Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30 Robinson. New Boots wanted to learn more.
How did you start making music? Where’s the name come from?
When I was younger I used to write down little raps to do at our local community centre, but never took it very seriously to begin with because the rhymes were all over the place and I just didn’t feel like I could ever be successful at the craft. But when I started uni I used to write down raps when I was having bad days and spoke openly about depression, anxiety and other mental illness that I have witnessed or gone through. I worked very closely with Leo Robinson in promoting his music and decided I had enough confidence to show him this rap (which went on to be called ‘Paradise Is Scary’). He really enjoyed it and it dropped last July and since then I started doing rap.
The name XOV was just something silly I used to rhyme everything with and kinda kept the name. It may seem corny but I had a very lucid dream about being on stage and people chanting it and I always wanted that dream to become a reality, so I thought why not call myself the name.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
My main influences are emo rappers such as Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, but I also grew up listening to the greats like Wu Tang Clan, Grandmaster Flash and even bands such as Nirvana and AC/DC I’ve always been brought up around such a broad range of music.
What was the reaction like to ‘Paradise Is Scary’ and ‘Switch Up’?
‘Paradise Is Scary’ is my first track I ever released and I was really surprised with the reception, it gained 1.5k views and although I’m proud of the song I do believe the sound has changed and I’ve become so much more confident over the months of its release. ‘Switch Up’ hasn’t been released properly yet but it’s a powerful story of not having confidence to speak to a girl and Leo plays the voice of reason. Funny thing about that song is we had a very similar talk a few years ago, so it’s technically based on a true story.
Tell us about this new release, ‘Ledgur’, a collaboration with L30 Robinson.
‘Ledgur’ is a song about pushing yourself away from everyone around you due to a lifestyle that is very sheltered. It’s one of my favourite songs of mine as it has some lyrics that are very personal. The back to back with me and Leo has to be my favourite, as it really showcases both of our abilities and shows people we are a solid team.
What are your live shows like? You’ve been doing some spots with Leo, haven’t you?
I have been doing shows since July alongside Leo. They are amazing, I love performing live. The reception I’ve received has been overwhelming considering I’m still really new to performing and rap music, but people always say how they can’t believe I’m still new and that’s the best feeling.
How important has Leo been to developing your sounds and skills?
Leo has been a huge help, he is always helping me try develop my own individual sound. I’ve known Leo for many years and worked alongside him promoting his music, and even helped towards a record label named Wordworkers a few years ago. So we have a rapport already; we have very similar ideas for how we want our music to sound. He is a hardworking artist and mentor.
Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite people/venues to play with?
I feel like Northampton’s music scene is very diverse with some amazing talented people. I have found artists that are very similar to the type of sound I’m going towards: people like Poetic Horror, Kiao, L30, Mio Flux and Patchy The Rockstar are just a few that I really cannot wait to work alongside. I often perform at the Lab on Thursdays with the Lay It Down lot, it has to be my favourite time to perform as the feedback is amazing and there are so many different acts who vary in sound – from rappers, poets and other acts – it’s really good!
What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It has to be performing at Twinfest in July at the Pomfret Arms and the Lamplighter. The atmosphere was amazing and the other acts who performed were awesome. The festival is great for artists like me to develop into stronger artists.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Lil Peep – Come Over When Your Sober Part 2. This man’s music means so much to me as he was so open about things other people shy away from, that’s including drug take and mental health and suicide and uses melodic rap to get the messages across. It’s my favourite album of last year.
What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
I want to release my EP ‘Dystopia Is Heaven’ and really focus on becoming a confident performer as well as maybe even appearing on radio with one of my songs. I plan to release as much music as I physically can to show people the different styles of rap I have from flows to delivery.