The Florida native’s current stop is Atlanta, GA- the home of Peachtrees and sweet, sweet, sweet tea. Clad in all black with sunglasses on deck and custom cutoff shorts that match (boy, you know what comes next…), Kilo Kish effortlessly captivates her audience as she floats her way to the stage and grasps the microphone. The last act of the night, her performance begins just like her EP does- melodic and mellow.
“Your head is on my pillow/ I’m thinking of where this could go/ I’m slowing down the tempo/ your eyes so black, they’re like the universe to me/ I think that what I’m trying to see/ Is if you have enough to be/ every part of every thing…”
During down time of the current record, she surprises spectators by placing the microphone in front of a random fan’s face.
“Say whatever you want.”
“I love you…” Is all he can muster up.
Greedmont Park: I’m going to do something similar to what’s done during your set- blurt out phrases, and request that you unveil the first thing that comes to your mind once you hear these words. No over-thinking, no filter!
Kilo Kish: Turquoise.
“I’d like to begin again.”
What’s the funniest thing that’s been said to you after sharing the mic?
‘I like dinosaur dick.’ It was awkward. Me and [DJ] Cash looked at each other like, what the fuck. We need to get a drop that goes ‘what the fuck’ just for times when people say something stupid!
If you ask God for bread first, what do you ask him for second?
Secondly, I’d just ask Him for happiness.
What was for breakfast?
We have bagel shops in New York that make really, really good bagels. I had egg whites on an Everything Bagel…toasted. It was delicious!
What would I witness if I opened up your fridge tonight?
[Kish places me on a brief hold as she makes her way to the refrigerator.] Water, garlic, corn on the cob, carrots, apples, Sweet Leaf iced tea, teriyaki sauce and vegetables!
Surely, most recent graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology don’t expect to spend their first unbound summer exploring the real world whilst touring the country and performing original records alongside a percentage of the Odd Future collective, The Internet, consisting of Matthew Martians and Syd tha Kyd. Fine arts enthusiast Lakisha Robinson, however, has never been like most people. According to her, she’s simply “a person who likes to make stuff, design things and be busy. I just like to make a bunch of different things and see where it goes.” From creating a custom denim bracelet business in high school to concocting ideas for visual treatments, concert invitations and album covers, Kish is a modern day renaissance woman- solely guided by her unbound imagination and secure grasp of how imperative it is to simply do it- yourself.
What’s your favorite flower?
Is that what you painted when putting together your portfolio for FIT?
My portfolio was so bad. I literally forgot I had a portfolio meeting, so I just put together a bunch of shit that I had in my room. Mine wasn’t mounted, mine wasn’t all the same sizes… Everybody came with finished drawings, and I just came with all the shit I could find in my room. I brought it to them, and they were just like, ‘This is really good stuff, but could you not put it in another school’s envelope next time?’ Needless to say, I got in the school. It’s really easy to get into FIT…
What makes up your wardrobe?
I basically wear the same thing every day. Cutoff shorts or black jeans, and a really comfortable t-shirt. I have these T-shirts from John Varvatos that I really, really, really, really love that are super thin. Jeans, I usually just buy from Rag & Bone. I buy the exact same pair of jeans every year. They’re always black. Then I wear Dr. Marten shoes that don’t ever break, so I just keep wearing them. Sometimes I wear Converse…white or black… I make my own cutoff jean shorts. Unica has the best denim because they’re cheap jeans that you just cut and they’re always perfect. I buy them to cut them…
Your natural, wild hairstyle seems to conjoin perfectly with your image. Could you see yourself branding an alternate version of Kinky Curly instead of typically investing your music money into a clothing line or liqueur?
Well, I’m not really into hair and beauty stuff. I really suck when it comes to stuff like that. I wouldn’t make an urban clothing line ever, but I do think that I’d enjoy designing apparel. I really like designing menswear and home products, actually. Those are the two things that are most important to me. I can see myself doing that, or making a lot of weird shit like mugs, candles and rugs. I’m building a loom in my house, so my friend and I are going to start making rugs. I feel like people aren’t inventive enough when it comes to the stuff they’d like to make. They just make T-shirts and that’s it. I made a merch tee, but that’s just because people like t-shirts. I’m trying to find a way to make all of my prints so that people can actually see that I’m actually good at designing. I’ll definitely be making a lot of things other than music, always.
Do you have any hair styling advice that you can offer women who’d like to give the natural look a try?
Definitely don’t shampoo your hair everyday. You can condition it every day, though. I don’t really comb my hair that much, but I definitely try to get the knots out when I’m in the shower. I also put olive oil [from the kitchen] in my hair a lot. It makes your hair super light in the summertime…if you like that kind of thing.
