Hey lovely people! I’m really happy to bring you another segment of Conversations With… ✨
I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Driftters Collective member Axron ✨
We talked music, mental health, future goals and more!✨
A transcript of our conversation is available below ✨
Rachel Camille: Why music? Why is music the form through which you choose to express yourself?
Axron: I started expressing myself through music when I was say 14. Funnily enough my Dad is actually a DJ. He has a sound system called ‘Capricorn Sounds’. And he DJs over by Notting Hill and does his own events more so for our parents age. I’ve kind of always had it in my system. My mums always listened to music growing up, whether it’s Lovers Rock or a bit of Funk or some Janet Kay. So yeah, I’ve always been around music, so it was just sort of a matter of time before it was my turn.
Rachel Camille: Your latest project that you released is called ‘Downtxme’ and you dropped that at the beginning of this year. For me it was a very honest expression of everything that you’ve been through and very heartfelt with certain songs. So, what was your overall inspiration for the whole project.
Axron: Originally, I thought of the title about two years ago. So, I’d been working on this project for a long while, and it kept getting held off.
RC: Why is that?
A: Because there was a lot of life that I was living at the same time and I think that the best sort of music is created when you’re living life and you have things to actually talk about rather than just filling it with words to fill space. The actual title came from just me going through a few personal things at the time whether it was family related or relationships and all those different things and just understanding that I needed to take a step back. And I just thought ‘Downtxme’… I’d heard it one time and I just thought to myself, that really does fit with where I’m at with my life at the moment. Just taking a step back to just get everything together and figure it out from there really.
RC: So how did you balance everything – family stuff, relationships, uni as well as creating – how did you manage to balance everything?
A: You know what it was difficult, but music was always the outlet. I put out my first project ‘Late Nights’ – I put that out in 2014 – and prior to that I’d been working on music, I’d been going to Kadeem’s house who’s part of Driftters Music
RC: Shout outs!
A: Shout out Kadeem. *Laughs* I’d been going round to his house and just started to create and really express myself. So being given that platform I was able to kind of like manage both law and do music. I went to uni and from there it was like going to lecture and then coming home and sort of having that ‘Downtxme’, having a moment to myself where I can really express myself. I’ve kind of always had a balance of being able to understand that education is important and trying to get that done. I think that’s where I’m fierce – I get things done. So, I knew I had to stick through with doing law because I really wanted to do law. But at the same time, I also had this creative person within me that would stay up late at night and be up at like 1-2 in the morning, couldn’t sleep because I wanted to write
RC: So how do those things kind of cross over? I know for me, I study Religion, Philosophy & Ethics – it’s quite open ended and I feel like a lot of the time my studies do inspire my creative processes. Is that the case for you and what you’ve studied as well, does it have any influence on your creativity?
A: Yeah, I think it does. Law can be very black and white but there’s certain grey areas within it. And I think music can be like that – it’s very transparent. You can literally leave it all within the music and people can sort of grasp a bit of your character or how creative you are and all these different things. You can’t hide when it comes to music. I think that’s what really inspired it. Law was always an inspiration, but it was always this sort of separate thing where I was living two lives. So yeah it was difficult, but you get through it
RC: So, my favourite songs on the album – well I’ve got quite a few – but my top two is Do It and Nothing But Love. So, I want a break down into the creative processes for each song, the inspiration, all of it!
A: I’ll start with ‘Do It’. ‘Do It’ was created by a producer called Ryan Bevolo, and he’s actually producing most of the tracks for my next project, so you can kind of get a feel of it. It’s a lot more jumpy. But ‘Do It’, I just heard the sample and I don’t know what it was, but whenever I’m writing to a song or I’m writing to some sort of beat, I just get this kind of like chill on the back of my spine and I know this is what I need to be doing for this moment in time – I’m on the right track. It was the sample that caught me, because it’s an iconic song, it’s nostalgic. You remember your parents playing it in the house or there’s always some moment in time where you’ve heard that sample. And I just thought to myself, you know what this is the track. And when it dropped, I was like yeah.
RC: When I first heard it, I was like ooooo
A: Do It’s really a track to highlight that you have to really just enjoy life for the most part. I think a lot of people are suffering in general whether it’s mental health or depression, anxiety – all these different sorts of things. So, it was really a track where I wanted people to put that on in the morning and feel like ‘I can get on with my day’.
RC: Cos that’s what I do. It’s Monday morning motivation. Cos obviously, the beat is really happy and it’s Candy Rain. You can’t go wrong with a Candy rain sample, it’s just impossible, and obviously the message behind it. And Nothing But Love?
