ANXT Dropped One Of The Best Projects of the Year, And I Had To Learn More (Dissection Interview)

Hey ANXT! So happy to talk to you. How are you?

What’s going on Julie? Hopefully everything continues to go well over on your side. As for myself, I can always do better, but I’m not complaining. 

Can you give us an introduction on who you are?

A little about myself? I’m from the south side. Relocated in the south suburbs. An introvert by choice. Although if you asked anyone I knew, they’d probably say I was funny and energetic, which is true, but not put on display. My music is the result of my reserve. I doubt I’d be making music if I was outgoing.

You just dropped one of my favorite mixtapes of the year in Watching Paint Dry. I have so many questions, but first, what has the response been like since it released?

I’m glad you enjoyed the project. Your review brought me out of my frequent retirement. I quit rap about two times a year. I’ve rarely gotten bad feedback from my music, but the numbers or lack thereof, can be a bit discouraging to me. Especially when I compare them to other rappers. I know I’m not supposed to do that, but I’m not very social media heavy. All I have is a twitter. So anywhere I get is off the strength of the music. I disadvantage, I know. 

In my write up I deemed it “one of the most significant releases the lo fi hip hop world has ever seen” which I still stand by. How did you approach the project? Did you know what you wanted to accomplish with it?

Having my work called ‘significant’ is amazing. That’s more than a compliment. I knew that Watching Paint Dry would be niche, but I believed in the time I put into it. Despite the seventeen minute short play time. As far as the end-goal, I just wanted people to listen. 

It’s a 17 minute straight stream. Why did you decide to do it this way instead of putting out individual tracks?

Having all the music play in one stream controls the context of the project. There’s an underlying theme in each individual song, but separately they wouldn’t say what I intended. Shorter, all inclusive projects are something i’m looking into for the future. 

Where and how was this recorded? How long did it take to write the lyrics?

I recorded and re-recorded the project in multiple studios. I started at Classick and ended at Fakulty studios, in Highland Indiana. Some of the songs I only sat with for a few weeks. Others took close to a year because my ideas and sound direction changed. It’s rare that I finish anything quickly. I think time is a determining factor for quality material. 

The production was so essential to the sound of the tape. Who produced it, and how did the beat selection go?

My lyrics aren’t always a direct reflection of how I feel, but the instrumentals are a mirror; a pulse. I thank all the producers, Save Allen, E.N.C and Don $oulo. They’re all small time producers I found on YouTube and Soundcloud. I gravitate towards those taking new and alternative routes in rap. It puts ideas in my head kind of like a dream does. Repetition kills my creativity. 

You cram a lot of lyrics into your records, and I mean this as a compliment. Did this come naturally? 

Quality lyrics are a necessity for me. I’ve been known to go a little overboard in the past and I’m working on that, but I can’t simplify. Especially now, when lyrics don’t matter at all. About a year ago, as an experiment, I put out a song called ‘Copy & Paste’ where I took the more commercial approach to rap, and it worked. I literally mocked current rap music and artists that follow trends and it STILL blew up. I’ve never had a song more popular than that one. It’s on my Soundcloud only as a reminder of how easy rap is to manipulate in this era. I’d lose my soul if I chased that glimpse of success. 

You touch on an abundance of subjects in this project. What was the writing process like? Did you set out to talk about these things?

My subject matter is reflective of me personally and my alias, Anxt. It’s just ‘angst’ spelled differently. It means an unfocused fear or dread for the world or for people. With that being said, everything is subject matter. Sometimes the words just flow and other times I have a great idea that I research beforehand to give me context. Like the fourth song on the project, ‘Godessential’, is about Adam’s thoughts on what Eve did to get them kicked out of the garden and his unwavering love for her. It’s also a slight homage to Common’s ‘I Used To Love H.E.R’. These are things I think about while watching paint dry. 

Why did you decide to create Watching Paint Dry? Why release it now now?

I use watching paint dry as a way of saying ‘be patient’. The amount of patience necessary to watch paint dry is crazy. Watching paint dry is always used as an insult in comparison to what you’d rather be doing. It’s also a tone I set for the project. The drum progression and samples are really slow and spaced out. Not the over-the-top trap anthems or hyper hip-hop beats that flood our ears everyday. I set a tone. Patience is key. Anyone who has made it through all seventeen minutes, to my knowledge, has enjoyed the project. Anyone who didn’t get passed the first song, has no patience, and listening to my music is like ‘Watching Paint Dry’. I feel like even if I only make a ripple, I at least tossed my two cents in the fountain. I tried making a change to the music we hear.

What music do you listen to? Have any artists influenced your sound or the way you approach music?

I listen to more 70’s, 80’s, 90’s r&b and alternative rock than anything. But when it comes to rap, I listen to all sub genres. They need to be lyrically skilled, though. 2 chainz can rap, Gucci Mane can rap. Trap music isn’t an excuse to not be skilled. I love quality trap/street music. I try to not listen to rap while I’m writing so I’m not directly influenced, but Aesop Rock, Earl Sweatshirt, and Big Sean always have my ear for new music. I don’t think I have Influences right now, purposefully. There will always be Andre 3000 and Mos Def lyrics in my head, though. 

The tape just came out…are you going to sit with it for awhile or is more in the works? Will it be available outside of SoundCloud…perhaps for download?

I’m always working on new music, but I sit with it. My mood changes, The sound changes. Releases aren’t on a schedule. All of my best work is still available on my Soundcloud. I get asked about downloads all the time, but I like having people come back to my page. Hopefully with additional ears. I have given select people direct downloads if they really wanted them, though. 

Thank you so much for your time!

I wanna say thank you again. I read your review multiple times in appreciation. I know the rap landscape isn’t exactly in my favor at the moment so the attention is reassuring. Hopefully I didn’t say too much. Love.