Welcome to our new series ‘Caught On-side’, where we catch up with artists who love the beautiful game as much as we do. Football and music are both art forms deeply rooted in our culture, something we hold dear to us at Penalty. Through this series we hope to marry some shared passions, highlighting how closely related music and football culture are. For our first interview in the series, we caught up with S-X, the Wolverhampton Wonderkid who has spent years making a name for himself in the music industry.
While S-X might be releasing his debut mixtape in 2021, he has already more than proved himself as an artist. S-X has spent years making a name for himself with his production prowess, working with the likes of Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper and J. Cole. His sounds have long been shaping the industry and his commitment to football has been at the forefront of his career, becoming an Ambassador of his boyhood club, Wolverhampton Wanderers. We met Sam in East London and had a catch-up regarding all things football and music.
What’s your first memory of football?
It was at my childhood home, I was so young man. I remember my mum and older brother watching an England game on TV. I just remember it being so important to them at the time. From that day I was mesmerised and locked in for life.
What’s the journey been like as a wolves fan over the years?
As for most football fans I’m sure they agree it’s an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I actually worked for Wolves in the Megastore Warehouse for about a year in 2015. We were in the Championship then so It’s just insane to think that we’re a strong Premier League team now.
In 2019 you got appointed an ambassador of Wolves and you got the opportunity to play to a sell-out crowd at Molineux. This must have been a dream come true for you?
Honestly man you couldn’t describe the feeling. It felt so epic with the lights and so many people in the stands. But what was really special to me was that my mum (who couldn’t attend the game sadly), came and parked up in the Asda car park which is directly opposite the stadium. She came to listen to me perform live and sent me a little video on WhatsApp. That one brought tears instantly. She has supported me so heavily since day one.
Can you describe the nerves before you stepped up?
If I really think about the times when I used to work there, on sunny days I’d be eating my lunch on random seats enjoying the empty stadium view. To then being an ambassador, performing in front of over 20,000 people and taking part of the Wolves Foundation events. Wolves is really like my second home/back garden. It felt so normal and homely to be there, so strangely enough there was zero nerves man. I was ready to perform at home.
Do you think there’s a link between music and football in terms of channelling energy and competitiveness?
Oh for sure man, Drake had a line that said “music and sports are so synonymous, cause we wanna be them, and they wanna be us”. Every time I write a song, that like me running out on the pitch for 90 minutes. That’s my mental workout where I get my energy and emotions out.
Do you think footballers and musicians have similar ways of thinking?
I think so, you have to have a certain mindset to stay content doing the same thing every day, music or football isn’t our hobby anymore, it’s a real job. But it’s not like a job where you just clock in, clock out and get paid. You need to turn up to work, and be perfecting your craft constantly to be the best.
What’s happening right now in the music scene in the midlands?
In honesty I’ve purposely been trying to not listen to too much music, I find it hard at times creating music if I’m listening to everyone else. There’s so many talented artists from Wolverhampton and surrounding areas. It’s just harder to get the light shone down here. In 2019 I did a charity event (which I’m trying to do annually but couldn’t due to covid) where we have some of my big music friends, but also local artists open up and showcase their talents and raise money for local charities in the city.
We’re loving Feels So Good. What was the inspiration behind the new single?
Thank you very much! Just good vibes man. I was in the studio for about 4 days locked in. And this was one of the last demos I made, at around 3/4AM during a very fun session. Sometimes it just comes to you when you least expect it. But that’s what I’m trying to bring with the “new” sound, is just good vibes.
What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
You can expect my final mixtape. 18 songs. 0 features. That’s coming out at the end of July - My birthday week! I have so much music in the vault. And hopefully lots of live shows if the government let us go ahead. I’ve got my first festival performances at Reading & Leeds which I’m super gassed for.
Who do you think is going to take the euros this year?
It’s coming home man.
Photography: Jonathan Tomlinson