what's happening.
I think that was so cool and I think it gives the brand more of a person to it. It gives it more of like oh this is real. I love what I've got on right now, this is super sick.
Nadia: That’s the CONNECTION bracelet.
Yxngxr1: Yeah, and also I love the stacked heart rings as well. We've got right here. If you want to rock it like I do, I put the blue one under the silver one.
Nadia: It creates a shadow effect. That’s a new way we’ve seen our jewellery being worn and we love to see that.
Yxngxr1: Also I have a lot of finger tattoos. So, the one we've got right here, it looks like the little marshmallow man is wearing an outfit as well.
Nadia: I love it.
Yxngxr1: So cool. I love the pearl looking ring as well it’s gorgeous. I don't know if I showed you this earlier, but it looks like a little face.
Nadia: Oh yeah! You’ve customised the three different rings.
Yxngxr1: Exactly, so yeah and then obviously we've got the chain on as well.
Nadia: We've got the matching set, and then the hammered beam necklace in stone and silver as well.
Yxngxr1: It's super cool and I love this. Do you know what this reminds me of? In Wales there's a place called ‘Big Pit’.
Nadia: Well, thank you for shouting out all the pieces that you're wearing.
Yxngxr1: Oh yeah, it's super cool. What do you reckon is the best thing that's on me right now?
Nadia: That's a tough choice because I just love the way you've customised the pieces, because as I said, that's the first that we've seen the ring's being stacked like that and I just find it really interesting and I think that's what we kind of love about the Stööki Movement is the way people customise the brand for themselves and like the individuals with the jewellery. I think I'm very impressed with how you styled the accessories, it's quite inspiring.
Nadia: How would you describe your fashion style? You're quite subtle today.
Yxngxr1: Yeah, do you know what? I was expecting it to absolutely hammer it down. So I was saying to Morgan, I’m going to wear some nice hoodies and kind of dress myself up in some nice baggy jeans or something but then I was like, every time I wear those jeans and it hammers it down, they just turn soggy, damp and out of shape. So I was like right, I'm gonna wear all black, because if I get wet, it doesn't really affect it too much. I'll wear this, because if it rains, you know. Then yeah it was sunny outside and I thought, hang on.
Nadia: Do you know what, black and white is the Stööki aesthetic, so you kind of fit in anyway. So what advice would you give for aspiring artists, or even your younger self?
Yxngxr1: Well, for any aspiring artist right now they're all competition for me - Nah just kidding. Seriously though, I'd say do whatever you do for the love of it. Don't do it for the money, fame, or any other external validation. Do it because you genuinely love what you've created. I'm sure when you got your first samples, you were all excited, thinking, 'This is real now.' The focus was on people wearing it, not about selling it for a certain price or strategising. It's about doing it for the people you know?
The same goes for music, especially when it comes to writing songs. First, do it for what you like, and second, consider what others might like. Build a little community and understand why people enjoy or dislike certain songs. That's where you'll find more success, not just in numbers but in things that mean a lot more to you. It's hard to explain, but it means a lot more to you.
Nadia: I feel like you've explained it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Yxngxr1: Yeah I think that's what I'd say for anyone who's coming up now. One thing that I've always struggled with is looking at numbers and stuff, looking at how things are performing. But just recently I've realised that it just really kills your mental health. It's like if you're looking at how many streams you've done in a day, or how many stats you've done in a day, or how many this is happening in a month, it kind of sets you on a bad tone of i don’t know…
Nadia: Being obsessed over it.
Yxngxr1: A hundred percent. I learned this quote, maybe two years ago. It was like, comparison is the thief of joy. You know that? I love that one.
Nadia: So true.
Yxngxr1: I always try not to but I still do it because, yeah I'm only human but I try not to compare myself to how other people are doing. Just try not to deep it, just do it because you love it. Don't try and compare yourself to anyone else because you are you. No one else can think what you think. Just try not to deep analytics and numbers.
Nadia: So last question… Where can people find more of your music or connect with you in general?
Yxngxr1: You can find more music on Spotify, or Apple Music, or any other streaming platforms. Isn't it strange technology what has come to these days? We were buying vinyls 40 years ago, and now we have it all on our phone.
Nadia: You were buying vinyls?
Yxngxr1: I was yes, I was alive 40 years ago. In the 80s, I was alive buying DVDs and all that. Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, Discord. If you want to join our Discord, that's pretty cool. It’s all just fun. We do voice chats and stuff there, so I can speak to everyone and we do giveaways and that.
Nadia: Is your Discord channel quite active?
Yxngxr1: Yeah it's really cool. There's like two and a half thousand active people in there. It's pretty cool. So we all go in there and we'll do a voice call every Sunday.
Nadia: Awesome that's a wrap, thanks guys for tuning into another New Music Friday. Thank you so much Timmy!
Yxngxr1: 100%. Thank you so much for having me, it was so fun.
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