Living and creating out of New York City, MeLo-X is an artist who doesn’t limit himself to a specific craft. Above all, Melo-X sees himself as a creator whose liveliness is communicated through music, paint, photography, writing, producing, performing, traveling, and so on. Originally from Jamaica, and currently residing in an eclectic apartment located in the heart of Brooklyn, MeLo-X carries an aesthetic that reflects a myriad of moods, cultures, and artistic sentiments.
Influenced by everything from Nirvana to Eminem, MeLo-X’s music combines the colorful nuances of his Jamaican heritage with the gritty realities of New York, to bring the listener into a one-of-a-kind experience. Fusing soul, electronic, hip hop and old school reggae, MeLo-X has his hand in every aspect of his music. Creating a highly complex and gorgeous array of ambience that floats behind his raw and powerful voice, MeLo-X’s new album ‘GOD: Pièce de Résistance’, which releases today, is his most ambitious to date.
MeLo-X has crafted an album that is not only catchy and has you returning to the hooks, but there is an underlining energy that carries his words and beats into a realm that is determined and hard-hitting. GOD: Pièce de Résistance is available now, so make sure to pick it up on iTunes.
We recently caught up with MeLo-X to give you an inside glimpse into the world of this one-of-a-kind, passionate artist. Read the interview below with MeLo-X to learn more about his journey and thoughts on living the creative life. Also, check out the video below featuring MeLo-X in and around his apartment in Brooklyn. Both the video and portraits of MeLo-X were processed using VSCO Film.
Where do you trace your artistic beginnings back to?
I could trace my artistic beginnings to my mom buying me a small toy recorder and a piano. I remember recording myself with this toy recorder and being very intrigued by the idea of my voice being in this box that was in the corner of my room. I could press play and hear myself back. I used to record conversations. I’d sneak around and record people talking and listen back to it. I also started recording myself playing the piano. When I was 6 or 7, I started recording myself freestyling. I would take all the toys out of my toy chest, and I had these 2 drumsticks, and I would act like I was playing the drums and record myself freestyling to it and playing piano. I still have the recording of that, and I play it every now and then. That was the beginning, and from there, it went to poetry, photography & everything else.
What sources do you pull inspiration from?
The sources that I pull my inspiration from are usually visual. I listen to a lot of music as well, but visually, I like to look at art a lot when I produce music and when I create. I like to watch a lot of documentaries. I go to a website that always has a constant stream of new artists. I’m constantly looking at art and people’s works and pulling inspiration from that.
What about photography enriches your life in a manner different than your other creative outlets?
The thing I enjoy the most about photography is the fact that I can capture all these different moments in my life and look back at it almost like a mood board. I started doing photography because I started making my own album artwork back when I was in junior high or high school. I used to DJ, and we didn’t have anyone to make the artwork; so, I taught myself how to use Photoshop. We needed original photos; so, I needed to learn how to take photos as well. Growing up, we would always use disposable cameras every summer and have the whole summer in photos.
That went into me getting an actual camera and getting film and learning about aperture and f-stops and shutter speeds and all these things. From that, I started creating my own stuff. So for the last 5 or 6 years of my traveling around the world, I’ve documented basically every trip through photography. I love getting a new roll of film developed and getting all these memories coming back to me from the photos that I took. Just documenting everything from that point to now, I can look back and see this whole progression, even in the style of photography, how it looks and feels. It’s just cool to be able to look back at my life and see these single photos that tell so much of a story.
Please tell us more about you creative process for your upcoming album.
The creative process for the new album was really the idea of consistency and planning. Late last year, I wanted to make a statement for myself as a producer, as a writer, and as an MC, just as an all around creative. So I came up with the idea of these EP’s. The first one was called God-LoFi, the second was God-HiFi, and the third was God-WiFi. Basically, they told the story of an independent artist. First you’re LoFi, which is underground. Then your HiFi is when you reach your high point, when you find your voice as an artist. WiFi is when you become global and
recognized on the internet through social media or websites or blogs. I feel when every artist gets to that WiFi point, is when they have to create their best material. So that’s where God Pièce de Résistance comes in, because that’s the best work that I’ve done thus far, and it’s the best of the EPs. The main idea was to have a storyline that people can follow. I was inspired by the movie V for Vendetta and how he took a year prior to set all these things in place for November 5th, and that’s when my album comes out. Just that idea of sitting down, planning and creating a story, not just putting a bunch of songs together and throwing them out, that’s what I want people to get from the project.
It’s rare to find an individual like yourself, who is not only gifted in a number of creative arenas, but is able to pursue these various artistic avenues simultaneously. What advice would you give to other individuals who have a love for multiple art forms, but aren’t sure how to successfully incorporate their varied talents into a career.
My advice for people who are into different forms of expression and want to make it into a career is, first of all, have fun. Do not do multiple things just to say you do multiple things. For me, I do all these things because I had to. I had people who
were producing music for me, but they weren’t giving me their best material. So I learned to produce. I started working with singers; so, I had to learn how to be a songwriter and how to sing better. I didn’t have anyone to take photos and do the artwork; so, I learned how to do photography and the artwork. I didn’t have anybody styling me or making my clothes. So, I started venturing out to different places, buying clothes as I traveled. I would say make sure it’s something you love to do first. After that, anything else that comes after that will be good. Make it part of your story, something unique to you, not just doing multiple things just to do them. Try to find a passion for these things you are doing.
Who are 3 artists who are currently producing work that you respect?
Three artists that are currently producing things that I respect are first, a producer named Sango. He’s an amazing producer. We’ve worked together before. He has a real unique style. His sampling is real dope. He samples old Spanish and Brazilian music, but makes it accessible to the club and everybody who loves trap music. Another artist is Nephilim Giant. He does this type of art called anti-gravity. He’s been working a lot with different brands. He just did something with K-Way, and
he did something with Dr. Martens before. I like that idea of an artist being able to work with these brands but not sell out or bend to what they want them to do. They keep it real original. Another artist is Awol Erizku. He’s an amazing photographer. He’s inspired me a lot through photography. He was blowing up and had this real good name in New York, and he decided to take some time off and go to Yale. I really respect people who see the bigger picture and not just the fame and hype of their name but will take time out to sit and plan the next few years of their life.