By Joy Alise Davis
Joy: Why did you choose the name MeLo-X?
MeLo-X: The name totally explains my personality. I am that smooth, chill down to earth MeLo fellow from Brooklyn. The type that likes to go out alone and eat lunch while reading a book and brain storming ideas. While I also have the extreme side which you can catch in the dark parts of the club dancing crazy with a hot lady or tearing up the stage sweating and giving 100% of my spirit to the music and energy of a wild crowd
Joy: Can you tell me a little bit about where you are from? Where did you grow up?
MeLo –X: I am from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, NY. I am a second generation Jamaican. I am from a great culturally vibrant section of Brooklyn along the Church Ave aka Bob Marley Ave street. There is a blend of the Caribbean’s that thrives there and it definitely molded my open mind frame to different people of different races and ethnicity
Joy: When did you realize you wanted to a music artist professionally?
MeLo –X: When I first got cable I would watch MTV and BET every day. I loved seeing the different styles of music and fashion. I would record all the latest videos on VHS for my friends and we would watch my own personal highlight reel of what was hot in music at the time. Just seeing this power that music had over me and my friends made me feel like I wanted to do the same and express myself.
Joy:You are a DJ, Singer, Rapper and Producer; is there anything else missing from the list that I named? Is there any other big projects you are working on now to expand your art?
MeLo –X: Well I am also a audio engineer. I record, Mix, and Master all of my projects and the projects of the artist on my Record Label GALAX. I am also a good cook. I am a vegetarian so most of my dishes cater to vegans and vegetarians. I also am a photographer. I have shot for CAT footwear, Clam Magazine and other publications. I’ve also done a lot of cover artwork and photography for artist such as Mickey Factz and Theophilus London. I am currently working on my first Photo Exhibit to be held this Summer
Joy: Do you play any instruments besides your Turntables?
MeLo –X: I play piano and keyboard as well as drums and a bit of guitar
Joy: I have always said that Miles Davis played his trumpet like it was an extension of him. He didn’t just play the trumpet; it was a part of him. Out of all your many talents, do you believe that any of them are an extension of yourself?
MeLo –X: I am a multifaceted individual. So each thing I do in some way is an extension of me. When I produce and create sounds I love to mold the frequencies to my emotion at the time. Even the way I mix a record will highlight certain ranges that I feel bring out my true feelings at the time. When I DJ I like to create a story and build up to a climax point where I will hear the whole crowd scream and go crazy. I love the feeling of controlling a group of people solely through music. But if I had to choose a main extension it would have to be my poetry and rapping. The way I express myself is very comforting to me. I amaze myself at times when certain books I’ve read or people I’ve encountered make their way into my songs and poetry. It is the main form of expression for me.
Joy:When creating a song what comes first? Do you spend time creating the background music before writing or do they come hand in hand?
MeLo –X: There is never a method to my madness. Sometimes I will write a whole song to a beat in my head then create the beat. Other times I will create a beat or drum loop and leave it there for years before I record to it and write to it. At times I will create a beat in minutes and write to it on the spot then record and mix it within hours of its creation. There is really no sequence of creation that I follow. I go off of my spirit and what it tells me to do at the moment.
Joy:I love More Merch because it’s the perfect blend of Hip Hop, Electronic, R&B Soul and Caribbean influences. How did you create your personal sound?
MeLo –X: My personal sound is made up off all my life experiences. My reggae roots come from my visits to Jamaica on a frequent bases as a child. Hearing the heavy bass vibrate throughout the streets of Clarendon made a impact on me. Being from Brooklyn and hearing the heavy drums of hip hop at a young age. Leaving my neighborhood to venture into downtown NY where electronic music became the sound of the scene at that time. Traveling to Europe and the UK and hearing the funky house rhythms and dubstep bass that rules the clubs. Teaching myself to play Beethoven on piano and learning by ear my favorite Neo Soul and R&B music. All of these things influenced my music and sound on more merch.
Joy:What was your musical journey? What were some of the struggles you had to face before becoming the artist you are today?
MeLo –X: My journey has been very long. I have got offers to sign to certain labels and management companies. There have been times when I could have done things that were not true to me but would have took my career further. As a child I always wanted to do things my way and many people would say I was crazy. I wanted to have my own label and produce, emcee and DJ. Many people thought I should stop and only focus on one thing. One of the main struggles for me would have to be a internal one which derived from me seeing all of my friends become successful around me. From Kid Cudi, Charles Hamilton, Mickey Factz, Theophilus London, Jesse Boykins III and more who I have been friends with, at times I wondered why I was not where they were or getting as much love. But now after years of building my story, traveling the world and meeting each supporter face to face, it is all coming full circle and I am becoming the successful artist and creative being I always knew I would be.
Joy:How is More Merch different your past mixtapes?
MeLo –X: More Merch is definitely one of the most genre bending and eclectic projects I’ve done to date. I wanted to use music that inspired me and create production that I could tell my stories too. This is the most personal I have got on a record. Every story every line and feeling is real and comes from a genuine place. My past mixtapes and album were always as personal. This is just the next step in my expression. I try to always be better than My last effort.
