Profile — K.Flay Rebels Against Loss and Reclaims Her Life on New Album “Mono” (Exclusive Interview)

K.Flay transcends the conventional boundaries of a musician, weaving a narrative that extends far beyond melodies. Faced with partial hearing loss, she rebelliously released the album Mono, a deep dive into her emotional and sonic world. Her artistry serves as a vessel for societal commentary, a platform for unrepresented voices and a testament to the power of an individual. To label her simply as a musician would be a disservice. She is an icon, a beacon of defiance in an ever-evolving landscape of expectations.

In a recent interview with 303 Magazine, K.Flay shared her struggles creating an album through loss and navigating a new future in music. She also discussed the unique “Mono” tour, which will be residing at The Marquis Theater for a two-night stretch on March 19th and 20th. Each show is promised to provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

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From the very genesis of her career, K.Flay defied categorization. Raised on a diverse musical diet ranging from hip-hop to alternative rock, she found solace in the intersection of genres, forging a sound uniquely her own. She revealed, “Recently, I’ve been revisiting Black on Both Sides by Mos Def, which was really influential when I first started making music.” With a wide range of influences, her new album might be the most experimental yet. The musical chaos creates a vulnerability and K.Flay emerges as a heroine, crafting lyrics that cut to the core of human struggle.

When confronted with hearing loss while making the new album, she spoke on how she was able to approach music almost as a beginner again: “I said ‘fuck it’ to the sense of structures or anything that fell into categories of how things should be. I really relinquished attachment to those when I lost my hearing.” The album is a swirling blend of genres that makes it hard to get settled before something unexpected hits you. “I wanted the audience to experience some of what I felt.” The one-sided ringing sound that transforms from something disruptive to serving the harmony throughout the album was specifically put in as an element to recreate the ringing K.Flay experienced as a result of her disability.

The track “Carsick,” which was initially released as a Mono Vinyl exclusive, showcases K.Flay’s talent for using sonic feeling to capture a moment. The pulsing chorus sounds like you’re doing 90 on a highway and just started to hydroplane. “I felt like being the passenger in a car driven by an unpredictable and reckless person was a way that made sense to characterize it,” she said when speaking about the lyrics. The song touches on relationships and how they can be exciting and chaotic, which can feel energizing but doesn’t always provide the most stability.

K.Flay’s vocal performance comes as a standout for this project, delivering passionate takes on every track. The range of her music requires her to perform in many different ways and with her partial hearing loss, new challenges arose. “Recording vocals, I lost my monitoring ear. So normally, I would record with one headphone off and one on so that I could hear myself in the room.” She also said she had to be rigorous about warmups and keeping healthy. All of the work is evident because she was able to capture the diverse range of feelings on the album in a very truthful way. K.Flay’s voice carries emotion and pain that’s tangible when listening, and it makes sense considering the album was made in parallel with her starting this new reality.

K.Flay is known for her DIY roots and still has that energy at this point in her career. Noting, “Nobody will ever work as hard for you as you do,” she explained that her being so hands-on is what makes sense for her creative process. Music is not something that should have one set way, and looking for unique solutions is something K.Flay has gotten very comfortable with. “Sometimes there’s magic in the demo. ‘Spaghetti’ is an example of a song whose vocals I recorded in my garage, and Paul Meany was like, ‘No, I think that’s the vocal we need to use.’” She also proudly displayed the handmade fight shorts and robe that she had made for the tour. Her transparent connection to everything in her music and performances is something that fans have come to adore.

Amidst the chaos, K.Flay remains grounded in her authenticity. She has found comfort in being a voice for her disability and shared, “I’ve just connected with a lot of different people. When it comes to disabilities, there are so many shades of them, especially hearing loss.” A whole world opened up to her and she was able to connect with a whole portion of people she couldn’t before. Instead of looking at what doors were closed, she chooses to focus on what paths were revealed and pushes on with enthusiasm and energy. She uses her platform to effect change, one lyric at a time, telling a story that is not often heard in music.

Luckily, Mono and the rest of K.Flay’s music will see their way out of the confines of streaming services and be performed live with a 2-night run at the Marquis Theater on March 19th and 20th. Each show is more than a mere concert; it’s a fully unique experience, a personal connection to each city, and a passionate performance that will serve whatever the room calls for on any given night. “There’s a palpable energy when I’m on stage,” she mused. “It’s where I feel most connected to the world, to myself, and to the people who resonate with my music.” She also shared that she’s excited to go for a run through Denver and enjoy various restaurants during her time here.

As K.Flay continues to carve her own path through music, her legacy endures as a testament to the spirit of artistic expression. With five successful albums and songs appearing across films and television, she has created a unique pocket of music. With each album and each performance, she reaffirms her passion and dedication to the craft, even in the face of challenges. “I was trying to develop a new normal, and it gave me this joy almost every day when I was making this record. All the little joys of making a record, whether it’s production writing, recording, mixing, or doing all the creative and album art. There’s joy built into it,” she said about the album, and you can indeed hear the love that was put into every track on the album. A true fighter in every sense of the word, K.Flay brings a story and album that need to be heard.

Get tickets to K.Flay’s shows at the Marquis here!

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