Who the fuck is Lex Allen?
Who The Fuck Is Lex Allen?:
Come find out.
Who The Fuck Is Lex Allen? Come find out
Flow: What's your name?
Lex: My name is Lex Allen.
Flow: Lex Allen, how old are you?
Flow: 27? How does it feel?
Lex: It feels good.
It's been a fun year.
The most fun I've had while being 27. I just like having lost a care of what people have to say.
Flow: That's the most freeing thing, I swear to God. I woke up on my 27th birthday and it was like, fuck it. Right? I'm funny. I don't care what you think.
Lex: Right, it's like what the fuck?
Flow: Epic, epic. You said you were 19 when you started singing?
Lex: Yeah, 19 when I started singing seriously in choir and all that stuff in high school. Did all that shit. Then just like 19 I sat and wrote my first real, real song. It was pretty dope.
Flow: Who's been your biggest supporter?
Lex: My oldest brother.
he got me my first guitar and he got me my first keyboard. Granted I didn't master them or learn them, he got them. With that we found that I'm better off with singing and writing, you know? That's my strong house; I'm going to stay in there.
Flow: How many shows have you done?
Lex: Oh, God. I would say probably close to 100 shows. Yeah, damn I've never thought about that.
Damn, damn that's dope. Saying that just put it in perspective.
Lex: For singing? Minneapolis, Chicago, and here really. This year is really about I have a fan base here, so now it's about traveling and spreading the Lex love everywhere.
Flow: Especially over the last, I want to say 3, 4 months you've been all over the internet. Everyone's been talking with sharing and tweeting it on Twitter. All over facebook talking about it. What do you think brought on the sudden burst of ...
Lex: That I have no cares. I'm really being transparent now. I'm just here you know. I do a lot of freaky shit; I like freaky shit; I like weird shit; I like normal shit too. It's me showing that I have a really professional side. Thank God I'm not running for politics or anything, because I do have that awkward weird, you explore life side. I feel like people hide that often. I feel that if people were more open and honest about it there would be less hatred for people who are actually living freely as themselves. People see that and they're like, "No, I can't do it because I'm afraid. Ah, shun you, shun you." I'm just like look I could sing for you and then we go do some crazy shit at a party. That's ...
That is life. From my experience, that's where the real shit is. I'm going to see if I can work with you or not, based on how you interact on a non-business setting. If I can't kick it with you, I don't want anything to do with you.
Flow: That's real. That's very real.
Lex: I don't care if you can count my money well, but can I go like the president and shit. Can I have a beer with you?
Flow: That's real.
Lex: It is real.
Flow: If I can't drink with you, I'm really not that interested in you.
Lex: Right? No, I'm good. Then it's a level of distrust. I'm sorry, no you got to do some shit. I got to be comfortable around your ass.
Flow: What's been your favorite show?
Lex: It would have to be Summer Fest. Seeing my mom light the fuck up. She was so proud of that moment. That was when I was like damn, Mike, this is what you do for a living. That was 1 of the moments. You do this for a living. What? You actually set out. People think you do all this shit comes so easy. Like you, like me, you have to work your ass off to get where you are. I feel that's why I know I can sit humbly in and I can say really confidently. I'm like I'm going to show you some cockiness at some point because I really did earn this. It's been 7 years in the making. I earned this shit.
Flow: Okay, I earned it. That's real. That's real as fuck. I completely agree. What has been your favorite experience this year?
Lex: Okay, I believe it was the Hunger Task Force show at Best Place. Best Place, the Pabst Best Place in the brewery area. The lighting was just on point. It was just something about the atmosphere of that show. It was just really fun. Carson Kellogg was on the bill and all this shit, too. It was family, friends, and new faces, too. That's the thing, too. Every show there was a new face. Someone is always being exposed to either my music, or one of my family's music. From New Age Narcissism, or anybody that rolls around. Anybody in the Milwaukee music scene. It's always just like that. I don't know, it was just that show was really just dope. I love that.
Flow: Your band, how'd you meet them? How'd you work with them? Why'd you pick them?
Lex: Yeah, it wasn't even about picking them. Everything just fell in place. It wasn't anyone sought after each other. I just remember one time I had a music video, Mirror Mirror, which was being directed by this guy Derek Rickert. He showed me WebsterX's Desperate Youth, because he had directed. That was like, "Who the fuck is this? he dope as fuck. I want to work with you."
I found Web on Twitter, and I was like, "Dude, I loved Desperate Youth," or whatever. I was like, "Sometime we're going to have to work." Then, it was 2 months, 2 or 3 months later, he sent me the link for Renaissance, and we went and recorded that, and it was like, "Oh damn, that's dope as fuck." It was crazy from there. From there I met Fresh Cut Collective, which consists of Chris Gilbert, Q the Sun. From them I met Bo Triplex. It was a snowball effect.
