Tag Archives: Bayarea

Interview with artist K.Flay

Walking onto her tour bus, we were taken aback by Kristine
Flaherty Halloween skeleton costume, but her kindness and warmth radiated from
her body as she said hello. 31-year old artist,whose stage name is K.Flay, didn’t
start music at a young age. Raised in a suburb of Chicago, Flaherty was just a
normal kid growing up. It wasn’t until she moved out west that she found her
niche.

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“I didn’t know music in the Chicago area,” she said. “I
didn’t start making any sort of music until college. It wasn’t until I moved to
the west coast bay area music. In general, college and university setting are a
place to just be open to ideas—whether they’re cultural ideas, political ideas,
academic ideas. I started listening to a lot of west coast rap. Just a lot of
music that has been previously unknown to me. A bit more left of center.  Stanford was a great place to be for me just
because it was a great incubator for all these ideas and thoughts I was having.
And I could explore that in a low-risk environment. There was a pretty good
scene there. There was a lot of people from Stanford who went on to make music
so it was a good community. I finished school and released my first mixtape.”

And even then, although the future artist was surrounded by
talent, she didn’t expect her career to take off. “I had no aims of any sort of
music trajectory,” she sheepishly said. “I sort of wanted to do research based
sociology. And then music just sort of happened.”

And it did. One mixtape turned
into 4 mixtapes, 4 EPS, and one studio album. Her latest EP Crush Me, just
released with latest sick single “Blood in the Cut.” And although the artist
has blown up since early 2003, she was modest about her early beginnings.

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“My understanding of dynamics was
very limited when I first started. I just didn’t understand sonically how to
create something that had true peaks and values and took someone in different
directions. There’s a certain logic to that and I think it’s something you figure
out when you’re beginning.”

The modesty was unexpected, but
refreshing with as good an artist as K.Flay. Something else we found unexpected
was when we heard that Warped Tour was the one festival that helped K.Flay grow
as an artist. We were intrigued why.

“It’s totally vibe-less. It’s
bright out, it’s hot, there’s no atmosphere, there’s no lights, you don’t know
your set time until that morning and it could as early as 10 am or as late at 7
pm. To me it was a real test of how to break down the basics of a real
performance. You can go see a show and it’s shrouded in darkness and haze, you
don’t even know what the artist looks like and it’s cool right? I guarantee you
if you saw that in the light of day, you would not think it was cool. So, I
think it reminded me of a show ultimately performance is about looking people
in the eye, connecting with them and conveying something that stay with them.
Things like lights and atmosphere shouldn’t be the foundation of what you do,
the foundation of what you do should be your music and the other things should
supplement it.”

And with smaller Halloween shows like the one she played
last night, she was in her element.  “At
a show like this at Barboza I’m looking people in the eye, we’re connecting and
creating this experience together. At a festival, you don’t have that ability,
but you can reach a huge audience and there’s something fun about playing big
stages where you can run around. So, I think a balance of big and little shows
is the ideal.”

What’s next for K.Flay? Hoping for collaborations in the future,
K.Flay laid out something she thinks would be dope. “Every collaboration that
I’ve done has been a very organic process of give and take—someone sending me
something or me to them and just seeing if it’s a shared process. And I think
those collaborations are the most fruitful ones I’ve done because I think when
things are structured or planned, it feels forced and doesn’t create that
energy. I’d like to do something with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. He’s got an
interesting story and a great song-writing perspective, with him being inspired
by classic hip hop breaks.”

And although K.Flay is influenced
by hip hop, she wouldn’t classify herself as a rapper or hip hop artist. “I can
rap and it is part of what I do,” she explained. “I think a lot of what I do
sits in between genres—and I think I’m just embracing that— and I’m not
trying to put any defining characteristics on it. I draw influence from a lot
of honest vocalists. Right now, I like and am listening to the new Glass
Animals
record, where each song is about a person. And I think I really
appreciate it because it’s honest to an experience.”                                                                                                      

Genre hopping real experience
music is what K.Flay hopes to convey and at Barboza she fulfills her goal.
Engaging the audience thoroughly, the artist’s vocals are studio album quality,
with a performance attitude that causes you to take a step back. There’s no
stopping with K.Flay and we hope only for more.

Check out her latest EP Crush Me.

Ariana Rivera

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