Decked out in vibrant colors and funky patterns, Kid Bloom (aka Lennon Kloser) could easily be mistaken for a child of the ’80s. That influence shines on his debut album, Highway, out today via Position Music.

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Highway plays like a 12-track ride through connection, mental health and self-discovery, all covered in a neon sheen. Bursting with ’80s synths, hip-hop beats and Kloser’s psychedelic guitar work, the album is more than feel-good summer music; it’s a statement of intent for an artist who draws from a wellspring of inspirations, from David Bowie to the Weeknd. Equally, Highway is also built on contrast. Beyond fluctuating between retro and futuristic, Kloser offers confessionals about relationships gone sour and self-doubt that proves life isn’t always as sunny as his music sounds. After sharing stages with Bad Suns and the Regrettes, Highway is the result of an artist taking a step forward, enveloped in a Technicolor haze.

What was your initial vision for Highway when you first started making it?

I don’t think I had an initial vision — I think I just went where the serotonin took me. I wrote a bunch of songs, and they kind of told me what it was going to be.

Environment plays a huge part in how an album sounds. Records made in Los Angeles always tend to sound brighter, in my mind. Where did you record Highway, and how do you think your surroundings affected its creation?

More than my environment being the thing that influenced the sound, I believe that my inner state was what really propelled the narrative. I made this record in the valley in Los Angeles. Very calm, very peaceful. The sunsets for sure helped.

Musically, I can hear strains of Currents, MGMT, hip-hop and disco, but you make them your own. The whole record feels like it’s pushing the listener forward, whereas the lyrics reflect on the past. I’m curious to know if that juxtaposition was intentional.

I greatly appreciate the sentiment and this question. If I were to say it was on purpose, I wouldn’t even believe myself. I think inherently that’s what music is to me: energy that moves you forward and gets you invested with lyrics that reminisce or pull back the veil.

Going back to the record’s propulsive feel, it sounds like you’re driving toward a destination. What do you think that destination is?

There is no destination. The journey is the destination.

These tracks sound so vibrant, crafted with love and meticulously made. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist at all, or do you prefer slight imperfections that make the work feel more natural?

I consider myself an imperfect perfectionist. I try my hardest to get it to be perfect, but in the end, it’s the edges that cultivate the character, and no matter how hard I try, those edges never disappear.

Do you think about the future a lot, or do you tend to take things one thing at a time and live in the moment? Either way, what’s something you want to cross off your bucket list this year? 

I’m perpetually stuck in my delusions or expectations of the future. That has been my motive recently: Slow down and stay present because that’s all we have. Going back to the idea of there being no destination, however, believing there is some sort of end game. This year I would like to cross off my bucket list putting out my first album. Been dreaming about it since I was a kid.