We caught up with K. Flay immediately after her performance at The Paradise on Thrusday night Sept. 19, 2013 while on tour with Icona Pop and Sirah. It was a lively show, with representatives from Bed Head giving awesome hairstyles to eager fans. K Flay had this to say:
Marjorie LaPrade: “I saw you perform at The Nines in Devens, Mass recently and you played a song called “Cops” whilst there on stage. I have to admit I've gotten it stuck in my head a few times already. Can you tell me what triggered you to write this?”
K. Flay (Kristine Flaherty): “It was from an amalgamation of experiences. Whether it's from a romantic or a personal relationship, it involves a person that is sacrificing their own well-being and happiness for someone who doesn't really protect them or truly care about what they do. I feel that it is (sadly) a universal theme for many people.”
LaPrade: “For our readers that are not familiar with your work, can you tell me some additional themes in your lyrics?"
K. Flay: “A lot of my lyrics are a comment on the 20-something culture. It's a mix of cynicism and super innovation juxtaposed with one another. Also, there's some introspection on my own life; what I'm dealing with as a traveling #%$@*&+ or whatever I am...”
LaPrade: “Speaking of traveling, I read that you had stayed in some interesting places prior to and during the tour, can you tell us about that?”
K. Flay: “We've toured for about three years now. I've never been to Hawaii or Alaska, but aside from that, I've been to pretty much every semi-major city in the United States. Last summer we were in Mobile, Alabama in a place that you might not think there's a specific kind of food or population. However, there's always these small enclaves of really interesting things going on, amazing food, culture, etc. It's cool to travel through America and really understand the micro-cultures and context that exists.
We've stayed everywhere: on people's floors, in really terrifying motels, or in really nice beds in nice houses. It's a strange gamut of the entire spectrum of living circumstances from very weird to dingy or even sketchy where you might somewhat fear for your life to a really welcoming, hospitable environment. It's interesting to experience all that, because at the core of it is that generosity of spirit. Everyone is letting you stay.”
LaPrade: “You seem very interested in culture. In fact, I understand that you went to college for psychology and/or sociology. Do you ever use the themes you learned from your college days in your writing?”
K. Flay: “I think I use those themes to some extent, but in a broader sense. It's more the orientation of being a life-time student and being curious about the world. I'm trying to engage in it the best I can. I want to know what's happening and why it's happening to understand motives. Ultimately, people's motivations are the most compelling subject matter.
LaPrade: “I've heard some of your rap songs, have you ever considered being an auctioneer on your off time?”
K. Flay: “Haha. You know what? I actually read this book called 'Seven Days in the Art World.' Part of it focuses on auctioneers and it's this crazy job. You have to be able to read the gestures of the patrons to know who is going to bid on what and negotiate that. Long story short, no, I could not be an auctioneer.”
LaPrade: “Is there anything you would like to tell us about you, your music or your life in general?”
K. Flay: “In regards to my music, it is in a constant state of evolution. I've always been straddling different genres and experimenting with stuff. I really like that fluidity. It's a freedom to do whatever, in a sense. In regards to future music, stayed tuned! I don't know what's gonna happen, but I hope people listen.”
LaPrade: “I saw in previous video interviews available online that you consider yourself a minimalist in your art. Can you explain your reasons once again?”
K. Flay: “For me, I work best when I have X set of tools at my disposal. When I have a smaller amount of instruments to use, I produce better stuff. In that way, I am a minimalist. When you have every conceivable instrument, VST, synthesizer, or whatever at the ready, it's a weirdly paralyzing thing. I've always flourished in environments where there was a minimalist aesthetic, whether it's how we recorded, produced or how I wrote. A bare bones approach is a bit more natural for me.”
LaPrade: “What art, music or other media do you use for inspiration?”
K. Flay: “Musically I have a lot of influences, but other than that, I read a lot- fiction and non-fiction. With non-fiction, it's nice to have a historical perspective in the terms of what you write and think about, what you value or de-value. For fiction, it helps how you conceive a narrative; how it takes shape. This all helps the writing process.
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