BIO: Alex Hannibal isn't just your average rapper/producer from Edinburgh, he has carefully crafted his own weird, lo-fi aesthetic that blends well both on his music and in his live shows. Having a self described experimental approach to Scottish hip-hop, taking lyrical and sonic influence from American underground artists and lo-fi soul and indie samples, slowly but surely Alex Hannibal is becoming a force to be reckoned with...
My name is Jordan, or Alex or whatever you wanna call me. Call me Dave for all I care haha. I make experimental type hip-hop, can't really pin it down to be honest, I feel I have a really weird style you know?
2. So how did the whole Alex Hannibal thing come to life?
Well i've been making music for almost 5 or so years now, dabbling with dubstep, drum n bass, even indie at one point, but the hip-hop thing came around 2 years ago. I've always had a love for hip-hop from a very young age. I used to listen to a lot of G-Unit, Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie Smalls when I was around 8 years old surprisingly. So then around the age of 15-16 I made a few mash-ups of Flying Lotus mixed with Biggie Smalls and wanted to put a name to this hip-hop alter ego of mine. I had a joke at the time with a few friends about how if they made the Hannibal films in Scotland the guy would be called Alexander McHannibal or something stupid like that, so it really wasn't difficult finding a name. Shortened it a bit obviously and thus Alex Hannibal was born haha.
2. Ahh I see, now moving on, where do feel your “weird style” came from?
I guess my weird style comes from a piece from everyone i've been listening to for the last year or so, really sifting through the web and youtube finding these hidden gems that really spoke to me on a level where I thought “I wanna do this...”, probably a lot of cloud rap and underground artists, people like Spooky Black, Earl Sweatshirt, Ratking, Yung Lean. Even some indie like Mac Demarco, Tame Impala, Slow Hollows. The list goes on, the sounds always evolving depending on what i'm listening to one week to the next.
3. So its really just a love for all music that helped craft your style, very eclectic in a way?
Right, exactly. I'm grateful my ears haven't limited me to a few genres or artists. I have an ear for good music I feel. If it makes me feel something, anything from confusion, happiness, sadness, angry, it's still good because that's what music should do, make you feel something each time you listen to it.
4. Do you feel like you're trying to do that with your music?
Yeah, my music is like mood swings. One track will make you want to dance, the next will make you cry and call your ex from 4 years ago. Just pieces that everyone can relate too, no one gets left out. That's why with my with my first mixtape “I Woke Up In A Body Bag”, I tried to make it have as much variety sonically and lyrically as possible. Songs about drugs, women, unconscious shit, anxiety, I try to make music that's always sometimes at least a little bit relatable.
5. ...and with your latest release “The Killer Must Be Found”?
In a sense, this new EP I just put out was kind of forced out of me in a way since my last project was the body bag mixtape which came out almost 6 months ago, so I just kinda forced this project to happen in the last few weeks, but as the weeks went on I enjoyed it more and more and put it out a few days ago. It touches on some of the same topics as I mentioned before, like “When The Night Is Calling” is a track focused heavily on getting really fucked up on anything you come into contact with, drugs, alcohol, doesn't matter, and just not caring about anything or even what day of the week it is. But it's bittersweet because it's almost in a way where the character in the song is happy, it's not a downward spiral type situation, this is his life, he's a party animal and wants to live and die that way, there's no sense of shame in it. I want to be able to tell both sides of the story in tracks like these.
6. Yeah I can feel that coming through. What about the other tracks?
Well, “Rolex” and “Last Of All Time” are just these two tracks that I felt belonged to the aesthetic of the EP, very basic, very weird, these tracks were kinda like my homage to rappers like Kanye West, Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt how they take such old samples and these murky samples and sounds and turn them into such lush tracks. How their voices sit perfectly in the mix too really inspires me, and they did inspire me with those two tracks.
7. Yeah, I can hear the influence especially with the Issac Hayes sample on “Rolex”, sounds like something Kanye would have used for “The College Dropout”. So, for one last question, who do you listen to whilst working on your music to get the creative process flowing?
Well this is a list that could go on forever haha, well I usually make a huge playlist of stuff, new and old but there's a few tracks that are staples to that playlist. What A Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers is one of the best compositions I have ever heard, Michael McDonald is the fucking man! That and Them Changes by Thundercat, enough said. My playlist usually consists of people like Kid Cudi, Kanye, Death Grips, Michael Jackson, Mac Demarco. A lot of mood swings and variety which I guess is why my music has a lot of mood swings too.
8. Well I think thats all we have enough time for today but thank you for doing this man, is there anywhere we're the public can find your music, especially your new EP.
Thanks for having me, I love what you've been doing over the past few years too man, can't wait to hear more! And yeah I have a soundcloud and a bandcamp page where you can get my new EP for free, I suggest getting it off of bandcamp, you can download the whole thing in one click :) BLESS!