Z Beauty of Pop in Z Dark
2100 hrs, January 25th, 2016
Location: Good Luck Bar, Silver Lake, CA
Kanga is a Los Angeles-based producer and musician. She's an Aries. Kanga has her first headlining show coming up on February 3rd at Complex with Bustie’, Passing (new project from Christopher Myrick of Bestial Mouths), and WVM.
Aaron Montaigne: Ok Kanga, now that we got our whiskey on lets dive in. Listening to your music I would sort of describe it as very dark pop music. Something like Elvira meets Robyn. I'm wondering how you would describe your own music?
Kanga: Pretty close to how you describe it. I like mixing pop music into my work to make it more accessible. I come from a darker industrial and techno background but I think pop musicality can make it accessible so I fit it into my style.
AM: Yeah man I fucking love pop music, I get a lot of shit for liking pop, like Lady GaGa and Lana Del Rey.
K: I think that people have a misconception of pop music. The difference between Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails is that Nine inch Nails wrote pop songs where as Skinny Puppy did not, but no one would ever call NIN a pop band. Pop music is the ability to write a “hook”, and I think that a lot of beautiful experimental music only lacks a “hook” and thats what I think makes it accessible or not.
AM: I’m a sucka for a “hook”.
AM: Listening to your song Something Dangerous, (which hasn't dropped yet BZW) z words, pace, imagery and aesthetic are all unique. Like z style of your art there's definitely a fetish vibe happening. Are you influenced by that style of imagery?
K: Yes, I am really fascinated by objectification on many different scales as sexuality and terms of gender, power dynamics and social structures. I think its a really interesting concept to play with. To mold something and abuse it and present it in different ways. I like to be vulnerable but also a bit sneering in my vocal style.
AM: Yeah, lyrically you seem like z Boss.
AM: Almost like you're “ willing” something in your song.
K: I have a very “front person” personality but with a very high voice, I try to use that to my advantage and talk about dark subject matter.
AM: Where else do you draw inspiration artistically?
K: My Father, I don't really talk about it but I have a very prolific Father who is a very well known visual artist who had this interesting story of….
AM: What's his name?
AM: French oui?
K: Oui, But he became a hermit and had a very interesting philosophy on art, so at a very young age I was raised in art culture. You do the art and everything else comes after, and I think thats the reason why I’ve been doing this for five years and no one knows who I am because I’ve just been doing this. I haven't actually put myself out there yet.
AM: Cool, and talking about that um, you are a fairly unknown artist and you're about to headline this show coming up on z third of February. How are you feeling about that? The bill is pretty stacked which is rad.
K: Its funny because I have amazing accomplishments that no one know about - like I did sound on Insidious 3
AM: I fucking love Insidious!!
K: Yeah but you didn't know that. I also was Tech 9’s sound editor.
K: I have this stellar resume that people don't know and its just one of those things like how would you know? Why would you know? Most people don't know my real name, so for me its like this feels long over due like I finally have the audacity to play a headlining show but on the other hand its like I have done sound for feature films.
AM: So, Z Brvtalist is wondering, are you signed to any label right now, are you available? What's in z stars for Kanga?
K: I started to write an EP, the more I started writing it the better it became, so instead of just putting out an EP I was writing more and more music and getting more attention from label heads. So Im at this place now where I am talking to a label but they want a full length now, so its gone from being pregnant with a seed to being 8 months pregnant and wanting this baby to be born already. It might involve more waiting but I am a patient person, which is a weakness of mine, I fear losing momentum due to my patience. But for me its important to have a solid body of work.
AM: Roger that.
AM: You write all the music, you write all of your lyrics, this project is all you.
AM: In z future who would you like to collaborate with?
K: This sounds really weird but I have this fetish for being an old times producer taking an act and cultivating them. I like a lot of the afro punk bands out now, I have this desire to infiltrate and take over artists I think are talented and would love to integrate my sound to theirs. I think Chelsea Wolf is brilliant. I used a couple of her trans as mixing references. And yeah Trent Reznor do a remix for me.
AM: Laughs, which could happen!!
AM: I think z relationship between artist and producer is very important and special. Albums remind me of a broken heart, one half is z artist, z other is z producer.
K: Maybe thats why I am so hard on myself because a producer has to be truthful and mean sometimes to the artist they are working with.
AM: Ok cool, I am going to do an experiment where Kanga draws a card from my Tarot deck. (Kanga shuffles cards like a true boss. Draws card)
AM: Card is inverted 6 of wands.
K: You smell like sunscreen, are you wearing sunscreen?
AM: I always wear sunscreen. It's night time, I don’t vant to get burned by z moon.
AM: Where are you from?
K: Santa Ana. I’m from the bario, the ghetto. I got into a lot of trouble in high school, got my degree super early, left high school at 16 and got into more trouble. My mother told me “ you need to go to collage or get the fuck out”, so I took a digital music class and became Apple certified by the age of 16.
AM: Whats that?
K: Like mastering pro tools and logic, so I became a producer because of getting into trouble.
AM: Do you like Trap music?
K: I have a lot of friends from Atlanta who are passionate about it, but its not my thing.
AM: One last question I gotta keep it short or z Brvtalist will beat me. Do you believe in z dark arts and z Devil himself?
K: I believe in the dark arts, but I don't believe in the Devil.