By Georgia Siciliano
Kronic’s new EP, Sophisticated Ignorance is his most ambitious project to date. Sophisticated Ignorance showcases his personal style that has been influenced by his personal struggles and challenges, which have shaped him to be the amazing artist he is today.
The album starts off with Bulimic, a really punchy track with attitude, followed by one of the two interludes on the album that features similar themes. The Storm is full of energy and introduces powerful bass drops and the dominance in the vocals that reappears throughout the album.
Hurricane Season introduces feature artist, Nikki Jean, who has worked very closely with Kronic and features on 4 tracks on the EP. This track is mellow and contrasts nicely with The Storm. Kronic’s first single NRG is included on the album and is followed by the second interlude which is easily recognizable as an intermission because of its creative arrangement and contrast to the tracks.
To finish Kronic’s EP off with a bang, Dark Shapes, a smooth but punchy tune followed by Kronic’s latest single Blood In The Water. These last two tracks are definitely a highlight of the album where the idea of the album title is really emphasized. The raw emotion and fresh sounds make for a strong ending to a rewarding EP.
In the lead up to Sophisticated Ignorance‘s release, Teensoul sat down with Kronic to have a chat about musical influences, collaboration with various artists, and music production
As an artist, what has always been your goal? Has that goal changed after you have achieved certain things?
That goal has definitely shifted! When I started making music, my goal was to make something that other DJ’s would play. As I’ve developed as an artist, the goals have become more creative. To tell the best story, to make something truly unique. To make music that people can relate to, music that can help them through their struggles.
After listening to your music, I feel as though your songs have a sense of attitude about them. Has this attitude been influenced by anything or anyone?
There’s a lot of influences that shape the attitude of the EP. My personal struggles, my relationships, overcoming obstacles are a big part of that. Musically, a lot of electronic music today that’s successful is all the same generic ‘hand in the air’ kind of stuff, and that fuels some of the aggressive attitudes on the EP for sure.
Your newly released EP ‘Sophisticated Ignorance’ includes feature artists on every track. Why did you decide to feature a variety of artists?
To me, music is like filmmaking. I’m the director, and the artists I featured on the EP are the actors. Music is about storytelling, and I need other people’s voice to help to tell my story. Instrumentals can have depth and emotion too, but I need lyrics to express myself through music.
Feature artists obviously do bring some of their styles to each song, so I’m curious to how you maintain your style, whilst also respecting the other’s style of music?
It’s a symbiotic relationship in a sense. I know what each featured artist brings to the table, so I know how to direct them to fit into my narrative. On the other hand, their songwriting influences where I take the production. I was in the studio with every featured artist – so we could all bounce ideas off each other. Almost every session had every featured artist in the room, so everyone contributed to every track in a way. It’s almost a group album in that way.
How does the album cover of ‘Sophisticated Ignorance’ relate to the album name and overall theme/meaning of the album?
The painting that is the cover of Sophisticated Ignorance – it’s a beautiful image that resembles the now priceless paintings from the middle ages – like The Birth Of Venus – that’s the sophistication. But then her nose is bleeding from drug abuse – that’s the ignorance. Sophisticated Ignorance is about finding the art, depth, and beauty in the smallest of concepts. You could write a song about the most generic of concepts – like a car, but the passion you put into the most minute aspects is what will make it art. That’s what Kanye West – Mercy is. It’s sophisticated ignorance. There have been hundreds of rap songs about cars (the ignorance), but the artistry, depth, and attention of Mercy is what makes it Sophisticated.
To put it into the context of my EP, most of the records have ‘drops’ (the ignorance) that could have easily been straight forward club records. But I explored every detail, and turned them into expressive, dramatic pieces that convey emotion and concepts that could never belong in a nightclub – that’s the sophistication.
Let’s throw this question back to your teenage times and before you were a DJ. I’m curious to hear what music you were playing to?
Quite a wide variety – from rap music like Wu Tang, NWA & Snoop Dogg, to rock like AC/DC and Steppenwolf. I’ve been a hip-hop head since I found out it existed.
You have been producing songs for huge names in the music industry. How does that compare to creating your own original music?
Working on pop music is a lot of fun for me. I’m a huge pop music fan, and working on that helps me scratch a creative itch. With my own music, I know the stories I want to tell, and I know what I want each song to convey. When I’m writing for other people, I get to put myself into someone else’s shoes and think about what’s right for them, what story they want to tell. When I first started producing for other people, I would send beats and they’d send me back the lyrics, and I didn’t get to have as much input in shaping the overall vision as my own stuff. Now I’m fortunate enough to get into sessions with these artists and truly collaborate. In the studio, they’re both similar workflows. Pop songs are based on just a few ideas, whereas with my music, I can do what I want, and from that, I end up with a sprawling record that incorporates as many ideas as I can fit.
Do you believe that being successful and ‘making it’ are the same thing? Could you describe what ‘making it’ is for you personally as not only an artist but a person?
It’s up to the individual on how they define success, but “making it” tends to refer to other people’s measure of success – like a platinum record, a world tour etc. Personal and artistic success are wildly different, though. As a person, I don’t feel that I’ve “made it” by any means. I’ve done some stuff that I’m proud of, but I don’t think I’ll have made it until I’m co-heading a tour with Kanye West. I’m able to earn a living do what I love, so I feel some degree of personal success.
As an artist, success is being able to bring the ideas in your head into reality. Does the finished project tell the story you wanted, does it convey the emotion that inspired it? Achieving that to me is a true artistic success, regardless of any commercial success – or lack thereof – that comes with it. Artistic success is what I’m chasing.
What has been your greatest achievement so far that has been the most rewarding to you?
The reaction and reviews I’ve gotten from this EP have been deeply rewarding. Most people know me as a DJ. A lot of people know me from the club music I’ve made in the past. Although I’m proud of my history, artistically it’s miles apart from the EP. The achievement was changing people’s perception of me – that I’m not who you thought I was. That I’m an artist who’s trying to do something new. My club music in the past is for the weekend, my music now is about the five other days in the week. When I see reviews like “I normally don’t like Kronic but this song is amazing”, that is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever experienced. That’s an actual comment I’ve seen on YouTube by the way.
Which artist(s) have you enjoyed producing for or collaborating with the most and why?
Pitbull and Lil Jon are actually two of my favourite people to work with. As a DJ, I’ve been a fan of both those guys for a long time. When I met them on a personal level, they were super humble and easy to collaborate with. Being able to work with the people I looked up to is an incredible feeling, and that means a lot to me.
Nikki Jean is one of my favourite people to collaborate with – which is why she’s on nearly every track on my EP. Nikki gets me – I bring her ideas and concepts, and she helps me turn them into fully realized songs. Her voice and songwriting talents are both distinct and powerful, and working with her has helped me develop immensely as an artist.
You’ve been touring a heck of a lot which must be pretty incredible. What are some of your favorite venues, countries, and cities to tour?
Touring IS pretty incredible! South Korea and Japan are great places to play. I love the culture, and the fact that people in a non-English speaking country know the words to my music never ceases to amaze me. In North America, Scottsdale in Arizona is actually my favourite place to play. It’s a college town, so the crowds consist of thousands of raging college kids. As a DJ, I feed off the audience’s energy and these guys never disappoint. Playing the Australian festivals is always an amazing experience too.
Photocredits: Supplied via Kronic.