With her new album Life As A Dog coming out next week, we decided to have a chat with solo indie/hip-hop artist K.Flay (Kristine Flaherty) about her goals as an artist, her decision to start self-releasing her own music and her experience on the Vans Warped Tour so far. Be sure to grab Life As A Dog on Tuesday (you can also stream it now on Pandora Radio) and check out K.Flay on Warped Tour all summer long!
First off, thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
Hell yea. Thanks for having me.
When you first started writing and releasing music, were there any major goals you had in mind? Anything that you wanted to accomplish?
When I first started, I was really just making music as a sort of experiment. Once I started touring & doing music full-time, my major goal was to release a full length album. It’s taken me a minute & it’s been a weird ass journey, but I’m finally there.
When working on Life As A Dog, was there a specific message you wanted to convey?
For me (& probably for most living humans), the last few years have been marked by highs, lows, sadness, joy, all those extremes. As I started writing the record, I realized that even though a lot of the lyrical content was dark, there was still a hopeful energy to the songs. ‘Turn It Around’ & ‘Get It Right’ are two of the more straightforward examples, but I think the record as a whole conveys that tension between doing the worst but hoping for the best.
Do you have a favorite song off of the album?
I think my favorite song is the first track — it’s called ‘Everyone I Know.’ I had this melody idea in my head, which ended up being the melody of the first line. Everything else just flowed from there.
You’ve gone from self-releasing music, to working with a major label, back to doing it DIY style. What made you want to go “back to your roots” so to speak?
My experience at the label was a really informative one in a lot of ways. It taught me so much about the industry as a whole, how bands get signed, how big fucking records get made, but another thing it taught me was that I don’t make music that fits into a ‘standard’ radio format & that I don’t want to change what I do to accommodate commercial interests. I’m a bit of a control freak as well, so self-releasing really suits my style of creativity.
Creatively, do you feel that you have more freedom releasing music on your own, rather than working with a label?
Undoubtedly. I’ve got a great team of people who support me & inspire me & advise me, but from a creative standpoint, I had total autonomy in putting out this record.
Was there anything that you got to do with on this record that you didn’t get the chance to try any of your previous releases?
I got to work with the exact set of people I wanted to work with. At a label, things have to go through an approval chain & decision making can be a weird and political thing. There was none of that here. The producers I collaborated with, the mixing & mastering engineers, the video directors, the photographers, the graphic artists — these are all people I legitimately love & people I respect immensely as artists.
How has Warped Tour been so far?
It’s been totally different from anything I’ve experienced before, & I mean that in the best way. The camaraderie & sense of community is so inspiring to be around.
Do you think it’s a different experience on the tour being a hip-hop artist versus a rock/metal/pop-punk band like the majority of the acts on Warped Tour?
I’m sure the experience is a bit different, but it’s been really cool for me, because I have the opportunity to surprise people with the sound.
Are there any artists that you’ve been into on Warped Tour that you’d recommend we check out?
I am majorly fucking with Plague Vendor. They’ve got this throwback punk vibe & an amazing live show. And i’ve been digging everyone on the Beatport stage — Watsky, Antiserum, Crizzly — it’s such a crazy mix of artists & energies.
What can we expect from your live performance? Is there anything you want fans to be able to take away from your shows?
The live performance is an ever-changing entity, but I hope that people are able to sense the emotionality behind what I’m doing. I care so deeply about music & about making it & performing it. I want people to feel that.
As an artist, is there anything that you’d like to be remembered or known for?
I’d like to be remembered for making a record that mattered to some people. I’d also like to be remembered for being polite.
Anything else you’d like to add?