Kitty (Pryde) Feigning D.I.Y.
Let me begin by saying I’m a Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde) fan. An unabashedly-lyric-memorizing fan. Despite being a music snob I am a fan. When I opened for Kitty she had no interest in sucking face with me, despite that, I am a fan. She hardly had interest (or social capability) to speak to me beyond what was just polite enough that I would blog about her being rude (irony) but I am a fan. “I didn’t want to but I caved.” I’m charmed by her lyrics, she’s unself-awarely poignant, her early work, where she stumbled around a beat but had beautiful inert rhymes, especially in Justin Beiber, all of it, I’m fucking into it. So, this is not an attack on or about Kitty, if you want shit talk go to her twitter feed.
So, my hesitation, my dilemma in writing this is not about hating on a pop artist, I wouldn’t waste my time, I mean, “how rude”. My hesitation is about my complicated, semi abusive relationship with advertising (the one we all have). And like any unhealthy relationship, I invest- get a thrill from- want to believe in what I’m being sold. And the truth is, in the most unjudgemental sense, Kitty is a pop artist. Here pop is not about content, but that there was boardroom meetings and probably statistics in how to roll Kitty out; Kitty was not some girl with an iphone camera or a twitter, Kitty has a team. A team that did a phenomenal job, a team that should win that big award Don Draper won. I’m not against pop. (fuck you) I’m not really against boardrooms. I’m only somewhat against statistics (I got a C+). But pretending that no boardrooms, image consulting and connection with mainstream labels existed, that’s both genius, award worthy, and the problem.
DIY you only have yourself to blame. We couldn’t just let pop stars be pop stars. Something had to be inauthentic if it was highly coordinate. The product (pop music) was depreciated in value if at its core it was a money/fame-making product, and we stupid haircuts had to have a problem. Record labels and commercialization has been demonized that the dinosaurs adapted. And it is worse, there teeth are sharper, for us who were making videos with iphones. But let me state my not very conspiracy-theory theory first.
Kitty’s father was signed to some big record label and managed some people way back when. You can fact check that but examine her rise and the evidence is apparent. Kitty happened to get the attention of signed star Danny Brown on twitter, he just happened to take interest and promote her music out of the tens of thousands of people who hit him up? Kitty happened to have a solid discography and multiple videos ready to keep up the attention and momentum? Look at someone like Kreyshawn who had a great song but only had videos of her calling herself a robot to follow it up with, that’s what happened when a plan wasn’t in place. Kitty on the other hand, had these crafted songs, beautifully mixed (while still sounding like it could be made in a house) and had contacts to play live nation venues.
Her roll out plan was an experiment, “we didn’t think anyone would listen to me,” but there was in fact, a ‘we’ that came up with a plan to get people to listen. And it was brilliant. This plan though does not take away from her raw talent and appeal. Kitty deserves all of her success, just like Odd Future does (I begrudgingly guess).
I’m sure a record label, or former record label management teams (as was the case with Odd Future) have failed at achieving the success for artist that they have for O.F and Kitty, so the artist and the material does matter, but now there is a template, a feigning of D.I.Y. to create a mythos for stars to rise from. In the same way that all wonderful internet start ups were supposed to happen on accident or begin in a garage that’s what is happening with ‘sudden Youtube sensations.’ Commercial products, including pop stars, now need a humanizing origin story.
It would be fair, if anyone is reading this, if you are still reading this, if you are asking, ‘well, whatever, media lies to us all the time what’s it matter?’ The answer is selfish and self-serving (not surprising I know, but at least, unlike these campaigns I’m being up front about it). I worked my ass off to get 699 views for a music video that was shot on shitty cameras and turned out pretty-ok-i-guess. There will now be an expectation if you put out some tweets, put out a video and only your mom watches it 100 times that you shouldn’t be making music, and that’s not fair for us who don’t know A and Rs (see, I don’t even know if I’m supposed to write ‘A and R’ or ‘A&Rs’).
The first issue I have here is that it makes music seem like something people either will innately strike lightening with what they are making is not worthwhile, and no one without O.F’s production team and highly experienced producers will have nearly similar results for years, let alone the potential for such a fanbase. For the rest of us, it will remain a lot more difficult to get someone to watch a shaky- medium quality mixed song than a video of your cat.