Being patient with the process, and being okay with the fumblings of things, and just like, "Okay, that didn't work." But I don't be discouraged because I was absolutely always this inner intuition, inner-knowing. I don't worry. That's one of the biggest things. I just never worry because I know with my actions and what I put out, and the shit I work towards, the same people who are going to be doing that shit are going to ... You're going to be attracted to that. You're attracted to things that you're attracted.
It's almost like a narcissistic thing. We like people who are similar to us at times. In little certain instances, you have to connect on 1 or 2 levels of what I'm about. It's that cross pollination of morals and beliefs and shit. It was just that. It was a natural falling into place. It was just like, oh shit. We had a meeting one day, we were just like, "This is kind of working; we should do this."
Flow: The music scene in Milwaukee, the artists, the community, how do you feel about it?
Flow: I mean obviously it's small. Most community, every city is a small community, but do you feel like it works well? You think they take care of each other?
Lex: I feel like everyone does. There's always a show to go to. There's always something popping up, even if there's nothing planned. When you go to High Dive on Center Street. Last night no one expected to go in there and there's a Latin salsa infusion. It was packed. I was at the Miramar and there was nobody there. People like that intimate, just turn up situation. Everybody looks out for each other. Everyone goes to each other's shows. It's better than what it was before. It's not ego centered I don't feel as much because everyone's collaborating with each other now. They're making such good sounds. This dude is different as fuck as this dude, but when they get together, they make some, "What the fuck did I just listen to?" Your mind just loves it. Like I said, it's almost artistic cross pollination.
Flow: I like that, artistic cross pollination.
Lex: There it is, go. I'm watching a lot of documentaries. Watch a lot of bees and food industry.
Flow: There's lots of things happening across the country. It's hard to be a black man in America, always has been. We thought it got a little bit better, but now the shootings that are happening, everyone dying, getting their ass beaten, having zero justice. It's striking incredible revolution across country because for the first time in our American history, the activists, we're intelligent. Now, we're in positions of power. We're not going down with a fight. We're being louder. We're making more noise and making people pay attention.
It's been really interesting trying to talk to people and make them understand why blocking people from shopping, how that has to do with this. It has to do with it because you're now thinking about it. That's what is has to do with it. It's like me saying there's lots of things happening in Milwaukee. We have a police captain or whoever, chief whoever he is, biggest Uncle Tom I've ever seen in my goddamn life. It's heartbreaking.
Lex: He is heavy.
Flow: I feel like everything that's happening in Milwaukee and across country really affects the community of art. Do you think it has an effect? Do you feel like you guys go out of your way to attend activist events?
Lex: Free Space is all about that. It's about the culture of the arts, but with inclusion. That is the biggest thing. For me personally, it's saddening, but it's not something to sit and dwell on like you said because there are a ton of us out here now. For me, it's more stepping out this year and more of the LGBT rim of things and dealing with how being black and being LGBT black male. You're hated by everybody. You're hated by your own community. You're hated by. You're hated by everybody. If you're gay, that's just like, "Oh." Then you put on ethnicity and they're like, "You're black and gay." Shit. I just took that mindset out.
One day I was just like, "You know what? I'm white privileged." We're all white privileged when you think about it because without us they wouldn't have anything to be privileged for. I was taking that mindset. It's like you ain't nothing special. We created you. I try to take it away from that because I have grown up in such a diverse world. It was just watching. It's saddening because I often feel like I have to choose a side when it comes to anything like race. I always just try to steer clear of it, but then now it's become so unavoidable. Being on Facebook or Instagram, I'm now being an artist where I am like, yeah, my people are beautiful. Yes, we're smart as fuck. We want justice; we want equality. My skin does not dictate how I should be treated.
With that mindset, it's touchy. I don't like the fact that being black and gay, like I said, my Instagram, I was just reading a comment today. You fag, you almost ruined James Bond for me. I was like why are you allowed, why are people allowed that? Why are you allowed to just say hurtful shit or why are you allowed to demonize or make one class feel lesser? When I think about it all these things, me and my friends are sitting around. We're like, "Okay, there's black this, black this." You notice every notation of anything black, it's always a negative thing. It's like, "Black this, black that." Why can't it just be ice?
Noticing that stuff, because I used to be so blinded by race and all this stuff because I grew up in the hood. I grew up on fucking 6th and Center. It was just weird though. To them I was never black. It was just weird to me because talking educated and all this shit. Now, it's different. Now, we have educated people, more that are out there, that speak openly. Now, I feel more comfortable talking now, but back then, motherfuckers would just be like, "Oh, you don't belong over here." It was because I'm poor right now. It's temporary, motherfucker. It was always never black enough for the black kids and never white enough for the white kids. I was always stuck in the middle. It did skew my identity a bit, but growing up and really wanting and having that need to know my culture and want to know who are these amazing people that I was never told about?
