For No Good Reason: We caught up with Nixxon to break down his new EP
Toronto, ON – Toronto artist Nixxon (formerly JesseRay) just hit us with his latest project drop; a tight little five-track EP titled For No Good Reason (which you can peep over here).
Because this is such a major release for Nixxon, we caught up with him and got him to break down the EP for us – track by track. He shared his insights into the deeply personal lyricism we’ve come to expect from the guy, and also touched on his decision to do some of the production out-of-house. Nixxon also spoke with us on his recent change in stage name.
Nixxon used to perform under the name JesseRay. But he’s changed his name and with that has come the beginning of Nixxon distancing himself from his past affiliation with The Weeknd (Nixxon and Abel founded Bulleez N Nerdz together way back in the day before XO happened).
Nixxon has stepped away from emulating the XO sound and has started to hone in on his own sound. You can hear that progression on For No Good Reason – and you can also see the progression talking to Nixxon about his approach to this body of work. Peep our interview after the jump.
“People get sick of songs in two minutes these days so I just have to keep making music”
HipHopCanada: First off, explain the project title: For No Good Reason.
Nixxon: The project For No Good Reason came at a time when I had just changed my stage name from “JesseRay” to “Nixxon”. My team and I sorted through hundreds of songs to make the project as simple as possible (which was the hardest part). One day as we were doing this we threw on a documentary on Netflix [called For No Good Reason]. Johnny Depp pays a visit to Ralph Steadman, the renowned artist and the last of the original Gonzo visionaries who worked alongside Hunter S. Thompson… For those who don’t know, it’s basically a follow up on the film Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. I knew right there and then [that] it was the title of my next project.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about the process for making these songs? I know you guys usually like to do things in-house.
Nixxon: For No Good Reason was the first project we have done with out-of-house production. Jamarius Willis and production team The Shadowz from Atlanta, GA made the original beats for “Beast” and “Bandz.” Peter Vickers (aka: Zlender) co-produced almost everything, as well as mixed and mastered the whole project. Gio Espanol was responsible for “Woods.” And of course Channing Anderson (Rekkzone) and I produced, as well.
HipHopCanada: Walk me through the concept behind [the song] “Reason.” It seems to be a song about finding purpose and direction.
Nixxon: There was a lot of songs we were looking at to put on the EP. It could have been a 20-track album but where music is now with its purity – especially in R&B and rap – I decided to freestyle the entire thing. I have music with some of the best songwriting I have ever done. The time will come for that. It was [made] For No Good Reason.
HipHopCanada: There was one particular line on “Reason” that I wanted to ask you about that I found really interesting: “Back to the mic/ ‘Cause I need to right my wrongs”. What’s that all about? And is it supposed to be a double entendre because it’s also “Back to the mic/ ‘Cause I need to write my wrongs”?
Nixxon: Just not recording for a couple months [and] getting “bands on the low” I felt it was time to get back on the mic. A lot of money from my pocket is going into this. I know it is the greatest investment I can trust and pursue.
HipHopCanada: From what I remember, “Beast” was written after you parted with your old manager and it was a commentary on your state of isolation…
Nixxon: “Beast” was mixed and mastered with some subtle sounds added to make it more bright. “Beast” was my first song as ‘Nixxon’ and I couldn’t have expressed my gothic emotions any better (at the time).
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about “Bandz.” How do you “get these bandz on the low”?
Nixxon: I’ll let the fans try to imagine what I mean by “bandz on the low.”
HipHopCanada: I feel like “Bandz” is also kind of low-key about how rappers on the come-up make virtually NO MONEY off their craft. Thoughts?
Nixxon: I feel my subconscious mind really came out in this record. It’s a song for people who live cheque-to-cheque while they are chasing their dreams. Hopefully it can be a motivation song to people.
HipHopCanada: Explain this line to me because it’s interesting that it’s on a song called “Bandz”: “If you love someone please let them know/ If you love someone please let them go”.
Nixxon: What I mean by “If you love someone please let them know/ If you love someone please let them go” is that with all love comes pain. A lot of people are stuck in relationships which suffer depression and pain. So in those moments you can love someone, and let them go.
HipHopCanada: “The Woods” is a classic Nixxon love song. Because it’s a love song but it’s hella hesitant. It’s just as much about trust and vulnerability as it is about love and relations.
Nixxon: “The Woods” was written for people that are in love but are still unsure about trust.. It’s an uptempo “Trust Issues.”
HipHopCanada: I feel that. “Fall” seems to be a song about letting go of a love and moving on. It’s my favourite. Because I feel the feelings.
Nixxon: Fall hits home for me because my girlfriend and I had just broken up. She was away in another country while I was in Toronto recording. So it was a reach-out song; very personal and private. It almost never made the cut for the EP.
HipHopCanada: What’s it been like to distance yourself from that association with The Weeknd? I feel like on the one hand it would be very artistically liberating; while on the other hand very terrifying because there’s some underlying fear that fans won’t like you if you’re not like Abel.
Nixxon: It has its pros and cons. Media always wants to mention I have worked with him because – of course – it makes it more interesting to the reader. A lot of my fans are fans of Abel’s, as well, and thats how they found me. I’m not worried if they don’t like my shit because music is very personal. That’s one thing I understand. People get sick of songs in two minutes these days so I just have to keep making music. Whether people like it or not; that’s not why I truly do it.
Interview conducted by Sarah Jay for HipHopCanada