When you ask one of hip-hop’s most hyperactive minds to interview pop’s new siren…
Dress MIU MIU, boots JW ANDERSON and sunglasses CUTLER & GROSS
Kali Uchis looks like she’s stepped out of an infinitely glamorous telenovela at all times. Shrouded in marabou feather gowns, with feline claws and waterfall curls, the Colombian singer is a femme fatale to the highest degree, not least in her music. Imbued with as much retrospective mystique as her aesthetic, Uchis’ voice is syrupy and coy, lulling you into a false sense of security (you know how much damage those acrylics could do if necessary).
Making her first release in 2012 with her “Drunken Babble” bedroom mixtape, Uchis caught the attention of Snoop Dogg — who featured on her track, “On Edge” in 2014 — and Tyler, The Creator. Once the leading member of anarchic rap collective OFWGKTA, Tyler’s working relationship with Uchis sparked with his production on her dreamscape 2015 EP, “Por Vida”. Uchis’ feature on “Fucking Young/Perfect” followed, a single from Tyler’s Cherry Bomb album that unites their sounds in an electric clash – and released today, their latest hook up is Uchis’ new track “After The Storm”.
With the release of her debut album imminent, Uchis’ reach has exploded via a string of further collaborations. Damon Albarn tapped the singer for Gorillaz’s latest album Humanz, producing a breathy, lustful ode to irresistible attraction. Taken from Uchis’ own forthcoming long play, “Tyrant” is a hypnotic joint effort with British rising star Jorja Smith and the slow tempo “Nuestro Planeta” features Reykon, sung entirely in Spanish.
Reuniting with Tyler on his fourth album Flower Boy, released in July, Uchis links him for a lullaby bridge on “See You Again”, a fuzzy-bass sonic assault. Two weeks after the album’s release, he took to NYC’s Webster Hall for an intimate (and sweaty) 100 capacity show, bringing out the most elusive man in music, Frank Ocean as well as A$AP Rocky and of course, Uchis.
As the post-gig adrenaline cooled in their veins, we asked the friends to unravel their latest musical offerings for us. But, being Tyler — a hyperactive polymath with a relentless sense of wonder — and Uchis — the leading lady in her own hazy saga — instead we got a gloriously nonsensical candid conversation about orgasmic foot massages, sharks and Erykah’s Badu’s astrological theories. Enjoy.
Coat KENZO, sunglasses CUTLER & GROSS and earrings Kali’s own. Coat and dress MIU MIU
TYLER: Where did we just leave? We’re in New York right now. KALI: We just left your show, I think it was very successful. TYLER: It was great, I haven’t had a show like that since 2012. ‘Cause in 2013, people started trying to sue me if a show got too rowdy. KALI: Really?! That was cool Frank performed. TYLER: I opened with “Where This Flower Bloom” and he’s on it and he just popped up! How’s “Tyrant” doing? I know people like it. When’s the album slated? KALI: Now it’s for September. I had been wanting it to come out in the summer. TYLER: I personally like to keep that shit close. I put out “Who Dat Boy” first week of July and then the week after, another song with the cover and then the week after another song… I like keeping within the same timeframe because people forget. Our generation’s attention span is so short. “See You Again” — it’s crazy ‘cause I didn’t know what the second single was gonna be from Flower Boy — it was between that and “Glitter”. KALI: I just saw something and that said “See You Again” was charting. TYLER: There’s something so special about it. I think it just sounds like love. KALI: It’s the melodies. TYLER: We had that in the pocket for three years. KALI: Damn, I actually forgot that, I forgot that was actually an old song. TYLER: We have a few random ones… KALI: That we could probably look back at and rewrite everything… I wanna find a good interview question. TYLER: Yeah, I wanna find a good interview question for obligation. We usually just talk shit about someone we don’t like [laughs] like, “Nah, they’re trash!” You like mint? KALI: Do I like mint? Um, mint’s cool. I have something against mint and chocolate together. TYLER: So sorry to hear that. KALI: My mom likes it. But she also eats spoons full of peanut butter like a fucking freak. TYLER: That’s sick. I wouldn’t do that but that’s fire. I used to love the peanut butter and jelly stripe one that comes together, have you had that? I would eat that by itself. KALI: That’s so nasty. TYLER: With Ritz Crackers? Oh my god. I’m a disgusting man now. KALI: I thought you were trying to eat healthy again? TYLER: I tried to eat healthy but then I was like, “I need a vice. Fuck this shit, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I’m not doing fucking heroin.” KALI: That’s true, you’re not doing heroin. TYLER: So why the fuck not? I might as well fucking continue to eat candy. I’m eating cookies and doughnuts all day. I’ve lost weight in the past fucking month.
Shirt and brooch CHANEL, dress SEROTONIN VINTAGE and earrings Kali’s own
KALI: I was gonna tell you, you look skinnier. TYLER: Fuck. Dude, you’re the fourth/fifth person to tell me that in a week and a half. I haven’t thought about it until someone pointed it out. Damn it. Maybe I’m a [gasps] oh, wait no… I’m not pregnant. Maybe I’m fully forming into a shark… KALI: Yeah, that’s probably what it is… TYLER: You know they can’t stop moving or they die? That sucks. Imagine not being able to just hang out and just chill.
