Early Wednesday night, we caught up with K.Flay who was as cool as a cucumber! Seriously, for an artist with a jam-packed tour schedule, a new EP, and constant press, we were blown away by how laid back K.Flay was. We chatted about nail polish, ” Murder Kroger”, The Majestic, and assholes. Check out her new EP What IF It Is, it’s Rap, it’s Alt-Rock, it’s a lot of fun!
You just released your new EP. How did you get your start rapping?
I got started very randomly my freshman year of college. I was talking with a friend of mine about mainstream rap at the time and I was complaining so he challenged me to write a song. I just did it as a joke but I made a couple more before the year ended. It sparked something in me. It just compelled me in a certain way. So I bought a keyboard and started making beats- really horrible beats and songs for a long time. I just recorded them in my dorm room and I started getting booked to play on campus at a lot of parties and at other campuses as well. I still wasn’t thinking it was going to be super serious but after I graduated, a few people took an interest in me and mentored me in the Bay Area and I started playing more shows. Then I started getting paid more than a beer for a show. It’s been awesome. It was a totally different world that had nothing to do with anything I knew about.
Tell us about your new EP. How was the writing process? Did it come naturally? Was it easy?
It was easy. Honestly I was just picking songs I’ve already done. I’ve been recording throughout the last year. I put a mix tape out that’s kind of like an album called West Coast a few months ago. I had been concurrently working on a bunch of other different songs for a future project I just wasn’t sure what it would be. Then I wanted to put something out for the summer. Then this tour came up. I wanted to really have something that I think kind of showcased the different aspects of the project. Some of it is electronic, some of it is indie rock, some of it is more of a hip-hop thing. I wanted something a bit up-tempo. Because some of the stuff I’ve made in the past is darker.
Do you like doing EPs? Are you interested in doing a full album?
I’m definitely interested in a full length. I think music is consumed in really strange ways nowadays. I feel untethered to any other paradigm of how to put out music. I’m not sure. It’s cool to have a full-length album and put it out. I’m not sure when that will happen or how that will be. It’s a mystery. What does the [Magic] 8 Ball say? Try again? I never had a [Magic] 8 Ball…
So you’re kicking off your tour with Icona Pop. Are there any other artists you would like to tour with?
Yeah. Probably. The cool thing is I’ve ended up opening for a lot of different kinds of acts. It’s really fun for me because this is an electronic kind of thing. I’m a huge Kid Cudi fan. I think that would be awesome. I opened up one random show for him and it was super fun. It’s a similar crowd. It’s a bunch of college-aged kids. It’s dark, kind of morose. Their music is kind of ominous.
For the fans that couldn’t make it to your live show, what are your live shows like?
The live show is me – I show up at some point. I have a drummer who plays with me and I also have a DJ who runs some of the electronic stuff. I have a little electronic setup and a Floor Tom, I’ve got the drum kit. DJ Noah has his setup and a drum. So it’s kind of this interchanging setup of acoustic instruments and electronic things. Basically it’s a high-energy show. Theres a lot of headbanging. I’m obsessed with having long hair. I realized a few months ago I think I’m living out my childhood dream. I never wanted to do music but I think I’m living out my childhood dream of being allowed to head bang. A live show is a place where you’re kind of permitted to be weird, both audience and performers. And I’m usually controlled and polite in my regular life, not that I’m not polite on stage. It’s a chance to let loose.
So, “The Cops” on your EP is pretty powerful. Did that come from a particular situation? Was there a certain asshole in your life? Tell us about that song.
I don’t think it’s about an asshole. It’s based on a couple of different experiences I’ve had. I think there’s a lot of situations, even for someone who is really strong and empowered. You get into these relationship dynamics where someone is hurting you but you continue to protect them for whatever reason. Whether it’s someone in your family, if it’s a platonic thing, a friend, or someone you are dating. I think it’s something everyone can relate to. Honestly, I was alone in my apartment, sipping on a drink, and I wrote it in 20 minutes. It was just one of those.
Name one festival or venue where you would love to perform.
I would love to play Lollapalooza; just because I’m originally from right outside of Chicago. I think my mom would be proud. Even though my mom and stepdad live in Oakland now.
In your downtime what do you like to do?
I don’t really like sitting around too much. I like to read- I guess that constitutes sitting around. On tour we go on adventures – a lot of adventures, a lot of weird things. Today we got lost. We were trying to find matching poncho for all the girls on our bus. It was hella funny because we got 2 ponchos at T.J. Maxx and they ran out and CVS was out of ponchos so we found ponchos at the Kroger on Ponce de Leon.
We call that the “Murder Kroger.”
Oh. Well we found some ponchos at the “Murder Kroger.” I’m also training for a half marathon so I’ve been running a bunch. That’s pretty much it.
Do you have any advice for local bands trying to make it to the next level?
Pretty much every good thing that has ever happened to me was because of a live show, however small it was. I think we live in an age where it’s easy to post a song on the Internet and gain a following but it’s really easy to lose that following when you suck live. The live show is the way. It’s a good way to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That’s not to say recorded music isn’t important. But for me, there’s nothing better than a live show. And you never know who’s going to be in the audience.