The Vixen Q&A: Kilo Kish Talks Uninhibited, Generational Rebels + Respecting Odd Future's Flippant Attitude
Kilo Kish (pronounced KEY-LOW KEESH) is a mystery. Even a thorough Google search won't result in Wikipedia-sized article about about this quirky, 20-year-old Art Institute of NYC student who vocally laced "Want You Still", a track created by The Jet Age Of Tomorrow (a group nestled within the ever-growing collective Odd Future). The trippy, spaced out record launched Kilo, who is a member of hip-hop threesome Kool Kats Klub, into our radar and we caught up with the easygoing and sarcastically non-serious New Yorker. She talks to VIBE Vixen about jokingly starting her music career, why she has respect for Odd Future and why the extent of her fashion sense is comfortability. -Niki McGloster
Kilo Kish – where did you get your rap name from?
We listened to a lot of Kilo Ali at our old apartment where I lived with Justin [her manager] and another friend who I do music with, Smash Simmons. They’re from Atlanta, so we listen to a lot of Kilo Ali and they put me on to it. I kinda just fell in love with it, so they would joke around and be like “Kilo Kish” and all that. I think it was my Twitter name before it was my rap name, then I just kept it.
I like it! Do you live with the other members of Kool Kats Klub now? Smash Simmons and Mell McCloud?
I no longer live with them now, but for like a year we were all just roommates hanging out and that’s how I started doing music. Smash had the whole recording studio set up in our house, and we would just get in there late at night and hang out, have a beer and just make music. At first, I was just kidding around. I’m still just kidding around which is kind of the point.
That’s what’s so awesome. You’re just having a good time with it. Now, just to rewind a bit, when did you start wanting to record and release the music?
Well, maybe last year, I noticed that every one in New York was coming out with a mixtape. Like, everybody you met was a rapper or something, and it was funny to me. It would be really hilarious if I could go to parties and have a mixtape just to joke around and be funny, so I started doing it and then I realized why everyone does it. It’s so much fun to get in there, screw around, say whatever you want and just be you. ‘Cause I go to school for art, so I’ve always just been a painter, but I realized music is a really quick way to get out your own personality and get out your style. It’s really cathartic just to do it. The first music I have is me [when I was] even worse of a rapper hanging out and saying whatever. I was working at this store called Georgia and I would play it there, then my friends were like, ‘That’s really funny, but it’s also not bad.’
While you were joking, people were taking it seriously.
Yes, and people were like, ‘No, it’s actually pretty good!' And I just kept doing the same thing. My friends would play it at Supreme, and it’s just funny to me that people like it.
People are really into it, and I think that’s what’s good about it. It’s very organic and it just so happens that it’s good.
Yeah, and I don’t even have to try. Music is great because you can be yourself, and you don’t have to try to be like anyone else. Like, I’m not trying to be the best rapper ever; I’m not trying to compete with anyone. I’m just being myself, and that’s what makes it fun for me. When it’s not fun anymore, I’m just going to stop doing it because I’m not a musician [Laughs].
I feel you. Well, you’re featured on “Want You Still” from Journey To The 5th Echelon, and that’s what everyone is recognizing you for. Tell me, what are your affiliations to Odd Future, specifically Matt Martians and Hal Williams.
I ended up meeting with some of the guys from The Super 3, and my friend Matt who happens to be really good friends with Justin and Smash. He stayed over at our apartment one time, and I was just playing some of my music and he even jokingly was like, ‘You need to get on a song.’ Even he thought that it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal, but he just sent me a beat and was like, ‘This is yours. Do whatever you want on it,’ and that’s how “Want You Still” came about. Like, some stuff I write down, and some stuff I improvise as the song is playing, and that’s what I did with that song. He ended up really liking it and keeping it on his CD. I haven’t met any of the other guys from Odd Future ‘cause I haven’t gone out to LA and they’re not really [in NY] that much, but I feel like it all works out pretty well. The sense that I get from them is that they’re just hanging out, having fun and just being themselves, and I’m the same way. I’m not all puppies, kittens and butterflies. I’m kind of a bit dry too and really sarcastic, so it works out. [Laughs]
You’re personality definitely seems to fit with their style of music so well. I can tell that with The Jet Age Of Tomorrow, your vocals match perfectly with their spacy, futuristic beats. You fit so well that I had to double check if you were apart of the Odd Future collective.
[Laughs] No, I’m not a member, but I think they’re awesome. They’re just kids having fun, and I think that’s great. I think people should be more uninhibited to do what they want. Tyler and the whole Odd Future crew, they’re all really, really talented. I think it’s just their personalities that it comes from. A lot of rappers and musicians try to live up to this persona where you have to talk about cars and girls and champagne and shit. Odd Future is just talking about what they know about which is good. They’re not speaking on anything that they don’t know anything about, and that’s really respectable. I respect them for not caring and not giving a fuck.
Do you think the movement of "not caring" is what this generation needs?
I think every generation has their own way of standing up for themselves, you know? Every generation. Like, the 60's had their whole peace movement. Every generation has their own movement of rebellion and standing up to whatever system that they dont' agree with. There are kids all over the place who have ideas and feelings and opinions and it's not any different now; it's just easier for them to get those opinions across because we have the internet, we have Twitter, we have all these social mediums to allow you to say whatever you want, and I think it's a culmination of that more than anything.
Whoa, I understand that so much. With your own crew, Kool Kats Klub, are you expressing your own movement of rebellion?
Um, I feel like everybody has something that they have to say. Sometimes Smash will get on a track and talk about whatever he's feeling about girls or working and daily life. But it's more of us just having fun because when we're making music, it's hilarious!
How does your painting and drawing directly influence your music or vice versa?
I don’t know if they reflect on each other so much, but it all reflects me. My paintings are very expressive. I use a lot of black; I don’t use a lot of straight lines. I just flow and let it do whatever it wants to do. I let paint drip, and I’m not the neatest, geometric artist who takes the time to finesse every little thing. And it’s the same thing with music, I don’t really freak out over it. I got to school for textile design, so I’m really into patterns and prints. I want to create home products at some point. Everything. Lamp shades, bedding, everything...
How deep is your love for fashion?
I love fashion to a certain extent. I go to fashion school, so I like it. I can appreciate fashion, but at the same time, my own style is pretty simple. I like my space to be pretty simple—a clear palette to go through life with. I keep it comfortable. [Laughs]
Is there any person or particular thing that influences your style, or is it very much “wake-up-and-go”?
It’s definitely “wake-up-and-go” because I have a million jobs. Not only just school and the music, I work in restaurants and nightlife. I have to run from 9 a.m. all the way to 3 a.m. some days, so I have to be comfortable and just go from there.
And from here, this point where you are in your budding career, where do you want to go? What do you want to come from the recognition you're gaining?
Music isn't... I know that there's a lot of people that want it way more than me. With me, my passion for music grows every day, but I don't think I'll ever be at that level where there's somebody who wants it so bad. Like, they want to be on television so bad and they want everyone to hear what they have to say. I'd really like to just have something chronicling... because I don't really keep a diary or anything to help me chronicle what I'm feeling. I think that's what people sell art for. It's not just to sell paintings or make money or become famous; it's just to have a diary of yourself. And if nothing comes out of this, I'll be happy just knowing that this is how I felt when I was 19 or 20 or 21... Just to say that I did it.
Something that can show that you lived! And lastly, what other projects are you working on?
[Kool Kats Club] is going to release a few tapes on ImNotAToy.com, and I'm also working with The Super 3 from Odd Future doing a whole CD by myself. That's going to be out at the end of the summer, and we're going to call it Junior Varsity.