IXXF’s digital plural and shared, self-evasive, persona captures the zeitgeist unpretentiously. In a moment of necessary mass movements for improved human rights – namely Black power and trans rights protests – IXXF joined Pussy Riot to put out industrial-banger Riot to soundtrack it all. Soon it will be joined by IXXF’s 9-track debut album, on Thursday, December 10th, which takes the same energy of resistance to hyper-pop highs (Bad Timing feat. Atlas Moe) and dank trips (Everything Sucks) – in the damp, disturbing sense of the word as well as its slang meaning. 

Back to Riot
– “yeh, sex is great, but have you ever fucked the system?” accelerates past us in IXXF’s industrial soundscape that bounces and scratches to its heart's content. I like it. Also, those lyrics situate Pussy Riot and IXXF standing amongst protesters demanding human rights and to defund the police. Arguably, coronavirus has thrown class and race inequalities into stark relief. Black communities are, in the UK, statistically more likely to die of coronavirus,  and this extends globally. Additionally, key worker jobs – like delivery drivers, builders or bin collectors – don’t afford the ‘luxury’ of working from home, putting a lethal edge on class divisions, as mixing can’t be avoided. So, yes, there is a reason to riot.

What I love about IXXF is their almost anarchic negation of a singular sense of identity that really contradicts the mainstream hype around superstar bloggers and celebrity music culture. They corrected my question “How was IXXF born?” to “were,” to make a plural agreement that took me a while to get my head around when they refer to themselves as ‘I’ rather than ‘we,’ and since PR sent me images of one artist. The picture from that puzzle I found was IXXF is plural, and don’t forget that. Here they are on lockdown, moody music and their impressive collaborators.
When and how were IXXF born?
Approximately 1.5 years ago. I’m still a baby. I had written the majority of the album by then but couldn't find the confidence to put it out. I always thought my voice was not special enough. I spent that year mainly producing for other artists, but at some point realized this conservative way of writing was not for me. Through my label Deskpop, I hooked up with a lot of artists that inspired me to understand that I could use vocal manipulation and my production skills to sound however I wanted, no matter what my body wanted me to sound like. I was reborn.
2020 seems to be the most chaotic year yet, and here you are still turning out absolute tunes. Does the dystopian reality suit your music to some degree?
Absolutely. This album is dystopian to its core. The lyrics are mainly about being slightly off all the time. To me, it's a meme on being in constant crisis (laughs). In some way, this year is also just the revelation of what has been off for too long. We all kind of knew it and saw it coming, but all we did was sit back and watch this fail compilation. Too absurd to be true, somewhat also too painful to watch, but definitely too entertaining to switch. But I am positive that only once we are confronted with our own failure and ongoing repression, we can start to change for good.
I feel like disenchantment and disorientating techno go hand in hand. What inspires your soundscapes on your self-titled up and coming debut album?
I believe there is nothing special about anyone in particular. There is this subconscious promise we are raised with that believing in yourself and working hard will bring you to a certain state of happiness, when actually the opposite is much more likely. There is something very liberating and beautiful in understanding that your single opinion is not important. You are not important. This might sound harsh to some, but I believe it's the best way to let go and engage in things with real value and to create for the right reasons.
Too many people create for the wrong reasons. They do it to be liked by someone they don't even know, to be famous, or to reach some social status. They don't do it because they enjoy it. They are just too obsessed with themselves. I don't mean one shouldn't speak up for their beliefs and don't be an inspiration to others. I just mean, we need to understand that it's not all about us. Therefore, accepting that no one is really special brings equality and acceptance to your personal identity. This means I want my music to be free to use whatever fits, whatever comes up, whatever sample could be tweaked, or whatever is contributed to it by someone else. To be open. I like to create with the idea of allowing everything that happens, and trying to find my own value in it. It's about not taking yourself too seriously.
I love the visual composition of your pseudonym as a crazy smiling face that pops up in recent video Nightshift x Pussy Riot, as well as throughout your imagery – is it a form of an ode to the acid house smiley that first popularized that image in music culture?
It's an ode to happy hardcore and acid house as much as it is an ode to 90's hardcore and grunge, as it is an ode to 2000's emo and pop-punk era. The smiley face, and especially the dead smiley face, is an almost annoyingly overused symbol of counter-culture that really doesn't belong to anyone and therefore is absolutely meaningless and full of meaning at the same time. To me, therefore, it is a symbol of negating ownership and individualism, because it copies everyone and no one at the same time. I kind of hated and loved that at the same time. So I went for it.
What is your relationship with Pussy Riot like?
I really adore them and am thankful they discovered my music. I feel very connected to their way of overcoming people’s, and their own, expectations. Pussy Riot have always been in the centre of criticism for being too political, for being too loud, for being too sexy, for not being political enough, for being too pop and mainstream, for being too DIY, for sounding like that or too much like this. I feel their work is very impactful, not only in itself but also for being this mirror to a society that just wants you to conform to the prejudices created for you. We also both work with artist Ksti Hu, who is responsible for all my videos and who is an overall amazing female designer that creates weird and crazy stuff.
