“Do you like it?”
“Are you sure? Just send it back.”
“No, no. I’m fine…I just don’t know why I have a spoon.”
We both looked at my beverage that arrived at the table in a bowl accompanied by a utensil. Slight confusion arose from both of us, as I personally held the image from the menu of the beverage in my mind and compared it to my current view. Trailing away, our conversation started through small talk, and my “million” questions were encouraged. He was taller than expected, and dressed to embrace the warm rays of Venice, where we sat in a small organic cafe that could sum up any stereotypical, “normal” day in Los Angeles.
I was so focused on this fruity sludge, that I began talking to Alex Nimier, and for a brief moment forgot that he was UK hip-hop artist, Antix. Not one to be shy about voicing his thoughts, opinions, and motivation to his fans, Antix became a place where people would come together due to the music, but stay because of the message. With a distinct style, Antix created and crafted a voice into something more than music and words, but into a realm where Antix pushes Nimier, and simultaneously through the process, guides his listeners for more.
“See everything starts from my own perspective, my own life, my own outlook, experiences- then through that, doing that, I think as sincerely as I can, people inevitably you know, find their own, the parallels in their own life, and they draw on what experiences or emotions that I’m putting out and they identify. Through doing that there’s a sense of solidarity between the listener and you know, me, (and) any other music where people can relate to, that’s what happens. You build a sense of understanding and intimacy- that’s what I try to do. Simple as that, just try to be honest and write something that means something to me and hopefully that transfers.”
Nimier’s tone reflected the spark embedded within his lyrics. Emphasizing “sincerity” and “honesty” throughout the interview, where he agreed that these are the components that were able to touch people and build a steady fan base. Preferring this gradual build, where fans are “with you always,” versus a “group of people who like my last song because it was big on the radio,” Nimier explained how “sincerity” is building a self-supporting structure, and within this community that is building, the responses reciprocated back towards Nimier is the reason he makes music, and why he loves it.
Digging deep and noting that he writes better through pain and sorrow, like most artists, Nimier’s exertion through hip-hop was incidental. With influences outside of hip-hop, such as Cat Stevens, the London rapper didn’t tap into the hip-hop scene until becoming a teen. “It started happening sorta like a hobby, then my mom died and I soon realized how fragile life is, and I thought ‘you know what, I’m gonna do something that I enjoy doing,’ and that sort of developed as a hobby, a passion, – and it went from a hobby to a passion, and a passion to a career, and a career into, you know, my life.” But when Nimier did tap into hip-hop, with artists such as Nas and Eminem, a natural connection of being able to “speak their own truths” affected his life, and influenced the same idea in mind to impact others.
“Those artists all had an impact in my life, and those creative voices are still there, but they morphed slowly into my own voice. (that) is what happens, you take other people’s voices to begin with and then eventually you stop hearing someone’s voice in your head and you start hearing your own voice, and that’s when you know you kinda found yourself as an artist, and that’s only, just really, starting to happen- 10 years in- you know (it) takes a while.”
Making a mark with fans with songs such as, “Come Home,” and “Question Everything,” it’s safe to say that Nimier’s own voice is being heard despite the lack of attention in the hip-hop world in the UK, but through exploratory music platforms, such as Tradiio and Pandora. Nimier strongly clarified that there isn’t a real difference between hip-hop from the UK and US, besides attention.
“Hip-hop from the UK is very, very underground. It doesn’t get any attention, at all. The UK scene is grime based music, which is doing very well, but the UK doesn’t support hip-hop. You don’t get UK hip-hop songs on the radio at all, ever. None. Nothing. Don’t know, there’s no UK hip-hop artists on the radio, they’re all grime, and even grime doesn’t get like mainstream attention. Mainstream UK hip-hop radio is the most fickle, uninteresting one dimensional thing- they just don’t support it…I use to go to all these shows but they (artists) never get anywhere, because no one gives them any fucking support, no one puts them in a position where they can actually do anything…but you know, there’s no hip-hop scene, not on the mainstream, not on the level where you can change someone’s lives with anyways.”
The lack of attention lead to more fire within Nimier’s tone, and overall goal- not only to impact the listeners, but to impact lesser known artists as well and give them an opportunity. This all fell in with his definition of success, which isn’t defined by “monetary value,” but in terms of the overall impact, and to be able to change people’s lives with words on a wider scale, through Nimier’s vision of unity, seen “his way”- not being subject or slaved to be influenced or controlled of other people. “His way” is also redefining the structure of hip-hop, where Nimier expresses musical boredom within the boundaries of traditional hip-hop, and the urge to push his limits, and “taking it to a whole other level.” What’s to be expected of Antix’s future releases are what Nimier describes as a “step-up,” musically speaking, with fusions of gospel vocals, guitars, strings, and a classically influenced approach.
Where 5 years into the future was too far for Nimier to tell you where he would be at, he could only guarantee one thing: “(I) can’t guarantee that 60,000 people are gonna show up for a show, but you can guarantee that what I’m making is a representation of who I am. That I can guarantee.” At the end of the interview, Nimier wasn’t just “hip-hop artist Antix,” nor was he this commander on a white horse to liberate us free. No, at the end of the talk Nimier was more than a label, a genre, or a list of adjectives. Nimier was human.
“That’s not a drink, in any way, shape, or form.”
“They show it in a mason jar, and now it’s in a damn bowl.”
“...take it with you? I don’t know ask for a cup.”
Still being baffled at my contentment with my beverage, he hugged me goodbye, and I began to eat my drink.
Be sure to invest your coins and show support for Antix through Tradiio.