Interview from WestwoodWestwood
Kilo Kish can do anything, but her strongest suit is processing how overwhelmingly underwhelmed we all are by life. The 27-year-old’s first professional work to explore that very theme was her 2016 debut album Reflections In Real Time. Since then, she’s jumped from industry to industry, executing everything from video to fashion textiles, and most recently, she’s found herself in a gallery setting with her first ever art exhibition, Real — Safe at Los Angeles’ HVW8.
On the day before the show’s opening on Friday, we sat down with the Los Angeles based artist to get an idea of what’s been on her mind and how her multi-media show represents the way she walks through her daily life.
Your work focuses on negotiating the personal with the public self. What’s the process of articulating these themes from music to visuals?
I just have tons of questions in general. I’m always trying to figure out my own doctrine for things and what i believe to be true at different points in my life. I definitely believe that people can change and grow. I do try to document different types of feelings over the years because they totally change. My perception even since making Reflections In Real Time to now about all those things—online interactions, being a creative—all that changed in a year in a half since that record. Working through ideas constantly.
When I think about things, I usually think that “This feels like this“: I’ll be having this conversation at this party…which literally makes me feel like I’m stuck in an elevator. Things like that. In my brain, I’m doing other stuff when I’m talking sometimes. It’s nice to sometimes, when I have the opportunity, to make those spaces real, which I try to do with my videos and films and my live performances. I try to take some of that actual emotional feelings and create spaces for them.
Are a lot of the works in the show abstract mundanities of these situations?
What are other examples of that?
For me, when I look on Instagram and stuff like that, I’m like, “All of these are mundane situations.” It’s my lunch or my dinner or on a bike ride or getting an ice cream cone but there’s this grandeur that’s created out of it because it’s curated and formatted for a public. I do kind of the opposite, where I take these situations and make them extreme versions of what they really are.
How do you feel that–given some time after Reflections–this show and body of work evolves these subjects? Or are you going in a different direction?
This show is the farthest abstraction from the record. The music is literal: if you’re singing something and you’re the artist, people will be like, “That’s what you think!” You know what I mean? That’s usually where they’re going to take it. This is like all of the other ideas that don’t necessarily work in a musical medium or a live show. There are still parameters for a live show. If you don’t want to be a dick, there’s still things: people want to come here to come here–to have fun. They probably want to drink and hang out with the new girl they just met and whatever else. For you to push your really intense performance art show on them—which I do anyway—I curtail it a tiny bit. The extra stuff, that’s just too too much for a live show? That’s where it exists in a gallery.
One thing in reading about this show is this idea of the “blissfully blasé.” It very much feels like an excitement and constant pushing down by social structures or other generations that are making you apathetic.
Because there’s so much information.
I don’t think we were supposed to handle this much information. I think we were really actually supposed to hunt for our food and walk around and cook for three hours and walk up a hill for six hours and then come home and be too tired to do anything.
That’s what I was curious about. Do you think this simultaneous feeling of being both overwhelmed and underwhelmed is a bit of our generational calling card?
Totally—because it’s sensory overload…If you wanted to genuinely be happy (and not fake online happy), you really have to work on it. That’s a spiritual endeavor. You would have to disconnect a tiny bit from all of the boxes that you are looking at all times, literally and figuratively. There’s just so much to look at. If you finished posting your picture of your best day ever and—literally point two seconds after—someone posted a better best day than you and then you look at the next person and the next person and the next person…It’s not easy. It’s not easy to be one hundred percent satisfied, especially now when there are so many options. The only way to be fully happy is to not input as much information.
You’d have to disconnect a tiny bit and be like, “My day was great. And I really don’t care about all that other stuff that’s going on right now.”
What’s next after this?
After this, I’m probably going to do one more video for Reflections In Real Time and then I need to really, seriously start working on a new album.
For more on Kilo Kish, check out her SoundCloud and follow her on Instagram + Twitter.