Rex Mac likes to experiment with sound. “These past few years, I’ve borrowed a lot from Dr. Dre,” he says. “Funky basslines, synth leads, and drums that punch you in the chest.”

Currently, he’s mesmerized by artists who work without drums and are relying on other means to create a mood. “The album Wind by Gigi Masin impacted my process,” he says. “Blond by Frank Ocean, too.”

He’s taken that inspiration to heart. His latest EP, Her Name Is Happiness, is chock full of instrumental textures and a whole lot of atmosphere. I caught up with the self-producing musician to learn more about when he got started and where he continues to find inspiration. Excerpts below.

It was in middle school when he decided he wanted to become a performer.
I owned the “Up in Smoke Tour” on VHS and just wanted to rock crowds how Snoop and Dre did.

His first time on stage was in the sixth grade.
A talent show. I had on a navy blue AND1 sweatsuit, back when pants were baggy enough to cover most of your shoes. Early 2000s fashion was a trip (laughs).

He wrote his first song “Lock It Down” with two friends in middle school...
We had a call and response chorus. It was the worst (laughs). I’ve repressed the rest.

...and started playing live in Boston in 2012.
My first time was at Sally O’Brien’s in Somerville, followed by a series of open mics and some non-rewarding pay-for-plays.

Performing at the EMW Bookstore in Cambridge was a pivotal moment...
The people I met there were extremely supportive. Those connections were a foundation to my path out here.

…but it’s a show at Sonia’s in 2017, just days after his best friend had passed away, that’s made the biggest impact on him.
I felt personally accountable to deliver a performance he could feel from where he was/is. I dedicated that show to him and the room felt it. I’m hoping he did, too.

He finds inspiration in a variety of places...
YouTube’s been recommending me a lot of 80s Japanese funk. Y’all ever heard of Tatsuro Yamashita? He’s tight.

Sometimes films, too. I‘d like to write a song one day that’s as detailed and subconscious as anything from Ari Aster’s reel.

As for local influences, I really love what Camp Blood is doing right now. Whytri, a homie of mine, is really on his shit right now, too. Readers, look up the kid.

...and right now is cycling between four albums in his car.
Frank Ocean’s Blond, Dr. Dre’s 2001, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, and Ye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m a creature of habit. Years later, I’m still learning from these records. I want to make something that ages as well as those albums one day, too.

Five minutes to himself before he gets on stage is a must.
And to hop up and down in front of a mirror. No lie.

Career options outside of music?
Content creation and branding strategy. I’m actually working a 9 to 5 right now, an hour outside of Boston where I’ve been granted a fair amount of creative liberty. I get to design ads, write copy, shoot video, and handle media distribution for my department. The role’s made me more mindful of my strategy, of the metrics. I’m more cautious now in how I roll out a music release.

Where can Boston see you perform next?
We’ll see. If all goes well, hopefully at the House of Blues for the Boston Music Awards.

The Boston Music Awards recently selected Rex Mac to be a part of the 617Sessions, a program that recognizes Boston-based artists who are making great contributions to the local scene and rewards them with a day of studio recording.