A: I came across that track by a guy called Pluestarfox, and he produces for quite a few people. He’s produced for Ab Soul as well. So, it was nice working with him because he told me his story about how he produces. Nothing But Love – at first, I didn’t realise it’s a SZA sample, it’s a sample from CTRL that first bit but because it’s slowed down you don’t really realise it. Nothing But Love – I wrote that probably within 5-10 minutes – it was almost seamless. It was that feeling of beating the odds. And I think that’s the whole point in ‘Downtxme’. I’d gone through so much at the time, the last two years, that I kinda wanted a project where people could sit by themselves – you don’t’ have to play it around people – and you’ll find the message within it. And Nothing But Love follows on from Beautifully Haunting, so the whole premise behind it was sort of me understanding that one part of my life – which was relationships – had been done, I’d kind of settled that part. And I was able to kind of see past all the hurt and the anger and be able to kind of come to the part of being like ‘it’s nothing but love’. And I think that’s why I started out the project with having the more deeper songs. It was almost like me trying to get them out the way and then I can go onto whatever else.
RC: For a lot of the songs, there’s a lot of sampling. Was that intentional? Or was it just a matter of okay, the songs have all come together and quite a few of them have samples. Cos if I’m right I feel like a heard a sample from Me, Myself & I – Beyoncé. I’ve heard Eartha Kitt’s interview on Compromise – what is compromise?! I love that. Um and obviously Candy Rain… and Pure Imagination as well. So yeah, was that an intentional thing that you liked those clips and you wanted it in the music or did it kind of just flow together?
A: I think it was intentional in a sense. It just so happened that I came across those sorts of beats. I’m always searching for new music or working with producers or sometimes even editing bits myself or producing myself, chopping samples and those sorts of things. So, I knew that it would stick with people. I knew Candy Rain – that would stick with people. I knew that if you were a Beyoncé fan you’d listen to ‘Lemonxde’and you’d be like ok yeah. Or Pure Imagination would remind you of Willy Wonka.
RC: Exactly. And I think that’s what I like about the album – it gives it character. People have their varying opinions on sampling, but I think your use of it was perfect. Because it just means that the theme kind of sticks in your head a bit more. And I like that
A: Yeah. I was conscious about having too many tracks
RC: How many is on there again?
A: There’s 14. But there’s 15; the last track has two. So, when I initially released it on Soundcloud, I only had 14 tracks on there. But I just felt as if it needed something else to finish it off. So, the 15thtrack came with the Apple Music & Spotify version. So, it’s merged in with Pure Imagination towards the end
RC: Aahh that makes sense. I know I’ve already mentioned my favourite two, but I really like the segue from ‘Ax Hours’ into ‘Kdeem Hours’. The transition was just beautiful. Anyway, moving forward, you’re a member of the Driftters Collective. What’s that like for you? You enjoy it?
A: I love it. It’s always been a platform for us to express ourselves. It mainly consists of me and my other friend Kadeem. He started it initially and started to build this platform where creatives can come together – whether you’re a photographer or videographer – to just express yourself. So, I always have to be thankful to him for giving me an opportunity to come into something where he was already doing his musical thing and I was able to go alongside him until I figured out my own path and what I wanted to do. I always knew what sound I wanted to create but I just didn’t know how to manifest it at times. But yeah, Driftters Music is a brilliant collective and everyone should tune in.
RC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time, artistically?
A: I’d love to be touring the world. There’s certain songs on ‘Downtxme’ that I would love to perform on the world stage.
RC: ‘Do It’ has to be done
A: Even thoughtful. When I listen back to that – there’s been times where I’ve been in this space…this is where I created ‘Downtxme’. There’s been times where I’ve just listened back to myself, and I forget it’s myself. And I’m just sitting here with my headphones on, or the speakers or monitors playing and I’m there and can hear it being in Brixton Academy and like the floor shaking or something and just feeling it through the wood floors. Those sorts of things get me excited. So, in 5 years, I’d like to be in a position where I’m either touring the world or just continually creating. I mean I don’t create just for myself. I create so people can feel like there’s a platform to express themselves, cos a lot of people don’t have that nowadays. They’re sort of struggling to express themselves whether it’s their emotions or whatever. I’m a Cancer…
RC: Are you?
A: Yeah, I’m a Cancer; my rising sign’s a Scorpio. So, I’ve always had that kind of emotional sensitivity…
RC: It makes sense actually. Sometimes I’ve watched your Instagram stories and I’m like wow that’s some thought provoking stuff.
A: Yeah it gets me in trouble sometimes *laughs*
RC: Name your top 5 favourite artists of all time OR who’s kinda influencing you currently
A: When I was creating this project, I was listening to a lot of King Krule – King Krule is one of my favourite artists. Drake is one of my favourite artists – I’ve been a massive Drake fan, I’ll be honest. Then branching off from that, PARTYNEXTDOOR. I’ve always enjoyed the sound he creates. I was listening to a lot of A2 as well and A2 is a great talent from ends, so it’s nice to have someone doing their thing as well and look up to them.
RC: One more…
A: One more… I think for tracks like ‘Lemonxde’I was listening to a lot of Joey Badass. That 90s boom bap kind of feel…
RC: And what about your top 5 favourite albums
A: This is a difficult one cos there’s so many. If I’m going off the artists that I picked, I’d say ‘PartyNextDoor Two’- that album was amazing. ‘Nothing Was The Same’ – I think that was Drake’s best album. People will say ‘Take Care’ …
RC: Nah, ‘Nothing Was The Same’
A: And I was in uni at the time, so it was nostalgic, being in uni and in halls, listening to that. Um Kendrick. How can I forget Kendrick? ‘Overly Dedicated’ is probably one of my favourite projects from him alongside Section.80
RC: What about ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’?
