Music acts as a creative outlet for artists and an escape for listeners. An artist who embodies this is producer XXV whose name comprises of two parts: XXV = 25 in Roman Numerals and 25 being the number of elements in the human body. Pretty thoughtful right? Music has taken a more conscious direction in recent years and speaking to XXV, we found him to be a very deep thinker. He describes the process of creating music "like painting" which links back to its therapeutic nature. Have a listen to his latest track : "Wonderful" above, and enjoy our interview with him below:
“XXV” you say links to there being 25 elements in the human body, is this a subtle hint at stripping everything down to the basics and focusing on what is most important?
Yes definitely. A lot of people don’t even know that fact, so that’s exactly what I wish to achieve with my pseudonym. It emphasises that we are all made up of these same elements, thus we all have the same potential when we strip ourselves down to our most basic form. How this relates to my music is that I want people to focus on what they hear and really give thought to it, as opposed to what they immediately see if I were to go about it the typical way and make it about image; I don’t want that to be what people attach themselves to me for.
I first heard your track “Out There” and thought it sounded extra-terrestrial but also introspective; taking the time to really ask what is out there for you as a person. What was your frame of mind when you made that song?
You're not the first to say this and I love that! That’s exactly the feeling I wanted to evoke in the listener, music that sounds like it’s not from this planet. I was going through a period of self discovery when I was inspired to write this music. When I began the process I was literally in the headspace of thinking what more is out there, in the sense to our universe. The lyrics came simultaneously, and with them I wanted the listener to perhaps think of their immediate surroundings. Some people hold themselves back from travelling for various reasons, sometimes reasons beyond their control, or allow themselves to be categorised/placed in a box, or even shun the belief that there is more out there in the universe literally. That mentality doesn't sit with me, because when you put things in to perspective, there are trillions of planets within our solar system alone and there are trillions of solar systems, so to reject that possibility is limiting to the mind. So with this song my intention is to open up the mind first with the choice of sounds and melodies and then for the lyrics to provoke thought, hence the hook which is a rhetoric question “what’s it really like out there”, when you step out of the box which could easily just be a comfort zone. I vision people chanting this when I perform it live.
It seems like you have a persona in “XXV” - why did you choose to create this world in order to release your music?
I’ve been involved in music for a long time now, mostly writing and producing for artists both signed and unsigned in the UK and other countries. Making this transition was a conscious decision but took me a long time to step into the position, mainly because I wanted to offer my sound in the most organic way possible, making sure people focus on the music and the content, so it resonates and sticks. I want to get people thinking when they listen to my music and that’s what birthed the concept of XXV and using it as my outlet for what I have to offer to the world musically. When it comes to artists I aspire to talents like Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone even Kendrick Lamar as a more modern day example; people who actually have something to say, a message to put across and make music about the times we live in, those type of artists (and there are many more including underground artists) contribute to my inspiration. Timing is also a factor, I wanted to be mentally ready to do this properly and put out music which is so personal, music is a very serious thing for me, it’s got me through a lot of things. I also didn’t want to force it. I like when things are organic and I wanted people to be attracted to my music themselves rather than me force feeding it to them. We live in a very unique time now too, a time where people are asking more questions and digging deeper for answers, you can feel it.
Artists, even the most humble, I feel have to be confident in their work to be able to share it and deal with people’s reactions (including criticisms) - would you agree?
Of course! You have to be confident in yourself and your sound, you have to believe it before anyone else does. Self belief will carry you through, there are so many examples of this. Self belief gives you confidence and it’s your responsibility to use it in the right way. Criticism whether positive or negative should always be received constructively, RECEIVED constructively because it’s not always going to be given that way. That’s something I’ve learned over time. Actually Anthony Joshua said in a recent interview; “never let the ‘win’ get to your head or the ‘loss’ get to your heart”. To me that means balance in all things, so take what you need from all reactions and feedback but ensure you stick to your purpose otherwise who are you really doing it for?
You say your music can help people deal with mental health issues, tell us more about this.
Yes, we all have mental battles in some shape or form. Some are identifiable and some are not. Some people are comfortable to talk and some don’t know how. Music is the biggest healer, everyone knows this fact. My music is a direct reflection of my thoughts and feelings, in the sounds, melodies and the lyrics. Mental health is currently a strong social topic. Someone had commented on my latest song ‘Wonderful’ recently saying; “this vibe get’s me going, keep it up”. What I took from that is my music obviously had resonated with that person at the time, it seems like at the time they needed a bit of motivation and that’s what the song provided for them. Motivation is mental. We lack it drastically when going through mental difficulties for whatever reason; I’ve been there. I was so happy to see that comment because, the sentiments of the song are to always see things as being ‘wonderful’, seek out the wonderful things in life, put it in your sight. That’s my perspective which I want to give to the listener, with the intention to help anyone who may be going through a negative period or in a bad mental state. Even the most basic things we take for granted like waking up and drawing breath. That’s a ‘wonderful’ thing, which should be acknowledged. It helps to keep everything in perspective I hope it helps people out there who may be dealing with a mental battle, especially in silence.
And finally, what does success mean to you?
Success to me is genuine happiness which we can all achieve once we understand what is really most important in life. Not what we are taught to believe is important by society, social media, television etc. When you are happy, genuinely happy in your heart and you make that your priority, you vibrate on a higher frequency and this is extremely important to life. Some people may not get that, but there’s nothing which can’t be understood through reading and research.
Great words from XXV and a huge thank to him for giving us his time with such introspective answers. Check him out on his socials below and be on the look-out for new tunes: