England is extremely well-known for its wide range of creatives, but just right outside of London lives an artist known as Fxllen — an act who is working hard to make sure he stands out. We caught up with the immense workaholic to find out about his story and what it is like to be working from this side of the pond.

How old are you and where are you from?

I’m 19, today’s my birthday actually, I’m from a place in England just outside of London called Slough. It’s known for being a not so good area but to be honest, I’m actually so proud of where I’m from you know. I feel like it really gave me a completely different outlook on life innit, a different way to see the world. Slough’s populated by a large majority of people coming from ethnic backgrounds and I’m glad I got to grow up learning about and understanding and loving so many different cultures.

What’s it been like growing up there for you? Tell us about your early experiences.

I appreciate that, I feel like it definitely made a huge impact on who I am today. Like I said before Slough isn’t known for being the best area and being so close to London we share the exact same struggles on the roads or the streets or however you wanna say it. Growing up without money and being around so much violence, gangs, killings, police presence is either on every corner harassing all the mandem or watching you like your doing something even if they got nothing to prove or they don’t even wanna come here at all anything you can think of really. You see a lot of things growing up in rough ends and it can definitely desensitize you to a lot of shit but it just made me a stronger person and to be honest, I’m not like everyone else, I have a story, I have a background.

Your upbringing is definitely important and something that needs to be shared and something I know a lot of people can relate to for sure. Tell us about your early music day, what did you listen to growing up?

Growing up I luckily had my mum’s love for music engrained into me and so I grew up listening to literally everything all day every day, one minute I’m listening to Bob Marley the next I’m listening to fucking Elvis Presley to like Tupac or Oldschool UK Garage music. I just love music it’s everything to me you can never ever go wrong with the art of music. When I started to discover music for myself though when I got a bit older like 10, 11 years old so like 2011-2012 I discovered the UK Grime scene, Skepta, Jammer, JME, all of Boy Better Know, Kano, so many different artists I pretty much fell in love with it, it was just so real to me something I could relate with and it being man from the UK it just made me so proud of who I am and where I’m from. Eventually at some point in 2012 through a song JME, Skepta and Jammer did over the beat for Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” I discovered the US scene and it blew me away and it just carried on from there years of listening to music all day every day discovering new artists all the time, Uzi, Migos, Thugger, Future, Keef, eventually people like Denzel Curry & X & the new underground at the time.

When did you first start creating your own music? What was that experience like?

Honestly, it’s been about 2 and a half years since I first started but I didn’t take it seriously for a while. I always loved music but I never knew how to play instruments so I never had the thought to make music of my own but it was actually my boy Nully that got me into this shit. I met him about 6 years ago on some random group chat that would just talk to each other all the time, we would skype all the time & shit there was always someone on the call and eventually, Nully and another guy from the chat called Jose we’re talking about an EP and I was like, “yo fuck it I wanna be involved, sounds fun.” 

I knew how to record vocals and stuff because I would do a lot of youtube shit before this and I always had a good idea of the internet and I would sell graphics and shit to YouTubers so i was like whatever might as well give it a try and we made a couple trash ass songs but it was so fire at the time I was just happy I was actually creating something it was a surreal feeling. After I got the hang of it I decided to start really trying to learn more and so I started producing for a little bit but couldn’t wrap my head around it, I actually still have some of my first beats somewhere.. 

Now I engineer, I produce, I write, I sing, I rap, I record, I do graphics, I do management and like social media/internet presence admin shit. I really am a one-man show besides from producing my own music because the amount of talented people I know and the talent that’s out there I know for a fact there’s someone who can help me bring my ideas to life even better than I can, which for me is a weird thing to say because I’m a perfectionist and I’m very precise about how I want things.

What is your entire recording process like? 

For me, the beat is always the decider for where the songs gonna go, I have this thing where a beat can really like talk to me. I can listen to a beat and if it’s the one, instantly I’ve got so many ways I can tackle it, but I’m always very, very specific about my beat selection. If it’s not jumping out at me and the song isn’t practically making itself then it’s not the one, I’ll never ever force a song because what’s the fucking point when music is an art form. After finding the right beat it’s just pretty much turn the mic on and freestyle a flow I won’t focus on words when I first start it’s picking the right vibe, the direction I want to go and I’ll slowly work my way along the song freestyling a bit and then taking what I like from the freestyle, recording, using what I like and going again over and over. 

Considering you definitely have an interesting stylistic process, what are some of your favorite songs you’ve made or been apart of?

I’ve made so many songs over this period of time it’s so hard to choose, but some of my personal favorite songs of mine would have to be all of the tracks on my OUTLAST album, “WAR” with my buddies Flexo Kobain & fin9k, my track “Quick!,” “Inglorious Legend,” and my STING EP.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

This year is the year to establish myself, I already know what I want, what I have to do and where I want to go, now is just the time to show everyone who FXLLEN is and let them know they gonna be seeing a lot of me as time goes on. I also want to work with new people and ultimately have fun and make great music with talented people, potentially engineer for a bunch more people and expand my portfolio. I hope to get more coverage from blogs and more overall hype and support around my releases but I believe in myself and I believe continuing to be real and be me is gonna get me there. I’m very excited about the future.

What’s your overall goal in music as a whole? Do you have anything you want to accomplish?

As for goals in music, I honestly would love to own a studio and make my regular money to live off providing services for artists at my studio including engineering, art, recording and much more to see when I get this set up but as for goals as a vocalist, I’m not even somebody who wants huge fame although I would love that, I just want a real connected fanbase who is excited about my releases and can really feel and connect with what I’m putting out. I like to make people feel good, I like to relate to people, I want to be able to live off of music of course but at the moment I’m focusing on right now and I know that it will all come very soon as long as I keep working and striving. Manifestation is real.

What are some things you like about the underground and some things you dislike? Does being from outside the United States give you a different perspective?

The community aspect of the underground and the whole idea of a network is one thing I do love about it. I love being able to meet new people and just purely being able to see the crazy ideas people come up with and the individuality that you come across by being part of some sort of underground community. I like building and connecting with people that are on similar shit to me and being able to discover producers, graphics designers, and artists who I otherwise would never know existed. Although it’s a lot of fun being in somewhat of an underground scene there’s just bare bullshit that goes on man are really out here acting like fucking children it’s dumb. You got mandem arguing about dumb shit all the time, girls starting drama with rappers like I feel like I’m in a school sometimes seeing some of the shit that goes on lool or a circus or some shit. 

Being from the U.K and still being active in a somewhat American-based scene is pretty cool because I get to establish myself in real life and on socials in the U.K. scene, but I also get to connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t know. I feel like it does definitely give me a different perspective though purely just because of the values we have here in the U.K. clash with what people from the US may feel about certain things overall it’s not too different. It’s cool I like it, I like all people and the synergy and vibe I can create with some of my mandem from the US is unmatched.

What keeps you going outside of music? What keeps you grounded when you aren’t creating?

To be honest there’s not a lot of time when I’m not doing something creative, if I’m not making music then I’m making art, if I’m not making art then I’m doing something else. Ultimately when I’m not creating for myself I’m creating for others but to be honest, if I’m not creating at all then I’m just either chilling with my girlfriend and my dog or Yxng E or I’m out doing my thing making that money.

Do you have any last words or shoutouts before we sign off? 

I wanna shoutout all my bros in the “bands gang chat” — they been there since the beginning and they know it’s all love. They all helped me get to this point where I’m at and also helped me be a better person and artist along the way. Shoutout my mum cause she’s a fucking legendary human being, and I wanna shoutout my boys Flexo and RK too for being some of the most real I’ve ever known. My album OUTLAST is out now on all platforms go stream that, buy that, share it to your dog, your nan, the old lady next door, idgaf share it to everyone.