The Visual Beats of Kilo Kish
Kilo Kish may look pint-sized and innocent, but her music packs a major punch. Somewhere between rap and spoken word, Kish has carved out a niche all her own that’s garnered her a legion of loyal celebrity fans almost overnight. But all of the hype around Kish is well warranted. Her unique sound and humble, down-to-earth attitude is a breath of fresh air in an industry full of big personalities and bigger egos. Artist, poet, singer, whatever, Kilo’s ready to tackle the industry head on, learning everything she can on the way. Kish’s star may be rising at the speed of light, but she’s just taking it one day at a time.
You went to Pratt, initially, for art. What drew you to making music?
After my first year at Pratt, I had to take time off because of financial issues. I was kind of bitter about not being in school, so I was like let me just try and do something altogether different. In our apartment, we had a little at-home studio because my roommate at the time, Smash, was rapping. Little by little, I was inching my way into his room, like, so, what are you doing in there? And finally he was like ok, do you want to learn? So I started making songs and that’s kind of where it started. It was just a little bit of fun and something creative to do outside of working my 9-5.
Have you been surprised by the really immediate response from everyone to your music? What has the past year been like for you?
If someone was like, Oh, you’re going to do all these random things and travel and be a performer, I would have been like, yeah, right, sure. I’m going to be interning for someone and getting them coffee and being weird. But no, it’s been crazy. I never expected it to go this far. I was really happy about the response and I couldn’t ask for more.
A lot of people describe your music as rap, but it’s not exactly that. How would you describe it?
I think it’s very chill rap or, I don’t know, spacey conversation music. I hope that people get their own impression of it and take it for what they see it as. I don’t have any issue with anyone calling me a rapper; I just don’t call myself that. So, it’s like, you can’t really get mad if it doesn’t live up to what you want it to be. You can call me a rapper, a singer, or spoken word, I don’t really mind. It’s whatever you gain from it. I guess that’s what art is, to begin with.
What was an unexpected challenge of recording and putting together your first mixtape?
Writing the songs was easy, I think the challenge was making it not all sound the same. Especially when I had no idea about song structure or putting in hooks or making a complete song. It’s just me talking for ten songs, trying to make each one its own complete entity. I’m still working on that. I think as you make music more, you try different things and you’re more comfortable. On Homeschool I wasn’t comfortable, I was afraid to sing and I was afraid to do all these things. So, I think on this second project I’m a little bit better. Still not as comfortable as I could be, I’m not like 100% out there, but I think maybe by next time.
You’ve had the chance to collaborate with so many great rappers and musicians, who’s been your favorite?
I think my favorite would have to be working with The Internet just because they were the first people I worked with and it’ll always be a special thing. I’m going to always remember the first time I went to LA, tried writing songs, and went to a real studio with all the Odd Future guys there. Those are memories I’m always going to have no matter what. So, I think they’re my favorite people to work with. I owe them a lot for my particular sound.
Who’s someone you’d still like to work with who you haven’t gotten a chance to yet?
Kanye. Because it’s like, why would you not want to? You just have to. Kanye. Oh! And Willow Smith.
What do you think sets you apart from other musicians?
I think that for most musicians, music fuels their minds and hearts 100%, but my passions are split in a bunch of places so it gives me a different outlook on the music I make. I also have a lot of visual art influences that push me to make different music. I have a different approach and a different standard to the things that I want to make and I always critique myself. I always want my music to have some kind of message or theme or underlying idea. I just look at it differently. Iâ€™m not so concerned with fame and being the It Girl or whatever. I just want to make cool stuff all the time and I don’t want to stop. That’s all.
So, how do you think your visual art informs your music?
Visual art definitely influences my music. I think as far as songwriting goes, I like really describing spaces. I like describing moods of beats visually. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like I really spend a lot of time in my songs trying to place the person in the scenario. Also, my website and all my merch I do myself. I have a very hands-on approach to most things. But, I mean, our generation, as a whole, is very hands-on.
Do you think that different background gives you a unique perspective?
Yeah, I think so. If only just to know exactly what I want as far as visuals and branding goes. It’s like, if I can do it myself, that’s a middle man that I don’t have to go through. It’s like telephone, the more people that you put between you and your final product, the more different it’s going to be when you actually see it. So if I can just do it myself, or work directly with someone and get it done together, then I know it’s going to be true to what I actually want it to be and I think that really helps. It helps people not get confused about who you are.
How do you hope to grow and change as an artist in the future? Do you have any ultimate goals?
I like learning everything, so I’m always going to be that person who just wants to keep trying different things. Obviously, I want to get better at what I’m doing and try to keep working, but I would also like to write songs for other people. I think that could be a different outlet that’s really cool because it’s not going to be my voice, so it completely changes the subject matter I can talk about. And then, of course, I want to make more art and work on a line. My ultimate goal, when I was a kid, was I always wanted to own a store. I don’t know why, I just always wanted to have a store. So, I think I want that too. I’ve got a lot of different goals, and they’re a little all over the place, but I think they’re all kind of in the same realm, so it could work out.
What is your WILD Wish?
I wish I could read people’s minds, I think that would be cool. But you could shut it off when you wanted to!