- Words Notion Staff
From being blown away by Kendrick Lamar to performing at Belgrave Music Hall, Nix Northwest takes us through his most memorable musical firsts.
Armed with a hip-hop prowess few can rival, Nix Northwest is the London artist bringing fresh flavors to the table. Whether he’s cherry-picking Timbaland’s noughties hops or reaching further back to disarraying jazz production, the producer-rapper has many strings to his bow. On his whimsical debut album, ‘Xin’s Disappearance’, such dexterity is on full display and delivered with the multihyphenate’s trademark humility.
Growing a musical fondness from a young age, Nix would later study it professionally at Leeds’ acclaimed College of Music. Here, he would meet fellow mysterious hip-hop virtuosos LAUSSE THE CAT and B-ahwe, who’ve become frequent collaborators over the years.
A conceptual album, ‘Xin’s Disappearance’ sees Nix writing from the perspective of a fictional alter-ego, who’s eager to leave his mark on London’s sprawling landscape. Over 15 meandering tracks, the record chronicles a musician’s journey, through their trials and tribulations; their highs and lows, and everything else that comes with the precarious career move. Released on Hackney-based Well Overdue recordings, it’ll go down as one of the best hip-hop projects Britain has to offer this year.
To honour its release, we spoke with Nix Northwest about his musical firsts, from early interactions with LAUSSE THE CAT to the brilliance of Gorillaz’ ‘Demon Days’.
First song you ever made?
The song was called “Abrukahdabra”, or at least it was spelt something like that. I was recording some keys for Lausse The Cat’s first album and he convinced me to record some bars over a beat I’d made – and I’ve never really looked back since!
First song you released officially?
“Paradise Pending”, which was off of my first EP ‘Life’s A Bitch, I Just Need An Early Night’. It’s a tune about love knocking you on the head when you’re least expecting it.
First CD or record you owned?
Gorillaz – ‘Demon Days’. I had to text my mum and ask her what it was because she gave me quite a few good CD’s when I was a kid. I remember lots of Kanye and Eminem but I think that Gorillaz album was so early on. It’s a sick album nonetheless.
First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?
It was when I was twelve years old I think. I did a youth music project at the Roundhouse from the ages of about nine or 10 to about 13 years old. They would put us in bands and we had to write original music to then perform at the end of term. I was like ‘yeah this is it’ but then lost sight of it a little through my mid teens.
First gig you went to?
The Noisettes at the Roundhouse when I was about 11.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
Genuinely, before I even started my music career. I went through mental struggle and torment whilst deciding to be an artist. I’m very aware of the negative things that can come with success and pursuing a passion full time and also how vulnerable and exposed you are to the wide world. It took me a while to grapple with it all but I weighed up my pros and cons and decided to go for it.
First instrument you owned?
I think it was this child size guitar that I’d gotten from primary school or was at least borrowing from it. The school was really musical and encouraged everyone to play instruments.
First time you felt like giving up?
I feel like giving up most days if I’m honest. But then I can also gas myself up and tell myself that it’s going to work out fine. I definitely traverse all emotional spectrums in a 24 hour period. So, thanks to my team for being there through all of it!
First time you felt starstruck?
That would be seeing Kendrick Lamar play last year.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
I think completing a full-length album is probably one of my main bucket list goals. Earlier ones would include traveling, which I’m very keen to do more of, and playing venues like the Belgrave in Leeds.