Several years after emerging as one of the most-talked-about and critically-acclaimed newcomers of his era, Kossisko (formerly the Ice Cold Perm and Ivry mastermind 100s) is ready to drop his first formal studio album since beginning his new artistic evolution on 2015’s This May Be Me. Titled Low, Kossisko’s upcoming LP serves as the follow-up to 2015’s Red White N Cruel. A departure from the sounds that made him a cult favorite and internet hero of the post-blog era, Low takes the industrial tones of Yeezus, the funk-as-high-art mindset of Prince and the dancefloor sensibilities of every popstar since Michael Jackson and blends them together with a genre-agnostic approach.
“I could say this is really like my debut album,” Kossisko tells us, breaking down his new Low LP. “I did some EPs and shit, but it wasn’t this. Now it’s dialed in, and this is what the f*ck I wanted to do. This is the first album I feel like I have ever done — even considering what I did with 100s. This is me as a person, with all my influences and everything. Now, I’m at the point where I’m like, “this is exactly what the f*ck I wanted to do.’”
“I listen to everything, but I mainly draw influences from Rick James, Prince, Depeche Mode, Ariel Pink and shit like that,” he adds, explaining some of the inspirations for his latest sound. “That’s what I really be listening to.”
To support his upcoming project, Kossisko is debuting a new visual and record, “CARDIO.” The concept for the “CARDIO” video took a few months to create, and Kossisko even spent a great deal of time and effort creating a special moodboard, miniature music video set and treatment for the piece.
You can check out Kossisko’s new music video for “CARDIO” above, while Low is scheduled to arrive next Friday, November 16; pre-orders are currently available as well. Our exclusive interview with Kossisko can be read below.
Do you ever look back and regret shutting down the 100s project?
Hell no [laughs]. No, no, no; hell no. It’s been a longer journey, but it’s been hella fun.
Now that you’ve spent a lot of time as Kossiko, you’re now at a point where you have solidified your new style and carved out your own spot in music with this newer venture. How has it been these past few years?
It feels good. It’s definitely been difficult, I’ve gone through and been to some dark ass places, but it’s been really fun. I feel way more challenged, and I feel get to explore way more influences than I could with 100s. I’ve just been experimenting for a couple years and that’s just been hella fun — not being bound to this character or persona or anything, just f*cking around.
100s seemed like this very linear project. It’s a certain type of rap. With this more recent stuff, you can’t even categorize it or put a specific name to it.
That’s kind of how I feel about it. I just make what I like, and if I’m inspired by certain shit, I’m just like, “let’s just try that.” It always seems to turn out pretty cool, because I got this skillset from the 100s. It’s always cool and interesting to take that skillset and apply it to what I do — like what I did with the new album.
How did the 100s type of rap prepare you for this new stuff? It’s like two different worlds of music.
I think there was this shit with 100s where it was just really fun. I was hella young, just saying whatever the f*ck I thought. Whenever I can capture that energy, whatever I do is hella tight. Whenever it’s hella serious, I don’t like it as much. I always wanted to do the shit I’m doing now, but there’s just levels to this; you got to experiment and grow to get to certain levels.
Was there one specific moment when you decided to end 100s?
Nah, it was just snowballing and I wanted to pivot and do something else. I was just kind of mad that people would just call it “pimp rap.” If you listen to it now, it has all these other influences and it’s all this other shit. But, because of the content, people just couldn’t separate that and I had an issue with that. Because when I came out there wasn’t a lot of people my age doing that, the only thing people could compare it to was shit like that [pimp rap]. Which I’m a fan of, but that’s totally not what I was. I was like my own thing that there was no reference for, so they compare it to all this other shit so I get put under this blanket, and no one’s ever really hearing what I’m doing.
Like the shit that people think I would like — like when people send me shit – is never what I like [laughs]. Everyone thinks I want to get on some G-Funk [laughs]. Nah, bruh, send me some other shit.
I think your sonic direction fits more like a Prince-sort of vibe — like the early ’80s funk and pop style.
Prince is one of my favorites, because everything he does is such a sound. Each album is like a movie, and they have all these different cinematic elements. I always want to make shit that makes me want to dance and what’s fun to me. You just have to do what you love and what you feel — I love that shit.
What’s the back-story behind starting the process for this new project?
It was about two years ago; I linked with Cole MGN, the producer. We just started figuring out what we wanted to do and the vision, and I created some demos. We first made like six songs and it was just going to be an EP, then we decided to make an album because that shit was so fire. We really took our time with the production more than anything. We worked on this for almost two years.
How did you guys create the production?
It was combining what we love with the music I have already done. That was a big step: finding G-funk in those influences; at first, we didn’t have that until the end, that’s when it came to play. It was just slapping like rap shit and kind-of-experimental shit. We were into the Bay-G-Funk type shit and we both really like the sounds in Yeezus — we wanted to make like a Yeezus-Bay-Funk thing. We just had these influences and were like, “we want to do this shit.” There’s hella influences, and that’s why I’m so proud of it: we got to fit in everything. There will still be funk and that feeling of wanting to dance, but there might be some industrial sound.
It’s always important that you feel like you can dance to my music. It’s got to have a groove; it’s got to be fun for me to hear a million times.
Do you think you’re creating your own unique sound by creating this career where every album can be a different sound and style?
I think when you experiment and develop shit enough, it can have one overall sound with hella different sounds within it. I feel like if you listen to the album a couple times, you’d be like, “oh this is this sound.” But if you listen to it track by it, you might think it’s this whole different thing. Everything just makes sense when you really digest it.
Were there particular themes or narratives with this project?
It just kind of reflects the period I’ve been in, shit I struggle with, the state of the world, addiction, death, all the good stuff [laughs]. I just wanted to make a really honest, kind of raw album that really reflected where I’m at and where’s the world at and how I feel in the world. I feel like with every artist now, all of that is the backdrop when you create anything. It’s crazy right now, sometimes I’m just like, “really? What the f*ck is going on?” To be honest as an artist, you have to deal with all of that.
When someone listens to Low from front to back, what do you hope it gives the listener?
I hope they have fun; I hope they party to it; I hope they experience it and it does something for them. I hope it makes them happy or sad or they just feel something, feel me and get where I’m coming from.