I recently had the opportunity to chat with emo rocker TX2. Evan Thomas, better known by his stage name of TX2, is a viral YouTuber and Tiktok star. He released his first single in 2018 and has been on the rise ever since. His catchy hooks and melodic beats are just as bold as he is. Love him or hate him, he's here to stay. He just released his EP, Ghost of LA, this past Friday, along with the music video for his latest single, "Black Wedding". Check out our exclusive interview, and then stream the new music below to find out why I can't get enough of this rising artist!
MSM: So, I was immediately drawn to your sound, and then I just love how everything about you is you. You're just really bold and unapologetic. You're just like, "this is me".
TX2: Oh, yeah. Thank you. That's my goal. I felt like I spent and wasted too much of my life worrying about things and about how I was perceived, and so now it's like life's counting down. I just feel like I got to make the most of what I have left.
MSM: Yeah, absolutely. It's really inspiring.
TX2: Thank you. That means a lot.
MSM: So, how did you get started with making music?
TX2: Yeah, so I got started making music when I was five years old. I started on the drums. My brother also played guitar. My mom wanted my brother and I to bond, so I took lessons and we started playing in a band together. Then in middle school, we started playing in a band together, and the band had limited local town success except for we just lost one of the band members. And actually she ended up passing away in a car accident, and everybody decided to quit and everybody gave up on music, and I told myself I didn't want to give up on music. I decided to become TX2 because for me, TX2 was like... I was a drummer originally, and I never thought I could sing, but rapping was like drumming with words. So I went from playing in rock bands to becoming a rapper, and I was clowned on doing that. Everybody told me I couldn't make it, and I spent my life hearing so many nos. I pretty much said it to myself that no matter what, I'm going to make it one day, whatever it takes. And then I started really building out TX2 and took vocal lessons, learned to sing, and then I came back to rock because I was like, that's what I meant when I was doing rap music just by itself. It felt a little bit inauthentic, and this was a way for me to, I don't know, just be myself again and kind of get back into rock music. Hopefully that answers the question.
MSM: Back to tour, how has that been going?
TX2: The tour has been awesome. I have an awesome crew with me. It's like a family on the road. We've already been on the tour for one month. We played 18 or something shows with Magnolia Park across the west coast of the US and now we're doing a headline run, which has been selling out shows. And I never would've thought, especially after growing up and being told that I would never make it by so many people, including even my dad at that time, that now I'm selling out shows in the states. I've never even... this is my first time, my first time ever being in Detroit. I sold out a show in Detroit. It was crazy.
MSM: Wow. And I was watching just some of the videos you've got on Instagram, and it's just like everyone knows every line. It's amazing.
TX2: It's crazy. It's insane that people know this and that. People are singing every night. It's always a shock.
MSM: Yeah. So I was also wondering if you were familiar with Magnolia Park before the shows?
TX2: Yeah. They actually asked me to be on a song before we even went on the tour, and I was a big fan of their music, and that's when we did "Life in the USA".
MSM: Okay, that's cool. So you're about to release your EP, Ghost of LA. What can you share about the creative process behind this project?
TX2: Sure. So a few of the songs started off being kind of personal stories about my own life, but I'd always grown up listening to albums like The Black Parade and American Idiot, which are concept albums front to back. They're one big story. And I'd always told myself I wanted to do that, and I'm a big fan of storytelling. So I decided to take these personal stories and then create a character that had a lot of similarities to my own life. And then I started writing about this character and writing songs for this character. So I would say three of the songs on the EP were kind of had loose similarities to my life and were about this character. And then the other three, we kind of converted into the story, but it's just one big story front to back. I'm so lucky that I had met Cam, he's my guitarist now, and he joined the project and basically has been the light through all of this and has been helping and being part of it and keeping me afloat through everything and helped guide and curate the vision with me for the EP. And yeah, we just had this idea of one story front to back, and the story is of, like I said, has a lot of loose parallels to my life. It's of a closeted gay man who ends up getting in a relationship with a girl. He gets pregnant, but she has religious parents and sometimes with religious families. I've seen this before. The girl ends up getting forced to get married to him, and they get into a forced marriage by her parents, and he just does not want to be in the marriage. He's not himself. He wants to be a rockstar. And he's chasing this vision and image in his head of what a rockstar is like, but his life looks nothing like it. And from there, it's just crumbling. And it was based off in my life. I always told myself that if I didn't make it in music, I didn't want to be here anymore. And I pretty much adopted that mindset and really fueled the fire behind why I'm every day showing up to live stream, post work, write. And thankfully, it's given me success and I'm lucky for that. But in this story, it's basically a character who is unhappy with everything and instead of succeeding has the same mindset, but doesn't succeed. And I've seen a lot of people in LA and a lot of people in my life who kind of resemble this character that is about.
