LISTEN: Angel Haze Bears Scars on New Mixtape ‘Back to the Woods’

When you send an tormented artist into the woods, they return with a pretty sick mixtape.

Rapper-singer Angel Haze released a new mixtape called Back to the Woods, their latest studio compilation since Dirty Gold. Haze, who identifies as agender and prefers the use of the neutral pronouns they/their, opened up in a candid interview to Billboard about the madness and beauty behind their latest work and overcoming personal obstacles all the while.

On the title of their mixtape and escaping to the woods to find their voice, away from the pressure of the limelight:

“There’s a video of me there on my Instagram and I’m like, with a friend and on top of this rock I spray-painted and would sleep. And then I was like, wow, for the first time in my life, I realize that I do have a connection here on earth, I’m always looking for an anchor, something that made me feel real.”

“But the only thing I’ve ever connected with is nature, is being in the woods and being so unafraid of anything.”

On how relationships with their mom and ex-girlfriend Ireland Baldwin inspired creativity:

“There are so many different songs on there that are about so many different people. But it doesn’t matter because they all sound like love songs. I think it’s cool because it makes it universal but it also gets me a catalyst to say what I need to about everyone in my life that I have feelings for.”

singing justin bieber to u cuties 💗💗💗

A video posted by angel haze (@angxlhxze) on

On overcoming drug addiction and insanity through music:

“There’s nothing in this life I can’t face, because it’s in my music and it’s great to me. So I think that I’m still in a really weird phase. I’m sort of trying to realize myself and actualize. But I’m pretty far f—king gone.”

On living in a psych ward:

“Oh man, it was horrible. Well, the first time, I don’t really remember. The second time, I threw up the lining of my stomach and wouldn’t stop throwing up in there.”

“It was even more crazy than I care to talk about but I just never want to go back there, ever.”

On their childhood:

“I grew up feeling ashamed a lot … I went from shelter to shelter. I moved around every year. I never had a family, I never had anything to be confident about. For me, going through life and being able to bear my scars and feel like if I’m ugly, I’m ugly, if someone finds me beautiful, they find me beautiful.”

On their public split from Republic Records:

“I value so much. I f—king value the freedom to say what I want and be who I am and to mold my image myself … There’s no one that can take away the reins from me and there’s nobody who can tell me how to make this music, because you’re not me.”

On what they hope you take away from Back to the Woods:

“I’m just expressing myself, and if you feel it, you feel it. If you don’t, then they motherf—king don’t, and that’s just it.”

Stream Haze’s mixtape right here: