It’s hard to pin down Xander’s sound because he’s adept at a myriad of styles. He can get your adrenaline pumping on Riton, David Guetta, and Jozzy’s EDM record “Where You Want,” reimagine a difficult-to-clear choir sample for Meek Mill’s “Sharing Locations,” and impress Timbaland with the future sound of music.
“I showed [Timbaland] a couple of my Brazilian funk beats, and he loved them and told me, ‘Keep going with that sound because that’s going to be the future of music right there,’” Xander told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the amorphous talent explains how he co-produced the aforementioned “Where You Want” record, how he saved Meek Mill’s “Sharing Locations,” and the flood of music he has coming in 2023. Read the exclusive interview with Xander below.
Who was the first major artist you were in the studio with?
My brother Nick Papz and I started off with YouTube beats, and Meek Mill’s A&R picked up on one of our YouTube beats. My brother connected with Meek Mill and got me involved with Meek. Learning how he works in the studio and communicates with his producers and other artists taught me how to communicate with artists and producers. Meek knows what he wants and when he wants it, too. He will just go through beats for five minutes. He’ll go through 20 beats in a pack in five minutes. He’s been a big learning curve in my life.
You and your brother co-produced Meek’s “Sharing Locations” and reportedly saved the record. How’d you do that?
They couldn’t put the record out because it had an extremely hard-to-clear sample. Nobody could get a hold of the original sample maker or the choir on the track. [Anthony] Cruz and my brother hit me up asking, “Yo, do you think you could do this? Do you think you could recreate this choir?” I whipped up some of the sauce on my computer. It took some time, but once it was there, it was perfect. Nick really liked it, and it was a go, and I’m really thankful that record came out.
People might not know you’ve worked with a few artists before they blew up. Coi Leray was one, right?
Yeah, but it’s a funny story. I went to LA way before COVID when Coi Leray was starting off as an artist. She had about 500,000 followers or something like that on Instagram. Cruz’s friend named Mone brought her into the studio. He knew her manager then, and he brought her into the studio, and she was just vibing out to our beats and talking to everybody. I had no idea who she was or anything like that. Then, we saw each other again in Miami, and she said, “I remember you! That was way before all of this.”
What record did you two work on?
It’s not out, and I can’t speak on it yet, but it’s fire. That’s all I have to tell y’all (laughs). It’s really a fire record. It’s different than what she’s been putting out. It’s a really dope Spanish record.
You’ve also been in the studio with megaproducers Timbaland and Murda Beatz. What did you learn from them?
I was in the studio with Murda Beatz in Las Vegas. It was a chill cook-up. We were cooking up with Sevyn Streeter and Eric Bellinger. We were just talking, chilling, getting to know each other, and making beats. He’s definitely somebody I’ve been listening to for quite a bit. Working with Timbaland happened when I was in Miami for the Coi Leray sessions. He wanted us to pop out to his studio. It was crazy to be in that setting and hear how he thinks. I had been tapping into the Brazilian funk world, and he told me that this was the future of music. He said he was trying to get this sound over to Missy Elliott and said, “Bro, if you create a Brazilian funk album with Missy Elliott, that’s going to go crazy.” I showed him a couple of my Brazilian funk beats, and he loved them and told me, “Keep going with that sound because that’s going to be the future of music right there.”
You’ve been branching outside of hip hop and recently produced the song “Where You Want” by Riton, David Guetta, and Jozzy. How did that come about?
That was a Warner Chappell camp in Vegas they invited me to. I had a session with Jozzy, Peoples, and Daoud. Peoples and Daoud are two producers, and Jozzy is a songwriter and an artist. We just made something. We recorded a guitar, and Jozzy sang on top of the guitar. And then Jozzy had this idea of, “What if we turn this into a dance record?” I thought that’d be crazy. They gave me the vocals, and I went to this little corner in the studio, put my headphones on, and started working my magic a little bit. Then everybody started throwing ideas. We had no idea it would be pitched to David Guetta or anything like that. I’m really proud of that one.
How did David add his spin to what you did?
I did the drums, the vocal chops, some chords in the back, and a bunch of other miscellaneous pads and stuff. They kept a lot of my production in there, which I’m thankful for. The only thing I knew that was extremely different was the baseline.
How did the record show off your talents?
A lot of people know me from my drums, so I feel the Xander sound in this David Guetta track is the drums and the vocal chops. I tend to go into hype mode when it comes to house music and EDM. I try to get into that zone and make it something that people can kind of jump to and go crazy to in the club. I make so many different kinds of music; honestly, it’s hard to depict my own sound because I listen to it daily. It’s the drums and the way that I compose the song together.
What do you have coming up for the rest of 2023?
I have a lot coming up. There’s a lot. Some stuff I can’t speak about yet, but then there’s other stuff. I have my own artist career going on. I had the top-streamed lo-fi jazz album last year, which is really dope. It was No. 1. I got a lot more coming. I’m working on this new project for my artist project. I’m deejaying this festival in August in Germany. I have this whole EDM project. I have stuff with Meek Mill coming out on his new album. There’s so much coming from me.