So you just venture out to the kitchen, grab a bottle of olive oil and…
– and I just put it in my hair, yeah! In the shower. It also makes your skin really soft, too- if you just let it drizzle down…
I usually just put it in boiling water when making spaghetti.
It’s really good for your hair and your skin- in the summertime. I tried the same during winter and it just made my hair clumpy and gross. Also, I have separate groups of hair products that change with the seasons. It’s good to switch it up sometimes so that your hair doesn’t get used to one thing.
Kilo Kish’s original plan was to take a stand against everybody deeming themselves an “artist.” Unfortunately fortunately, her efforts are the exact reason she’s standing on stage at this moment- imitating those she loathed. Pursuing a musical career began as a joke amongst friends that led Kish to the creation of her first EP, Homeschool, which naturally became the catalyst that spiraled her smack dab into a life of subtle stardom and high demand. Within months of its release, many began to seek out the soft-spoken songstress, inevitably leading to alliances with acts such as Childish Gambino, The Internet, and Flatbush Zombies.
If you could be locked in the studio with 3 people for a week- dead or alive, who would you choose?
I’d probably kill myself if I were locked in the studio for a week. I hate being in there. It’s like a hospital to me. I don’t ever want to go to a place where musicians go to work and hits are made. I don’t like being in places where I feel pressured. I prefer to work in a smaller space. I like to record all of my songs at home first so that when I go to the studio I already know exactly what I have to do when I get there. I can just knock it out without thinking about it…Just get in and get out. I don’t mind going to the studio for other people, though…
How does one get on a record with Kilo Kish?
I’m super interested in people’s vibes. I’ll do a song if I like it for whatever reason. It may be the beat, it may be this, it may be that…I might not have ever heard any of your music before that point, because you may not be the most popping person- or you might be the most relevant person ever…it all depends on if I actually like the song, and if I actually like you as a person. Even with Donald, we hung out a lot before we worked together.
What’s your most memorable moment with Donald Glover?
First of all, when I performed at Prospect Park with him the entire crowd just scowled at me. His fans are insane. They were just giving me the worst looks ever as we performed our new song [Make it Go Right]. The people that I actually made eye contact with did not fuck with me. After our performance, he looked on his Twitter and some girl sent him a message calling me a “basic bitch.” We died laughing, and he just kept calling me a basic bitch for the remainder of the night. It was hilarious!
“I’m going to have a seat with you guys.” Midway through the performance, Kilo Kish lowers herself to the ground and sits Indian-style amongst her front row viewers before she begins the next song. Though her first time gracing Atlanta’s narrow, uneven streets, Kish displays a calm, comfortable demeanor as if she were returning home for the second time. Formerly introduced to signature ATLien bass infused booty beats by her best friend and manager Justin Scott [A.$.A.P. Snacks], Kilo Kish is no stranger to the city’s bounce. She’s even admitted to her music and moniker being slightly influenced by the city’s own Kilo Ali. She tells MTV, “I just listened to [Organized Bass] the other day because I was thinking of different drops and what I wanted to play if I had a DJ set before my show, and I’m like ‘We have to play Kilo Ali,’ so I was finding different Kilo Ali songs and I was like ‘Wow, it actually goes with the set, which is crazy.”
What would be your perfect 90’s band reunion concert?
I’d love to see the Spice Girls reunite, but that’s not really R&B. I’d really like to see a trio of Tyrese, Ginuwine and Carl Thomas. I just want to hear him sing Emotional… like twice. I really, really, really would like to see a B2K show… and Pretty Ricky. Together. I’ve never been to a Scream Tour, because I wasn’t into it as much then, but I miss boy bands so much. I saw ‘NSync when I was little, though. That was good. We had crazy seats that were really far away, but it was amazing to see Justin Timberlake when I was younger. We kinda have the same hair…
What’s your favorite Micheal Jackson video?
Leave Me Alone. Wait, that’s my second favorite! My favorite is Speed Demon- the one with all the clay figures. The whole entire Moonwalker movie also amazes me. I have them all taped. I have an entire catalog of old VHS tapes that say ‘Kish’s Micheal Jackson Tapes’ in my 9-year-old handwriting.
I hear that you just recently obtained a passport. If given a chance to finally travel anywhere outside of the country, where would you go first, and what 3 things would you HAVE to bring?
I’m so bad at Geography. I want to go to Australia- minus the really, really long plane ride. I’d bring J. Scott or Cash, because I don’t like to travel alone. A camera. Or a notebook or sketchbook. Oh, and money!
