Xavier Mayne's new single Vida Loca is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Songwriter, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Mayne is roaring into 2021 with the release of his new single, Vida Loca. Serving as a reminder of the crazy lifestyle he encountered whilst living in LA, the track fuses together elements of trap and pop within a hip-hop soundscape, creating one genre-defying roller coaster ride.
"It’s literally about my first week in LA." the musician shares with MILKY. "Coming from a small rural town in Australia, then being thrown into such a world... LA is crazy haha."
For his debut release, Mayne teamed up with life-long friends, and fellow musicians, Chase Atlantic to produce Shleepin, amassing over half a million organic streams on Spotify. The musician continued to push his collaborative efforts, following up his debut with Understand It, featuring GOON DES GARCONS* and Jay Cooper, and Conversations, featuring DeWayne Jackson.
2021 brings on a whole new Mayne. Having spent some time in LA producing and writing in 2020, the Far North Queensland local is back on home soil and now with a repertoire of new music under his belt. With the live scene rapidly returning to form in Australia, it’s only up from here for the young musician.
Vida Loca is out now! Read our interview with Xavier Mayne below.
Tell us a bit about how you started your musical journey...
My grandpa was a musician, he loved jamming and writing tunes. He was a big Elvis fan, into that real bluesy, rock n roll vibe. Gramps helped me write my first song, I think I was 11 or 12. I started off playing piano as a kid, then quickly ditched it for a guitar, purely because I thought it was cooler. I low-key wish I kept playing piano though, I feel like I’d be a way better producer if I did, quicker at least. haha
I played in a handful of bands through high school. Started out in a Pop/Punk band playing Blink 182 and Green Day covers. We soon started playing songs that I wrote which started off pop/punk. I started listening to indie/folk music in year 11 and my writing followed. I actually wrote a full length indie/folk album, recorded and produced by Mark Myers from the band The Middle East. From there it led into indie/rock, then alternative/rock, then I learnt how to use logic and Ableton. I started introducing more electronic and hip-hop elements to my music from then on.
Hip-hop has always been a part of my life. My Dad grew up through the 80’s and 90’s, and loved everything Hip-hop. He was a breakdancer, loitering the streets of Bondi with one of those big ass boomboxes lol. NWA, Biggie, Tupac, Run DMC, Wu Tang Clan, NAS, Public Enemy. Pretty sure Dad knows every lyric from NWA’s album, ‘Straight Outta Compton’. If you ever pull up beside a middle aged man blasting NWA, screamin’, “fuq the police!”, followed by End Of The Road by Boyz ll Men, good chance it’s my Dad, haha. Embarrassing as it was growing up in the passenger seat of my Dad’s car, having that musical influence in my life really solidified my love for the rhythm and melodies embodied in Hip-hop & R&B music.
I didn’t start making R&B/Hip-hop tracks until after high school. I would post clips of the hooks and beats I was producing, on my snapchat and insta story. My DMs were filled with fire emojis haha That was around the time my boy Mitchel Cave (Chase Atlantic) started inviting me over to hang and make music together. We’d just get high and make music, completely for fun. Few months down the track, we had my debut single, Shleepin. Soon after, Xavier Mayne was born.
Vida Loca continues your exploration of hip-hop soundscapes infused with elements of trap and pop. How did you arrive at the genre-bending soundscape present on the track?
ANH & YUGI BOI made the original beat for Vida Loca. I’d just spent my first week in LA and ANH sent me a handful of 1 minute beats. I think the original beat was called ‘bubble gum bop’ or something like that. First time I heard the beat, I felt it had a real light hearted, fun, summer time vibe. When I heard the flute in there, that gave me that nursery rhyme type of Lil Yachty tip. It was perfect for what I wanted to write at the time. Mitchel and I just added the finishing touches, slaps and re-arranged a few things. ANH and I sent stems back and forth a couple times from there, then yeah, Vida Loca was born.
In terms of the general soundscape I’ve been gravitating too, sonically, I honestly have no idea. Sometimes you just make music and it takes you to weird and wonderful places. More weird than wonderful most times haha but that’s cool too. Writing and producing is a very intuitive process I feel. A bit of this, a bit of that, “oo I like that!”. Mix it up, “Now what’s that taste like?”. Your taste develops as you go along and you start to understand what works and what doesn't. That’s kind of the journey, or process for me.
What inspired the conceptual standpoint of the song?
Vida Loca is Spanish for, ‘The Crazy Life.’ It’s literally about my first week in LA. Coming from a small rural town in Australia, then being thrown into such a world... LA is crazy haha. All the good and the bad, mixed into a bag of stimulants and sedatives. Figuratively of course…
How would you describe your sound to someone who was about to press play on Vida Loca, what would you say?
POP ROCKS IN HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM. IS A BOP.
You’ve been working on new music in LA. What did you find were the advantages of relocating to solely work on your music?
LA is wild. Things move quick, develop quick, people even talk quick. You’re surrounded by super creative people who have a very high level of work ethic, drive, and the need to continuously push their creative capacity and achievements. You can make music anywhere these days, 80% of the time I’m making music in a bedroom. Being in LA was very inspiring for me and that fuelled my motivation to make more music.
If Vida Loca was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be?
Flume eating ass at burning man. The NFT.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording?
I don’t really have a set process, it kind of depends. If I’m starting from scratch by myself, I’d probably start off making a beat in Ableton, by the end of that I’ll usually have a few vocal melody ideas recorded in my voice memos. When the beat/instrumental is done I’ll export the stems into logic, then that’s where I start writing and recording the vocals.
Are you working on a full-length body of work? And if so, what can listeners expect?
I can’t say too much about that right now, but what I can say is I’ll be releasing more music than I ever have in 2021, and even more in 2022…
Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
Challenging for sure! 2020 was a bit of a depressing time for me. A big dose of c’est la vie. The same for everyone though, big plans turned to dust. I actually had to step away from making music towards the second half of the year. I find it super hard to express myself when I’m depressed which really makes it tough for me to write. Some of my friends really thrived during lockdown though! My mate Ben who lives in London went from rookie producer to an absolute final level boss during the time he spent in lockdown. As shit as it would have been to live in the UK during covid, he really prevailed, and that inspires me. The time I had away from writing was just what I needed though. I came back home to Aus, took up a handful of new hobbies, spent a lot of time outdoors and in nature, which was refreshing! Now I’m back and feeling better than ever! Have more perspective this time around and I’m so hyped about my music and for what’s to come. Not taking anything for granted.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
Bet! Chase Atlantic to start with for sure. Outside of being great friends, I’m a big fan. Having been able to watch their journey from the very start to where they are now inspires the fuq out of me. They are the most talented and hardest working bunch of artists I know, period. They write, produce and curate all the music and visual aspects of the band on top of the empire they are building. Yet still humble enough to do a lot of the ground work themselves, that they could so easily delegate otherwise. I don’t think people understand the scale of what they have achieved let alone what they still have yet to come. Just a couple boys from Cairns FNQ and the Northern beaches of Sydney. Amazing.
I’m gon’ need to write a whole article of my own to name all my fave Aussie artists! Big shout out to every Aussie in the game. Y’all inspire me.
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?
I need an Aussie booking agent! Haha The live music scene is bouncing back very quickly in Aus. It’s exciting! You can expect the best fuqin’ show you’ve ever seen! Or the worst, I haven't performed in so long haha.
You’ve toured across Australia, the UK and Europe. Is there a particular show that stands out above the rest that left the biggest impact on you, both professionally and personally?
I remember the first time I toured the UK & Europe (2018) and heard my first handful of people singing along. Being so far away from home, in a country I’ve never even been to, hearing that for the first time, it shook me for real. But man, the second time, London Oct 6 2019. That was probably the best show of my life. Being in a room packed out with 3000+ people who are hyped as fuq to see you and actually know the lyrics to your songs. That shit was something else… There’s footage on my insta.
The Weeknd, Tame Impala, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi
The Weeknd & Don Toliver
Album that has had the most impact on you?
The 1975 self titled album, that will forever reign nostalgia for me
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
An edgy unicorn
A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
The Wolf of Wall Street
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Currents by Tame Impala
Last concert you went to?
My mate’s band, The Radium Dolls
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
Justin Bieber’s Changes. Great Album.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
The first time I ever performed to an audience, my primary school assembly.