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XVNGO - The Musician, the scientist, the philosopher

Ayodeji Ijishakin aka Deji aka XVNGO is the last musician part of #jazznewbloodALIVE2021 line-up to be featured in our interview series. Get to know him a little better.

Deji, tell a bit more about your path with music. Are you part of a musical family?

My parents themselves are quite musician people, but they never pursued it professionally. We would often sing as a family, and my Mother has actually released a few of her own songs. The musicality really has been expressed through my brother and I, who are both musicians who have played for a long time.

Was the saxophone your first instrument? do you play other instruments and what is the one you use the most to compose?

My first instrument is the piano, and it is my favourite instrument to compose with. This is because it is an extremely visual instrument and that makes it quite easy to think in terms of the piano. Even way I play the saxophone I often use the visualisation of the piano as a harmonic foundation.

In your twitter account you name yourself, the scientist, the philosopher. It's interesting because I would think science and philosophy don't walk side by side most of the times, how do you reconcile the scientist and the philosopher inside you?

It is good point that there is animosity between some scientists and philosophers. This is particularly true of physicists, as some physicists believe that their discipline has made philosophy redundant, as a truth seeking mechanism. However, I believe that philosophy is in the business of asking very different questions from science. Moral philosophy is a great example, as know scientific theory can tell you what you should do, although they may be used to inform what is most optimal for a particular criteria. With that being said, when it comes to particular philosophical questions related to metaphysics in particular it can be hard to philosophically explore, whilst knowing that in practice you subscribe to a strictly ‘empiricist’ way of seeing the world when you do science. But I guess, one can just put on different thinking caps depending on whether it’s philosophy or science being thought about.

How do you reflect those 2 ideals in your music?

My love for science and philosophy is often reflected in the titles of my songs most explicitly. Beyond that, I may try and reflect a particular idea in the way I write the harmony or melodies. A good example is MH tune entropy, which is named after the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the universe is always moving towards disorder. I try and reflect that in the harmonic tension in the song, although it does get resolved as the song progresses.

You are a very prolific musician always releasing new music. Where does your inspiration come from ?

The inspiration comes primarily through my curiosity with what I can make next. I hear my older work and it drives me to build upon it and see where I can take it further.

You describe your music as jazz drill and port-trap genres.

Can you tell us a bit more about this?

My music is primarily made of a mixture of Jazz and drill music. This is something that naturally came out of what I was listening to just prior to me putting the styles together. My post-trap music is also just an extension of my work as a trap producer, which lead me to add my horn to it and push the sound.

What are you listening at the moment?

I’m listening to a lot of Black Midi at the moment, as well as Erikson Kaner. Other than that I love to listen to classical composers like Vivaldi and Haydn.

Are you planing to release a proper EP or Album?

There are no plans for a project at the moment, but it is definitely something worth considering seriously.



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