A Conversation With the Psychedelic Space Cowboy, Scott Xylo.

"Learn how to fail, and learn how to get back up from failure, it's like we get always taught on how to be successful all the time, but we hardly get taught on the benefits of taking risks and doing what's unconventional." -Scott Xylo

Scott Xylo is a producer representing Leicester, England who specializes in moody, atmospheric hip hop and soul. With his exceptional work on the acclaimed Toonami Tsunamis, Xylo has began to infect the airwaves stateside.

Heavily influenced by the works of Madlib, Hayao Miyazaki, and Jimi Hendrix, he has crafted an expansive technocratic sound worthy of praise and admiration.

The infusion of modern synthscapes with a touch of retro flavored psychedelic soul makes for an interesting blend of funky groove and ambient relaxation.

With a new wave of artists being inspired by anime and film, I wanted to get his take on the phenomenon and it’s implications for the future.

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Prox: When do you typically feel the most inspired to create and how do you continue to nurture that creativity? How does collaborating with other artists bring more out of you?

Scott: Usually after a good conversation or if I've watched a great movie, but I'm always studying and listening to music, so I'm constantly inspired. 

It's all about the synergy between the person I'm working with, if I can feel them, what they love and grew up on, it challenges me to rework my mind.

Prox: Why have the psychedelic soul and funk movements had such a lasting effect on your tastes and style? What is it about the culture that you admire?

Scott: I just love the rebelliousness of the styles and how it forwards individualism and unity between cultures, knowing psychedelic music is a blend of African, Asian, American and European music influences, it's spiritual and I just want to make spiritual music.

Seeing psychedelic soul artists like Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix and Madlib, they make me feel proud to be black and weird, and it fun to embrace it.

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Prox: There seems to have been quite the resurgence (at least here in the U.S) of psychedelic culture and music. Why do you think so many people have suddenly taken an interest into this era?

Scott: To be honest I don't know, I feel like people now are more spiritual and free thinking, the whole stay woke movement is a lot like the free your mind era of the 60s but I don't know hahaha. 

Prox: What impact do you feel anime and video games have your soundscapes? Is there an anime or video game soundtrack that influenced you as much as some of your favorite jazz, hip hop, or funk albums?

Scott: Anime has definitely made my music more colourful and visual, especially with how I place sounds and add textures. Video game music really helped me with being creative with my limitations, especially NES music.

I always listen to the SNES Chrono Trigger soundtrack when I'm meditating, the atmosphere and emotion Yasunori Mitsuda was able to capture when creating the soundtrack is amazing. Earthbound OST is like Gorillaz album to me, with all of the jazzy electronic styles fused with other styles and atmospheres. 

Prox: With anime and manga becoming more and more mainstream, do you think we will begin to see more artists like Noveliss and Uglygod? 

Scott: Yeah I definitely see it growing into a sub genre of hip hop like Otaku Rap haha, but I'm surprised labels haven't seen the future in this style with how Anime and Manga are a million dollar industry. Hopefully with the growing rise in popularity they'll be more hip hop influenced anime and festivals for black Otaku. 

Prox: Favorite Hobbies?

Scott: I’m a huge film fan I love to watch and study cinematography and direction in my spare time, hopefully I'll be able to make a short film when I'm older or a music video. I also enjoy writing short stories and reading graphic novels, I mainly do all of these things while traveling.

Prox: Who are some of your favorite artists, business people, creatives or intellectuals?

Scott:

Quentin Tarantino; I love how he samples film and takes dated and lost genres, then flips them into something so smart and entertaining while still keeping true to the genre. 

Hayao Miyazaki; his creativity is godly the way he thinks and sees life is inspiring,  I also love how he creates great role models for young girls, creating strong, smart female leads for his films.

Madlib; is a huge influence on me, he basically created my style with the track Eye on Madvillainy, also with his whole attitude with music, the way he approaches his music is so rebellious and reckless. He stacks off key sounds, uses creative textures and otherworldly sounds. 

Jimi Hendrix; is the person who got me heavily into blues and psychedelia, his whole style and how he's himself in his music and his playing is beautiful, also I love how his lyrics and songs relate to space and sci-fi, his music is roots.

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Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?

Scott: Learn how to fail, and learn how to get back up from failure, it's like we get always taught on how to be successful all the time, but we hardly get taught on the benefits of taking risks and doing what's unconventional. Yes, it takes longer and not many people are gonna believe in you, and you'll get tempted to give up and follow what's popular, but once you've been through all of that failure and doubt, you're gonna become so much stronger than the people who haven't.

Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?

Scott: I’m releasing an Afro funk EP called Find Us When You Get There it's about Afrofuturism and learning your roots, being proud of who you are and where you're from. I don't know when it will be released but hopefully July.

Prox: Final Thoughts?

Scott: Thank you for the interview, shouts out my family R&R, my homies and all of my fans, love you all.

Head over to Scott's Bandcamp, Facebook, Soundcloud, or Twitter and show him some love and support.

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