A name that’s read out “kill a man’s ego” demands attention, but it’s Kilamanzego‘s eclectic talent that makes her one to keep an eye on. Encouraged by her dad to explore music at a young age, she learned how to play instruments like violin and bass, paving the way for the diversified discography that the Philly-based producer presents today.
After listening to J Dilla’s Donuts in 2006, Kilamanzego was immersed in a world of cutting-edge beat-crafting. Fueled by the album’s soul and fever, she did her own digging and found other innovative music producers like Kaytranada. Kilamanzego then became inspired to make forward-thinking music of her own. Today, she pioneers an inimitable sound that we need to share with the world. Truly in a league of her own, you can expect 25 minutes of Kilamanzego originals in this FUXWITHIT guest mix. As you’re taken through a sample of her works, learn more about what makes her so unique in the interview below.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! First and foremost, how are you doing?
I appreciate you guys inviting me to participate! I’m doing great, Spring just kicked off and I’m enjoying the warmest weather we’ve had in a while in Philly. I spent most of today lying on my back on my porch and soaking up the sun.
I love the name ‘Kilamanzego’ and I think it’s iconic. As women in the industry, I feel like we consistently have to play by men’s rules. