Get To Know Yxngxr1 [Interview]

Ian Hansen

Cardiff, Wales born artist, Yxngxr1, has always had an infatuation with American music and has brought his inspiration from all over to create his unique style of genre-bending music. His recent three-part project, “Teenage Motel,” exemplifies his ability to craft a body of work that’ll pass the test of time. Get to know Yxngxr1 below:

Take me through your project, “Teenage Motel,” and what it means for you to have it out. What was the process of making it?

I wanted to do a follow up of the first EP I ever put out even though it’s not the same, and it’s a different sound. I want to build a whole story and vision behind it. These people go to a motel and fall in love. They fall in love for that week and after, it is never spoken about again. It’s cut into three different sections with interludes split in half. The first bit is them going to the motel, the second is them falling in love, and the end is them having to leave. Every time I listen back, I just love it.

How did you come up with that narrative?

I was listening to IGOR and how it flows. I was like, “I like that.” I wanted to make something that flows like that, but I didn’t want the songs to flow into another and into another. I wanted it to be more split. We had a bunch of songs already written that were already motel themed. We had like 20 to 25 songs, and we had to piece them together.

How have you developed your sound over time to what it is on this project?

I remember when I started off making music, I had an old iPhone 5C which was given to me by one of my friends who I played tennis with. It was the only phone I had that had GarageBand. I used to record off of the wired headphones. I recorded off of that using beats off YouTube. After that, I bought my first Mac. It changed from that grungy sound to a bit more polished. From there, watching YouTube tutorials, I would start using all of these effects and learned how to mix stuff. It all came about, and I met the producer who made “Rather Do” and the producer who did “PIGEONS” and a lot of stuff on this album as well. We thought the 808 and trap sound was getting overflowed. I really like Dominic Fike and that indie sound so I wanted to put 808s on really nice sounding guitars. It came about that it didn’t work that much. We stumbled on this path, and we are just writing these nice-sounding songs. It’s really strange because one of the producers is trap heavy and the other one is rock. Putting them together makes this interesting sound.

You do a great job of bending genres and your music can’t really be categorized. Who do you grab inspiration from with your unique sound?

Tyler, The Creator, and earlier on, Lil Peep. Still, the way he layers his vocals was like something I loved and was really sick. The way he pans his vocals to the left and right and it has this wrap around effect. I loved that. Steve Lacy is on a different level. I’ve been listening to a lot of Earl Sweatshirt and MF Doom.

How does being born and raised in the United Kingdom inspire you and take me through your background growing up there?

In terms of music, it was seeing all of these U.S. artists coming up on SoundCloud and thinking, “I’m going to be the kid from the U.K. that will be a part of the U.S. scene. That’s where it all started. That’s why the sound at first really sounded American because we had nothing like that in the U.K. Cardiff is a very sheltered place. If you do something, everyone knows about it. It’s not intrusive, but everyone knows about everyone else. When I started releasing music, I was under a different name, and I was working at Footlocker. I started writing music and putting it out. It got like 100,000 streams in the first two months of putting it out. I remember being drunk on New Years of 2019, and I was telling everyone I was a big rapper. I thought it was my only time to flex. 14 days later, my song, “Tyler,” hit 50,000 plays in 10 hours. I remember it hit a million in like two or three weeks. It was really crazy. It all spiraled from there.

How have you processed your music taking off like it is?

I would say to my manager, because he knows how big I want this thing to be, I want to be Tyler big, Steve Lacy big, Bakar big. I want it to be way bigger than it is now. I’ve seen it grow. I’ve seen the numbers start from zero. They tell me I’m a big artist now, and I’m like, “No I’m not. I’m not yet just trust me.” In my head, I know it’s not big enough yet. I’m not an established artist yet. It’s strange when I go on Spotify and see that 800 or 900 people are listening to me at one time, it’s like, “Why are people listening?”

What do you want your fans to get from listening to your music?

I want it to be something that is timeless. It might not be yet. I want people to listen to it in 20 years and are like, “I remember listening to this with the boys.” I just want that kind of music that holds that nostalgic feeling.

What’s next? What goals do you have and what can fans look forward to?

We have a song coming out on the 26th of August called, “Hello, Hello,” which is one of the ones I wrote two weeks ago in the phase of me zoning out the world. I have a bunch of songs I’ve written for big features. I’m going to release singles for the rest of the year. I’m not over albums, but this album took so long to finish. I want to go back to the original space of dropping every week or every other week. I want to be consistent. That’s what the world is right now — consistency and how quick you do something. We have songs now that are near perfect.

What do you do to escape music? What hobbies do you have?

I’m sick at tennis and will smash anyone at it. I like football as well. I used to watch Cardiff all of the time. I love vintage shopping as well.

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