A good friend of mine goes by the name of K’ology. He writes and produces rap music independently. He loves anime and takes influence from everything from Lupe Fiasco to Final Fantasy.
I’ve had the pleasure of tuning in to some of his earlier recordings back when he was first starting, and he now works to get his legs in the music industry. Though you won’t find any albums or EP’s of his online just yet, he has an enticing flavor to his music and lyrics that make him a worthy name to follow in the future.
We sat down over lunch and I got to ask him a few questions over Email about his work, his ideas, influences, and his ambition.
You can listen to his music on his Youtube page here.
Kevin: Where are you?
K’ology: I’m in Milledgeville Georgia. originally from Chicago though.
Kev: What are you doing?
K’ology: At this very moment? Eatin popcorn chicken while a few episodes of Shin Chan go on the ps3.
Kev: What have you been up to recently with your music? Last I heard you finished recording a song called “Succubus”. What is this song about?
K’ology: Aiight well, it’s about me speakin to this lady in a bar. It may seem obvious to what her identity is from the title but there’s more detail given to her as the song goes along. The instrumental actually comes from the very game that the song itself heavily references, “Catherine”. Which I’m sure fans of the game may notice compare.
Kev: Mind filling the readers in on your influences, style, what kind of music you make and what you want to do with it? Also, what is one of your favorite artists/albums, and does it have any impact on your work?
K’ology: Hm, I don’t know where exactly to start lol. I’ll start with one of my favorite artists, which is Lupe Fiasco. It’s really hard for me to say which album is my favorite cause there’s a lot in each that appeals to me, but even sayin so.. it’s even harder to point out what actually impacts MY work because I don’t strive to be LIKE him or anyone else. I want to be able to bring variety in my own music just as how I find myself listenin to music jumpin around artists from different genres like Lupe to BoA to Minmi to t.A.T.u back to Ms.Dynamite to Soulstice to Etro Anime back to Kanye and more randomly, also not forgettin instrumentals from videogames and other genres. My lyrics tend to be more about life emotions, whether they reference a game at the same time or not, I try to write so that most of the game and anime references don’t MAKE the song. I want listeners to still be able to have an understandin of the song even if they have zero knowledge of where the reference comes from. At times I’ve had listeners even tell me that they were unaware that there was actually a reference in some songs because they fully understood the concept of the song lol. “Faded Sandz” of Harmony is one, along with “Titan Citadel”. So far “My FinaL Fantasy” is the only song released that you would more than likely need to have a bit of knowledge on the game series seeing as it is saturated with Final Fantasy references. I’m hopin to spread my music as I get better and bring something fresh to what’s popular in music.
Kev: Care to share a little about your recording process? What type of equipment or software do you favor? Do you like collaborating with other rappers?
K’ology: lol I’m definitely not a pro and for now I use what is available. At first I used my ps3 headset to record myself. Very nice speakers but the mic itself wasn’t the greatest. I would tie a napkin around my mouth to act as a windguard lol. Everything I recorded with that mic is lost in what I call The Great Hardrive Massacre anyway. Now, I use a condenser mic given to me by my bestfriend Emphasis, I think most know him nowadays as GreenGoldSilver. I use FL Studio 9 to make any instrumentals and Cool Edit as my recordin program. Anytime I need a live guitar, another close friend of mine, Allen is usually hyped to play his acoustic or electric guitar, in which he doesn’t take long to adapt and have melodies ready to record. When the music is finished I usually send to Emphasis to sync any art with it and add his own special visual effects to finish it up for youtube uploads.
Kev: What do you feel when you’re in front of the mic? Do you get a surge in your body/mind?
K’ology: LOL I think at the beginning. if no one is in the room with me, I do sometimes, especially if I have a lot of ideas and I’m hyped to get them down. Even though most of my deliveries are laidback and calm, I still feel excitement. Now…. on the other hand, if I keep messin up, I start to get impatient lol I know my neighbors hear me when I’m screamin “AHHH JUST ONE MORE TIME!! I KNOW I’LL GET IT THIS TIME!!!” lol
Kev: What are your surroundings like where you live? Is it rural or closer to the city? What kind of people do you tend to deal with on the daily?
K’ology: I’m guessin it’s considered suburban. Nowhere near city size in my eyes, look up Milledgeville Georgia. It has some rural areas on the outskirts but overall I’d call the inner area, suburban. I’ve actually become quite the hermit these last few years. Most people want to go downtown to drink and club… that’s not so much my ideal of everyday fun. Still a huge gamer so most of my interaction is online until I either move to another area that holds more interest to me with their in town activities or until I’m able to start travelin like I’ve wanted. Sayin so though, I see a big variety of personality online.
Kev: What’s the story behind your name? Does it reveal anything about your process/artistic vision? What made you come up with it?
K’ology: Well Once Upon A Time..nah I’m jokin lol but years ago. EmPhaSis and I were talkin about how our names weren’t very original. Mine at the time was K_Dawg10000 which most of my ps3 friends know me by and his was HomeBoy… he came up with EmPhaSis to match his rap delivery, which is why the first letter of every syllable is capitalized. I was stuck sayin i wanted to keep a K because i always like to reference my real name so his sister Ayana threw The Study of K concept at me with kayology. I agreed to that sayin that any material that I put out is me in some form. I ended up stickin with it but eventually changed the spellin slightly and wanted to have the K and Y capitalized to symbolize finishin as strongly as you begin.
