Alxndr London creates original soundscapes; seamlessly blending beats and electronica with dreamy, soulful vocals; incorporating gospel spirituals, deep bass, and irresistible funk grooves for a cool hybrid sound.
Alxndr’s music reminds me of shapeshifting – sounds and lyrics interlinking and developing in different directions – twisting and turning sometimes feels like a fever dream. And everything he stands for is translated right into his music. You just got to speak his language to know what he’s saying.
I caught Alxndr as he was finishing up his soundcheck at the legendary Jazz Cafe.
This is your first time headlining the Jazz Café – I saw on twitter that you’ve been hoping to play here for a long time – how do you feel?
Speechless. No words – I’m super excited.
For someone who’s never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
I’d say soul. Soul like the genre, soul like the feeling.
That was easier [to define] than I expected. Your music seems genre-defying, it has so many different elements from all styles of music–
I don’t mind that coming from someone else, but coming from me that would be like, ‘What does that mean?’ So for me, I say soul. If you think it’s different, you’re okay.
Alxndr *beatboxes* for me, showing what he starts with to lay the foundation of a track.
It has to feel natural. Once you’ve got that, you can work on how that’ll be electronically or in a live space. That’s why I say soul, it’s spiritual, it’s close your eyes and sing along kind of music. I don’t believe in music being 123, ABC, XYZ – it can be Z Y T 22, like it doesn’t have to follow a linear, obvious pattern.
When you started out making music, what were your influences and inspirations?
Neo-soul, garage, house music, gospel, classical, opera – I’ve always listened to all different styles. I didn’t mention hip hop or R n B, ‘cos I wouldn’t say they were massive influences on me, but if someone hears me they might be like “oh my gosh, you sound [like that]”.
Soul like the genre, soul like the feeling. – Alxndr London
It strikes me that you’re not mentioning any specific artists or bands, it’s more about the type of music?
It feels unprogressive to mention actual genres and artists and be like, ‘this person’, ‘cos it wasn’t like that – it was a mixture.
Alxndr has a particular aesthetic, ever-accompanied by an array of traditional straw hats. He garnered attention for his performance video for Youtube channel Colors, and the recently released video for “Talking Drum” is a stunning visual journey, steeped in culture.
I want to ask you about your visual expression. Thinking especially about “Talking Drum”, it has such a specific vibe to it.
There are so many references in that that are just me. It’s soul, it’s spiritual, it’s black, it’s African, it’s Yoruba, it’s Christian, gospel at the same time. I mean, that’s me.
What role does spirituality or religion play in your music? I noticed that prayer starts off your new mixtape, IV Merin.
That’s my mum praying in Yoruba for me, she’s blessing me. I grew up in church. Yoruba is a people, it’s a religion, it’s a land area. You can be born into something and have it as part of your identity, even if you choose to dip in and out of different moments you ascribe to. I speak English and my name is Alexander but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m still Yoruba. So I guess I was born into it.
Alxndr is never photographed without a straw hat. The mystery man element of Alxndr’s image is a purposeful thing… So what’s with the hat?
I do like the fact that my music can be an escape from my reality. Me right now is not necessarily who I present on stage. I try to separate the two a little bit. The hat reminds me that I’m on stage.
Your vibe on social media is unique – some artists’ accounts seem highly curated, you can feel that it’s not coming from the artists themselves, but that’s not the case with you.
‘You just get me totally [on social media]. I want to use wisdom in what I do and I know putting out good things is something I can stand by. I would hate to get to a point where my shit is so curated that everyone’s like, ‘I miss the old Alxndr’. I don’t know, I just try to be me… I am me!
I think your music feels very rooted in London and yet has an international feel to it?
Yeah, multiple people on the project are from a few different places – Bulgaria, Slovakia. A lot of the people you saw up on stage [during soundcheck] are children of migrants, they’re from Yoruba, Syria, Congo. We’re all from different places. I guess that’s London.
I like culture, I like different countries. When you say it’s international, I’ve just grown up listening to all different kinds of music from everywhere, not just having it on in the background but actually appreciating it, the sounds – finding the similarities rather than the differences.
What do you think about the music scene in the UK at the moment?
Everyone’s doing their thing, I’m proud of everyone. There are so many people that are making music that’s different to mine but we still vibe. Everyone – just keep pushing those boundaries, creating new genres, new styles, you’re helping the music to progress and be bigger and greater than today.
Check Out Now
My favourite track- chill jazz/soul – “Solo”