What made you want to pay tribute to Kingdom Hearts’ tribute in the form of “Simple and Clean”?
I don’t remember much about my childhood but I remember being around 5 or 6 years old in my basement watching a commercial for Kingdom Hearts 2. I had first heard Hiraku Utada’s “Simple and Clean”, which I believe was still the theme song from the game at the time and was immediately drawn in. I ended up getting the game and found it to be one of the sickest crossover games I’ve played. Disney was a big part of a lot of people’s childhoods so the fact that they were able to make a game encompassing so many people’s youth is pretty incredible. Without that song though, I wouldn’t have learned any of this, so I had a particular desire to re-invent this song.
What was the approach you went after with this song?
I knew I wanted to have a melodic part where I wanted to re-interpret the melody, right off the bat. I created my own chords to give it a different feel from the original. After that though I started playing around with a drop and got preoccupied with that. I knew the biggest challenge would be finding a balance between the melodic section and then a hard-asss hitting drop.
How was the recording and re-writing process?
There was no recording really, I used an acapella I found on SoundCloud from this girl named Kiana, shout out to her. I had a version of the song done about 6 months in and I pretty much let it sit for a while to see if I still liked it and, surprise, surprise, I didn’t. I remade the drop, changed the drums, and reconstructed the introduction until I was satisfied with what I had. All in all, the track took about a year and a half for me to finish so I’d say it was probably the track I’ve worked the longest on.
What role does NYC play in your music?
The city has been one of my primary inspirations since I started in music. Even now when I cross the RFK bridge into Astoria I’ll spend more time looking at the skyline then I do when I look at the road. As soon as I see the lights, a melody or some chords will pop into my head. Those are the times when I’m most excited to get back to my studio and work.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
There’s no difference in my creative approach: my stream of consciousness is what defines my art. I don’t really make artistic compromises unless there’s a legitimate and rational reason for me to change something. This is why I’m pretty selective about who I collaborate with because artistic control is a big thing for me. The right collaborations really inspire me though. For example, I’m working on this new track with a vocalist named Tiffany. I can’t sing, but I wrote the song. It was remarkable to me how quickly she was able to understand the nuances of the track. It made it so much easier to bounce ideas off one another. That’s really the most important part of collaboration: having a unified foundational vision.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along? Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Yea I’m gonna be dropping a new Hip Hop single called “LOLA 1.5” hopefully by the end of the month, if not early March. A big focus for me this year is putting out consistent releases so I’m shooting for at least one a month.
Any plans to hit the road?
As soon as I’m booked outside the tri-state haha, you know I’m there.
What else is happening next in X.ILE’s world?
I’m working on expanding my merch line at the moment. I’m also beginning a new video shoot, the first one I’ve done since “The Boulevard”. There are some cool concepts behind that that I’ve put together so I know people are gonna like it.