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Interview: Andre 3000 Talks Life After Outkast and More with GQ Style

In a very rare interview, GQ’s Will Welch sits down with Andre 3000 to talk about like after Outkast. He talks about moving from Atlanta to New York, having social anxiety and dealing with the death of both of his parents. He also touches on feeling ‘less than’ others, fashion and much more. Take a look at some of what he had to say below and read the full article over at GQ.

GQ Style: What led you to move to New York City?

André 3000: I guess why most people move to New York City: a change, a new start. My kid went off to college, and my parents died—both of ’em within the last six years. I was like, I’ve kinda outlived Atlanta. It’s not like I go to the studio—I’m just sitting around wasting time and doing stuff I’m not supposed to be doing.

GQ Style: What does that include?

André 3000: Just the things that all musicians get into at some point. You can’t run from it. Especially when you stop being at your height, and you can’t match that energy. So you try to find other ways to match it, and you really can’t. And then you have all these ideas and then forget ’em. So: I need to get out of here. That’s the same thing that the Hendrix movie [2013’s Jimi: All Is by My Side] did for me. I was in a hole, and then I got the offer. I was like, You know what? I need to be around people.

GQ Style: When you say you were in a hole, was it a creative hole or a personal hole or a mix?

André 3000: All of it. I was in all three holes. I was in a creative hole, a personal hole, and I was still not dealing with my mom’s and my father’s deaths. And really, I don’t know if I have still. You know: Just push that away. The problem with being successful is you can do whatever you do times ten. And no one to stop you. You can easily go down the wrong path and you get into that place. And the thing that brings you out is other people.

GQ Style: Did you come to N.Y.C. to face that feeling down? In Atlanta, you’re in the bubble of your car.

André 3000: Yeah, that was part of my reason for coming here. I was diagnosed with this social thing. I didn’t notice it until I became an entertainer. I don’t know if it’s the shock of all kind of people coming up to you, or the expectations, but I got to this place where it was hard for me to be in public without feeling watched or really nervous.

GQ Style: Trapped.

André 3000: Yeah, and it started to bleed over into my normal life. I’d just meet new people
and I would freak out or have to leave.

GQ Style: When did that start?

André 3000: Maybe 15 years ago.

GQ Style: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was 2003, so…

André 3000: Yeah, around there. Before that album, I moved to California. It started a little bit before then, and I just chucked it off as Aw, yeah, man, I just need to take a break. And I started to notice it getting worse and worse. Because the more you run from it, the worse it gets. You don’t want to explain it, because you don’t want to be a weak link around your friends. I never told my crew for a long time, so I just started getting to myself. Spending more time with myself and stopped touring. And it felt great for me to do that, because it’s like, Phew, I don’t like that life, I don’t like that confrontation.

GQ Style: You also have this new Tretorn collection. Where did that begin?

André 3000: My agent, William Morris. They try to pair who you are to the right brands. So my agent Todd was like, “What brands are you into?” And I was like, “Well, honestly, all my life I’ve wanted to do a fabric-softener or dryer-sheets commercial.” [laughs] Really. I don’t know if it’s because my mom used that stuff, but my clothes have to smell like that.

GQ Style: Part of me just wants to say, Come on, man! Put out more music! Let us decide if it’s worth it.

André 3000: I’m with that, because I want to hear both sides of it. But if I were to drop dead right now, honestly, we’ve done it. And that’s the truth. You know what I mean? Here’s the only thing that I would regret: Man, you know, there is still that album that you wanted to do.