Interviewed by Nina Posner
Just out of high school, Chicago rapper Killavesi is proof that young people are more on top of their shit these days than ever before. While older generations love to go on about millennials’ supposedly lazy attitudes and dependence on social technologies, the fact of the matter is that we can (and do) put in more work a younger age. Killavesi’s already released a handful of quality tracks on Soundcloud, weaving her jaunty flow through an array of glittery, luxurious beats produced by the likes of H!tkidd, Mechatok, and hi tom. She’s part of an international collective, her EP is set to drop in August, and The FADER recently gave her a shoutout. In her first ever interview, we talked to Killavesi about her rap career so far, support for young artists in Chicago Public Schools, guilty pleasures, and more.
How did you get into making music? What was the path that brought you to where you are now?
The first time I planned to make a song I was in 8th grade, me n my friend Maiya made like a girl rap group and got a following in middle school before ever actually rapping. I only wrote like four bars n they were funny as hell. Then around junior year I recorded this song called Bus Stop on my phone n posted it on Soundcloud. It was really just about me doing stupid shit on the bus, I wrote it one day when I was at home alone n bored. I deleted it but kind of regret that lol. Some people I know will still bring it up because that’s the only one of my songs they know lol. But I started taking it more seriously some months ago.
Was there anything in particular that inspired you to start taking it more seriously?
Seeing hella people my age get famous as hell n make hella money having fun.
So who would you say influences your sound?
I don’t think anyone really influences it but I could tell you some that I really like or some that may have influenced me to start when I was younger. I loved the Naked Brothers Band, have you heard of them? lol I really like the Cocteau Twins, Weezer. I like this one song by 311 called Amber, it’s so good. Juicy J.
What is your creative process like?
Pretty simple – just find a raw beat, write something, and record. But it’s hard to find good beats.
How do you find them usually?
People just send them or I find someone whose stuff I like and ask if they want to work together on a song.
And you’ve grown up in Chicago right?
Yeah I was born in LA, I moved here when I was eight.
Do you think Chicago (the schools, after school programs, etc) foster an environment for young people to pursue the arts??
Not the public school programs, but there are privately funded companies that do.
Any ones in particular you want to mention? And are those accessible to CPS students?
They are great and there’s so much great music coming out of Chicago right now. Anyone you would want to collab with, here or otherwise?
Juicy J… hmm let me think. That’s it.
And you’ve done some cool collabs already. How did you link up with [London-based collective] Bala Club?
Thanks, Uli K followed me on Soundcloud and then messaged me asking if I was interested in making a song. Then Don’t Look At Me was made.
Are you working on anything right or in the rest of 2016?
I’m dropping an EP, it’s looking like August right now. I know that’s far af lol but someone I’m working with is advising, hopefully it’ll be on Spotify n iTunes n all that stuff.
Any live shows?
Nothing scheduled yet but my first show will probably be in Europe, me n my bf are supposed to be visiting Sweden in August.
Okay let’s do some fun questions lol. What is your favorite cereal and why?
That’s ironic, I really don’t like cereal. Like it’s almost a hate.
Okay like, favorite weird snack.
Oxtails are good as hell, that’s more like a meal though.
What is your opinion on the idea of guilty pleasures?
That’s like the best kind isn’t it?
How do you mean?
Sometimes good feelings come from bad things.
What does your ideal show look like?
No specific place really but sold out headliner would probably be really fun n nerve racking, it’s probably cool to play on a boat too.
If the ground level of earth became uninhabitable, would you want people to live in the sky or sea?
Sky because it’s more euphoric to me and world 7 of Super Mario Bros.
The world isn’t totally fucked because ______.
Killavesi is here.