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SoundCloud is having a big year. For a platform that was saved from bankruptcy in 2017, it seems the woes of the past have faded. With that in mind, several creatives find themselves on the edge of stardom. Coming out of the Hoosier State, Midwxst has been on a tear this year. With songs like “Hit </3” and “Cantu / By My Lonely” garnering thousands of plays, he has proved he can hold his own among his peers.

How was life like growing up for you? Were you always surrounded by music?

I moved around a lot as a kid because of my mom’s job. I’ve lived in 4 states and another country throughout my childhood. I was surrounded by music wherever I went. Whether it was my dad listening to “All Falls Down” on CD while watching me and my sister play around the house, or my mom listening to “Waterfalls” and a mix of all sorts of R&B while driving me to school. I grew a liking to hip hop and its many subgenres at a very young age. Throughout middle school, I started listening to a lot of old hip hop, along with a mix of other genres like EDM, house, alternative, and more. I think that’s when I really developed a love for multiple genres of music and understood I didn’t have to just listen to one certain genre.

What really motivated you into getting into music from the start? What’d you enjoy about it?

Being entirely honest, I started making music a joke. During my freshman year of high school, there was this beef going on between two kids at my school (a majority white, private college preparatory school) and kids were making disses on each other. I was interested in somehow getting involved, so I sided with one of my friends and essentially made a bootleg version of “Look At Me!” by XXXTentacion. Same rhyme scheme, same delivery, same everything. All that changed was the lyrics and a downgrade of quality. I put it on SoundCloud and posted it on my Snapchat story and suddenly everyone in the school knew about it. Only bad thing was that a few days after I dropped the “diss”, I got called into a teacher’s office. They had apparently heard the song and asked me to take it down due to the “mature nature of its lyrics”. I ended up taking it down but after that, people started encouraging me to continue rapping, so I did, and now we’re here.

How’d you get into this kind of music? Were you always into the SoundCloud scene?

I’ve been using SoundCloud for the longest. Ever since I got an iPhone, I started using SoundCloud because you didn’t have to buy all the songs to listen to it, unlike iTunes. From there I found Ecco2K, XXXTentacion, Ski Mask the Slump God, and all of Very Rare. I was bumping their stuff heavy throughout middle school and my first two years in high school. I even started trying to make those distorted 808, no melody, just hi-hat type beats because I wanted to make mosh music. I was heavily inspired by them in my early days and still sorta am, but it wasn’t until I found out about Ecco2K and later all of Drain Gang in early 2016, that I started to step out of my comfort zone and attempt to truly find my sound. Ever since then, I’ve been focusing on the quality of my music instead of the quantity I release it at.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations are really whoever I listen to. If I like a certain genre of music, I might try and expand into that genre on my own. Artist wise, the most prominent have to be David Shawty, Autumn, Dolly, and Pi’erre Bourne. The list can go on and on, but these guys all carved their own path in music and all took unique approaches to music and used it to become successful. I use their success to allow myself to believe that I can also eventually be up there with them. I use their success to allow myself to understand that I can become a role model for others and allow my music to touch and impact even more people than it can right now. 

What got you into this specific type of sound you’re currently going for? 

Honestly, I’m still trying to find my sound. I like making everything from alternative.

Tell us a bit about the collectives you find yourself in, Novagang and GoonnCity. Similar, but seemingly not alike. What’s the background behind them and how’d you find yourself in both groups?

Novagang was the first collective I ever joined in the community. It was started by Prblm and Fabric, both of my close producer friends, and I’m one of the oldest members of it. People think that we’re an exclusive group that doesn’t let anyone in, but we’re honestly just a family. We all have a tight bond with one another and understand one another that not a lot of people who want to join would be able to possess. It’s been through a lot of shit and that makes the fact that we’ve stuck through it all together even more impressive, even with some people deciding to leave. Regardless of what the future of Nova is, I know that it will forever have a piece of me and my heart with it. I joined GoonnCity in mid-to-late 2019 because I found out about Killz and his music, which led to me listening to basically everyone who’s in Goonn now. Big shout-out to both him and Kevinhilfiger for being so open to me joining them too. I really love and appreciate everyone who’s there because they are some of the nicest people I’ve met in the community and have some of the most slept on artists in there as well.

You had a performance in Austin, Texas with members of Bloodhounds in 2019. You have an incredible stage presence from the looks of it in recaps. What’s that like for you?

It was sick to meet up with everyone and I had an amazing time. It was crazy to see everyone perform too, especially seeing Gehrman and Kuru perform. I try to bring as much energy and crowd control to my performances as possible because I like to see everyone have fun and be connected with my music. The Austin show was also my second out-of-state show I’ve ever done. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had through music.

What’s your favorite part of performing?

Seeing people mosh and go crazy definitely is my favorite part of performing. I love seeing people throwing hands and enjoying themselves in the pit. Something about it make me feel even better about my own music and makes me wonder if I can make songs even harder than they are now.

You live in the state of Indiana currently. Not exactly a state known for its underground scene. What’s it like there as an artist? Do you plan on moving somewhere else later?

There’s actually quite a lot of artists in Indiana. A lot of people just don’t pay attention to us because we live in Indiana. There’s a lot of studios here too, so it’s easy to go to the nearest one and link with a lot of the artists and producers in the area. There’s a lot of different artists with different sounds here too.  On one hand, we might have someone like one of my best friends, Whitetrash, with an ambient, alternative hip hop sound. Then, on the other hand, we might have someone like Kferg500 who makes hard trap music and PluggnB. I just wish some artists from here got a lot more attention than they do because it’s always cool to see someone from your state blow up into the mainstream. I’ve also been thinking about it and I might try to move out to Los Angeles once I finish high school and college because I have a lot of friends out there who are involved in music.

Do your friends and family know about your music career? If so, how do they feel about the music you’re putting out?

I think all of my family knows about my music. At first, I was trying to only show my friends, but then one day my dad somehow found out and told my mom and I had to explain it to them. They didn’t like my name at the time, but that was the only thing they ever disliked about my music. I’ve been in music a long time, whether it was band class or vocal class. So, they didn’t see a difference in me and rap music. I even show my mom and dad songs on occasion to see if they like them and they play a pretty big role in supporting me, so I feel very blessed for being able to have parents who support me to this extent. 

Anyone you want to collaborate with in the future?

I really want to collaborate with Oaf1, Rosesleeves, Gehrman, Redpriest, Lilac, all of SlowSilver03, Braxton Knight, 100 Gecs, Thrillboy, Surfgang, and the list goes on and on.  I listen to a lot of different types of music and I’m really open to working with nearly everyone that either hits me up or I come across.

Can your audience expect any more music this year?

Oh for sure. I have so much unreleased stuff in the vault just waiting to get dropped and I’m excited for it to actually drop. Expect a lot of new stuff and even some new sounds in there too. 

Finally, any shout-outs?

I just want to give a shout-out to my family for supporting the route I’m on and constantly guiding me on the right path towards my goals in life. Shout-out to my niggas in the 317 and everyone who supports me. Shout-out to my best friend Parker Passarelli for always having my back when I need him to and always supporting me in my music endeavors. Shout-out to Aloe for getting me into this type of music, and big shout-out to GoonnCity, Novagang, and all the collectives in the scene up right now. We’re going to cause mayhem all 2020 and 2021. Can’t wait to see everyone who’s been around me since the start and seen me glow up to the point I’m at right now thrive and enjoy the experience with me.