K.Flay Talks "Eyes Shut", Books, "The Cable Guy", and More
Tue, 17 Jan 2012 06:18:53
The Cable Guy Videos
K.Flay gets right to the point on her forthcoming EP, Eyes Shut.
She dispenses with pleasantries and goes right for the jugular on cuts like "We Hate Everyone" and "Sunburn". With a fiery flavor all her own, she exudes a certain charm and panache that's all too often missing from hip hop. From making beats to spitting sharp, incisive rhymes, she's about to roll through rap like a tornado. Eyes Shut isn't only a new phase for K.Flay, it's the next level for modern hip hop. Meet the genre's soon-to-be reigning queen…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, K.Flay talks Eyes Shut, her reading list, and so much more.
Did you approach Eyes Shut is if it were a full-length album?
This past year, in between touring, I've been doing quite a bit of recording. Over the course of that, I really started to hone in on what I wanted to do both sonically and lyrically on the next project, whatever it was going to be. It ended up making sense to me to put out an EP. For new artists, I'm definitely a fan of getting smaller chunks of material. That way, I can spend some time with it and digest it and get a feel for what's going on. I was writing a lot about themes of apathy and my own struggles with feeling overwhelmed by things. I wanted to disengage, but at the same time I wanted to myself in something. I was witnessing a similar phenomenon in people around me. That was the thematic focus of the EP. They were a bunch of songs I'd been working on, and I picked the tracks which centered on this theme.
Do they all relate to that theme of apathy?
Generally speaking, yes. It may be different forms of apathy. There's a degree of societal apathy that's going on right now, which is tempered on the flip side by a lot of people who are incredibly engaged in the world around us and are participating in it in a very active way. Some of the songs are like that, while "We Hate Everyone" and "Sunburn" are general "checkout" songs grappling with the tendency or desire to be like, "Whatever". At times, I certainly feel that in my own life. A couple of the other tracks "Stop, Focus" or "Easy Fix" are more a personal sense of checking out on a day-to-day emotional level.
What's the story behind "Easy Fix"?
I actually wrote that song right after Amy Winehouse died. My dad was an alcoholic, and he died when I was young. A substance has the ability to not only transport us to a place that in the moment is very serene and ecstatic but also to destroy people's lives and relationships. I've always thought about addiction and that idea. I was trying to get into the mindset of what it would feel like to be under the spell of something you know is wrong for you but simultaneously brings about a relief that's very cathartic and wonderful. I wrote it about the power of substances that can alter us, but it certainly extends to a relationship or anything that's both detrimental and seemingly alluring.
Do you read often?
I don't meditate. However, the closest thing I do to meditating is reading. On the road and traveling, that helps to make me feel like I'm having conversations I wouldn't normally have. Even though they're conversations with authors, it's always really good for my songwriting and my frame of mind to constantly be reading. Whether it's nonfiction or fiction, I try to mix it up. I'm super into modern literature. There's a lot of stuff being written today which is very compelling. It deals a lot with identity and voice, which is something I'm trying to explore in my music.
What have you been reading recently?
Recently, I read a book called A Visit from the Goon Squad. It's awesome! It's by a woman named Jennifer Egan who has become a favorite author of mine. The book has a little bit to do with the music industry. It's a really interesting meditation on our identity, history, and the importance of how reliable a narrator is or even if that matters. I just finished a book called Incendiary by Chris Cleave, and it doesn't have a single comma in it, which is interesting for a book. I thought that was kind of cool. It's like reading one long crazy ass email from someone. I post book reviews online. I also read You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maxis, which was good.
If Eyes Shut were a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
That's a good one! What would I compare it to? Maybe The Cable Guy. I know this EP is a little bit dark. There's a dark edge when it comes to my music and personality, but there's a light and sardonic component to it. The Cable Guy definitely has funny moments that make us smile in a twisted or weird way, but it's also a very dark movie and pretty intense at times. I remember my sister was very disturbed by it when she was a little kid [Laughs]. It's that tension between something that is a bit lighthearted or benign on the surface but looking deeper has an edge to it and is more resonant and creepy on some levels.
Have you heard K.Flay yet?