[Tyler gets interrupted by someone saying “shut up”] TYLER: WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING TO? You a hoe-ass hoochie. Look at you! Stank bitch! KALI: Aw, stop he feels bad now! TYLER: I dunno what to ask Kali. She went to Colombia recently, how was that? Isn’t that where all the coke come from? KALI: [laughs] Some of it, yeah. Some of it comes from there. TYLER: A lot of heroin comes from Afghanistan, I believe… Yeah, Colombia’s not really put into mainstream as anything other than “this is where we get coke from” so people are ignorant to what’s there. KALI: A lot of coffee, and Shakira. There’s a lot of people coming out with music from there like you probably heard of J Balvin, he’s worked with Pharrell. TYLER: He’s Colombian? Fucking congrats to him, motherfucker that’s tight. My dad’s Nigerian and I don’t know anything about that side, ‘cause I don’t know the dude but Nigerian music from the 70s and 80s is insane. They were making funk that was fused with other shit, it’s crazy. There’s this band called Witch that’s cool there… I’ve never had Nigerian food but I’m gonna try it too. I just like pancakes and waffles and French toast but I’m down to try it. KALI: I’ve never had Nigerian food either. TYLER: I wonder what it smells like. I wish I enjoyed weed so I could smoke, make like a two hour mix. KALI: You can get high with us smoking though. TYLER: I’m fine. KALI: You just don’t wanna get altered at all. TYLER: Yeah. Make a two hour mix of all my favourite bridges and songs looped for two minutes long, each one, pitch down, getting a foot massage… KALI: [laughs] You’re so extra! TYLER: While eating my favourite waffle or French toast. I feel like that’s death. That’s heaven. My body would OD and I would just orgasm. I would die, like I would actually die… A foot massage is equivalent to a blow job to me. KALI: Wow! TYLER: Yeah, weird. I think it’s also a Pisces thing. I was talking to Erykah Badu and she told me every sign has a body part that’s very sensitive and with Pisces, it’s their feet. Astrology’s really wild. KALI: Yeah, it really is. I used to be really into astrology when I was younger. I’m a scary square-as Cancer. TYLER: Some people are just one with the Earth too. I don’t think we’re supposed to wear shoes. KALI: I could see that. TYLER: Every other animal just knows, “Oh, it’s a storm coming! Let’s move!” I feel like their foot is one with the Earth. Humans are stupid though.
[Tyler goes and eats for a while]
Coat KENZO, headband worn as choker MIU MIU, sunglasses CUTLER & GROSS and earrings Kali’s own
KALI: Do you think this is gonna be your most successful album? TYLER: 110%. KALI: Yeah, I feel like everyone’s saying that. TYLER: 110%. It’s my best one, not my favourite, it’s my best one though. And this’ll allow me to just go super weird… KALI: Why do you think? TYLER: I learned how to rewrite songs… it was very much still me but studying and getting better at my craft and learning and knowing when to pull back and making subjective shit objectively. Making shit for me, but making sure that a five-year-old and a 50-year-old could also listen to it if they wanted to. ‘Cause Cherry Bomb was just me making music I wanna listen to in my room like a loser. KALI: When I was making my album, I definitely wasn’t thinking about reception. I mean, of course everyone wants to hope that when you put something out it’s gonna be received well, but I don’t plan for it to be something that everyone’s going to be able to understand. TYLER: Yeah, ‘cause my music will always have my quirks. KALI: That’s why I was confused ‘cause besides the mixing, it was still an extension of Cherry Bomb and so that’s why I was like, “Why is everyone all of a sudden woke on him and shit? Why were they so asleep on Cherry Bomb?” TYLER: It shocked me a bit too. KALI: Do you think people had to get more accustomed to this new Tyler, not so like you were when you were younger? TYLER: I have one dude like, “Yo, I wish you would go back to making shit off Bastard.” If you’re not stupid, you could listen to “Blow”, take my lyrics away and that instrumental is basically just a really shit Earth, Wind & Fire beat. “911” could be considered the same thing with the groove, it’s just slowed down. People don’t listen to music like that. KALI: So do you feel like when you’re making, you go back to old concepts and try to re-structure them? TYLER: It’s not old concepts it’s just everyone has their base. Everyone has a flat base of the music they make and mine has always been a hard-ass drum pattern and pretty chord works since I can remember starting music. I always wanted to say it’s like a moshpit at a jazz concert. Like my personality, I’m either always fucking hype or I’m just the most boring person and I think my music fully reflects that. I just can’t help it. The more I study, the more I notice everyone’s base. Do you know yours, like what you could make in your sleep? KALI: I’m always drawn to similar chord progressions to start the song. Or even just similar patterns, I just like doing simple shit and I’ll run over it. I’m very drawn to juxtaposition… One of the happiest sounding songs on my album — the one I showed you that Damon did — it has the saddest lyrics and I feel like that’s tight, to be able to listen to the song and it has conflicting emotions in it. TYLER: Like music that sounds happy but it’s not, dude… Dude, “Rehab” by Amy… People singing and it’s up-tempo and groovy… KALI: That is so sad that that was her most mainstream song. TYLER: She’s asking for fucking help! She’s like,”Hey! Help me!” “Hey Ya” by OutKast’s like that. That shit is brazy. I keep saying brazy. YG is just so cool to me. I gotta stop. Rap’s influence is getting dark. But I’m smart enough to know that I’m not gang-affiliated and never will be… But he’s awesome.
Taken from the Autumn 17 Issue of Wonderland; available to buy here.
Jason Crozier at Stella Creative Artists using Bumble and Bumble