Q&A – whereisalex
After a guest appearance on Goldlink’s AATWDT, one of the most hyped future rap albums, a heavy career on Film Noir and you taking down your personal Soundcloud, people imagine all kinds of mysteries about your producer persona.
But its also understandable that you want to protect your privacy against future beat fanboys. Can you imagine to become a beatmaker shooting star like Metro Boomin, Jahlil Beats or Lex Luger? Why not?
I didn’t want to intentionally create any sort of mystery around my producer alias, despite the obvious implications that my name has lol. I don’t think people should perceive certain gaps between my producer persona and who I am as an attempt to cultivate mystery. Part of it is just branding (I can’t wait to play with the idea of ‘whereisalex’ when I start playing nationwide shows). And then some of it is just maintaining a natural separation between a musical persona and my actual, real world life, which I think is perfectly healthy. I hate to think about what someone like oshi goes through, having to have so many people who want to be around you and having trouble discerning which ones are around because they like you and which ones are around because they want something from you. That’s why I don’t go outside lol.
I wouldn’t mind gaining notoriety with my beatmaking, but I’m definitely not in a rush to procure absurd amounts of fame in really short periods of time. Mainly because that kind of fame and success is very short lived, but also because as I said earlier, people change up (I don’t hang out with anyone though, so. eh.)
Your public statements about your alleged lack of social skills confuse many people, especially those who regard your image as a beatmaker prodigy. This openness and honesty seems to bring you into those crazy opportunities regular producers would dream off. Every artist has is own self-doubts about his or her social skills and lack thereof. But you dont even have a Facebook fanpage, despite all the buzz. How hard is it to seperate your personal communication from your, lets say, producer PR communication? Or don’t you differentiate at all?
It’s not hard at all because I don’t make an intense effort to make connections. The music connections I make are on a musical level. Very often, I DO find people who make music and are also just chill, and that’s always great. I just don’t try and force it, though. It seems unnecessary.
When people try to use personal forms of communication as promotional outlets, I try to make it as clear as possible that I’m not receptive to that. It’s not a common problem though, people are usually very chill.
Did you even do like… marketing networking to get into your position or is your creative career the product of an awful lot of lucky coincidences?
I’ve never consciously made an attempt to network lol. It’s all pretty much just been me making cool stuff and people responding positively to it. Attracting opportunities rather than pursuing them has been my mode of operation. I shouldn’t say I don’t pursue, I do, quite often and quite tenaciously, however, I believe the primary pursuit is excellence in one’s craft and not the approval of others.
Which is the most important skill to preserve for an artist?
Besides being as good of a music maker, which I believe is paramount, I’d say connecting with your audience however you can. Some people invest in themselves and get managers and marketing and PR people, which is a perfectly acceptable and very responsible, businesswise. Others just make do with Twitter and Facebook. The important thing is to get your music out there, and you can pursue that aim conventionally or non conventionally, with the use of social media.
Work (as in work the system to your advantage) SoundCloud to the best of your ability. Work in the real world to the best of your ability. Work to the point that your entire career isn’t contigent on one specific platform.
Which one is your hit foundry: Logic, Reason, Live or Fruity?
LIVE. Live all day everyday. The flexibility and options are astounding. I think as a producer the same way I think as an artist. I need an incredible amount of fluidity when I’m working in my DAW and Live makes me feel like I can do literally anything inside of it. Reason is good for the refills. Many of my trademark samples dome from Reason stock sounds.
What instrument do you play? What instrument would you recommend other producers to learn?
Started on sax, then piano, then drums, and i fiddle around on guitar and bass. Learn piano! It’s fun. Making beats is fine, but nothing will ever top playing your significant other’s favorite song on a large, black grand piano. Same goes for guitar.
Also, gospel and jazz have been the foundation for my beats. Most of my chord structures are informed by contemporary gospel.
Which is the strangest object/instrument/thing you ever created a noise with that went into a track?
I’m pretty sure that I and producers of my ilk have been pretty heavily criticized for our use of unusual sounds. I’ve used tons of source and field recordings over the course of this musical project. Swamps, lakes, iron gates, shovels digging, keychains rustling in the wind, broken printers, dry ice, broken pianos, pages turning. I don’t know when it because so important for me to contextualize musical sounds inside of real world soundscapes, but it did.
What do you normally do when you have a creative block?
Normally, I try and channel another facet of my creativeness or just do something else, because sometimes you can’t force creativity. I go play an instrument, draw, paint, or even go for a walk.
From what we noticed, you’re also a skilled illustrator.
Can you remember the first picture you drew?
Nahhh. I drew a lot of manga when I was in elementary school, though.
Your artwork looks like Day of the Dead meets African folk meets modern realism. Where do you draw the inspiration for such original work?
Zombie movies, african folk stories, african continental history, comics, 1960’s contemporary art theory, and anatomical illustrations.
What was your hardest challenge to illustrate? Did you accomplish it?
Currently, I’m working on an eight foot ink drawing. It’s a self portrait that doubles as an anatomical study. The process of making it is fun, it’s just an arduous process. So hopefully I accomplish it?
Thank you big time man. Happy new year.
Thank you, I like being able to theorize and vocalize and ruminate and drone on aimlessly about stuff I care about. Happy New Years to you too! Thanks to everyone’s who listened so far, I’ll try to make 2016 a special year for you all.