Losing Count of Expletives with XXYYXX
A new album, Kylie Jenner, and finding his dad's SoundCloud.
Marcel Everett does not give a fuck. Or, maybe he does. Then again, maybe not.
"No, I've definitely stopped giving a fuck. I have realized that there is nothing to lose. Who gives a fuck if some hypebeast doesn't give a fuck about my music? I don't give a fuck about them either."
Everett is the young bedroom producer behind the finicky moniker XXYYXX. As he sits in the basement of The Hoxton in Toronto, we play a game of verbal ping-pong—his cheeky attitude is the clear winner. For a mere 19-year-old, Everett is contemplative and shrewd when talking about his music. "I don't want people to get a certain idea of my music," he says. "If I produce something that's unlike what I've produced before, I don't want people to say, 'Oh this is what he's doing now.' Because no, that's not what I'm doing now. I'm making music, it is that simple. Fuck expectations."
Although his Florida State driver's license has yet to read the legal drinking age, Everett has already produced three seamless albums, earned a spot at SXSW and Pemberton Music Festival, and built a substantial cult following. Frankly, he's allowed to give few fucks at this juncture in his life and career.
But it has been a while since XXYYXX drenched fans in his emotive, downtempo goodness. Despite a trickle of remixes on his SoundCloud stream, it's been eight months since the track "Unknown" insinuated a fourth EP.
"I've been on weird ideas. I haven't put out music because I've been holding back on those ideas. I keep thinking, 'No, not yet,'" he explains. "Before I was just making stuff that sounded cool at the time. The self-titled album, XXYYXX, no one listened to me then. I made it because I wanted to hear it. I will continue making the music I want to hear and it's going to disappoint some people, but I don't care."
His new yet-to-be-named EP is a work that doesn't belong in nightclubs, but one he plans on playing in nightclubs anyway. (Refer to the first sentence of this article if you've yet to catch on.) He reveals that one track, "Papaya", is simultaneously alike and unlike the tone of his 2012 album Mystify—somehow. "It's a big fucking change. Actually no. Well, yeah I guess it is. That's what this EP is about, a change. 'Papaya' is a segue into something. 'Papaya' is like, 'What the fuck is this?' I've been challenging myself with my new music and it's really expressive."
Expressive isn't a far cry from the sounds of his previous releases either. From eerie, manipulated Amy Winehouse vocal samples, to hissing lullabies strewn across hip-hop backbeats, each XXYYXX track is an exhibition of altered moods. There's a dark quality to it all. The kind of quality that Everett claims can only be made while in pure isolation.
"I don't have a lot of friends. I've never had a lot of friends. I've always just sat at my house and said, 'This kind of fucking sucks dick.' It hasn't really changed either. I was in a relationship before, but it's over now so that's in my new music too," he admits. "The songs may not be upsetting, but you can hear tinges of melancholy. That's what I've been doing lately. It's been freaking me out though because all of a sudden I can hear this melancholy that was never intentional. I like it. I like feeling like shit because when you feel like shit you're able to make something with dimension."
He's comfortable admitting that he's never had a relationship with his father. That is until earlier this year, when he found his dad's SoundCloud page. "He reached out to me on Facebook, so I went on his profile because, well, this is my father's Facebook so I obviously have to creep my dad. I followed a SoundCloud link with his name on it and realized it was his music," he says, still shaking his head in disbelief.
"If he makes the beats, I'm fucking thoroughly impressed. The raps are pretty tight too, it's very booty—a little old school. To have had zero contact with my dad and then find out we're doing the same shit right now? It's too weird. I guess making music together would be a lot better than playing catch."
Peering over his Macbook, he proudly shows off his DJ Khaled desktop background. His music tastes are variable, jumping from R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory album to post-hardcore bands like I Hate Myself and Underoath. The latter has influenced new sounds on the forthcoming track "Papaya." "I keep messing with electronic blast beats—these metal, chord-type drum sequences. I knew I needed some sort of edge and it definitely came from my hardcore influences."
Everett's tastes tend to steer from the mainstream, but he doesn't object to the idea of going mainstream himself. "No, fuck that. Going mainstream would be cool. Fuck that whole selling out idea," he says. "Let's say I don't like Future—but I actually do—but let's say I don't, and Future approaches me for a beat. If he wants something done specifically, it's now my job to do it. It's as if he's my client. That's not selling out, that's just doing your job."
In any job, there's a natural desire to earn the respect of your peers through your work. Everett pins this down as his long term goal. He even suggests that he might attend the Music School at CalArts in California for sound design to help refine his skills. "I want to leave some sort of mark. There are a lot of producers who have already left their mark in my eyes. Like Flying Lotus, even though he's slightly in the mainstream now, he will always be respected as a producer. I would love to be respected as a musician, whether or not I get into the mainstream."
But perhaps in some regard, he already has. Last year, Everett came across a Vine video that showed everyone's favourite pubescent princess of Instagram, Kylie Jenner, driving an eye-watering expensive car while slow jamming to "Child's Play" by SZA and Chance the Rapper—a track produced by XXYYXX. This news would thrill most, if not cause some to say "I can't even." But Everett, he doesn't give a...need we say it again?
"I'm not mad, I'm salty. It's cool that she did that, but I know for a fact she doesn't know who XXYYXX is. She probably heard the song and said, 'This is tight' and that's it. It would be so cool if she knew who I was...I think a lot of people would say the same," he says.
"My real goal is to get Kylie Jenner to follow my SoundCloud by 2016. That's the real goal."
Your move, Kylie.
'Papaya' has no official release date yet, but we're told there won't be much more of a wait. XXYYXX is currently on tour his April 2015 tour with Chet Faker, dates can be found here.
Rachael occasionally gives few fucks also and is on Twitter.
- Kylie Jenner
- flying lotus
- R. Kelly
- The Hoxton
- i hate myself