Who are these amazing artists that were pushed under the rug because they were black and singing for all these artists? Half of the artists they were all lipsyncing to African American artists and shit. Seeing this and then becoming more aware, now I understand more. In school, of course, we were taught that we were slaves and shit. We got taught about the motherfucker who made peanut butter. That is it. The black people gave us peanut butter and slavery. No, we were inventors; we were fucking engineers, right? We were that and we still are. My stance is be aware. That awareness and not downplaying someone's cause. I feel like when I listen to or see online where people are talking the black lives matter and all that shit and they try to just push it under the rug and this article said the best. Beyonce's Formation video. They were like, "If this was on the BET Awards, nobody would be saying shit."
Flow: At all.
Lex: They wouldn't be saying anything. What up? Beyonce's a black.
Yeah. Your eyes are open. I'm grateful to know a lot of people that are around me of all races, they know. They're very aware of what's going on in the city and around the world, but I feel that's just a pocket. That's just a pocket of shit. I live on Prospect and Lafayette. That's a much more white neighborhood. I love all my neighbors. I just had this one experience where this lady literally just huddled up. I was like are we still at that? Are we still there. Come on.
Flow: The thing about huddling up, too, clutching several times, if I wanted to hurt you, what do you think that's going? For real. Did that really make you feel safer?
Lex: I see the growth and I know there's more to go. I feel the people that are doing their part are doing their part. Everyone is doing what they need to do right now. That's all I can say.
Flow: Do you feel that artists, musicians, visual artists, anything, do you feel like they have a responsibility to ...
Lex: I feel like I have no responsibility to anybody. When you create, if someone has you, I say art is art. If you make person react whether it's good or bad, you've done your job as an artist. From there, people can base their opinions on some shit. No, I'm not responsible for you, but if what I'm about, my want to be equal, my desire to get what I deserve as a human motivates you to want to do the same thing, then as an artist I've done my job, too, because that in itself is another form of art.
Lex: I just feel no artists owes you anything. That's just like me coming to your house, like, "No, you owe me a portion. I want the lighting like this." No, it's your vision. I decide to be a part of it. Whether the outcome is something I desire, good or bad, I was a part of your art. We don't owe anybody anything. That's the biggest thing with artists. People always feels like act or someone puts something out. You owe me something. What? No, I'm creating this from my mind, my psyche, for my well being. I am grateful that you attach to it. Some shit I do create for, like those lovey dovey songs, all that shit like that, but for the most part, no one can tell you that your art has a responsibility to do something for someone else.
Flow: Yeah, okay. How do you feel activists play a role within the artist community?
Lex: Activists link with the artists and musicians. They find the people that can come to the show who has a song that is about what they're about. 9 times out of 10 that person is in agreeance with whatever the activist or person is talking about. You've aligned yourself with people. I align myself with the LGBT community. I align myself with activists who do dope shows and dope shit to raise money for homeless youth, who raise money for LGBT testing and all that shit like that. That's how I contribute to those things. That's what my voice can do. My voice can bring in people and bring in awareness.
That is the switch off. That's the difference between the activist and the artist. An artist contributes what they can to bring in the people and bring what you believe. I know I have big business for big government, big corporations and shit. If someone was like, "Damn, I have this rally." Yeah, I'm definitely going to go and say nice shit because that's something I believe in. I believe that they put all this shit in our face that we don't need. I came in here. This is the kind of problem obviously just simple. Set your ass down. Maybe you watch a movie, but you don't need a billion things. It's very much that, man.
If I fully believe in what you are about and I fully believe in that mission, hell yes. I'm about to contribute and I will put my name on the line for some shit. Yeah, I will do that, but if I don't believe in it and you tell me that I owe you something because I'm gay and I need to perform, no. I may be gay, but that's a white supremacist. That's like some hate against Jews. I'm not going to. No. Just that thing, we have that. Oh, you're black. Yeah, nigger, I'm black, but that don't mean I got to try to blow these little things. We pick our ways we go about doing things.
For me, I've always been very about my shit, come on. MLK with a little bit of Malcom X because people see that shit. I love it. I love the diversity of the fan base that I have. I love the diversity. There's old, young, black, white, gay, straight. I fully believe it's because it's the mission of full equality, full love. I don't even fuck who you are. You deserve to be treated like-
Flow: A human being.
Lex: Whether you're black, white, I feel no plight will ever personally come to what ours has personally. The things I've been through personally as a LGBT male, being a black male growing up, I feel like everything is about perspective. I got picked on more for being LGBT back in the day. I never got shit really for being black. I feel that's how we choose. That's how we choose our battles. That's how we choose what we give our time and our energy to. It's really things that if you put your passion somewhere where it does not belong, your voice is not heard. You really just need to readjust some shit. Put in your voice where it will do the most effective ... I don't know what I'm looking for. Effective work and really move some minds in that sense. Align your principles with an activist.