Joy:My favorite song is Heartbeat on More Merch and I just love how familiar the song feels. I could really relate to the lyrics of the song. Are most of your songs written from personal experiences?
MeLo –X: All of my music comes from a personal place. The song Heartbeat is a remix of Quadrons original track by the name of “Average Fruit”. In the first verse I say “Analyzing the lines of Nina Simon’s/ Strange fruit hanging from a tree/ it’s a blessing my genealogy made it through the times so I could feel at home/ now how could it be.” At the time of writing this record I was becoming deeply interested in the life and work of Nina Simone. I loved the way she played with words and melodies. One of her songs “Strange Fruit” was about seeing slaves hanging from trees and viewing them as strange fruit. I took this and put it into my song as a reason I feel blessed to be alive and in love because of what history has shown as a dark time in mankind’s history. Small things like this are very personal to me and I love to bring them up in love songs.
Joy: In this issue of The Crucible we are looking at how the 1920’s-1960’s affected today’s culture. Are there any artists or cultural aspects from that time period that affected your sound?
MeLo –X: I’d have to say the creativity and progression of Miles Davis in jazz has to be something that affected my sound. Just being free of the restraints in your given genre of music. He added electric guitars and other electronic sounds that at the time was seen as blasphemy to some of his Jazz friends but he had to take his sound and vision to that level. I feel like I need to do exactly what my mind and heart tells me. So if that mean creating a house remix of a song or singing on a track, I will do it and not feel any way about what critics or people will say about me jumping to different genres. I create Experimental Free World Music.
Joy:Who influenced your musical sound?
MeLo –X: There are so many influences on my sound. I would need a whole day too truly analyze where each influence stems from. But just at first thought I’d say that J- Dilla has influenced me a lot because of his evolution as an artist. I started to name him among my favorite producers about 3 to 5 years prior to his passing. Just analyzing his track record and seeing the classics he’s produced made me realize how much influence he had on me. He was like a true artist who had different moments where his sound changed and you could watch it evolve to the next stage.
Joy: What are you currently listening to on your IPod?
MeLo –X: I usually listen to music I am currently working on. But more recently I have been vibing to a lot of little dragon, RadioHead, MJ Cole and Jammie XX.
Joy: I heard that you put out a vinyl record with MachineDrum. Can you tell me about your decision to make a vinyl?
MeLo –X: Well there is still a prevalent Vinyl digging community that is growing even more now a days. I myself am a collector of vinyl. So when the opportunity came for MachineDrum and I to release the “Let It” record it was a no brainer. For the diggers its a classic Machinedrum and MeLo-X collab.
Joy:How was it touring with Kid Sister and Theophilus London?
MeLo –X: Kid Sister and Theophilus London are amazing artist to be around. There on stage presence and work ethic are amazing. Touring the UK and Europe with Theophilus and touring the US, Canada, and Australia with Kid Sister was an eye opening experience. Not just in the aspect of traveling but also meeting fans I had in every country.
Joy:Out of all the cities you have been to on tour, which one was your favorite?
MeLo –X: My favorite would have to be London. Being in Brixton made me feel right at home with my own Caribbean heritage. The love I’ve received out there was amazing.
Joy:Who would you love to collaborate with in the coming year?
MeLo –X: I would love to collab with James Blake. I love the emotion in his music and the way his sounds travel.
Joy: I have just heard your remix to Adele’s single “Rolling in Deep” with Jamie XX and I loved it! I really appreciated your take on the song. How did you decide to do the remix?
MeLo –X: Well I heard that song months before on a rip from a show that he did. I was sitting on the remix and waiting for a good quality version to emerge. Once that came out I re recorded the track and released it. The track had such a dancehall club vibe. So I had to bless it with my side of the story.
Joy:What do you look for when you choose a song/album to remix?
MeLo –X: It has to speak to me in someway. The track has to inspire some sort of emotion and the lyrics to the song have to speak to me in a good way. Either making me feel like telling my side of things or just showcasing my lyrical ability.
Joy: Out of the many albums/songs you have remixed, which one is your favorite?
MeLo –X: I really don’t have a favorite. Every time I create a song remix or remix of an album its always my favorite at the moment. I always put out what I feel is my best work to date and what I feel is better than my previous project. But I will say my remix of Erykah Badu’s “Gone Baby Gone”, mixed with Paul Mcartneys “Arrows” has to be one of the more intricate and creative remixes I have ever done to date.
Joy:What should we expect from you in the next year?
MeLo –X: I will be going on tour in support of my lastest release More Merch. I will also be releasing my first official Electronic Instrumental album entitled “Sonic Intercourse”this summer. I will also be releasing my first EP for sale called “Crown Royal” this fall.
Joy:Do you plan on having any shows in the Midwest area?
MeLo –X: Yes I plan on hitting up my supporters in the Mid west with my performance style as well as other parts of the U.S.
Joy:What advice would you give to any upcoming music artist?
MeLo –X: My main advice is to be true too who you are. Do not create music that you feel will make you become known or successful. Create exactly what it is you want to make and make sure it is a good representation of you and your story. After some time of consistent music and creation in this way you will surely amass some kind of following and with the right timing and talent you will become successful in your own right.