Interview: K. Flay discusses the Bay Area music scene and what inspires her to make music
July 21, 2011
Written by Nic Buron
K. Flay is a San Francisco-based, genre-blind producer/songwriter who is making her name beyond the City by the Bay. K. Flay is the nom de plume of Kristine Flaherty, who started making music a few years back while attending Stanford. Known for rocking the stage, she has opened for several big name artists (Ludacris, Snoop, toured with Passion Pit), and although she hasnâ€™t released a full-length album yet, you can download a couple of insane mixtapes on her website. K. Flay also happens to be a gifted remixer (her take on Kreayshawnâ€™s â€œGucci Gucciâ€ is my favorite remix of the year), and has landed a soon to be released official Beastie Boys remix.
The Bay Bridged: What are your thoughts on the music scene in the Bay and where do you see yourself in it?
K. Flay: The Bay Area music scene is really interesting. Historically, you’ve got these legendary punk & hip hop worlds, but there’s a contemporary vibe that’s more electronic, more experimental. The mixture is kinda crazy and makes for a pretty diverse landscape. My music is electronic at its core, so that’s probably where I fit best, but I’ve played shows and collaborated with all kinds of crazy artists in the neighborhood.
TBB: You perform on bills with artists of a variety of genres though your music isÂ decidedly hip-hop, how do you feel about escaping from genreÂ ghettoization?
KF: From my perspective, it’s okay for shows to be a little like mini festivals, in that you’ve got artists on stage who represent different genres but appeal to a similar crowd or a similar aesthetic or all just tell weird jokes. As an audience member, I like to be introduced to something new at shows, something unexpected. So it’s been cool for me to be that unexpected element at a lot of gigs. Plus, I haven’t really figured out my own genre yet . . .
TBB: In other interviews you have mentioned a vast array of influences (most of which aren’t hip-hop artists) – what drew you to make the music you make?
KF: I’ve always been drawn to confessional lyrics. Regardless of the genre, that’s what really captivates me as a listener. Once I figured out that I liked making music and was semi-competent at doing so, it allowed me to open up and dig into my own head. Right now, my motivation for writing songs and composing music is discovery through self-expression. Which might sound a little art-school pretentious, but I mean it in a totally middle-school-girl-writing-in-a-diary way.
TBB: You have performed all over the country and also done shows across the pond. Does the response to your set vary by location or who you’re performing with? Any crowds particularly responsive?
KF: Some of the best shows I’ve ever played have been in the strangest locations.Â I find that the smaller the crowd, the more nervous I get, which can sometimes be good because I’m talking out my ass and being a goofball, but sometimes bad because people are hyperaware of the randomness. I also think that for me, especially, the layout of a venue changes the whole dynamic, since I’m up on stage alone. The last super fun show I played was inÂ New YorkÂ about a week ago.Â It is possible that a baby was conceived in the audience that night.
TBB: What’s on the horizon?
KF: Smog! Â Mass illiteracy! Â No, but really, I’m splitting my time between recording new material, playing live shows, and working on a fresh performance setup. Â It’s a cool cycle. The studio stuff gets me hungry to go out and play; the live show gets me excited to create new stuff.