The second issue bums me out more. The rest of us, need to take years to come up with an image and a sound. To focus more on playing small shitty shows and having our car break down on tour than start in a bus. That shit will make you make something in a new and different way because you figured it out by yourself and did things sorta weird and made something new and inventive. Thinking that Kitty was your peer, starting off in the same way you did, that’s going to lead to a whole lot of whining and unoriginal music, and there was plenty of that to begin with.
I like pop. I have been listening to JT’s album since pitchfork told me it came out, and there’s no guilt in listening to something I know is going to sound way better than I can produce in my closet. When I listen to OK Cupid I nod my head while grinding my teeth, my mix, and my rise wont be like (formerly) Ms. Pryde’s. In fact, Timberlakes, unabashed pop-star-ness is starting to seem more authentic, less controlled, more earnest, then most of what Youtbue is recommending. Soon I’ll be saying, I miss the days when pop stars were pop stars and unembarrassed to be so.
 If this was a responsible editorial I’d have more specifics but the café I’m at doesn’t have internet so google it yourself.
so if you make it past the first 4 lines that sound like shit, the video is actually pretty cool.
this is one of those last minute thrown shows in a city i’ve never been to. these type of nights feel like you’re hanging out with your friends from forever ago, that is, if you ever lived in the same city. point is, i love these type of nights, and i think that gets captured here. if that’s something that interest you.
big thanks to California for recording it and for everything else she’s doing. also thank you shane hall for driving me up to boston and making me giggle embarrassingly.
Grant Sprintz, aka. Gage, is a rapper currently on tour. Check out his music here —> https://gage.bandcamp.com/
Musically, Gage is a specimen of sheer Baltimore weirdness, focusing more on the experience of sound than specific melodies; that said, it’s the visceral lyrics of Nurture Monster that prevent it from wandering into the abstract—Associative is a better word. Our brains are forever making jumps between our inner psychologies and the outside world—Nurture Monster puts these jumps to music.
The album opens with an invitation, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. This isn’t a Facebook invite you click once before ignoring. This is a stranger with a rare smile approaching you in person, asking you to come to a party. It will be an unusual party, with music you’ve never heard before. You will talk about ideas that excite and frighten you—but you’ll be among friends. You—yes, you there in the shabby clothes and a library book under your hand—will find somebody to relate to here.
Gage has an easy way of weaving his influences with his experiences—everything from WHY? to H.P Lovecraft and neuropsychology—and the result is both recognizable and fresh. T-spoon Minutes, the best track on the album, salutes Nick Flynn (“What is the rain if not falling/ What is the bomb if not ticking”), but in such a fresh voice that I didn’t recognize the reference at first. There’s a lot to pick up on here. If you get the references, you’ll feel extra special, but having a vast background in literature and music isn’t essential for enjoying Nurture Monster. Gage is a rapper. His best moments come from unexpected unities of words and beats, when a certain phrase stands out and lingers in your brain long after the song is over—“My heart beats with monsters”
So what is the overall theme of Nurture Monster? Exactly what it says: Monsters, both external and internal, and the way we feed them. Don’t let that scare you, though—or let it, if you’re into that. Remember, this is an invitation to stand in a place you’ve never been before. Your monsters, whatever they are, will be at home here. And sometimes that’s exactly what they need.
dullest records is following me here now. maybe they’ll watch this and something awesome will happen
music video coming soon
Pictures from the Pittsburgh show. Stillborn kicked it off, he told me he didn’t want to play because pitt sucks for him, but as a fan that wasn’t going to happen if I was in his part of the world. He played some new songs that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Bit Mummy followed and genuinely blew my mind. I’m stuttering to type how to describe them, but it was a stroke of good luck that I got to play with people who shatter the box of genre. I middled. Fun set, Pitt definitely mixes punk crowd presence in their hip hop. The night seemed like it was going to be playing to only punk rappers but ended up being an interactive show. Gino followed with some roots grounded hip hop. First time I’ve seen him live, the Dude has flow. 30 Realm closed, and was like witnessing a modern day Fugees. The night killed me softly.
Pictures from the Youngstown Ohio show. Got some of that Midwest Hospitality I’ve been hearin about, big thanks to Baker and Lemongrove Cafe. From the Top: Greenlander kills it at the beginning of the night, I’ve seen his name a lot since I started rapping, and he didn’t disappoint. Then I alienated and chased out some frat bros and played to the indie hip hop fans, followed by learning a thing or two from Mr. Baker, a wonderful performer, host, and generally swell guy.