A: To Pimp A Butterfly, yeah, but I think it had a deeper meaning which…it’s not a bad thing. But it fit a purpose and because it fit a purpose it done its job for what it was for…. You know what I’m gonna throw Section.80 in there cos that was a time *laughs* I love music so much. People that don’t really take in music too much you won’t get it…. Do you know what album I really did like, but I don’t know if it’s one of my favourites, that I listen to it a lot… Sailing Souls, Jhené Aiko… 6 Feet Beneath The Moon is a King Krule album that was brilliant as well…sorry
RC: *Laughs* It’s fine. It could go on; it’s a hard question. I just think music is so endless…
A: I’ll swap that Sailing Souls for Archy Marshall
RC: What about vinyl; do you collect any records; do you have any memories associated with vinyl growing up?
A: Yeah, my parents always had vinyl… my mums still got them in the cupboard; she brings them out every so often. But my dad and my mum always had vinyl around. One, it’s nostalgic and two, it’s just you felt like you really owned it. Cos it’s all nice things being digital or having CDs, but it’s this thing of having a blown up version and the artwork is all in your face; it’s amazing. My older brother, he used to DJ a lot of Drum n Bass, and Jungle and garage so he had his own turntables…. So that’s sort of my memories with them. I don’t own any vinyl myself, but I’d love to put ‘Downtxme’ or my next projects on vinyl just to have them. I think ‘Downtxme’ would work more for vinyl cos of the feel of it rather than some like 808s.
RC: Plus, the artwork as well… the artwork would look good for sure
A: Yeah, it’s just nice taking out a vinyl and having the little paper/ plastic wallet
RC: Yeah! So, your next project. Let’s talk about that real quick. What’s it called?
A: So, my next project is called RXP. So, it’s a play-off of my previous artist name that I used to go by. My previous name used to be Rxpture. And I got that from…I was just young and I remember being on XBOX and stuff, creating gamer tags and stuff and for some reason I just saw that name and read into it… I know it’s got biblical meaning/connotations to it. I remember reading a definition once and it said something about your soul transcending to another state of being. And that alone made me think to myself, well when I’m writing music, I do feel like I’m transcending to another state of being. I feel like I’m just away from this world almost, in my own thoughts. So I thought that fits. Then, I always put an ‘x’ in all of my projects, whether it’s my name or if it’s like my songs. The “x” always stood for the unknown. So, “x” for me stands for always finding a different part of myself. I feel like every single time I go into a project, it’s almost like I’m discovering a different part of myself. So, “x” is the unknown that I’m yet to discover. “X” being in my name just means that there’s always new stages of myself that I’m discovering. And then I just switched my name to Aaron with an “x”. So, I switched it to that and that made it a bit more personal. So that’s where the inspiration came for the name.
RC: So, is RXP going to be a response to ‘Downtxme’?
A: I was creating a lot of the tracks for RXP during the time where I didn’t wanna create songs that were about my emotions and everything. So ‘RXP’s a lot more jumpy; there’s a lot more 808s in it, it’s a lot more turn up. It will be more like things you can play during summer or just put on at a party. And I’ve got a lot more features as well. On my own personal projects, I don’t have a lot of features other than maybe Kadeem because I’ve always worked with him. But I try to just keep it about what I’m doing. It’s nothing against other people or their creative process but it’s my art. I’ll still work on mixtapes with other people, that’s not a problem
RC: I’m definitely looking forward to hearing it. When’s it goinna be out?
A: I’m looking to put it out and the end of this month or the beginning of April. So, at the moment I’m just waiting back for my features. Then I mix and master my stuff
RC: Ahh… that’s a long process
A: It’s a long process, listening back to the same loop of yourself. (Sometimes I step away from it cos I’m tired of hearing myself.)
RC: The 4vinylloverz motto is ‘Yesterday’s memories in today’s music’. What memories do you want to create for your listeners and what message do you want to leave behind for them?
A: What memories do I wanna create… I’ll start with that. I never want people to feel alone in anything that they do. My projects, my music is always created so people can feel as if they have someone there that’s either going through the same thing or something similar. Or just to understand that in this world, like I touched on before, things like mental health, I think they’re very prominent in today’s society and I feel like a lot of people subject themselves to feeling alone. I think music … it brings people together… that’s what it is. I want my listeners to feel as if they can really get to know me and understand me, who I am and understand that I’m just like any other person just expressing myself.
The message I want to give to people is that communication is key…communication is very key. There’s nothing wrong with being empathetic and understanding that your emotions are something that you have. They’re not to be scared of, they’re not to be ashamed of and you should just keep going forward and learn to develop your emotional intelligence.
RC: Smart guy! Hi 5! Thank you so much!
A: Thank you so much. I couldn’t have asked anyone better do this interview with. Thank you for having me.