Wrap Up And Watch Out: Xploder
After bubbling on the underground grime scene for the past four years, Xploder is now trying to breakthrough to the mainstream with a more commercial sound on his latest EP, 'Line Of Fire'. In an exclusive chat with The Wrap Up’s Stephen Almond, Xploder explains why commercial success is important to him, what inspired him to experiment with his sound and much more...
The Wrap Up: Hi Xploder. Some of our readers might not know who you are, so can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Xploder: Yeah, I originate from east London and I have been on the musical circuit for over five years, grafting my way through the grime scene. I started through youth clubs and went on to pirate radio with my crew, Highly Rated – where we had sets on stations like Heat and Mystic Fm. Two and a half years ago, I decided to go solo and take my music career more seriously – which has brought me to where I am today.
TWU: I’ve had a listen to your ‘Line Of Fire’ EP and, in my opinion, it has more of a commercial sound to it than your previous projects. When you were creating it, did you plan for it to be so commercially friendly or did your sound naturally evolve?
Xploder: To be honest, when I created the ‘Line Of Fire’ EP, there was no plan for it to be commercially-friendly. I had a selection of beats with all different styles that I liked, so my aim was to showcase my versatility with no boundaries. I feel that my sound has naturally evolved. A few years ago, I never planned to make music so freely, but developing more as an artist has opened my mind so much.
TWU: What prompted you to veer away from the grime scene?
Xploder: Seeing people within the grime scene taking their music outside of the box gave me a light bulb moment. Also, this was when I was at the transitional stage of going solo and I felt that I needed, and wanted, to do something different. I never really left grime, as it’s part of my style and flow, I still make grime tracks today.
TWU: Do you think ‘Line Of Fire’ EP will be the EP that completes your transformation from underground grime artist to mainstream star?
Xploder: To be honest, no I don’t. I do think it will showcase more of the type of artist I am – one that likes to experiment with sound. I feel that my ‘Line Of Fire’ EP is just a stepping stone towards mainstream success.
TWU: How important is commercial success, and the subsequent fame that comes with it, to you?
Xploder: It is important to me, because I want to share and connect my music with as many people as possible around the world. I want to be recognised as an artist on a wide scale. It will give me the platform and power to create change by helping others.
TWU: You’ve already had your music played on BBC Radio 1, Choice FM, Kiss 100 and 1Xtra. What was it like hearing your music on the radio for the first time?
Xploder: Hearing my music on national radio for the first time was like a breath of fresh air! It gave me drive to keep going.
TWU: Your latest single, ‘Hype Show’, dropped on September 5. Have you been pleased with the reaction it has received from the public?
Xploder: Yeah, definitely! People love the track and the video and now I have some new supporters. I like to have a good time when I go out, so I wanted to make a track where people could feel the same.
TWU: You have been working with Rob Cass – who has made hits for the likes of Estelle and Seal – recently. How did the opportunity to work with him come about?
Xploder: It was pretty straight-forward. He heard my music online and contacted me through email. We then started speaking and he invited me down to Abbey Road to work on some music.
TWU: Will he be able to put you in touch with Estelle for a collaboration?
Xploder: Hmmm, you’ll have to wait until my album is ready to drop (laughs).
TWU: You freely admit to being quite a reserved individual. How difficult do you find it to overcome your shyness when it comes to performing live in front of an audience?
Xploder: I am quite a reserved individual but when I do see a stage or microphone, I feel an explosive energy and I just let go. Hence where the name Xploder comes from.
TWU: And finally, what are your plans for the rest of this year?
Xploder: For the rest of the year, I plan to be doing shows and promoting the rest of the tracks on my EP. I definitely have plans for more collaborations and getting in the studio to record more music.
Stay up to date with Xploder on Twitter – www.twitter.com/XploderUK
Words: Stephen Almond (@LFCSteAL)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)