OutWest talks their unique blend of country tinged post-emo, growing up in a sleepy beach town called Ventura, being in bands by the time they were preteens, and perform the title track of their Through Highways EP
Lil Racecar and Gravelust grew up together in Ventura, a sleepy beach town north of LA, south of Santa Barbara. It’s known as a small mecca for pop-punk and surfing, but it might’ve birthed the next big thing in post-emo. Already being dubbed “country trap,” I think they’re more than a gimmicky subgenre. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find them at their best trading contemplative lines over vaguely country twanged acoustic guitars. Sure there are occasional 808 subs and machine gun high hats, but it’s the songwriting that will keep you around.
The duo met around junior high and each knew about the other making music. It wasn’t until Gravelust heard Lil Racecar’s experiments with autotuned melodic rap they realized they should be working together. Products of the music internet, whereupon regional influence is essentially nullified, SoundCloud filled their heads with all sorts of cross genre hybrids. Gravelust’s love for industrial pop like Depeche Mode, and Racecar’s modern rap influence inspired much of their early collaborative efforts. But a fateful trip, getting fucked up in the desert, caused a realization that their direction should take a more country / western turn.
OutWest is still young, 18 and recently out of high school. They’re still honing their sound and will surely evolve over time, but I think they have a very interesting base and the songwriting and chemistry is there. They remind me of music I would’ve cried to as a lovelorn teen. The passion is clear in their voices, and their tunes would be as fitting around a campfire as they would be at a festival. Hear us talk about growing up in a sleepy beach town, early music experiments and much more.
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Omar Apollo talks growing up Chicano in Indiana, learning to be a musician in the last 2 years via YouTube tutorials, and growing up a Kinda Neat fan (awww shucks)
Omar Apollo surprised me in a lot of ways. Beside dad issues, an ongoing personal theme of this show has been “people will surprise you.” It ties into plenty of old adages, but we tend to paint a picture of who a person is before we meet them. Every time I do this, I come to find out I’m completely wrong in my assumptions. With Omar‘s dreamy vocals, purposefully polished lo-fi aesthetic, and multi-instrumental self-produced musicianship, I made the assumption he might be an “industry plant.” I thought he’d come in to the studio dressed to the nines with a small entourage of label execs. Nope. People will surprise you.
Turns out Omar is a really fucking normal 21 year old with an above average curiosity for music. I say that because until 2 years ago he claims to not have had any outstanding musical talent. He wanted to impress his dad so he started taking vocal lessons…on YouTube! It was via that glorious site he learned to play the guitar, make beats, and produce his own records. So what are you doing with your time on YouTube?
Needless to say the last two years have been fruitful. His recent Stereo EP is receiving good reviews and garnering him a strong fanbase. His numbers are on the rise, and this summer he’ll be playing shows and touring with heavy hitters. So he’s definitely a name to watch. Beyond that he gave me a little bit of personal flattery because he and his team have been actual KN fans since our humble beginnings in 2013. They even cracked a few jokes about past guests that only true viewers would’ve gotten.
Tune in for a conversation that swayed more towards goofiness and good times than anything too serious. We talk about growing up in Indiana, his immigrant family, and his lack of media training.
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Wes Period Talks Growing Up in Orange County, Being In Bands For the Last 10 Years, Finding God, and performs “Big Bag” Live In Studio
Wes Period is a product of the nondescript Orange County suburb tucked between Whittier and Fullerton. La Habra is one of those places that people ask “where’s that?” It’s probably why folks from the OC just say their from Orange County. The only other person I know from La Habra is Jonwayne. I only know that because of La Habra’s Wikipedia page.
But Wes made the most of his OC upbringing. As a mixed race youth he often felt like an outsider in his city’s distinctly white and Latino sociological makeup. Searching for a way to find his place in life, and satisfying his early musical dreams, he started local bands. Frequently playing local punk venues like Chain Reaction has given him stage chops many peers his age lack. Turns out his band even performed with your favorite podcast host and VerBS at the Glasshouse way back when.
Now, as a rapper and producer, Wes has all the talent and charisma to be a real threat. His beats are polished and catchy, his smile’s contagious, and his raps are triumphant and joyous. The latest single “Big Bag” which he performed live, was licensed as the theme song for “Ball In The Family” about Lavar Ball and sons.
Was trying to put my finger on why I recognized Wes for most of the episode. Turns out KN alum Tommy Genesis was working on a project with him right around the time of her episode. She’s shown me pictures, and eventually the 1 degree of separation made sense. Tune in to hear Wes talk about his bands, his dreams of meeting a rap crew in high school, and recently finding god.
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Childish Major Talks Juggling Producing and Emceeing, Getting His First Big Placement, Working With J. Cole, and Premieres “Aim High” Live in Studio
I’ve tried booking a Childish Major episode for a hot minute. Found him around 2015 as a rapper that I knew made beats. By the time we had J.I.D. on the show, I knew I had to reach out (I assumed he was part of Spillage Village). But I honestly wasn’t aware of this man’s pedigree.
As it turns out his production credits are about a mile long. He’s got placements with KN alums like the aforementioned J.I.D., along with EarthGang, and Rome Fortune. Not to mention works with J.Cole, Jeezy, 6lack, Big K.R.I.T., OG Maco, Two9, and Key!. But perhaps he’s best know for the Rocko, Future, and Rick Ross collaboration “UENO.” A beat like that is a huge blessing, but it can also be the bane of a creative existence. When your art gets pigeon-holed and people want more “UENO style beats” it can become jarring. We touch on that in the conversation.
From his beginnings in Minnesota with a father pursuing a rap career, his move to South Carolina, and eventually settling down in Atlanta, we discuss all of his geographic influence. Beyond that we talk about when he knows if a beat is for him or for someone else, and grinding it out sleeping on a couch when he moved to Atlanta before his first big placements.
Tune in to learn more about Childish Major, and don’t forget to visit our Patreon page to support the show!
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Caleborate Talks Growing Up With a Playwright Father, Giving Up Hoops For Raps, Real Person, and Performs “4 Willem” Live In Studio
Caleborate continues a counterintuitive trend in my listening habits. He’s a rapper influenced by J.Cole that I personally find more listenable than J.Cole. I guess that specific generation is starting to gain traction. KN alums like J.I.D. and Deante’ Hitchcock are prior examples of the phenomenon.
Caleb breaks breaks our ongoing theme of bad dad relationships leading to great art. When his folks split as a kid, he and his brother decided to stay with their father. His dad was a working playwright and occasional teacher. They were no strangers to making a dollar stretch, and making it work. He instilled a sense of wonder and creativity in Caleb, acting in many of his fathers plays as a kid.
After quitting basketball at 16, He started working on raps. His dad knew a guy with a studio and he started to hone his skills. After bouncing around a few colleges in the Bay Area, he met his current manager while working at the flagship Levi’s store in SF. He’s been putting in a ton of work, releasing Real Person, 1993, and Hella Good all within a 2 year period.
Hear us discuss all of this and more and see him perform “4 Willem.”
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