Brooklyn’s MeLo-X is what you might call a renaissance man. Although the term is tossed around loosely, the Flatbush native truly encompasses the aspects of what it should be. Whether it is capturing the sights and sounds of New York with his photography, cooking up a delicious vegetarian meal in the kitchen, or stirring up a cauldron of his eclectic music in the studio, MeLo-X handles them all with a certain je ne sais quoi that sets him apart from others who try to peg themselves as “true” artists. In the world of music, MeLo-X seamlessly transitions between genres. He’ll shred a mic alongside Kendrick Lamar, provide the sexy soundscapes for Jesse Boykins III and craft lush electronic remixes to Body Language’s “Work This City” all without it sounding forced. As he prepares his latest dish Royal Elegance, Life+Times sits down with MeLo to discuss his origins, the art of being creative and his relationships with Kid CuDi and Maxwell.
Life+Times: You’re not just an emcee, nor a producer, so what exactly are you MeLo-X?
Melo-X: I would just say that I’m a creative mind. Whether its painting, photography, DJing, writing, playing piano or cooking. Whatever means I have to get my creativity out is how I to do it.
L+T: Where did your music origins begin?
MX: My mother bought me a little piano when I was a baby. When I was five she bought me a toy recorder and I started to record myself. I was real intrigued with hearing my voice so I would just record everything. I would record my own little jam sessions where I would play the drums and piano. By high school I started taking music even more serious.
L+T: What were your musical influences?
MX: Being from Flatbush, Brooklyn and having two Jamaican parents definitely brought a lot of gospel music and a lot of Dennis Brown and Bob Marley. Then I started to get into hip-hop such as Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Biggie, Nas and people like that. I also remember when I first got MTV and seeing Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and a whole bunch of other acts and I was intrigued by this music that I never heard before.
L+T: When you set out to do music, what are you looking to accomplish?
MX: My main goal is to always stay true to myself. I always try to do exactly what I feel at that moment. I don’t create on a schedule. A lot of my personal songs I actually write them right when the situation occurs. I always try to work off of inspiration.
L+T: You have songs that you have completely dismantled and reconstructed to make it sound a certain way. Why?
MX: I never really go into it with the idea of improving it because the original is always the best. There was a time when you didn’t sample new music, only things from old vinyl. I realized that a lot of the newer music I was hearing was very inspiring. I started with Amy Winehouse’s album and after that, anytime I heard anything that was ill I would sample it.
L+T: On your projects, even though there are so many different vibes, nothing ever sounds out of place. Is that a conscious effort?
MX: I take a lot of time sonically mixing a project. I’ll actually do a live DJ set with the songs on a project to see how it all sounds together. That all goes back to my DJ background and controlling the vibe while telling a story with the music.