It's the calm before the storm for midwxst, as he gears up to release his debut album 'E3'. Here, he discusses uncharted territories, how to rage in moderation and more.

In music, everything old becomes new again. Breathing new life into sonics stuck in the ‘00s is midwxst, the chameleonic artist revamping genres like emo and hardcore around modern pop trends. Hailing from Columbia, SC, the 20-year-old songwriter emerged from the popular hyperpop scene during the pandemic, tentatively posting freestyles to SoundCloud before blowing up online. Nowadays, whether rapping over rage beats or penning sweet ballads, the multihyphenate has a devout following in awe of his experimentalism.


Underscoring personal growth and maturity, on September 1st, midwxst will release his debut album, ‘E3’. Analysing love in all its forms and evolutions, the project treads through a graveyard of his own emotions. It’s a deeply personal record, revelling in raw honesty while teaching listeners how to wrestle with their own demons. On “warning”, the album’s most recent single, the Indiana-born vocalist constructs a vast and limitless soundscape, filled with sporadic 808s and cybernetic electronica, to pour his heart over. “Oh, you swear you love me? Girl, you need to prove it”, he sings on the hook in self-doubt.


midwxst’s always made music in response to his own insecurities; it’s why he started putting pen to paper in the first place. “Trying”, one of his most transparent portraits to date, analyses suicidal ideation with admirable candidness. Various EPs since have braved depression, breakups and a swarm of challenging subject matters that kids across the globe continue to connect with.


Later this month, thousands of teens will head to Reading and Leeds Festival for a weekend of unhinged hedonism. The annual rite of passage can be a defining moment for any performer trying to hit the big time, and on Saturday afternoon, midwxst will take to the BBC 1XTRA stage. It’s an opportunity he’ll be relishing, in the company of fellow boundary-pushing American artists like Ken Carson. To settle his nerves, and prepare him for the inevitable carnage, we spoke with the rising talent about learning to rage in moderation, making music conceptually and reaching new horizons.

Whether you’re rapping with rage or making sweet ballads, you’ve got a lot of styles in your arsenal. Who were you listening to growing up to develop such a diverse taste of sounds?

If I’m being honest, I listened to whoever my parents were listening to. Through them, I found out about Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Ne-Yo, TLC, Marvin Gaye, and so many more amazing artists. I started to have my own music taste when I got my first phone and laptop. It gave me access to places like SoundCloud and YouTube, where I ended up finding out about and falling in love with so many artists that inspire me to this day, like XXXTENTACION, Denzel Curry, Lil Peep, and San Holo, to name a few.

When you look back at “Trying” and hear the music that you make now, how do you think that your sound has changed?

My songwriting has gotten so much better. I used to literally rant into a microphone and not care for what structure was. The idea of a hook, verse, or even a bridge barely even came to mind whenever I made music. Whenever I hear my old songs, especially “Trying”, it’s actually really refreshing. I was so transparent on that song because I was really depressed when I made it and it was one of those that allowed music to become a form of therapy for me. It was a really dark time and my music reflected that. It’s really cool to see how much my sound has evolved though, from the abrasiveness of harsh synths into a calmer storm that can still be seen for what it is by the content of my lyrics.

At the end of this month, you’ll be taking to Reading and Leeds Festival. How are you feeling about playing the Radio 1Xtra Stage? And is there anyone else on the line-up that you’re trying to see?

I’ve been practising my British accent for the sole purpose of trying to blend in with the crowd when I go there. I’m very excited to perform for the first time at such a stacked festival like Reading and Leeds. I’ll definitely try to catch Yung Lean and The 1975’s sets while I’m there. I can’t lie I’m mad excited for both of them.

What makes a midwxst show unique? Do you have any performers that you idolised growing up?

My shows are unique because of both my energy and the way my crowd reacts to the songs; it’s like I’ve been touring for years. I have a full show, I don’t ever get up on stage and let people rage out to my music without saying a word because that’s not performing. I think the aspect of really wanting to create a show comes from Ye and XXXTENTACION. I looked up to X a lot when I first started performing. His energy and aura were something special, that can’t be replicated by anyone in my opinion. Same with Kanye. The ‘Yeezus’ and Saint Pablo tours were two of the most insane tours I’ve ever seen footage from, plus even my dad told me how crazy ‘The Life of Pablo’ tour was.

How do people over here compare to in the US? Do you think there’s a similar energy or a different vibe completely?

I think it’s entirely different. The energy over here is crazier than in the United States because people barely get the opportunity to see their favourite artists overseas unless they’re a really established artist. They also genuinely love and appreciate the music more than a lot of Americans do and I think that difference is cool to see; it puts into perspective how powerful music is on its own.

Your debut album is coming out in September, congratulations! What can you tell us about ‘E3’ and the direction you’ve gone in for this project?

This whole album is a sonic representation of how my life has been for the past year and a half. So many aspects of my life changed drastically and I never really had a chance to reflect on it. This album is me acknowledging my wrongs in the past, relationship issues, and both the pros and cons that come with falling in love. I haven’t been this excited to put out music for such a long time and I’m very thankful to have so many people steering me in the right direction and picking me up when I was at my lowest during the album-making process. If I’m being honest, there wouldn’t be an ‘E3’ without Sophie Gray, who executive-produced the entire album with me. Both she and Drew Drucker, my engineer, helped bring this fairytale into a reality despite so much chaos behind the scenes and I am beyond thankful to have them and so many others a part of this project.

The album tells the story of E3, whose life you narrate throughout the record. Can you tell us a bit about them and what they mean to you?

E3 is a triple entendre for the character whose perspective I’m writing from, my childhood nickname, and an abbreviation for Edgar The Third. I think that really says it all.

What other conceptual decisions did you make when recording the album?

Recording with an engineer for music that actually ended up on the project was a crazy experience for me. I’m so used to mixing and mastering everything mostly by myself, in the privacy of my bedroom, or tracking myself in the studio. Drew was the engineer for the first sessions for the album and he’s been guiding and helping me in the studio ever since. It’s really nice to have someone push me outside my comfort zone, especially when they know you can do better than what you settled on.

To write and record the record, you hunkered down in LA. What is it about the city that brings the best out of you lyrically and creatively?

I have a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles if I’m being honest. Somebody is always throwing a party or I’m busy so I can never really have a moment to enjoy the city. I will say though, as much as I dislike the place, I am very productive whenever I am out there, so I guess there are some pros whether I’d like to admit it or not.

What’s next for midwxst? With countless shows and a debut album forthcoming, what else are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?

I’m looking forward to going even crazier than I have before. I’m excited for new memories, new horizons, and new music to perform for everyone who supports me. There are so many great things ahead and in store that I can’t help but be optimistic for the rest of the year and whatever else follows.

Listen to "warning" below: