Exclusive: An Interview With Jxck Kxlly

By: Kat Harlton
Photos: Robin Waters

Toronto native Jxck Kxlly’s upcoming EP Revolution mixes political statements with love songs, marrying the classic with the new. Her sound can be described as cinematic seventies throwback. Kxlly says she draws her influences from such artists as Sorgente, Daft Punk, Prince, Blondie, and The Beatles. “In general Quincy Jones is my all time fave, he’s played every instrument imaginable and wrote all of his songs. I don’t think it gets better than that. Serge Gainsbourg is a huge inspiration to me, I also like his demeanor as a person. I really love Lauryn Hill, I rediscovered her recently when I found out she was playing in the city. The Beegees also have a really big spell over me to this day. Dolly Parton, I love Dolly Parton.”

jxck kxlly revolution

Co-produced by Hrag Sanbalian, this project was written by Kxlly in GarageBand before calling upon notable industry talent from across Canada and the United States to refine its musicianship. “I usually start all of the songs, I work on vocal lines and harmonies and then I start to get an idea of what kind of instruments I can bring. My brain works where I hear a song in my head, and then I have to figure out how to break it down. If I’m thinking of using an instrument, I’ll use a reference first like a piano sound and then send it to musicians who play it for me. At that point we start to get more into the finessing of it and kind of figure out the influences and what the sound is.”

jxck kxlly

Lead single ‘Nothing’ sets the tone for the record, outlining Kxlly’s contempt for how superficial society has shown itself to be in the modern digital age. ” ‘Nothing’ is inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and the sixties. A huge part of his style was the repetition and progressive lines, and I was inspired by that. It’s kind of a commentary on where we are as a society. I just feel that we’re so behind in so many ways, intellectually we’ve become so reliant on things like social media and non human connection, and I try not to live my life this way. I’m kind of tired of it.”

Kxlly says ‘Nancy’ touches on similar themes such as the internal battle that we all face when discovering our true selves, “Nancy’s more fun, it’s disco inspired with a bit of a trap break in the middle so it’s a little bit more of a feminist song I would say.”

As she moves forward in her career, Kxlly says it’s her passion and dedication to her craft that has got her where she is, “I’ve pretty much seen everything that could happen in the music industry, and I’ve been through a lot and I basically continue to push through it no matter how hard it gets. If I was to give advice it would be to just be fearless, the same message I was given. Be everywhere, and don’t say no to opportunities.”

You can catch Jxck Kxlly as direct support to Nancy Wilson of Heart August 18 at the CNE Band Shell

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