Kilo Kish is a Young G with a vast array of skills. With her new project K+, The Florida native added published author to her resume, building off of the musical talent and unique style that made her an icon on NYC’s indie scene. Now living in Southern California, Kish is determined to continue pushing her own creative limits. Mechanical Dummy caught up with Kish to learn more about the book and musical components of her K+ project.
Words by @GeedorahKing
Mechanical Dummy: Could you explain the relationship between the K+ book and the mixtape?
Kilo Kish: K+ as a whole is a conceptual project based on exploring different artists’ creative processes when they record music. I’m sad that a lot of people don’t get to see all the inner workings of making music. A lot of people just hear the finished project but you never really get to hear the demo, sometimes you’ll hear some random stuff but a lot of the time you just see what they want you to see–you don’t get to see all the screw-ups in between. So for that I just wanted to collect material for all the work that goes into it on the backend, not only with the artist but also with management and the artist’s team behind them. So I collected all my emails, I took videos and photos in the studio, I saved all my correspondences, and I just kept a recorder on the entire time we were in the studio to get little snippets here and there—that’s what you can hear on K+. All these materials were super interesting to me, and I just like to see what’s real about things, I don’t always want the finished pretty A+ version. That’s why I explored this on the mixtape. The music is kind of a byproduct of me exploring concepts. I had a listening party and multimedia installation. The book is just a collection of those materials that I was inspired by: photos, videos, all my sticky notes, my engineer recording me when I’m stressing out over the project—it’s a bit of everything. It’s kind of a jumble and it’s basically just my thoughts going through the project and where my head was at conceptually. Its definitely not all the stuff I collected. It’s about 40 pages that you can just flip through on your cell phone or your laptop, just if you were interested in the project—that’s what the E-book is.
MD: What did you learn about your creative process just from doing this?
KK: I learned that what I do is a lot different then what other people do as far as like creating things. I mean up to that point I’ve always been kind of like, “just get in there and do one take, like whatever, it doesn’t matter.” When I noticed the way that other people work and how much time they spend on the littlest details of their music, it’s very inspiring just to see how much that they put into it and it’s something that I learned to think about a little bit more. Whereas before I would just get in the booth and be like, “It’s not that great, like whatever, its fine,” and now I’m like, “Well I guess I can do it again.” As opposed to just doing it the first time and just having it being what it is. I think there are merits to both ways of working; there are merits to having something be natural and real—like the first go-round, versus being a perfectionist about what you want to put out, and what you want the world to see about you.
MD: On your next project is this going to affect the way you’re going to approach it?
KK: Yeah, music is so new for me. It’s kind of been new for me for a really long time, the first project and the first time I ever even tried to make music was Homeschool, and that wasn’t even really that long ago. Everything is a learning experience with every new thing I make. I mean I’m not one of those people that just make songs all the time. I get a concept and when I have a concept and I start working on music. I’m not just always like playing around—I’m not always in the studio just writing. So whenever I do make something—it’s for a purpose. So on this project I feel like I have a lot of time in between. It’s been almost a year since K+ came out, and I’ve had a lot of time where I didn’t work on music at all. I took about 6 months, and I just started collecting all the songs that I want on my next project. I think in that time just getting older as a person and just growing and experiencing music differently than I did before, it definitely plays a role. I’m more methodical about the way I want the music to be. I can’t say that I really cared in the beginning, but I feel like now I’ve used songwriting in a different way and I’ve been able to use it as a different outlet. I think it’s a little more personal than it used to be.
MD: What are your other creative outlets before you got into music, or even since then?
KK : I went to school for textile design and I always was into painting and drawing. So I do that and right now I’m working from a home studio. A friend and me are trying to get together and we’re going to be building some products. I’m super into home decoration and industrial design type things. Especially when I was in school, the textiles that I tried to make were mostly for homes, so I’m working on a few little small home projects and just designing clothes, little random stationary things, dishware, benches and tables. I find that it’s a fun way to use other parts of your brain. I kind of do a little bit of everything, I wouldn’t say that I’m amazing at everything, but I definitely try to work as many ways as I can. I’m learning to make beats right now on my own and that’s been fun so far—not to say that I want to be a producer or anything—but it’s just fun to try different stuff.
MD: What are you working on, what equipment?
KK: I’m using Ableston and a friend tried to teach me Logic, but I couldn’t get it really, so I started doing Ableston. I have a mini keyboard that I’m working with and that’s it really.
MD: What’s next for you, are you already working on your next project?
KK: I’m working on the EP and it should be coming out in a couple months, after that I’ll probably just be doing some design stuff and I’m working on starting a new project whenever I get the idea in my head for it.
MD: You’re in LA now right?
KK: Yeah I live in LA now, I moved here about 3-4 months ago.
MD: What are the vibes like out there, what do you like about it and why did you stay?
KK: I’ve been in New York all of my adult life basically. I moved out to New York when I turned 18 and I lived there for about 5 years and I went to school there. Towards the end it was kind of losing the sparkle that it once had when I moved there. I just thought that I wasn’t getting anything done. I was just going out and it felt like I was doing things, but you’re not really doing things. So my boyfriend and I moved across the country to California and we have this cottage house in Hollywood. We kind of just live here and it’s a chill workspace where we work on what we want to work on, we play music and just chill and it’s great. I’m excited to be here, I thought I’d get a lot more work done here; there’s been a lot less distraction. I don’t go out a lot in LA really but I’ve noticed that New York is an amazing place to go out, it’s an amazing place to have your teenage/young adult years where you can party and hang out and feel great. I realized that LA is not that same place. I don’t really feel the urge to go out here, I just want to chill or go on a walk; or like cop dinner or drink wine (laughs). So I just stay here and I basically just work—which is playing for me. None of our work is really like work; we just create stuff and work on things, its pretty chill and that’s what I like about it. I wish there was more restaurants that I like here, or more places to go out, but maybe I just don’t know them.
MD: Is there any advice you’d give to young artists or a young teenage girl who really looks up to you and says, “I really want to live like you”?
KK: I would just say that the best thing to do is just don’t try to live like me, I had a question like this on my Tumblr—where I answer questions all the time—and one girl was like, “How does it feel to not have the vocal capabilities like Beyonce, or not be this perfect like R&B singer, or not really fit into either category”. And I’m like, that’s really the point, that’s not the goal you know? The goal is to be yourself you know? You shouldn’t try to be the next Beyoncé, you should try to be the first yourself—that’s the point. I feel like trying to be like other people, is the wrong answer. That’s a bad starting place to start from; you should start by trying to do what you like doing. And I mean if you’re not making any money out of it—you’re really starting from zero. So you have nothing to lose by just being yourself. Try from there and see what happens, and that’s the best way to go about it because you’ll have less internal conflict—feeling like you’re losing yourself in the process.