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First Look Friday: XL Middleton Flies His Boogie-Funk Flag High

First Look Friday: XL Middleton Flies His Boogie-Funk Flag High

XL Middleton Press Photo Large


XL Middleton Tapwater Square

XL: There’s not one process really. Sometimes I create a track and it inspires the words or the vocal melody, and other times I have a vocal melody already, or just a concept, or a few words that could comprise a chorus, and having that in place will inspire me to build the music around it.

OKP: If your moog was also a time machine that could take you to any year, what year you travel to?

XL: Hmm. I’d probably play my way back to the late 90’s. That would serve a double purpose for me. I could go back and find the younger me and tell him not to be scared to explore the funk full-on like I was. I’d tell him that in the next few years, the funk influence is going to disappear from hip hop and it’s going to cause you to disconnect from the music, so brace yourself for that. Back then, I was making full-fledged funk music, but I just didn’t know how to give it the context so that people could understand it, so it would just sit in my shoeboxes of 4-track cassette tapes full of beats. Speaking of which, I’ve gotta put some of that stuff out too. One day I’ll release the first beat I ever made in 1994. Oh yeah, I got off track. The other purpose of traveling back to the late 90’s would be to get my hands on all the boogie records that people thought were cheesy at the time, get them all for a couple bucks each and have like 20,000 records in my collection.

OKP: Is this gangster boogie? where is the ideal place to absorb this funk: lowrider, dancefloor, bathtub?

XL: I’ll say this – I grew up in LA in the 80’s and 90’s. I come from a stand-offish era, that’s when I came of age so there’s no doubt that my music is informed by that. But me, I’m not a gangster at all. I just want to take that gangster boogie and make it into something that everybody feels welcome to vibe to. Like, it’s cool to crinkle up your face like you smell something bad when you hear that hard bass line hit with those squiggly leads. I mean, that’s why we call it funk right? When you hear it you get a look on your face like you smell some shit. It’s nothing to be scared of. The bass line is heavy and the claps are super hard, but listen to the words – nine times out of ten I’m just singing about love or getting fucked up and having a good time or whatever.

OKP: What’s on the near horizon for XL MIddleton: shows, remixes, motherships?

XL: The album is called “Tap Water” and it’s coming October 30th. The release party is happening at Funkmosphere in LA on October 29th. Egyptian Lover did a remix for the first single, “Psychic,” it’s on the CD version of the album but we’ll be doing a separate 7″ release for the vinyl heads.

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OKP: What’s on the far horizon?

XL: I’m doing an album with Eddy Funkster [Funkmosphere] who I started MoFunk Records with, and we’re just going to continue expanding with the label. We’re gonna get the first Diamond Ortiz LP out as well as Moniquea’s next joint. I’m doing an album through my other label Crown City, something that I guess you could categorize as ‘modern g-funk.’ The beats are a little slower, I’m rapping on many of the tracks, but at the same time the goal with that project is to demonstrate how the g-funk sound doesn’t necessarily need to be tied in with hip hop. It can be, but again, the underlying idea with funk comes into play – to just be free, musically and within your life as a whole.


Pre-order Tap Water here before its October 30th release date.

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