Music is an especially unique medium, in how it can capture and convey abstract understandings and reflective experiences of our world. Despite general feedback that much of modern music is lacking meaningful substance, there are still diamonds in the rough that uphold the traditions of how music once was- reflective of emotional or dramatic life experiences. This is exactly the premise for dxadpoxt’s (pronounced Dead Poet) latest music album- The Casper Project.
The Casper Project is a HipHop album by dxadpoxt (released Dec 11, 2020) that explores the artists interpretation of death, with each song capturing key experiences, emotions, and feelings. There are varying energies and depths of enlightenment within the album, which all in all make it a reflection-valuable listening experience. I had the chance to interview dxadpoxt to learn more about The Casper Project, but first, give the album a listen below:
Dxadpoxt: The project is titled "The Casper Project" in reference to Casper the ghost and is kind of meant to draw a connection to my artist name dxadpoxt (pronounced dead poet). I've always had a fascination with and fear of death and have spent a long time exploring death through spirituality and religion, philosophy, science and through my music and art - which, in part, inspired the artist name. This project kind of represents this exploration - it's a conversation with myself about death with an attempt to come to terms with my own mortality. Each song, in it's own way, reflects my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with death.
Dxadpoxt: As a settler and non-Indigenous Canadian, I feel I have a responsibility to acknowledge this country's true history and to take actions in my life to pursue justice and equality. The territorial acknowledgement at the beginning of this album is an opportunity for listeners and myself to reflect on the impacts of colonialism, to be accountable to the Coast Salish peoples and to thank those who still live on and care for the land. I hope in my lifetime we see true reconciliation in Canada.
Dxadpoxt: I love this line and wrote it almost 10 years ago. This is the first reference to death on the project - the reality that all life comes to an end but it also speaks to youth and the inevitable passing of time The inner child is a beautiful thing and I think it's important to find ways to maintain and express aspects of our youth, but the world makes that very difficult sometimes and we all have to grow up eventually I guess.
Dxadpoxt: Love is a powerful drug. At times we tell ourselves exactly what we want to hear when we are in love, even if it's not true or destructive. We know we should leave or end something, or that a relationship has become toxic, but love is crazy man. We can become trapped by it. I've definitely been in that place and I think a lot of other people have too. This song was inspired by my own experiences with toxic love and also many of my friends. I've seen love turn people into animals and I wanted to try and express that chaos in this track.
Dxadpoxt: Good for you is also kind of a love song, but really more about the excitement and emotions of falling in love - before things become toxic. It's that feeling when you start to imagine being with someone, all the thoughts about how great things will be and how perfect you will be together. It's much more about thinking or feeling like something is going to work. It's kind of meant to feel like the honey-moon phase. What I really like about it though, is that at the end of the song I try to shift the energy back towards the potential toxicity of love. Love really opens a spectrum of emotion for humans that is crazy powerful. There's nothing like the feeling of being in love, but the pain you open yourself up to is wild.
Dxadpoxt: I actually didn't produce any of beats, but definitely had creative influence. I worked with a number of different producers and am super fortunate to have had their support. Runnin and IDWD were both produced by MDKNGHT - a good friend and absolutely incredible sound engineer, with the support of a very talented pianist/producer Andrew Lo. Space Between Us, Good 4 U, and Drugs were all produced by Keenan Strand - who is also the lead singer of an indie rock band called Too Much of Anything. You can definitely hear the indie/alternative vibes he brings to his production and the EP. And Casper was produced by J-100 - a crazy dope Korean producer out of Vancouver - definitely more trappy vibes with his sound. I really like how everything came together, a lot of variation in the sounds but I think we created some continuity across the project as well. The tracks feel and sound connected, even though they're all actually really different and this allowed me to go in a lot of directions lyrically.
Dxadpoxt: I'm happy that stood out. The whole intention behind IDWD was to go deeper, create closure, and end the project on a more positive note. The whole project is dark, I know that. At times, probably darker than I would have liked, but it's where I'm at and what I'm feeling. There's a lot of paranoia, fear, and pain across the first 5 songs. It's meant to feel kind of like a nightmare or a bad trip. But there is a lot to be positive about too. The world isn't all dark, love isn't all heartbreak, and death doesn't always cast a shadow on life - in fact it brings meaning to it. Like I was saying before, I've spent a lot of time worrying about death and what will happen after this life, but at the end of the day that doesn't change that the fact that we are all on a timeline. IDWD ends the project with me acknowledging and accepting this, and making a commitment to try and get the most out of my time here. There is a lot of honesty in that song and I feel like ending the project with it is also kind of reflective of me moving past my fear and fascination of death to a place of acceptance. It's time to bring back life.
Dxadpoxt: Shoutouts to everybody reading this and all the people supporting me and my music - it means the world to me. And everybody involved in the project. So many amazing artists and producers helped me bring this project to life. I feel blessed to have that kind of support. Finally, a special shoutout to my beautiful fiance - I know I haven't always made it easy, but she has had my back with this since day one and that really means a lot.
Here's where you can keep up with dxadpoxt’s future endeavors.
Interviewer: Aleksey W.