Setbacks can sometimes become the befitting set up for a comeback. Approximately a year ago, Matt Martians was forced to reside at Justin Scott’s apartment due to the loss of his wallet during an Odd Future concert. It was there where Kish first met Matt and was able to randomly play a couple of her songs for him. Though she can’t recall the exact song that struck his interest, she realizes that this night may have been the prelude to her musical successes. She also realizes that if it weren’t for a couple of perfectly imperfect unplanned inconveniences, she would have never been in the wrong place at the right time in the first place.
What was the catalyst to your hiatus from college, and what prompted your return?
I never wanted to take a year off, but my financial aid at Pratt [Institute] was screwed up during my second year and I didn’t have a chance to fix it in time for school to start. My mom asked if I wanted to come home or stay in New York, and I told her there was no way that I was returning to Florida. So, I decided to just I take a year off from school and stay with my manager [Justin Scott] because he had an extra room in his apartment. That was the same year that I met Smash Simmons and started making music. That entire year I was searching for something because I was so angry that I couldn’t be in school doing what I wanted to do. Instead of designing, I was working these regular retail jobs that fucking sucked. When I came home, I’d just do music to escape. After that year my financial aid was back in order and I went to FIT instead. I always wanted to be in school, but had I not taken that year off I wouldn’t have ever met Smash or even started making music. I guess it was a good thing…it was actually awesome. Now I definitely recommend people taking a year off, because it kinda gets your head straight on what you actually want to do.
Why did you stay in New York? Many people would have taken the easy route and fled!
I hate quitting. It’s a really big pet peeve of mine. I will never quit anything. Ever. Even if it sucks really bad, I just won’t quit. I mean, I quit jobs if I have another better job and things like that. But I don’t quit things because I don’t like them or because it’s hard. I also like being independent and being on my own. Once you’re on your own, it’s kind of hard to go back to being in someone else’s house and stuff. It’s like when you’re dating a dude with a car, you can’t really go back to dating a guy without one because you got so used to it. Or, like a dating a guy with his own apartment for the first time. You’re like, Oh my God, this is awesome. You just can’t date a dude that lives at his mom’s anymore.
What kinds of lessons are included in the curriculum of Homeschool?
It’s kind of creepy how much time I spend by myself. I really like to sit at my house- that has no television, and I just write, think about things, listen to music, make art and design stuff. I spend a lot of time alone. It’s really comforting for me while being in New York- which is such a big city that can potentially eat you alive if you let it. I kind of take being at home as a place to regroup and think about my next move, and what people have texted me that day. It’s kind of a place that I can figure myself out and what I’m doing. Homeschool curriculum consists of life lessons taught by yourself.
Don’t you ever get lonely? Bored?
No. If I don’t spend enough time alone, I get really weird. I need a lot of alone time. It’s crazy. People are like, ‘Hey…what are you doing? ‘And I’m like, ‘I’m at home.’ They ask what I’m doing and I say, ‘Oh, nothing.’ Then they ask me to come over, and I decline. I’m the queen of skipping out. I’m just like, ‘Yeah, okay…I’m just going to go…and do this,’ but I just go home and be by myself. I’m giving away all of my lies right now! I get bored easily, but it’s very rare for me to become bored with myself. I’m weird and anti-social, but when I’m out I’m really social. I just need a certain amount of time to myself.
Can anything you learned while studying textile design be applied to life?
Life is kind of like a puzzle. You’re trying to make stuff fit. Fabrics or prints are supposed to essentially go on forever without repeats or mistakes or anything like that. You have to do a lot of drafts before you get things right. In life, you have to try things more than once before do them correctly sometimes…
Can we expect a new Homeschool visual or EP by the end of the year?
Yep yep yep, you can! I’ve been debating about putting out the Homeschool visuals because I’m moving on to new projects. I’m kind of anti-video in general, because sometimes you see things in your head that you can’t translate to people who is supposed to be helping me make videos…
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Kish closes the show with BusBoy- an ode to the wants of girls and women alike, produced by The Super 3 (Hal Williams and Matthew Martians). “Girls hate it when you don’t respond/ Girls hate it when you live with mom/ girls hate it when your phone don’t quit/ girls hate it when you’re on some shit…” As surrounding ladies began to smirk in unison, gentlemen shift uncomfortably. This isn’t Kish’s first display of emotional vulnerability. She shares a tale of heartbreak, deceit and comedic revenge on Julienne, and also frees herself from the confines of denial and self-blame on You’re Right, concocted by Syd Tha Kyd.
On Boy, You gave us a long list of things that girls hate, and reasons why they don’t call. Can you enlighten us gentlemen on an age-old inquiry that has stumped us for decades- what DO girls like? What DO girls want?
We want everything! Girls want everything. Like…everything. There’s no better way to put it. We want you to call, but not too much. We want you to be around, but not all the time. We want you to pay attention, but not too much. Girls want everything. It’s just finding the perfect balance of…everything. I’m sure girls can say a lot of things that they don’t like. It’s easier to make a list of what we don’t like. I couldn’t write a song about all of the things I did like.
