We’re not music critics here at Percival, but if you asked us to describe Nix Northwest to you, we’d say something like: the tight, clashy harmonies of Bill Evans and the emotiveness of the jazz masters combined with the summery vibes of Loyle Carner, all churned into one unique sound and experience, then you’re in the right ballpark.
He’s going to be massive and therefore very difficult to get hold of this time next year, so we had a chat with him before it was too late, to find out about his influences both musically and wardrobically. What’s he saying, then?
Hey Nix! Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into music
Yo! I’m a rapper, producer and instrumentalist born and raised in London. My musical journey definitely started with learning the piano at quite a young age. I remember getting forced to go to lessons by my mum and her saying that I wouldn’t regret it when I got older — and look where we are now! By the time I was about 12 or so I was fully in love with music and knew it was going to be my life. My family, and my mum in particular, were a heavy source of inspiration for most of my music taste as a kid, putting me onto everyone from Mos Def and Kanye, Bill Evans and Count Basie, to Artful Dodger and Shy Fx. I think I always knew deep down I wanted to write and produce my own music for a living, but it took me until I was about 20 to really have the confidence to say f*ck everyone I’m gonna do this and no one is stopping me.
SHOP SS23 SHIRTS / SHOP ALL SS23
You’ve done production work at Root 73, (a London-based studio with a heavy emphasis on community activity and social importance) how did that come about?
The guys at Root really brought me in after I’d been out of London studying piano in Leeds. I’d been making my debut EP while up North and I was super grateful to be brought in by some people who showed love in both a musical and personal way. I’ve never really made my own music at Root 73, I’ve always worked more as a collaborator, especially with The Silhouettes Project, and then also writing and producing for other artists. My own music always gets made either at my home studio or occasionally at the Well Overdue studio, who are the label I’ve been on for my releases.
Not just a recording artist and producer, though. We know you love performing, you’re heading on your UK tour soon, how on earth you prepare for something like that?
Just lots of rehearsing with the band. I really want to bring an experience to the live show that you just can’t get from listening to the records. There’s definitely that fine balance with playing live between maintaining the sound of the record, especially with hip-hop and rap in general, as that’s what fans have paid to come and see, whilst also changing it enough to make the whole thing a one-off, unique experience. I’m proper excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on with the live side of things!
The London, Manchester, and Birmingham shows have all sold out, which is crazy! Still tickets available for Brighton and Glasgow for all my heads round those ways.
SHOP SS23 SHIRTS / SHOP ALL SS23
Right, onto clothes. What inspires the style of someone like Nix Northwest, especially when preparing for gigs and tours.
I definitely go through phases, clothing-wise, and I think my varied musical influences and style definitely mirror my fashion style. Sometimes you’ll only really catch me in dark cargos, black puffers and hats for a few months — usually when I’m in hibernation mode or during mid-winter and just need the comfort clothes. That being said, I’m also huge on vintage and retro styles — I own a little collection of 50s suits that I rarely wear these days but always love having the excuse to. If I’m feeling myself a little bit more than usual you might catch me in a chocolate or mint green velour tracksuit. I would love to get into making my own clothes one day, maybe from old upcycled fabrics like retro linen tablecloths and curtains — watch this space!
And now the question on everyone’s lips… Which Percival bits has Nix got his eye on for summer?
Quite a lot to list here, but to name a few — definitely the Willow Tracksuit in Blue, the Nawa Pinstripe Vest in both colourways, the Pullover Knitted Shirt in Cream, and the Five-pocket Twill Trouser in Cream… I think cream is gonna be my colour for this summer.
Nix’s album Xin’s Disappearance will be dropping on the 15th of March.
Instagram: youthful.wizardry / TikTok: nix_northwest