Pictures from the Youngstown Ohio show. Got some of that Midwest Hospitality I’ve been hearin about, big thanks to Baker and Lemongrove Cafe. From the Top: Greenlander kills it at the beginning of the night, i’ve been heard and seen his name since i started rapping, and he didn’t disappoint. Then i alienated and chased out some frat bros and played to the indie hip hop fan, followed by learning a thing or two from Mr. Nick Baker, a wonderful performer, host, and generally swell guy.
I’ll post new things in the world i promise.
I released it last week. I should have posted this sooner, but i’ve been struggling to say anything about the album.
some facts are: I haven’t checked the stats on it
Two mini labels have posted about it and are doing mini publicity for it, to which i’m eternally grateful.
Strangers have said they dug it, everyone has used the term ‘dark’ to describe it, but also told me they can dance to it.
Here’s some theories, right now the album is representing itself, i think it speaks for itself so it’s hard for me to comment on it, or try to reach out and see who is listening and what they think. I don’t think this is a savvy business decision but i think it means i made something that i think is worth while.
i really do hope you’d listen and i really would appreciate any feedback you have.
thanks for reading the ramble.
please hit up the facebook:
the booking contact is here:
i started writing it earnestly back in november maybe.
I’ve been recording demos of it in closets for just about as long.
a lot of times it seemed like meektunes (the producer and i who first started it) were never going to get on the same page to finish it so out of need in june i started writing a whole other album without meek.
in the end i combined the best tracks of both projects and because i wasn’t over the themes from the album with meektunes the two blended together in a way that i couldn’t have been luckier.
there’s a lot i can say about the process of making the album. the short list of things i want you to know (without getting into text or theme ill do that later) goes like this:
1. half of it was write in the Czech Republic in a 25 day period where I wrote 18 songs and found myself more miserable than i let myself get usually.
2. I recorded all the final takes in a closet in my mom’s apartment in the suburbs of philadelphia in a month and a half. I recorded at least 3 hours a day 5 days a week.
3. I mixed my own material for the first time
4. without my friend pete to listen to each take i don’t think i could have finished the album. He was willing to be a body when i needed to rant about reverb and tonality and was more gracious than i will ever believe i deserve.
Now that it’s finished:
when i finished for me about you, i listened to it once and never wanted to hear it again.
now that this is done, I still dig a lot of it. I think it’s a cohesive good representation of me. it’s a major stepping stone to me developing a personal sound and has made me a much better writer. i feel that it’s worth the 5 bucks i’ll be selling it for at shows.
On the subject of selling it, I’m mortified. I have struggled to understand a difference between thinking about something seriously and working on something seriously. this is the most work i’ve ever put into something and i wont lie i want it to be received that way.
I’ve been back in Balt for about a week and a half
i have 3 shows coming up this month and a lot of hopes for oct
a new album will be released, hopefully a video and a lot of t-shirts.
personally, i start a cafe job monday. i’m waiting to hear back from all these non-profits that take forever to get through hr and other things boring to type about.
hopefully by next week, i’ll have enough structure to pursue interesting things again. I want to get involved here in a way being in school didn’t allow. serious reading. meditate consistent. join a play. join a dance thing, pick up basketball, start a new music project: these are the secondary reasons i’m not in san francisco yeah?
being interesting, being one who has interest, is not innate, not for me. the absence is easy to recognize; dullness. but what it’s (dull/restlessness) is filled with takes intentionality cause it’s way easier to re-watch it’s always sunny.
more people neeeeeed to look at me riiiight now!!!!
When Life Gives You Lemons Mix includes:
- single lemon
- shot glass
- duct tape case
- a playlist chalkful of an even balance between fuck it tunes and wallow in it melodies
[guided by voices, butthole surfers, bouncing souls, andrew jackson jihad, heavens to betsy, belle & sebastian, etc.]
have i mentioned this 100 times yet?
it’s more than a little good
someone ask for a picture of us. i’ll try to have my eyelashes kick ass this much
if this got another 64 listens my life will be better in every way
soon to be stickers and buttons
I stand by the changes, i threw at him but he’s charming and stuff and no one reads this so i’m reposting it
My clothes are strewn about my room, hanging
out of drawers, lying around waiting
to be picked up like yesterdays trash or the prettiest girl at the party.
Waking from 3 years of sleep, 3 years of dreaming
the American Dream, dreaming
soul mate life partner, dreaming
awesome poetry by my pal, petegk