Interviews, The Revue — May 6, 2015 at 7:50 am

Tackling the Unexpected – An Interview with Antix

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Antix, the young hip-hop artist from London, caught our attention a few weeks ago with his stellar “Come Home”. It wasn’t your typical hip-hop song, as it wasn’t overlaced with beats or scratching records nor spoke about late nights, clubs, money, or women. Instead, the track is based on pop arrangements using classical music instruments and raises awareness about mental illness. It was a surprising single that showed immense maturity and creativity.

With a growing fanbase and more gigs on the horizon, Antix is an artist to watch. I caught up with him during a break in his schedule in order to get to know the man behind the name.

Hi Antix. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me.

My pleasure, great to be here.

To start, I thought I could ask you a straightforward question that you don’t have to answer – what is your real name?

Of course, my name is Alex.

Nice to meet you Alex. Now, I don’t like asking this question, but I have to admit that I am curious – what does Antix stand for and how did you come up with the name?

The origin of the name Antix is so shrouded in the deepest of mysteries; a mystery, which I myself have yet to solve. But also it sounded cool at the time.

That’s probably the best answer to a question I’ve asked. Anyway, at what age did you start rapping? Do you also remember the first song you wrote and shared with people and what their reactions were?

It was in my late teens. The first song I ever recorded was with my friend Anant. We used to all hang out at his apartment and freestyle. Eventually, we recorded something and I remember no one said anything when I had finished my verse. I found out sometime later that their silence was because my verse was so incredibly bad, that no words could be mustered. In my head, I sounded like Nas… I spend a lot of time listening to what’s in my head.

Don’t we all! You haven’t followed the paths of other hip hop artists and rappers, opting instead for arrangements that span classical, pop, and rock. Why go in this direction?

I grew up on a very eclectic range of music. My childhood was filled with opera and folk and rock and classical music. My aim is to introduce as much artistry and musicianship into what I do and redefine what hip hop means to me, and my listeners.

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I am first and foremost a writer, so I like to use my words to say something of significance. Far too much is spoken these days, with far too little actually being said.

Like your sound, the themes in your music touch on challenging subjects, such as your latest single, “Come Home”, about mental health. Why tackle mental health and other issues?

“Come Home” was the result of a very personal time of my family’s life. My brother had been struggling with his mental health for many years. It was my way of dealing with what we were all going through. For me, music has always been an outlet, my catharsis. I am first and foremost a writer, so I like to use my words to say something of significance. Far too much is spoken these days, with far too little actually being said.

So do you see yourself more as an ambassador of these issues than a musician?

If people want to see my as an ambassador, then I am humbled and honoured to take up the mantle. There are a lot of subjects and issues, which mean a great deal to me… cancer research, mental health, the environment, animal preservation, etc. To use my voice to help bring awareness, or bring change about on topics of importance would bring me profound happiness.

I think what you’re doing is admirable. Speaking of which, what musicians do you admire and from whom you seek inspiration? And who would you identify as the most influential hip hop artist of all-time?

In this day and age, I only have one criteria for a person to have my respect both personally and professionally: are you real or are you an actor posing as something/someone else? I have no time or energy for fake people anymore, so as long as you are a genuine person, making your way by being yourself, then I can get behind you. I draw my inspiration from people who are doing good, operating not just for self-aggrandizement and to further the interests of others and their own. I don’t care how much money someone has, or what they own, or what they can buy. If the world around them is not better when they have left, then they have not achieved success at all. I admire those who dedicate themselves to making the world better.

Most influential hip hop artist would probably have to be 2Pac. He brought hip hop into the mainstream social consciousness, and seared his legacy into the minds of his listeners. That is true art.

Besides music, are there any other individuals who have inspired you?

The single most inspiring character that I can think of at this moment is Christopher Hitchens. He was a man of incredible intelligence, erudite, logical and a great thinker. He was uncompromising in his ideals, even in the face of his own death. The man was incredible.

That’s really cool. If you don’t mind, let’s do a quick feedback to get to know better.

Social media – yay or nay?

100% yay.

What’s on your bucket list?

See more of the world, raise wonderful children, find a practical way to help people who have less than me, and perform for 50,000 people.

What’s your favourite dining spot?

Granger in Notting Hill. I am in there all the time.

What are some underrated musician(s) or band(s) in the UK?

Oh lots of good ones out there and not just in the UK – I like CleoGranville SessionsJuliette Ashby, Trak Joy, and Suns.

Best place to catch a live gig?

Wherever I am playing next… which is Field Day on the 6th June.

The UK is in the final days of an election. If you were a politician, what key issues would you campaign on?

Making sure every single trans-national corporation making huge profits in the UK pay the same amount of tax as Joe Smith down the road making 35K a year. I think Cronyism and tax avoidance are ripping the country apart.

Finally, for you, how would you define “success”?

I always say… how much happiness, love and empathy you can bring to someone else’s life. If we all focused on helping each other out, we would be in far better shape than we are now.

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