Artist Spotlight : Alex Harris
Name: Alex Harris
Hometown: Commerce, TX
Hailing from Texas, Alex Harris is one of the brightest and most promising young artists coming out of the 3rd coast - not only musically but aesthetically with a vision that touches every aspect of the experience. With a truly unique sound, trippy melodic hooks and verses, solid bars, and beats that are one of a kind that are a nod to the influences of the southern artists that came before him. At the same time, changing the game with a new spin and essence that truly hasn't been felt before with these vibes. We are all very excited to see what Alex Harris and the whole 3:AM Ugly crew keeps dropping in the months to come. Instead of waiting for their wave, they are truly starting their own. Keep tabs on all that is going on at www.3amugly.com
Where are you from? Tell us a little about your background
Well I grew up in a small town called Commerce, TX up until the summer before going into High School. Growing up there is different than anywhere else because of how tight knit the community is. Everyone knows everyone, and as a kid you can’t get away with much without someone knowing your business. I can’t say it is a super inspiring place to live, but it is what I consider to be my hometown. I find myself appreciating it more as I get older. It is pretty relaxing to go back and visit now. After I moved to DFW to start high school my life changed a lot. I was in a huge city for the first time and It was overwhelming. I remember wanting to move back after the first six months because I wasn’t fitting in. A little further into high school I met a group of friends who skateboarded like I did and after that I was constantly in the city. I was living about twenty minutes outside of downtown Dallas so on the weekends and weekdays we were filming and skating all over the city. Those guys I met and grew up with at that point in time became my brothers. I still am very close to all of them and to this day we still work together. Everyone of them has a different talent and now we can pull all those together to create. After high school I started college at Texas State University. I was studying to be an English major, but never knew how to maintain studying. I wasn’t into school at all and it was around this time that I started to take music seriously. I met Amir Rofoogar who is now engineering and helping me write music today. I also met Nate Coop during that time and we would constantly work on music together. It was in college that I realized I had a real passion for music. Long story short I dropped out my junior year decided I wasn’t going back to school. I worked a few jobs after that, one being a pool-boy cleaning pools for rich people in the suburbs back in DFW. After doing that for awhile I saved up money and decided to move in with my buddies I met in high school out in Long Beach, CA. That turned into a six month party and before I knew it I was broke, struggling to stay sober, and getting home sick. One night Amir Rofoogar gave me a call and convinced me to come back to Texas to live with Nate Coop and himself in Houston, TX. Ever since then we’ve been really productive and making some of the best music I think I’ve done so far. They really helped me fall in love with music again, so here I am.
Texas is an interesting place, how do you think being from Texas allows you to have a unique perspective on the industry right now?
I think it makes me unique because I really pay tribute to where I’m from. I am a born and raised Texan and I feel like I shed light on things about Texas that isn’t always seen. There is more to Texas hip/hop than the Houston era. I grew up listening to all of those artist, but I feel like I am showing love to every region of Texas. I can see myself settling down in Texas when I get older.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
It is a crazy time for the music industry. People can drop a track on the internet and have their entire life change over night. As long as people are able to express themselves and be heard through the internet I think it will only get better. Artist don’t really need a record deal to make a living off music, and that is beautiful. All I’ve ever wanted was to live comfortably off creating music and art. The new type of music industry we live in is making that feasible for people like me.
What separates you and some of the other up and coming artists right now?
I’m very experimental. The music I have been releasing lately is very much rap music, but the team I work with and I are constantly trying new sounds. I want to be able to make records with artist across all genres of music. I guess It is all talk at this point, but when people hear some of the tracks we intend to release in the future I think they will be surprised.
Who are some of your biggest influences musically or not?
I listen to all types of music, but there are definitely specific artist I am inspired by. When it comes to lyrics and just raw emotion in music I look up to The Smiths. My dad was in high school in the eighties and he put me onto their music while I was in college. Morrissey is pretty much everything I would want to be as an artist, even though I feel I’m a little less dark with my content. The album “The Hateful Hollow” is a record that changed my life and how I feel music should create feelings for people.
I started rapping when I got really into east coast hip/hop. I just like the consistency in the instrumentals from the nineties hip/hop. You can just write and always know the beat is coming back right where you left it. It allows you to use your voice as an instrument more so than production in rap today. The list of inspiration for that era would be way too long so I couldn’t even start to list it.
I wrote over a lot Mobb Deep stuff in my early music and was just using Youtube to find producers like Lewis Parker, Pete Rock, Dilla, and Slum Village. I remember when I first started writing music I was so hell bent on only doing boom bap. As I met more musicians I started to experiment with different styles and now I can say I enjoy both the nineties era of production and todays the same. Through all the east coast hip/hop I always listened to southern hip/hop though. When I think of Southern rap for my generation I think of Outkast or UGK. Of course there is a ton I am not mentioning, but in terms of being trend setters those were the most unique in my eyes.
You've had the opportunity to open up for some pretty big names when they roll through Texas. What was it like being able to perform with Juicy J, Big Krit, A$AP Ferg, or any of the other Artists you've had the opportunity to perform with?
All of those experiences were great, but I wasn’t really sure of who I was as an artist at that point. Like I said I was really focused on nineties influenced rap. The music definitely resonated with people because a lot of it was story telling. I just was not sure how I wanted to carry myself as an artist at that time. All the shows I did I was opening for these artist I looked up to in hopes they would see my performance and reach out to me. Little did I know that just because you open for someone doesn’t mean you get to meet them. That was pretty disappointing, but I guess it is just part of paying your dues. The headliners show up late and you and your posse are sent out from backstage as soon as the sets over. The shows in those short 15 minutes or so of being on stage are indescribable though. I fell in love with being on stage and to this day it is my favorite thing to do. Nothing compares.
If you could work with anyone right now who would it be?
There are a couple people I can think of. I am really digging Anderson Paak’s music at the moment. That guy is going to be a legend one day. I’ve never seen a better live performance from an up and coming artist. Also Kendrick Lamar because he really inspired me when I was trying to find myself during college. His storytelling and humility on records has always stuck with me. I might be here all day making this list though. Collaboration is something I am always looking out for as an artist.
Fill us in on what 3:AM Ugly is?
3:AM Ugly is the platform for my friends and I to promote anything we create. I’ve got people involved who I’ve known for over a decade and we all have stuck together and stayed working on what we believe in. It is bigger than just my music. The site and the brand itself represents our group as a whole. We’ve got people producing, doing fashion, filming, photography, skateboarding, and generating media. It’s a group of people that care about quality and intend to protect our art. We all just want to express ourselves and keep creating emotion and conversation through art.
Of course I want to shoutout 3amugly.com because that is where you can find our team's work as a collective. Be on the look out for music and visuals dropping all summer that everyone over at 3amugly has been working on. Also Nate Coop, Demarquis McDaniels, Eric Lawrence, Nick Gower, Barret Huie, and Amir Rofoogar. Those are all people who helped me get to this point. Thank you to Field Report as well for being so supportive.
Check out Alex's videos below or download his song 'Gravy' here