It’s a pretty big deal to get into Stanford University. It’s an even bigger deal to set aside your Stanford University education and pursue a musical career. But then again, Kristine Flaherty, more popularly known as K.Flay, is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is quite the big deal (look out, Ron Burgundy).
K.Flay channels the influence of Kanye West with poppy hip-hop songwriting sensibility, the clever wit and parody of Weird Al, and a yet-to-be-identified element of A Chorus Line. Given the laundry list of genres and styles K.Flay tosses into her sonic blender, it’s amazing that a) she’s not related to Iron Chef Bobby Flay, and b) her music is not just comprehensible, but undoubtedly addictive.
Brian: At what moment did you realize that your music might take you farther than your college degrees?
Kristine: I don’t know if there was a specific moment I can pinpoint, but I think that being on the road for the first time last fall was when I really started to see where the music could take me: strange motels in Cleveland and alarming numbers of Taco Bells. Which was better than anything I would have been doing with a psychology degree. No offense to psychology.
Brian: How has your tour with Passion Pit been?
Kristine: It’s been great! This is my first U.S. tour as a solo artist, so there’s a lot I still have to learn, but everyone has been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I feel very very lucky to have the opportunity to share the stage with such talented and innovative musicians. It’s freaking rad.
Brian: How do songs typically come together for you? Or is it different each time?
Kristine: It differs a bit each time, but for the most part, I start with a basic riff, drum pattern, or melody. Then I write the bulk of the lyrics and build out the beat from there. My hope is that the music and the lyrics sort of co-evolve so that the finished product feels like a coherent vision, not something that got pieced together in the studio.
Brian: Do you have a favorite song of yours? If so, what is it?
Kristine: Once my songs are recorded and mixed I don’t listen to them much, but I think my favorite track from the new EP is “So Fast, So Maybe.” That was a fun one to write.
Brian: If there is any one artist you could work with today, who would it be?
Kristine: I’m totally obsessed with Emily Haines, so I would give up like ten chicken pesto sandwiches to work with her. She’s got this phenomenal ability to manipulate language in a way that makes you feel heartbroken and exuberant at the same time.
Brian: “Love in this CLUB MED” was a very clever spin on “Love in this Club” – do you have any plans for similar tracks?
Kristine: Not for the time being, but who knows where the earth’s magnets will take me? The concept for the track came to me on a total whim and I just went with it because it made me laugh.
Brian: Your sound is unique and displays a variety of influences, from hip hop to singer/songwriters. What is one artist your listeners might be surprised to hear inspires you?
Kristine: This isn’t an artist exactly, but I listened to the soundtrack to “A Chorus Line” every day for like two years. That musical has some seriously great songs.
Brian: When you’re not touring, playing, or writing, what do you like to do?
Kristine: Here are my favorite non-music activities: being an idiot with my roommates in San Francisco, reading books, and playing friendly but slightly competitive tennis matches. IN MY MIND.
Brian: What is your fondest memory since entering the music world?
Kristine: The best memories are of getting off stage and feeling like I made a real connection with the audience. Nothing is better than that.
Brian: What do you think is the weirdest trend in music today?
Kristine: Off-key autotune. Because that just doesn’t make sense.