Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interview: The Knux

The Knux Renovation
By breaking down walls The Knux hopes to open minds and bridge genres.
By Joel Marasigan

In today’s world of music The Knux is the phenomenon that’s just waiting for that last bit of street buzz that catapults them into everyday conversation. They’re a two-man musician team—Al & Krispy—that took their influences of the Kinks and Portishead (among others) and mashed it up with the hip hop they grew up with and made an energizing live show that reeks of long-dead originality.

How long have you guys been out and how long did it take for you guys to get on that LA Weekly cover?
It took us 2 years to get on that cover. Been out here for 3. And we deserve that cover. We’re the only hip hop act on the sunset strip that wasn’t already known. We’ve been grindin and doin our thing. We jump on tours and festivals AND worked on our album. We want to spread our word but not in a cheesy way so we’re doing it old school and grassroots. We work real hard.

Tell me how you landed yourself as openers for Common, Nas and Lupe Fiasco.
We went on tour with Common on the Finding Forever tour and we were the only ones on tour with main support—it was the Knux and Common. That’s it. Knux. (pause) Common. Common came up to us and said that he heard about us. Talkin about how he saw one of our shows live and how it reminded him of Big Daddy Kane. You see we don’t come out yelling and muffling up the microphone we come out to make you dance and sweat. That’s what Common wanted us to do when we opened up. He wanted it to be hype when he comes out. Old school hip hop guys are the best judges for music. You all can talk about them and how they’ll say that hip hop is dead cause their records are not sellin but those are the guys that know real hip hop.

Describe your live show.
There’s not a show that we haven’t done where we didn’t have crowd participation. We’re talking about songs that they’ve never heard in their life and they’ll know our chorus before the end of the song. There’s people that follow us—like people would The Grateful Dead. We performed with the Roots in Salt Lake City and there was 10,000 people out there to see the Knux and the Roots perform. Blistering heat. Standing on top of each other. We rocked it. We performed in Montreal, Canada—there were people that came out from Vancouver to come see us perform! You gotta look at the Knux more like a punk band. We don’t go out there all clean and flashing jewelry. Matter of fact, leave your clean shoes at home cause there’s Energy at our shows.

Would you be more on the N.E.R.D. side of hip hop than the Snoop side.
Kinda. We’re not on that cool hip hop look-at-my-Ice-Cream-tennis-shoe shit. Every show we perform we’re in some dirty ass Chuck Taylors. If you see me in these shoes you should think that I might stage dive, dog. We’re not coming out to show our chains and look cute. We come to get at shit.

Krispy when you were a kid around 15 years old everybody listened to the same type of hip hop—what music were you listening to that made you switch gears to make you reach this path?
It wasn’t just hip hop. You see we’re trained musicians and we play our own instruments so we’re more open to stuff. When I was 15 I wasn’t just listening to Wu-Tang and Nas. I was listening to Portishead; The Prodigy came out with stuff like Firestarter and all that. Listening to that I thought that I wanted to do it someday. By the time I graduated high school The Strokes had just become mainstream. The Strokes was sicker than any hip hop that was out at the time. It made me go back and listen to the Kinks and Pixies and shit like that. At that point I was done with hip hop cause there was nothing new in hip hop that could influence me.

With all these influences what is Remind Me In Three Days about?
The body is all hip hop—but the clothing it wears is all sorts of other genres. We brought the breakbeat back to the mainstream. You’ll hear influences of electronic, dance, garage rock, drum and bass, jungle… it’s all influenced on the production side. But it’s all hip hop. We spit our asses off so it ain’t no corny raps. Hopefully we’ll get hip hop listeners to open their ears to other genres.

When you jumble up too much urban America gets confused so this style of music might be accepted more by the stereotypical “white guy”. What do you say about that?
You couldn’t make a person buy a Lupe album. They’d have to love it. A label can’t just market him and get a response. Honestly he doesn’t really have any strong label support. When Atlantic had first signed Lupe (We used to write songs for Atlantic) we were trying to see if we could write hooks for him. The label told us “Don’t write for this album. It’s not going to sell.” That album took off with out Atlantic supporting that shit. There’s a middle genre now. Some people call it the hipster realm. It’s an in-between genre—it’s not underground and it’s not mainstream. It’s not white and it’s not black. It’s got no color to it. You’ve just got a whole bunch of people enjoying a style of music. Kids want a blunt rolled with all types of styles now and they’re listening to everything. It’s a good time right now. You don’t have to be in a box. It makes other artists get on their grind and impress a little harder now—and stop the bullshit..

Everything happens in cycles. No one really invents something new. Do you think The Knux hit that sweet spot and are in the right place at the right time?
We’re going for longevity but we’re still gong to blow it out of the water. I’m not looking to just float around in hip hop just to be “in it”. We’re not trying to be modest about it. We have the will to knock down the walls of a genre and if we will be the sacrifice for it we’re going to do it. We’ll go hard or go home. We want this album to be a bridge between genres.

Between what of artists does The Knux lie?
We really just do what we do but we’re someplace between Gym Class Heroes and Jay Electronica.

If you were to do a show who would be your first 2 openers.
It don’t really matter who opens up—when we get out there they won’t remember them anyway.

Last question: Katrina—Blessing or Curse?
It’s a blessing and a curse. Blessing because…ummm. Fuck you know what? It wasn’t a blessing at all! It was some bad shit for us. We lost family members. We lost memories. There was no good out of that Katrina thing at all. Oh you know what! There WAS a lot of legal shit. I mean, we had a LOT of court shit. Lots of it got dropped after Katrina. I guess there’s the plus!

The Knux: Remind Me In Three Days released on October 28th.

No comments:

Post a Comment