Kev: That’s pretty thought-out, I like it. Anyway, you’ve expressed interest in composing video game background music and soundtracks in the past, and earlier in March you released one of these instrumental tracks in the form of “Forest Depths”. What is it about BGM that inspires you? Do you see this becoming more of a side project, or do you plan on incorporating this into your raps? Also, what are some of your favorite soundtracks? What inspired you to want to compose BGM?
K’ology: Woooooo back in the day O_O lol back when anytime you mentioned an rpg it was most likely Final Fantasy… I use to visit a friend named Dalton who also had FL Studio.. maybe FL5 at that time. I would stay awake when everyone else would go to sleep and work on videogame music to present to them when they wake up lol. My goal was to be better than Nobuo Uematsu back then, was a huge inspiration and a lot easier to point out unlike my lyric inspiration. I felt he captured and boosted exactly what FF7-8-9 needed through music. We also put together a small group who wanted to create a videogame and i was supposed to work on the story and music. I’ve always felt that music is one of the most influencial aspects of nearly any kind of project, and a game without the right music can lose a lot of its intended emotion. As I get some matchin visual art, I plan to upload more of my videogame BGMs. Most of which are still designed to match my anime ideas that I plan to have fleshed out. A female character from my second anime universe is drawn out and planned to be uploaded in a new videogame Character Theme category on my youtube page.
Kev: Speaking of which, on your song “My Final Fantasy” you’ve sampled “Liberi Fatali”, which is one of the more famous songs from the eponymous game series. What is one of your favorite Uematsu moments?
K’ology: I can’t take credit for the sample, the instrumental was found and one of the few times instead of goin to make my own I decided to use it. I had actually intended to respond to a song that I heard with the same instrumental but that idea was dropped. Liberi Fatali is one of my favorites along with Blue Fields..including the piano version.. Maybe I’m A Lion, Don’t Be Afraid, Find Your Way, You’re Not Alone..which i rapped to in Stand Strong.. I’m sure there are more that aren’t in mind right now.
Kev: Is Final Fantsay VIII your favorite in the series?
K’ology: Out of the FF series? Yea. I felt the junction system added a different twist and challenge to the usual Equip This To Be Stronger set up, since you couldn’t spam your favorite spells too much if you were usin them as stat boosters or resistances and enemies’ levels climbed alongside yours so many were still worth putting your guard up for. The endin.. that i remember lol.. made an impression on me that it could have had a sequel to it.
Kev: Yeah it’s mine too. So many different ways you can play the game when you get a grasp on it. Anyway, I’m extremely interested in how you push your various ideas forward in future material. Nujabes comes to mind from your overall vibe and your lyrics, though obviously with less focus on painting vivid pictures with jazz. Where do you see yourself at in five years, both your sound and your status? Do you see the instrumental side of your music ever taking the reins, in the spirit of your BGM aspirations?
K’ology: Nujabes is definitely someone i listened to, that i didn’t mention. Seasonal Goodbyes, my remix to Minmi’s Shiki no Uta will be taken off of my facebook and uploaded to youtube soon. I’ve also written to another few Nujabes instrumentals because they instantly give me a writin idea lol. I do hope to make instrumentals that are as solid as Nujabes because i believe songs should have a strong background as well as a strong lyrical base. As for 5yrs, hopefully i’ll be much more known, I’m currently a no-name and that needs to change but i highly doubt my instrumetnals or BGMs will take over. i want to do all evenly as part of my views of variety lol.
Kev: Do you have any interest in delving into the bandcamp scene, or rather, sharing your music on sites such as bandcamp/soundcloud and possibly working with/playing with other underground artists? What about going live?
K’ology: I have quite a few who have mentioned thos esites sayin that it would help. i do plan on usin them eventually but i kind of want to stick with youtube until i have a larger catalogue for people to listen to, or maybe i’ll use those sites for specific song types. I’m not 100% sure how i’ll do it just yet. I also plan to perform live eventually… in the past I’ve read some of my lyrics in spoken word form at a few poetry scenes lol received very good feedback. I don’t mind workin with other artists but because of my pace and overall shyness, i tend to avoid that unless there’s already a concept in the air.
Kev: Most often, what time of day is it when you write your lyrics? Are you a night owl?
K’ology: Whenever lol. Whenever i feel an idea or motivated or whatever.. could be night, morning, day..i tend to write while gamin as well.
Kev: How long has the idea of music-making been a dream of yours? Is it something you’ve wanted since childhood, or a passion you developed at an older age?
K’ology: As all the famous artists would say..SINCE BIRTH! lol nah, atleast 3-4yrs old. I would always hum the music and not pay much attention to the words. Got a, i think Yamaha, keyboard that year and had made my idea of instrumentals on it but couldn’t record, plus i was still 4 or whatever lol So yea, the music has been around a long time, just usin what i own from time to time. the lyrics didn’t come until maybe teen years when i was listenin to a specific artist with EmPhaSis and we were disappointed and immediately agreed that we could write much better than what we had just heard lol
Kev: And finally….do you have plans to put an album out in the near future, independently or otherwise? You know that’d be super cool and I’d love it.
K’ology: lol yea well after the hard drive massacre that you’ve heard about, a lot of material is gone, but i do plan on it. I have one idea of atleast just uploadin to youtube and then remasterin with someone who can mix more professionally than i can, and group that into an album. Faded Sandz of Harmony was actually a survivor of that hard drive massacre lol intended for my Omnisfear Emotion album. If you notice most of the few uploads on my youtube page are already separated into their planned project area.