The 24-year-old musician’s legal moniker is William Pride, but his 40,000 Twitter followers know him by another name — FoxxTrax.
By day, Pride works at NYU as a full-time senior computer lab technician, and by night, he descends into his musical lair: his room in his parents’ Bronx home. Wearing his bulky, wireless over-ear headphones like a crown, the tall and lanky Pride towers over his laptop, seemingly on a higher plane of existence as he weaves together his musical magic. He describes his style of music as “chill hip-hop,” crediting his multicultural background; his mother is from Puerto Rico and his father a mix of African-American and Native-American. Pride combines these inspirations from his favorite musicians for his own songs, which he posts on YouTube and Soundcloud.
Though music is one of his passions, Pride also has another passion for technology. He strives to combine these passions to create a body of original work. The musician sat down with us and chatted about his all-encompassing hobby.
Q: What got you to start making music?
A: About two years ago, one of my close friends needed beats, and always having interest in it, I decided to start making beats to help him out.
Q: How did you learn to actually make music? Did you teach yourself?
A: Yes. I mainly watched Youtube videos and purchased tutorials to teach myself, but when I needed extra help I’d ask some other friends who were artists.
Q: As an up-and-coming artist yourself, it must be difficult trying to get people to listen to your music. What strategies have you used to get more people to tune in?
A: As more of a producer it’s easy getting someone to listen to a beat in the style of an artist who is current than it is to get someone to listen to your original stuff. Most of the time if you check someone else’s music out they will check you out in return. That method is tedious, but it’s the best way without paying top dollar for promotion.
Q: What is the inspiration for your music?
A: Current songs on the radio inspire me, my friends who are also artists inspire me, but it really comes down to my mood. A lot of beats come from whatever I’m feeling at the moment.
Q: How do you actually produce your music? What are the steps to making a beat?
A: Usually I would sit down with an idea and fill it out, or I would scroll through my sounds until I hear something I want to use. Steps vary per person, for me I gotta find out what I want to do with the beat I’m going to make and what mood am I going to set, then I continue to find elements that support that mood. Then after I just clean it up and make it sound good.
Q: Approximately how many hours a day do you spend making music?
A: It depends. At the very least, two hours on a busy day. There are some days where I will spend 10+ hours just because I’ve got the time and inspiration. Like I said, just depends on the day.
Q: Where is your studio?
A: My studio is everywhere and anywhere. I mainly work from my laptop, so virtually anywhere can be my studio. For the most part though, I’m producing from my room or on the train to and from work.
Q: You are still living with your parents. Are they supportive of your hobby?
A: My parents support it. My mom will sometimes walk past my room and hear me working on a beat and say “Oh, I like this, William,” which is nice, but most of the time she’ll just tell me to turn it down because I’ll be playing so loudly without even realizing it.
Q: How does your multicultural background influence the music you make?
A: I personally like to add congas and brass instruments to my beats where I can because it is very often used in the salsa music that I grew up on. Also, growing up I wasn’t allowed to listen to rap and hip-hop so I don’t have the influences normal producers my age have. The way I like to think of it is that it allows me to be a little more creative with my approaches.
Q: You’ve had a Twitter account for only five months. How did you manage to get over 40,000 followers in such a short amount of time?
A: About 20,000 came from paid promotion and the other half was just following other people. As I said before, it’s this tedious process of checking out another artist’s work and following them then they follow you back. Tedious, but effective.
Q: If you could collaborate with any musician for one of your tracks, dead or alive, who would you choose?
A: Drake, because he has a large audience and whatever he touches is gold. After working with him I would have a ton of buzz.
Q: You’ve recorded about 21 songs. Which of these has been the most successful and what inspired you to make it?
A: My most successful song is a Shakira remix I made awhile back. I enjoyed the song’s hook but I hated the verse so I replace her vocals with a house beat.
Q: What has been the most difficult roadblock that you’ve run into?
A: Effectively taking what’s in my head and transferring it into the workstation.
Q: Can you give me specific example of this?
A: Sound design, which is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements, is difficult because there are many different elements to sounds and parameters to create them. For example, if I want to capture the sound of me whistling, it is very hard to exactly recreate the tone and pitch of the whistling noise because it is able to vary much more than an instrument, especially a computer one.
Q: What has been the most rewarding thing to come from your work as an artist?
A: Seeing my plays, follows, and likes going up and the occasional someone getting excited to hear my beats.
Q: Who would you f***, marry, and kill between the R&B artists Jhene Aiko, Nicki Minaj, and Tinashe?
A: F*** Jhene Aiko, marry Nicki Minaj, and kill Tinashe.
Q: What do you ultimately hope to achieve with your music?
A: Influence, royalty checks, and just still having fun making music.