Quoted in Paper magazine, you make your ennui with capitalism explicit – as well as in Nightshift lyrics “wage slavery better suck my dick” – tell me more.
Fuck, yeah. I mean how is this even still a discussion when we are all suffering from complete emotional burnout? Even the ones that are more or less doing financially well are tired as fuck. But still, people choose to live like this. Coming from a working-class background with parents that are social workers, I know even if you are living off the bare minimum, you can still choose the way you live and who you want to support. So, if you ever see the possibility to choose whom to engage with work-wise, just choose to not work for assholes that take up your time for false promises. It will improve your life, I promise.
In track the 1MF, which you released earlier this year, there is a solitude in a cyberspace illusion of togetherness which reminds me of the varying covid-quarantine experiences – how have you coped with isolating?
Very well, to be honest. (Laughs). I like being alone. And even though my music is very outgoing, I love to stay inside. Keep my friends circle small. It gives me the time to arrange my life in a more healthy way. I think digital togetherness is important though. If it wasn't for the internet I would have never met the people I work with, as I have always been an outsider with the things I am interested in real life. But of course, a world where everyone thinks they are famous, and conquering each other is dangerous. Therefore being around too many people for too long sickens me somehow. I also think it is healthy to evaluate what you built your life around, once in a while. Because even though we cannot change the system we are living in overnight, we can still choose how we want to live. Being in quarantine can be depressing and isolating, but I try to use these moments of change and uncertainty to reflect on myself and learn, to somehow grow from it.
What music do you listen to feel chilled?
I never listen to music to relax. I only listen to music to feel something. When music doesn't make me feel something, I don't like it. (Laughs). I don't care too much for how music is made, or if it is well-produced, super original, or if it's possibly outdated. I want to feel it and for it to scream at me. I want to be annoyed; I want to be surprised or to be touched by it. In some sense, I need to feel music to feel myself.
When there were still parties, I would look forward to walking home in the early morning hours, putting my headphones on and just listening to very sad music, just to feel it more. When I want to relax, I'd rather watch tutorials and short documentaries on YouTube to see the world is still full of new things to discover, no matter how much you already know. This, for some reason, gives me inner peace.
“There is something very liberating and beautiful in understanding that your single opinion is not important. You are not important. This might sound harsh to some, but I believe it's the best way to let go and engage in things with real value and to create for the right reasons.” 
The track, Everything Sucks on IXXF processes your vocals into metallic torture – the fluid body of sound that partners with the metallic synth make me think of Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. Does IXXF relate to a hybrid identity that holds contradictions within? If you do, maybe you’re a cyborg.
As much as I am inspired by cyberculture and the concept of dissolving the human body, I think we are over this retro-futuristic metaphor of a human cyborg that is half machine. I don't want to be a cyborg that is divided into its body and its vision. I believe there is no separation between the body and its expansion anymore. We become the tools we use, and the projection we create of ourselves. They even shape us. So, we co-exist as both.
Since you disorientate your voice to enter into a space that can’t, in my opinion, be labelled ‘man’ or ‘woman’ since the sounds aren’t ‘natural’, does processing vocals facilitate your understanding of non-binary gender identity?
Altering voices in my music is just a tool to extend the capabilities of my body. But yes, in that sense I want to become non-binary, also in the way I sound and to be freed from my body's restrictions with my music. I dream of music that becomes only an idea, or a message, that can sound like anything you want it to be, so you can present yourself to others as you see yourself. To capture what inspires you and give it a new shape.
I think being talented and gifted really means nothing. You can look good, or sing well to some sort of standard, but still have nothing to say. I think it's the interaction between the listener and the performer that is the only thing that matters. So, when I sing with other artists, I like to visualize I become them in the energy of a track, and they become me.
You compare yourself to Charli XCX very confidently, emulating also her demeanour. When I interviewed Charli in summer 2019 I was a bit sceptic, but her lockdown album How I am feeling right now has converted me. How do you relate to her?
Actually, I don't compare myself to her. And if I would, I wouldn't do it confidently (laughs). But, people seem to keep comparing my music to the sound of Charli, probably due to its catchy pop nature. I picked up on that and I feel actually a bit honoured by it since I adore Charli for introducing more experimental and underground music listeners to pop music. Usually, she is more praised for doing the opposite – for bringing experimental music to the mainstream. But I always felt some very narrow-minded and excluding attitude can be found even in the most forward-thinking underground scene, and she kind of dissipated that with her music. This I really hope to emulate.
It must be your PR then! (Laughs). Finally, which track is your own favourite on the album and why?
I feel very happy about all of them and having been able to work with so many great artists on it. People that I actually genuinely trust with my heart. But if I had to choose it'd be Bad Timing with Atlas Moe, who did an outstanding feature on the opening track that is about never 'being enough'. And then there is Forever Alone with Recovery Girl because I actually really like being alone and I also love Recovery Girl. I think everyone should fucking listen to Recovery Girl, already!
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