Kyle Lucas is an emcee from Marietta, Georgia and one of my favorite musicians. Thanks to wonderful world of the internet I was able to get a hold of him and he was kind enough to take time out of his day in the studio to sit on the phone with me for an interview.
How does one go from total indie artist, to getting signed by Big Boi, to becoming a “mixtape” rapper, to recording an all encompassing full length album?
N: “When did you first know you wanted to have a career in music?”
KL: “Well, when i was in fourth grade I told my teacher I wanted to be famous.” he laughs. “I suppose looking back, I knew it then. I remember I performed at talent show in 5th grade, as well. I was always into music.”
N: “What (who) are your biggest musical influences?”
KL: “Outkast, probably first and foremost. Boyz II Men has been one of my favorite groups since I was a kid. I love Joe Budden, Royce 5′ 9′, I could go on and on.
Outside and hip hop and R&B, Coheed and Cambria is my favorite band of all time. Claudio, to me, is the greatest lyricist doing it right now. He makes me want to be a better writer.
I really love Fall Out Boy, too. Their melodies are just so on point, they can’t help but get stuck in your head. Gym Class Heroes, also. I owe a lot to that band, Travis (McCoy) was the one who made me want to start Vonnegutt.”
N: “How did the start of Vonnegutt come about, anyway?”
KL: “I had been friends with Matt from Gym Class Heroes. When I was 21, 22 years old, all of a sudden I didn’t feel like I fit into the “snap rap” scene that was getting popular. And I definitely didn’t relate to the “nu metal, rap metal” trend at the time.
I was working at a mall in Georgia and rappers would always come in. The more I saw what the scene was turning into at that time I didn’t feel like I knew what kind of music I wanted to make. I was listening to stuff like Nas a lot at that point. Lyricism in the southern rap game was few and far between.
“Papercut Chronicles” made me realize, THAT’S the type of sound I wanted to go for. It made me want to rap in a band. Make hip hop music with pop tendencies.”
N: “You’re a multi-genre artist. What’s your favorite genre to record/perform?”
KL: “I’m a product of my influences. I am all over the place. I appreciate pop song structure and song writing.
It’s one thing to go in the booth and rap for 5 minutes. It’s a totally different thing to sit down and write a complete song.
It’s time to show people that while i rap my ass off I can still write choruses, bridges, full songs.
Iv’e researched all rap music. I might not like it all, but I have to listen to it all. I think it’s important as an artist to do your homework.
You have to be aware of its origins and the artists that came before you.”
N: “You were in the studio yesterday, what are you working on?”
KL: “I’ve spent a year and half working on this solo record. The album is about 90% done.” he says. I can hear the smile on his face.
“I’m trying to prove to a whole new audience that I can be a versatile artist. I feel that my core fans will stick with me. I’m out to prove to everyone who thinks I CAN’T do it. Or even those who don’t know who I am yet.”
N: “I hear a lot of samples in your songs used so well. From the American Horror Story girls singing to Incubus “Drive”. Was it hard to get those samples? How did that come about?”
KL: “When i started I was rapping over Blink 182 and +44. I’m a big fan of rapping over things that aren’t “rappable” by everyone else’s standards. I have a minor in film so im pretty obsessed with what I hear in the background of anything I watch.
For “Fear and Loathing in Marietta”, I heard a lot of that stuff in the scores of TV shows and movies from the past year just hanging at the house watching Netflix.”
N: “Rainy Days” is one of your songs that speaks to me the most. I love the ’60s Brook Benton sample. Are a lot of your influences older artists?”
KL: “I definitely appreciate that era of music, but in this case, I actually heard it in a movie.”
N: “The background of “Love and Other Drugs Part 1” sounds very similar to Why?’s “Crushed Bones”. Is that just a coincidence?”
KL: “Thats an Anthony Green sample, actually. I believe from his solo record.
That song got cut from the “Always Sunny In Marietta 2” mixtape. I felt it still had legs and it actually made a lot more sense to put it on ‘Fear and Loathing’.”
N: “I see a LOT of production work from Simon Illa. Who is he?”
KL: “Simon is my main producer. He actually moved from Philly to work with Vonnegut 8 years ago and stayed ever since. He has a hand in pretty much everything I do.
I don’t like big studios, it’s just not a comfortable environment for me. I prefer to be in a home studio. I record at Simon’s house.
N: “Please tell me about working with/being signed to Big Boi‘s label.”
KL: ” He is definitely my favorite rapper. Vonnegutt was signed with him for four years. There’s no doubt that validated me as an artist, to be SIGNED by one of my biggest influences.
He had been listening to Vonnegutt demos through a third party. I remember one Sunday I got the call, ‘Big wants to talk to you.’ I’ll never forget that moment. So we rode down to his studio. We were waiting in his studio for an hour. Finally we see him walk by…but he walks right past us at first. I think he thought I was a producer”, he laughs. “My manager stood up and told him, ‘THIS is the kid from Vonnegutt, the one you’ve been listening to.’ Big looked at me, his eyes lit up, & he gave me a hug. I just remember him saying ‘From emcee to emcee you guys are dope as fuck. I’m gunna do everything I can to sign you.’ And he did.”
N: “Care to comment on your lyrics about the music industry in “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone”? They seem to be very telling.”
KL: “That whole mixtape (“It’s Always Sunny In Marietta 2”) was recorded while all the problems with Vonnegutt were happening. Nothing was panning out the way I wanted it to. I was going through it with the industry, to say the least. Honestly, at that point, I wasn’t even sure I was going to stick with music.
Jonny (Craig) was the one who single handedly took me out that dark place where I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone record. So I’ll forever be grateful to him for that. And that started a great relationship that is still strong to this day. He’s still one of my closest friends.”
I’ve had the same manager, Nick, since Vonnegutt days. I’m very fortunate for that. Without him I don’t think I could do what I do. It’s such a team effort. My solo career was put on the back burner for a long time and I was lucky to not have to start all over. “Red Wine & Xanax” was the first song where I felt like I came into my own. That’s the track that set the tone for this album I’m working on.”
Get familiar with Kyle Lucas‘ music in the SoundCloud link below.
Check out Kyle Lucas’ most recent project “The Blueprint For Going In Circles” with Jonny Craig and Captain Midnite, HERE!