This is My Jam feat. KXVG (Kalonni Hurrel)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

This is My Jam feat. KXVG (Kalonni Hurrel)

By Simone Soublet, Nick Canchola 

Simone Soublet and Nick Canchola are getting down and personal with artists and musicians from LMU with a new podcast called “This Is My Jam!” Through their conversations, they hope to shed light on these artists’ past, present, and future as well as listen to some music along the way. For the first episode of the show, host Simone Soublet is joined by Kalonni Hurrel— better known by his stage name KXVG— to talk about his latest album and other projects he’s worked/working on. Listen on Spotify and Soundcloud


Simone Soublet (SS): I’m Simone Soublet and This Is My Jam. Thanks for tuning in! We’ll be getting down and personal with our favorite artists and musicians. Through our conversations, we hope to shed light on their past, present, and future as well as listen to some music along the way. Today’s guest is Kalonni Hurrel. His stage name “King” spelled “K-X-V-G,” comes from a very personal place.

Kalonni Hurrel (KH): The reason why it’s spelled like that is because the "XV" in the middle is actually Roman numeral 15 and I was born January 15th and Martin Luther King’s birthday is also on January 15th so I just kind of matched them together.

SS: When senior Kalonni Hurrel started quarantine, he turned to music to occupy himself. The result? Writing and producing his first full album. On September 5th, he released  “Going Nowhere Fast”,  a continuation project from his first EP, “Gemini Spirit”. Gemini Spirit went through the motions of a breakup. Going Nowhere Fast takes us to a few months or a year after the fact and tells a story of realization.

Kalonni likes to bend genres, meaning he doesn’t quite belong to one genre or another. 

Some of his musical inspirations are the classics. Think Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator. But recently, he’s been branching out — getting lost in fluid artists like Choker and Zack Villaire. 

KH: I’m just kind of more like genre-bending between like hip-hop, R&B, soul, a little bit of EDM here and there, a little bit of grunge, a little rock, alternative, stuff like that.

SS: When Kalonni writes his music, he knows everyone can relate. Going Nowhere Fast has eight tracks, each one telling its own unique story. The first one serves as a teaser for the rest of the album. 

Kalonni remembers waking up one day and wanting to quit music. In his frustration, he posted on social media about wanting to give up. His friends, followers, and supporters swiped up on his story and told him to keep going. That same day, he wrote the intro for this album. 

KH: So the story of it is just kind of an overall song. It just kind of tells what the project’s about, kind of like a little teaser type of intro type thing. But it also kind of mentions that idea of how I constantly overthink a lot of things and I’ve kind of talked myself out of going through with stuff just because I’m a very bad perfectionist.

[ MUSIC: Going Nowhere Fast! ]

SS: The next song, “Computer Age,” is about realizing that a significant other was using you for something or as a rebound. 

KH: “Computer Age” is more about a significant other that was just kind of using you in a sense, and you kind of realized that later down the line that they were using you for something or just as a rebound or whatever.

[ MUSIC: “Computer Age” ]

SS: “Death da Kid”, comes next, a track about cutting people off because it's good to let go. Kalonni, being the anime buff he is, named the song after a character from the popular show Soul Eater

[ MUSIC: “Death da Kid” ]

SS: One of my favorite songs from the album, “Lose My Number,” was written from a very literal perspective. The lyrics are about moving on, and telling somebody to, literally: lose your number. 

[ MUSIC: “Lose My Number” ]

SS: We all know that every good album has an interlude. Kalonni called his “Momentum Interlude”.

KH: With the interlude, I was pretty much just talking about how I’m just very impatient at times and how perfectionism is the reason why and how that pretty much leads to the downfall of several different things in my life. 

[ MUSIC: “Momentum Interlude” ]

SS: Next up is “Nitro”, one of Kalonni’s favorite songs on the album because of its double meaning. The song’s tempo is very upbeat, all about being free and wild in the middle of the night. But it’s actually about how numbing reality is, especially right now. Resulting in people being reckless and not caring about the consequences, and just wanting to escape it all. It's about moving too fast so you don’t stay still.

[ MUSIC: “Nitro” ]

SS: The next track on the album is called “Subtitles”, another one of Kalonni’s favorites.

KH: “Subtitles” is another favorite of mine, actually because this was the very first song that I made, way before I thought ‘Alright I’m just gonna make another EP or another project’. “Subtitles” was just a random song I made right when we went into quarantine. It’s pretty much just about not being able to read the languages of love and just not understand it and I feel like that’s just something that just resonates with me a lot because I’ve just had that problem pretty much all my damn life. That’s pretty much what that song is about, it’s just not being able to understand it, not being able to comprehend love, and just trying to work towards understanding it.

[ MUSIC: “Subtitles” ]

SS: The album comes to a close with “Futaba”, the last song. When making the beat for the song, Kalonni searched “Tame Impala type beat” to find it. He took it and ran. Similar to “Death da Kid”, Kalonni got the name “Futaba” from his favorite quarantine video game Persona 5. In the game, Futaba is a girl who was confined to her room, severely depressed over her mom's passing, similar to how Kalonni felt stuck in the house under quarantine.

[ MUSIC: “Futaba” ]

SS: Looking back on the album and the journey it took him on, Kalonni remembers the first track he ever wrote and produced on his own. 

KH: It was a song called “Grapevine”. I don’t know why I made it. To be honest, it was funny because I was just making beats and I was making this one beat and it was like a hip-hop boom bap type beat just like ‘aye yo, check it’ type beat and I was gonna send it to my boy Skylan because he loves that type of music, and he loves those type of beats. Then for some reason, I had this half of a verse I had wrote because at the time I was starting to get into writing and so I had half a verse and it just fit with the beat. So, I went along with it and just kind of made a whole song. I went to this engineer’s house, recorded the song, he mixed it, sent it back, and I just put it on SoundCloud and that was my first track. So that song compared to my music nowadays, that song is literally nothing but just pure hip-hop. I was all about nothing but like bars and this and stuff. I wasn't really about making like ambient music. Nowadays I’m like, I want to make more soundscape type of stuff, I wanna make more soulful. I’m just trying to diverge from just being a rapper.

SS: In regards to what’s next for him, Kalonni says he's been off the grid, not really active on social media. Right now, he’s focusing on learning how to play his music on the piano instead of the computer, like he normally does. He’s also working on other projects. He’ll be executive producing for his friend Skylan’s EP coming out in November. 

But Kalonni says there might be singles coming out in the very near future. So be on the lookout. You can find Kalonni on Instagram @kxvg.mp4 and check out his music on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and Google Play. 

Thanks for joining us today! I’m Simone Soublet, and this interview was brought to you by Agency LMU. Hope you enjoyed listening to This Is My Jam. This episode was edited by Myles Dement, produced by Raven Yamamoto and Nick Canchola. Our theme music was brought to you by Dyalla.

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