MSM: Okay. I can't wait to hear it.
TX2: Oh, thanks. I can't wait for you to hear it too.
MSM: Yeah. So you're also about to release the video for "Black Wedding". Can you share anything about the video?
TX2: Oh yeah. The video was sweet. We brought an old friend of mine named Peter Stein who directed all of my old music videos and a new director, Cameron Greco, or Greco and Cam and I brought them together. There's two Cams now, by the way. Cam, my guitarist, and then the other director, and Peter. And we all came together and we had this idea for how do we tell this EP story through music videos? So we shot two music videos back to back, one for black wedding and one for six seconds that are like this story in the form of a visual. And so the first music video is Black Wedding, and it's about the marriage. And the second music video is called Six Seconds. It'll release a week directly after Black Wedding, and it'll be kind of about the aftermath.
MSM: That sounds cool, Amy. Just from the thumbnail of it, it looked fun.
TX2: Yeah. Oh, it's a fun, the first music video, "Black Wedding", will be very, very fun. And I think "Six Seconds" will be very, very cinematic and kind of like the opposite it. It's a pretty dark song, arguably one of the darkest songs I've ever wrote and one of the darkest music videos, I think. I just don't even know how it gets darker than six seconds. I hope I don't have to revisit that angle again. Yeah.
MSM: So, about the EP, do you have a favorite song from it or a favorite set of lyrics?
TX2: Yeah, I think "Six Seconds" was my favorite song off the EP, and I just think it's a haunting track. It's very haunting, basically. I struggled with my own mental health in a lot of my life, and I used to struggle with the idea that I didn't need to be here, and that nobody would care if I was here or gone anymore. And thankfully, I'm here and I've lived to see all of the success and things that came at a time when I thought they wouldn't come. And I think a lot of people will relate to this, but since I know a lot of my fans also struggle with their own mental health, I wanted to write a song about the regret people face with suicide. I want to make sure that the song very carefully does not romanticize suicide. I think it's important that we never do that, but instead deter people away from it. I wrote the song actually after taking a bunch of shrooms and watching a bunch of documentaries from people who lived off the Golden Gate. The Golden Gate jump. I'm not sure if you know what I'm referring to, but I think points 1% of people who jump off the Golden Gate and in a suicide attempts actually lived. And every single person who's lived has told a story of regret. And in the last second, they regretted the jump and I decided to write a song about the main character of this ep and the regret they face with their decision to take their own life and specifically focus on their regret. Because I think people need to hear that. And that's a message that hopefully can save some lives, is just that you will regret it and there's nothing romantic about it. It's the worst decision you'll ever make.
MSM: Yeah. That's powerful.
TX2: Thank you.
MSM: So, what have you been listening to lately?
TX2: That's tough. We've been listening to a bunch of things. I mean, on the road, I'm at the mercy of whoever's on aux, but a lot of that is, we've been listening to a lot of "Bring Me the Horizon". I feel like we listen to MCR the most. And then what else? System of a Down, Green Day, everything you'd expect in the rock realm.
MSM: Yeah. So I have some fun questions. I think I skipped another serious one actually. It's an important one. Yes. Why is it so important for you to continuously stand up for LGBTQ+ rights?
