Interview: Xie

Multi-hyphenate artist Xie knows her way around a beat, but she’s far more than just an up-and-coming producer. A singer, producer, DJ, and visual artist, Xie’s inventive tracks and remixes blend hip-hop and dream pop into dancefloor gold. Hitting all the festival stages this year with her lush, hypnotic tracks, Xie took time out of her Bumbershoot day to chat with us about music inspiration and more.

SMN: How did you start producing songs, or where did you start? Because, you know, if you’re a singer it’s usually “oh I just used to sing a lot when I was a kid,” but that’s not quite the case for EDM stuff.
Xie: Yeah! Well I am a singer too, but funny enough, I did not grow up that way where like I was in all these talent shows and stuff. So I mean I grew up in symphony, I played viola when I was really young, and piano as well, so music’s always been a part of my life. I started writing songs as an adult, but production started about two years ago. I just wanted more ownership over my sound and the orchestration. I’m a visual artist as well, so just kind of putting everything together made sense, to just have a hand in everything.

SMN: Oh cool, what kind of visual art stuff do you do?
Xie: Painting and designing clothing mostly, but my background is in watercolors and acrylics. So my grandma was a watercolorist, so of course, I’d say that, but also drawing and painting and everything in between.

SMN: Would you like design your own merch eventually, is that a thing?
Xie: For sure yeah, merch and then also like a full on clothing line as well, like I’m working on some prototypes right now that I would probably wear first and then eventually walk it in catwalks too.

SMN: That’s awesome, congratulations!
Xie: Thank you! Yeah like inspiration’s like Kanye doing his line with Adidas, or Rihanna with Puma. Like I have an athletic background too so my clothing is very street-inspired but wearable.

SMN: Who are your biggest inspirations musically?
Xie: I would say again Kanye, I’m a huge fan of hip-hop artists like Kendrick and Childish Gambino. For females, Gwen Stefani was a big one for me, still is, she just like never stopped, she’s amazing, like without a hinge, she’s just crushing it. And you know if you go all the way back to Prince, true artists are really just my inspirations, but those are a few.

SMN: So you mentioned that you’re coming back for day two of the festival, who are you most excited to see this weekend.
Xie: Oh my gosh I’m so bad, I haven’t even had the chance to look at the lineup yet, I need to though! I was saying earlier that I really want to see Lil Wayne, but I think he’s on around the same time that I am, so I need to take a look and figure it out.

SMN: Have you done any other festivals this summer? I feel like I read somewhere that you were doing a bunch of big ones.
Xie: Yeah I have a few! This was my first summer of touring, so I started off with Coachella, and that was my first festival and it was unreal. So yeah! Started there, did EDC, Firefly, Hard in LA, I just came off Moonrise in Baltimore. Just did really so many, and like each one is so unique and different of an experience, but festivals are just…there’s nothing like them, it’s just such incredible energy.

SMN: After so many festivals, do you have your sights set on your own headlining gigs, or are you looking to stay more in that festival scene?
Xie: Oh absolutely! It’s been great stating off with festivals and having that kind of built-in fan base of people there to play out to, but definitely, plan to do a headline tour next year, and some support tour leading up to that.

SMN: That’s awesome, did you get to run into anyone cool at all the big festivals.
Xie: Oh yeah, that like part of it you know, like half your performance and half just getting to meet artists. Some who you look up to, some who are just fellow peers and friends, it’s been amazing!

SMN: What’s one big goal you have? Could be a venue you want to play, a show capacity you want to hit.
Xie: I mean, playing Madison Square Garden, I hope to be a huge artist, I want to play worldwide and tour Asia and Europe.

SMN: Yeah I’ve seen crazy festival footage from like Belgium and Asia and stuff, they don’t mess around.
Xie: Yeah Tomorrowland! And like, I’m half Asian, and the Asian market in general in terms of electronic music is really just starting, and that’s definitely an area that I’d really like to explore.

SMN: What future projects do you have coming up? Any more festivals or a new album?
Xie: I have an album planned for 2019 and for the rest of this year, I’ll be releasing singles, I have a few more coming out. “Super 8” is coming out next Wednesday, that’s my next one. And then hopefully a headline tour to coincide with the album next year, so just gotta get in the studio and work my butt off. Like these festivals, as great as they are, it is something to balance, like creating the music and playing the music out. So the next few months are for sure dedicated to writing new stuff.

SMN: So is this like your last festival of the season?
Xie: This is my last, yeah right now, so it gives me a bit of time to get back in “the cave” as I call it, and Batgirl it out in there.

SMN: So you mentioned, “Super 8” is coming out next week, what would you say is the one song you’re most proud of?
Xie: I mean I just have to say “Super 8,” like the others I’ve all loved at their moment, and I still do, but I think it’s always your new baby, the one that’s coming out, that you’re most excited for. Like not having released too many tracks so far, I feel like each one is a new window into me and my sound, and also a new opportunity for me to expand on my sound and something new for me to hear, which is what makes it so exciting as I get to hear the evolution.

SMN: Nice, well that’s all I’ve got, thank you!

Interview and photos by Lulu Dawson