Was You’re Right inspired by true events?
That was probably one of the only songs that actually had something that inspired it. I actually wrote that song the day that my boyfriend and I broke up…in my room, and I recorded it at my house. It’s the only song on the tape that I actually recorded at my house while everything else was recorded at a real studio. It was kind of like our situation. All the other songs are a little more spacy, introspective and thoughtful, but that one was most to the point. It was actually a quote from him. He used to be like, ‘If we break up or whatever all I have are my friends…I really don’t consider you one of my friends…or the people that I have…’ and it kinda just went from there. That relationship was one of those where the guy really considered his friends super super important, and kind of put his girlfriend as an afterthought. I guess you were right. We’re not together, and your friends are all you’ve got. Some of my songs are really all over the place- like Navy, but when I write songs that are more relatable it comes off as if it’s more from the heart.
What are the top 3 things on your FuckIt List?
The first thing on my FuckIt list is trying to keep up with hair, nails and beauty routines. I tried once before, and I’m so bad at it. Women who have time to make sure that they look good all of the time amaze me. I tried, but I can’t. A week will go by and I’ll think about going to get my nails done, but…won’t. For a while I was doing it, you know- getting my hair cut all the time, doing my eyebrows…but after a while, I’m just like…fuck it.
The second thing on my FuckIt list is entertaining stupid conversations. I actually don’t like networky conversations when it’s only about gaining something or another from each other besides conversation and friendship. My DJ [Cash] is really, really good at entertaining people’s bullshit, but I’m not. I’ll just walk away in the middle of the conversation. If you’d like to talk to me about random stuff like what’s going on in your life, that’s awesome. But if it has anything to do with work, I don’t want to talk about it. I spend a lot of time by myself, so when I do make friends- they’re genuinely friends…and if we happen to work together, we just happen to work together.
The last thing on my FuckIt list is being nice to cab drivers. I get really, really annoyed when cab drivers don’t want to take you certain places. Like, that’s your job, dude! That’s one thing that I can rant on forever about. I’ve met some that are amazing, and I’ve also met some that have literally cursed me out in the street to my face- like screaming in my face, and we’re about to fight. Cab drivers…fuck you if you don’t want to take someone where they need to go when they want to go there. Especially when you’re on a late shift!
Why wouldn’t they want to go?!
Sometimes they just don’t want to be bothered. I remember one time I wanted to go to 147th street, but they just dropped me wherever. They’re like, ‘Actually the traffic is bad on that street. I’m just going to drop you like four blocks away from where I said I would. It’s a short walk. You can walk, right?’ I’m like, ‘No! Fuck you!’ Luckily, I live in a good place where it isn’t really an issue for me anymore, but I remember when I lived a little bit deeper in Brooklyn and it was tough. Especially on Saturday or a night where you work late.
Why don’t you just bolt on them?
No, no. Even if I fight with them, I leave the fare. Actually, I’ve told them to let me out of the cab before if they’re being super assholes by screaming at me and talking shit, I’m like, ‘Let me get out.’ And they’re like, ‘No…I’m going to take you where you need to go.’ I’m like, ‘No get me the fuck out of the cab.’ And they’re like, ‘No, I’m going to take you. I’m going to take you where you need to go.‘ And I’m like, ‘No. Let me out now. I’ll pay you for where we’ve gone, but if you don’t let me out now, I’m just going to jump out of the cab.’ I definitely pay- even if it’s not where I need to go. I feel like everybody deserves to be paid for the jobs that they do.
It’s last call and you’re down to your last $10. Whatcha’ drinking?
I can’t really drink sweet drinks because I just get sick. I like to drink Patron on the rocks with a lime, or a vodka and [club] soda. I also drink white wine. I like some beers, too. Like Stella [Artois]…
Do you have any inspiring words for anybody who may aspire to be in your position?
Just do you. Do whatever works for you. Don’t copy others, just stay in your lane without worrying about what others are doing. Stay true to your own personality. Do what you want when you want to do it. That’s what I’ve done thus far. I’m not concerned with putting out a different song or mix tape every day. I don’t want to put out songs just to put them out, or just to make people listen to them. I want to put out songs because I want to put them out. I’m definitely taking my time with things- even if that means not being the person that everybody’s looking at every two seconds. I don’t need all the attention all the time. It’s cool to do things on my own, like doing shows when I want to do them- instead of doing them because I know people would come.
Listen/Download Kilo Kish’s debut EP, Homeschool, HERE.
Written and compiled by PointOfLu
Photos by Artemus Jenkins