TX2: I would say for me, well, I'm bisexual. I spent most of my life thinking there was something wrong with me. Well, not most of my life, but when I started figuring out that I was bisexual around 17, 18, I thought there was something wrong with me. I tried to pray it away, and then I started moving away from God. And my dad always told me that being gay was a choice and it was a mental illness. And I actually believed him for long enough that it really fucked with my own view of myself. And I want to make sure that anybody, that's something I can relate to, experienced it. And I wish I had someone who was like, I guess kind of masculine looking or presenting that was talking about being bisexual and their sexuality so that I could understand and relate that I don't want people to have this. People have this stereotype of bisexual men that they need to look and appear a certain way, and I want to break that stereotype so that we can hit everybody. And at the same time, I've been bullied my whole life, and I know the LGBTQ+ community is currently being bullied by the United States of America. And not only us, several, I mean, in some ways we're somewhat progressive, but which is crazy that I'm saying we're somewhat progressive in their states right now that are trying to pass laws, obviously banning gender affirming care or drag shows. So for me, as someone who's been bullied, I want to stand up for a community and stand up for the way I wish people stood up for me when I was being bullied.
MSM: Yeah, absolutely. So now the fun questions. What was the first show that you ever attended?
TX2: Dude, I wish it was cooler than it was. The first ever show I attended was, what's his name? John Fogerty. I wish it was cooler, but he gave me a tambourine. That was nice.
MSM: That's awesome. Do you have a "guilty pleasure" karaoke song?
TX2: I mean, I'm not guilty about it, but when "Sk8r Boi" or "Since You've Been Gone" comes on... Oh no. Oh, "It's Raining Men". Fuck. Yeah. When "It's Raining Men" comes on by the Weather Girls.
MSM : Yeah, I just read a joke the other day that said that song and then let the bodies hit the floors. The same song, but from a different perspective.
TX2 : That's actually pretty funny. That's hilarious. I never thought about.
MSM: So, when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
TX2: I wanted to be either a YouTuber or a musician, and I guess I'm both now, which is fun. Yeah.
MSM: Living your dreams! If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
TX2: I would be, all right, hold up. Hold up. Can I consult the van real quick?
Person in Van: What animal would you be? Yeah, a cat or a baboon. You're like a little cat. Okay. Why a cat? Because there's a little you, you're quick, but you're also need snuggles, but only when you want them, and you always land on your feet.
TX2: I like either cat or a baboon. Okay.
MSM: Good answers.
TX2: Yeah. Thank you.
MSM: Do you have a motto or good advice that you live by?
TX2: You can't lose if you always keep getting back up.
TX2: I feel like every time I've been through something that made me want to quit, if I just keep showing up and getting back up every time I get knocked down, I've always been able to progression. I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for all the times that I've gotten back up.
MSM: And that actually goes back to being a cat and landing on your feet.
TX2: Hey, yo, you're right. I feel like a cat right now.
MSM: Yeah. And my last question for you, is there anything else that we didn't talk about that you'd like to share with your fans?
TX2: I think it's just important that one thing I've seen in common with a lot of my fans and what happens to me a lot is right now the internet loves to take jabs at me and loves to say a lot of really mean untrue things about me. And it's always just coming from insecure people. And this goes for all forms of bullying. Bullying is always a reflection of one's view of themself. So for anybody who's getting or experiencing criticism from people they don't even know, or from people who don't know them, it's always hurt people who are hurting other people. And the one thing that helps me is every time I see someone say something really mean about me, I usually look at their profile and I see that whatever they're saying is a reflection of probably something within themselves. People who say they're like, I make the worst rock music ever, probably in a local band that are just mad that I'm where I'm at. People who make comments about my sexuality usually look closeted. You know what I'm saying? And this goes for everything. Anytime someone makes a comment about you, it's always a reflection of themselves.
MSM: And you've definitely got a huge fanbase that disagrees with everything they're saying.
TX2: And I'm very thankful for them. That's the one thing that keeps me up too, is the fact that people care. I mean, it blows my mind that we've been playing shows and people this many people show up. I'm starstruck by how many people care. It's pretty cool.
*PHOTO SOURCE: FACEBOOK