Tell us about Zack Fox.
I’m a musician, comedian, and actor. I grew up in Savannah and Atlanta. Uhh, my favourite movie is Hitch.
Many fans of your work may not realize how multidisciplinary your creative pursuits are. A short list includes directing, writing, illustrating, fashion, music, and stand-up comedy.
Is it challenging to balance all your creative pursuits?
Sometimes yeah, it can be difficult to really pin down what I wanna focus on and it seems like an insane mountain of things I could do but maybe not necessarily what I should be doing.
I’m still learning and growing into my art so when I have ideas I try to get them outta my head and onto paper immediately. I’ve stopped worrying about whether or not it’ll be anything because that’s the practice and the fun itself. Just sitting there and drawing or writing or freestyling for no reason is kinda the point so I just go with what I feel like everyday.
Developing longer form projects helps with that cuz I have a main focus and other more quickly executed things orbiting that which gives me some structure and allows me to be more collaborative.
Tell us about your recent single, 'sipping my tea.'
I wanted to rap on some s*** that sounds like if Soulja boy had an 80s family sitcom. BNYX just gets it.
I think we had been listening to grocery store music from the 70s and early Gucci Mane and J Money beats and those two things had a baby and that was the song.
We saw a fan editing the cover art on Twitter to show some eyes in the image's shadow. Naturally, we did the same for science.
What the f*** is this?
It’s Steve Harvey’s eyes.
I like to put Steve Harvey’s eyes in stuff I make.
Idk why it just makes me feel good to know he’s watching.
Within your music, there are nods to your southern roots, incorporating trap and dirty south styles.
What artists resonated with you growing up in the south?
Too many to even name but Project Pat, OJ da Juiceman, Kilo Ali, Gucci of course. Shawty Pimp. When I made Menace I was literally just trying to make Trial Time by The Last Mr. Bigg and Southside Da Realest by Big Tuck.
I love how advanced rap flows have become especially since Young Thug but my soul is tied to those extremely simple beats and rudimentary ass flows in old Alabama / Texas / Memphis / Atlanta rap. There’s a hidden complexity to doing that. And I love how shamelessly rambunctious and punk it all was.
I grew up on Pastor Troy and DSGB, DJ Unk, Oomp Camp, Trillville, Black Mobb, Crime Mob etc. so when people are like damn all you rap about is beatin’ folks up I’m like well yeah…
Often, rappers like yourself who incorporate comedic tones into their music fail to be taken seriously.
With your tracks, there is a level of nuance and refinement that other artists with comedic tones don't exhibit. Is it a balancing act at times to counterbalance comedic / non-comedic material?
Yeah for sure.
I think given the context of how I came into music people are often expecting the wildest s*** possible to be said but that’s not a realistic goal or something I try to chase. Sometimes it just happens of course because I’m still that guy, I’m still on some idiotic s*** but I just like making music and letting the comedy find its way in without shoehorning it.
Making music went from being a silly moment to a thing I actually love love so I don’t take it lightly but also I’m still just playing and having fun and growing with it naturally.
You had several inclusions on GTA 5 on "FlyLo FM," do you play video games?
I’m not a capital G gamer but hell yeah. I like old games like Jet Set Radio and Katamari, I cried when I finished ghost of Tsushima. Astral chain, Nier Automata type beat games are my s***. And of course GTA 5.
I don’t think Flylo even understands truly how happy that made me, hearing my voice and music playing while I’m being blown up repeatedly by a 12 year old on a flying motorcycle was incredible.
This will be me when 6 drops.
Recently, you stated in an Instagram post about wanting to do more 'art-focused events in the future.'
What are some of your favourite aspects of art-focused events?
I love doing stand up and performing music but it’s very singular cuz it’s just like “y’all look at me do this thing then we all go home” and not to knock that at all but there’s so many ways you can inject elements of both of those experiences into an art show and play around with how people move around in a space or interact with each other and your art. It has so much potential to be the nexus point of all the things I like doing in one space.
We thought it would be fun to fire off a few one-take sentences for how you would describe friends / collaborators.
ZACK FOX on EARL SWEATSHIRT
A tree. Honestly the funniest n**** like if he really hit that comedy button on y’all he’s taking first place so fast it’s upsetting.
ZACK FOX on THUNDERCAT
Ashy but wet at the same time somehow. Dusty but moist. Like an ash tray full of rainwater. That’s bae fr. Next Halloween I wanna dress up as Inuyasha and Kagome (I’m Kagome).
ZACK FOX on KENNY BEATS
You know when you’re on a random google image search and you see like an inspirational quote over a picture of some water or leaves and s***? That’s Kenny. He talks in Air BnB wall art. He’s chaotically nice and informative.
You sent us your upcoming surprise EP early with tracks accompanying a change in creative trajectory. It goes without saying this project is a departure from your prior works with singing (instead of rapping) and incorporating southern soul/boogie influences.
It's a jarring turn for the fans, I'm sure, but for people closest to me this is the guy they know intimately so adding it into the wheelhouse of what I wanna make felt more like a "duh" moment than a redirect if that makes sense. My dad is a soul/blues musician, and I grew up in the church heavy with my Mom who exposed me to an insane amount of music so growing in my art to a point where I can show another more vulnerable and genuine side of the little southern boy in me is fun as hell.
I've been a fan of Diamond Cafe for years, and we became friends and just started sending deep cuts back and forth, and I was like you know what fuck it let's go to Philly for a week and just see what happens with BNYX and this is what came of that.
Diamond is a superstar and the world needs to get it together and realize that.
BNYX is a genius you can play him anything and he metabolizes it in seconds so I just came with an arsenal of references like Keni Bburke, Sir Charles Jones, Tyrone Davis, Surface, Willie Hutch etc. and we all three just jammed out.
It's just pure soft unc tunes.
One of the standout tracks from the early EP you sent us was, 'only thing on my mind.'
Can you tell us a bit about that track in particular?
I was trying to make something that felt like Hiroshi Sato's album "this boy". Like you're on the beach with a thick Georgia baddie who just got her GED and y'all just drunk kissin and shit. So many love songs have a catch these days like "I love you but in a purely negative way because I refuse to unpack trauma," so I just wanted to make something straight up and happy like
"I love you b****, and I ain't never gon' stop loving you b****”.
What's next for Zack Fox?
I have an EP on the way that I’m super proud of. You’re gonna need…