of internet music and the hopes and anxieties of a new generation of kids. They were the talk of the New York Times and Complex, a Spotify editorial playlist and a SoundCloud documentary; they were also just kids growing up together in Discord servers. “There were times we sat in that Novagang call and didn’t do shit music related at all,” midwxst says. “We were on Omegle trolling or some shit. That’s why the hyperpop community is so unique. You can’t imitate that bond that we all had and shared so deep.”
One of the defining hits of this era was midwxst’s breakout single “Trying,” a dose of alt-rock rage about depressive thoughts and suicidal ideation: “Back to the basics, wake up and go to sleep / Don't know who's my friend, I don't know they even care for me.” Demonstrating the range of midwxst’s emo-tinged vocals, it quickly set him apart from the scene and caught the attention of labels; midwxst signed to Geffen in 2021, days before he graduated high school.
“Trying” was also the first time midwxst’s parents found out about his struggles in high school with bullying and alienation. “My SoundCloud days, I was all over the place mentally,” midwxst says. “All of those songs were me just talking about everything I hate about myself, everything wrong about myself. It felt like I was working towards nothing.”
midwxst has since devoted his energy to making songs that he thinks will help kids wrestle with their own demons, all while sharpening his skills and burrowing into different sounds. There’s his exhilarating Back in Action mixtape series, which he describes as “me talking my shit,” home to rap songs like the bouncy “223’s” with Babytron. And then there are his albums, like 2021’s SUMMER03 and 2022’s better luck next time, where he hones his focus, explores genres and finds catharsis in the waveforms.
Compared to better luck next time, which is a brash breakup album through-and-through, his upcoming record E3 is an intricate painting of love in all its forms and evolutions. “This is me going in, talking about each complex issue, discrepancy, things that shaped how I view love and the world as a whole,” he says.
Co-executive produced by midwxst and Sophie Gray, it’s easily his most ambitious and considered album. The songs fold into the story of a character named E3, narrated by midwxst himself. The project illustrates his recent internal challenges, but also underscores a profound growth and maturity.
“E3 is a character who is self-obsessed, only worried about himself, doesn’t really take time for other people because he has so much shit going on in his life,” he says. “And he knows that he can do those things for these people, but since you’re so accustomed to the life you live, that’s the only thing you know. So that’s the cycle he goes down: you see him going through a bunch of relationships, and a bunch of one night stands and toxic relationships and bad circumstances throughout the album.”
E3’s story expands across big ballads like “Lost,” aided by gorgeous live instrumentation and records like “Lights Out” that sound like if you gave midwxst’s digicore tunes a hi-res makeover.