Kmoe: A Catalyst in Every Sense

Progression, collaboration, and passion; these are three terms that most prominently encompass what is shaping up to be the next wave of pop music heading into the future. It is a movement that is set to live and die by these concepts, and the most talented acts at the forefront of it have not only proven their status by simply making incredible music in this light, but also by being forces of their own in stressing and accentuating what those terms truly mean.

Though this movement is wide-ranging and all-encompassing, few acts can truly call themselves a certified “matchmaker,” or even just someone who’s brought people together in a way that creates nothing short of substantial change within this community as it has come to be.

One would certainly be remiss to leave a figure like Kmoe out of that discussion, because the influence that he has had over this very scene combined with his sheer musicality alone proves nothing else other than the fact that he’s not only able to hold this status, but also be one of the most provocative and prolific ones to lay claim to it in the first place.

The Canadian prodigy out of Vancouver, British Columbia has entered this young scene with a force unlike any other. Through his ever-dynamic sound and style on the mic, his purveying production stylistics, and his sheer passion for bringing this community together as a true champion of the art that they all collectively represent, Kmoe is something of a symbol for all that this movement represents — both as it currently stands, and how it will end up being for what is shaping up to be an extremely long future.

LL: Though you’re well known for what you stand for musically today, when and how did your musical endeavors begin? 

So this is actually my 8th year of doing music, and let’s just say I’ve changed my style (laughs). I used to make really bad EDM stuff, and that all started because my mom forced me to watch the Grammys one night, and I saw Deadmau5 came on stage and I was like, “holy shit…” So I looked him up and started making stuff on Garageband. But as time has moved on I started to get into what the scene is now, and basic people like The 1975, Frank Ocean, and Tyler started to make me want to do more vocal things. That led me to the NoHeart collective, which led me to people like Draf2k, Blxty, Mental, Quinn… all the homies.

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LL: Your association with NoHeart was definitely your first stepping stone to the scene, so how did that all come about and how did those people help you get to the level you’re at now?

I got into NoHeart because I met Draf2k when he messaged me one day, and we really just started making music and playing Minecraft together. One day Draf showed me Funeral, and I was like “oh my god this is insane” and we got him in with us as well. Really, that whole thing taught me that you could really use your voice as an instrument, and that opened a lot of doors for me because of it. They all convinced me to really do a lot more with my voice.

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LL: How did you develop your vocals specifically? That’s arguably one of your most defining facets.

Early on I really did not like how my voice sounded whatsoever, so I stopped doing vocals for a really long time. Once I found autotune, I started to kinda come around on the whole thing. But what really made me as comfortable as I am now is how I got into my “signature sound” and stuff, like with how I make that fluttery sound with panning so it sounds super big. Once I found that out, I really told myself I can do this because it sounds really, really good to me. It was a lot of trial and error, but once I found that chain and started doing cool shit in Logic, that was pretty much it.

LL: Developing one’s sound has really been a key point for a lot of acts in your scene in particular, and I feel as though that comes with how you guys collaborate so often and the passion you all share. Where do you feel that stems from?

I think that the way we do things is so different from more traditional music in the past, because for such a long time, if you wanted to collaborate with someone, you really had to be in the studio, with a booked session, an engineer, and all of that shit in place. But with this digital age that we’re in, we’ve met most of our friend group through video games and online servers, and we all have that same type of necessity about all of this. We all make music, and we want to just go up together.

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LL: And that concept is something that you’ve personally advanced yourself at such a frequent level, not only with how you constantly collaborate on your own, but obviously with the infamous “Balls Official Music Group” Discord server that you’ve been such a huge part in. Tell us how that all came about and how it speaks to what the community represents.

So it all started as just a Discord group chat called “Hermano Momento,” which went on for like 3 years as only a chat. But one day we wanted to add like 3 more people to the chat, and to get around the 10 person limit on Discord, we just created an entire server that ended up being what it is today. We just kept inviting more and more people and it all spiraled out of control… but we keep it pretty private today with the people we have in now. Like to even get in now, you need full permission from Draf who owns the entire thing. But if you make music and have mutuals in the scene, Balls is such an amazing place to just collab and have fun.

LL: If you know Balls from the outside looking in, it’s more than likely because of the “beat battles” that take place super frequently. What went into making these events as iconic as they’ve become now?

So we used to just all get in a channel on the server and find a sample that we’d all flip and compete with each other on who had the best beat by voting on a poll. But now our new format teams people up randomly, and you and your partner literally just get to make whatever you want in an hour. That entire thing is literally the most fun I’ve ever had making music in my life. And honestly, some songs wouldn’t exist without the server with the number of collaborations that we have done.

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LL: That exact collaborative spirit is so apparent, and it extends to the rest of the scene as a whole. But what do you do on an individual basis to keep your passion for your art as high as it can be?

Personally, I just listen to a lot of different types of music outside of the scene. I listen to all kinds of Spotify playlists and eventually make my own ones with songs from the scene too. Like I’ll listen to a rock song and not know what to do because I can’t play guitar or anything, but then I’ll just go and make a rock song with synths, and really that’s how a lot of my songs come about.

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LL: Does that approach play into how versatile you are with your sound?

Oh yeah. It’s definitely beneficial to me because I can literally make whatever I want, I feel like. If someone comes to me with a specific request on production, I feel as though I can really do what they want because of that. I don’t want to get locked into one sound or anything, and honestly, there’s definitely some shit I can’t pull off as well as others. Like every time I hear a 4am beat, I literally ask myself how he comes up with these insane melodies, and I’m trying to get better at understanding how he does what he does. But that just helps my versatility grow; it’s super important to always be like this.

LL: Has there been anyone that you’ve looked up to, in the scene or otherwise, that have either complimented your status in this way or even told you that they’re super impressed by you?

Oh my god, so many times. When Valentine of FromTheHeart came to me and was like, “yo, your shit is insane” — I was like what the fuck, because Val has been a longtime inspiration to me when I started making EDM all those years ago. It also happened when I started talking to Blackwinterwells, because Wells is someone that I still feel like I look up to so much. Like I sent her a beat recently and she called it nasty… and I literally thought to myself, “holy shit… Wells just called my beat nasty.”

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LL: With all of these fantastic things happening to you, how will you keep this energy up throughout the tail-end of the year?

I’m in the middle of working on pushing a re-release of my album Flutter that is set to come out early next year, but for this year, I really wanna push my streaming numbers super high on places besides SoundCloud. If you want to be big in the scene right now, you literally need a huge Spotify presence, so I’m working on that. But at the end of this year, I want to just keep collaborating, pushing this album, and keep making music with all of my friends. I just want to be amplified.