KILLBOY: “I have a fire inside me that ignites when people tell me not to do something”
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The most important thing there is to know about KILLBOY is that she doesn’t give a fuck. If she hadn’t been this way, she’d have never started making music in the first place, refusing to let the opposition of her conservative family deter her from engaging with the creative outlet she saw as a means of rebellion. That attitude would later serve her well when she got signed, and it would become the foundation upon which she’s built her career.
She’s had to repeatedly defy the advice of less-than-supportive and frequently critical people surrounding her to make the music she wants to make. If she hadn’t had the courage of her convictions, the hyperpop-spliced emo anthem “TRAVIS” and the irresistibly downcast new single “DADDY ISSUES” might have never seen the light of day. Now that she’s finally making music on her own terms and feeling more creatively free than ever, KILLBOY has truly made herself unstoppable.
Read more: What does emo really mean? The story of the genre in 11 songs
You had a bit of trouble earlier in your career with people around you not being keen on you writing and producing your own music. How did you navigate finding a team that would accept you for the artist that you wanted to be?
It came to a point where I had to switch up my team to find people who really respected what I wanted to do. I did that by just dropping “TRAVIS,” which was a rock song that I produced. It got support from all the places that I had been wanting support from. When I finally did what I wanted to do, I got all the things that I wanted.
You’ve been lucky enough to work with the legendary John Feldmann. How did that come about?
I changed my team within the label, and they were like, “Would you want to work with this guy named Feldy?” and I was like, “Are you fucking kidding? I've been asking for two years to work with Feldy!” I was excited, [but] I was nervous because I've never had good luck working with another producer. But I got in there, and we just got each other; he was willing to try shit that I want to do. Feldy takes my shit to a level I could never imagine.
What draws you toward making music with the kind of sound that you have?
I mean, I just do whatever I want to do. I did rock music when I was 17 and toured with Hinder, and then I got tired of it because too many people were trying to tell me what to do. So I was like, “Fuck that” and went and did my own thing. I started making beats. Then everybody started trying to tell me what to do [again], and I was like, “Fuck that shit.” Then I got super fucking bored during quarantine. I've been playing guitar since fourth grade, so I went and bought a new guitar and a Kemper. I started making beats with guitars, and I was like, “Damn!” And then I made “DADDY ISSUES.”
Tell me about your motivation for what you’re doing with your new single “DADDY ISSUES.”
My dad died, my boyfriend of two years [had broken up with me] and COVID just hit. I was alone as fuck. I've never lived alone before. I was so mad. I started partying every night and doing a lot of dumb shit and building a terrible reputation in Hollywood. I was doing really crazy shit, and I made that song in my room for my ex so he would come back. And he did, for like five seconds, and then it just didn’t work out. [When I posted that song], I called it “Trapvil Lavigne,” which is funny because then I manifested that for the whole world, because then Avril Lavigne came back with some of these little trap-infused [songs].
What inspires you to write with such a humorous, sarcastic edge?
I always said if music doesn't work out, I'm gonna go to The Comedy Store and just be a comedian. I find humor in everything. Laughing is the best feeling in the whole world to me. If I can just make people laugh with some dumb shit, that’s the best thing. Even when my dad was dying, everybody was so sad and so stressed, and I was like, “Bro, if I was dying, I'd want somebody in there making me laugh.” [I just tried to make] him laugh the whole time, and he appreciated it. Anybody who's going through a hard time should laugh. I’d always would rather just make people feel good than be like, “Hey, let's all fucking cry together and be emo.”
You’ve always said that you’ve felt a bit like an outsider for a lot of your life. How has that feeling shaped you as an artist and as a person?
I just don't fucking care about anything. I don’t care if I'm an outsider. I think once you stop caring about being an outsider, then you just create your own inside. I don't care about what people think about me anymore. Nothing matters. I have it tattooed on my hand. Once you accept that you're outside, you become the new inside.
Have you always had this no-fucks-given attitude, or is that something you’ve had to learn?
The one thing my mom used to get so fucking mad at me for, and she’d get on my last fucking nerve, she would say, “C. A. R. E. You have to care about things.” And I was like, “Bro, I don't fucking care.” People stress out about the dumbest shit, and I'm like, “Dude, it doesn't matter.” I've always been like that, but I got in so much trouble. My parents would yell at me about it when I was younger, but it actually is hilarious because I’m building this career off of not caring about anything. I just have this fire inside me that ignites when people tell me not to do something.