RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW HIP HOP ARTIST DFLEXXX
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music for me was a massive confidence builder and a positive influence on my young life. As a young dancer with Jukebox Juniors in the early 2000’s I had amazing international performance opportunities but always felt that there was something missing. For me it was music.
After being inspired by artists such as Chris Brown and Drake, I began writing raps with my friends and took the first step in performing in local shows and festivals. After my first performance, I realised music was my calling.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Stage name DFlexXx, 24 years old and I’ve been immersed in the music industry for over 5 years. I studied Pop Music at Bridgend College and progressed to university a year later to do Commercial Songwriting at the Academy of Contemporary Music London.
While in college I started a band with my brother called AYVO which led to being invited to perform to thousands at various ‘Celebrity’ football matches. AYVO also won ‘Best Welsh Group 2017’ at Welsh Factor and came top 10 in Open Mic UK.
As a solo artist, I was nominated by Future Music for ‘best video of the year, 2018’ and ‘best song’. I have performed as DFlexXx at numerous festivals including supporting Lady Leshurr and Sugar Hill Gang at Merthyr Rising in 2019 as well as making club appearances with DJ Ironik.
I also regularly mentor young people, teaching dance classes with Jukebox Collective and leading rapping workshops with Lab7even, and perform regularly with Sound Progression including BBC Radio 6 Music Fringe and Immersed Festival 2022.
Most recently I enjoyed performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time with Common Wealth’s multi-genre theatrical production ‘Payday Party’. This was a fantastic experience to be part of and gave me the opportunity to combine my music, rap, acting and dance skills.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
I keep getting asked why I stopped the band with your brother and was it because we fell out. No big bust up there, we just wanted to go in different directions – he’s more grime and I’m more RnB and commercial.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
No, but I find a lot of them interesting and funny.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
New clothes… like where I was going to wear them. On the other hand, at least I looked fresh while making a cuppa coffee.
What useless party trick do you have?
I don’t have party tricks. I just dance and try to keep the upbeat vibe going.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I think playing with a band in my end-of-year uni showcase with my best friend was the most fun I’ve had on stage. This was my first experience performing as a band and my debut performance as a rapper. You’d think I’d be nervous and distracted but that wasn’t the case. I opened up and rocked out like a rock star and having my friend up there with me made me more comfortable and free.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Forgetting my lyrics in a semi-final competition. I guess nerves got the better of me on that occasion.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
If you know me, you would know I hate heights, that’s my worst fear! Every time I’m on something high I start sweating and can’t speak. However, I do love a scary roller coaster, the higher the better… except for the big wheel, the bouncing ride, and the pirate ship! That again is when my fear kicks in.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
This is a hard one, but I describe my music as fun, upbeat, and a journey. I make music about how I feel on the day, it’s really hard to come back to it another day when I feel totally different. I like to show the ups and downs in my music but my flow is key within every song. To an alien, I’d simply say it makes you want to move.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I am all about entertaining and connecting with the audience and I think being a Rapper that can dance helps separate me from the more traditional rapper. Dance is in my bones and I’m really comfortable moving on stage – it’s one of my trademarks along with having fun. People tell me my enjoyment of performing is infectious and always brings a smile.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
That prices keep growing faster than my bank account and my Spotify streams
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I think this would have to be my latest song ‘Mus B’ it’s so energetic and thrilling to perform.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
So my new song Mus B, was originally called Tiktok. I teamed up with a producer from Portland Canada named Battery to make this epic piece of material. Me and my team were thinking I need to make a song that’s quite trendy and catchy – what’s more ‘trendy’ than Tik Tok? I made the chorus and first verse whilst driving my car to go teach a dance class. It just flowed out of me and I found it really difficult to stop my flow and refocus on teaching dance. The lyrics just keep coming but you know you gotta pay the rent too.
Talk me through the thought process of the single.
For the track development, I went with an ABAB format. This basically means verse, chorus, verse, chorus, and typical dance music format. The chorus consists of talking about what trending girls you see on the TikTok platform.
I wanted to write a track that audiences could connect with and make a comment about social media and its effects, primarily on young people. How some get totally obsessed with increasing their likes and sharing their ‘perfect’ lives online and how it is getting increasingly hard to be real.
In the first verse I rap about everyone wanting to be trending but no one wants to put work into the process, and my lyrics also talk about a girl ‘who’s supposed to be trending’ and then gets bored and looks for new options online. I feel like these days people treat life like online shopping, they keep scrolling till something catches their eye and once they get bored ‘out with the old in with the new’ and that is a cycle young people are getting into.
I also include myself in this and later in track, I big myself up and talk about how I can make the club go off but I’m just too distracted by an attractive girl in the audience to really kick it.
What was the recording process like?
I’ve recorded about 6 different versions of this song. I first started recording at my home with my basic setup, then with my brother. After narrowing it down to a couple of versions I liked, I recorded the final two in a studio I use in Cardiff. It has been a long year creating this piece and I finally got the product I wanted to share with my listeners.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
Every release is different but I like to share my journey with my followers and get direct feedback from them so I continue to make music they and I love. The six versions I made of Mus B provided a great learning platform for me. Being able to explore, share and discuss the different versions with my team, trusted colleagues and my followers give me a better understanding of how my music can move people – emotionally and physically. Getting feedback is key to my motivation and development and I always enjoy hearing comments, good or bad. Thankfully it’s mostly good comments and highly constructive.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No, I believe everything can be improved but no one will hear your greatness if you keep tweaking and sitting on your music. You just gotta let it out and see what happens.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’m currently making an album called ‘Prince of Wales’. Not William but me! I think this is going to define me as an artist. I’m really excited to get going on it and whilst it’s being made I will continue creating hype around my brand and music and aim to perform a lot more next year at big festivals and hopefully support more huge artists and acts.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Just keep on chasing your dreams and putting yourself first. You’ve got nothing to lose. If you want to see me doing that first-hand then give me a follow on all socials 😉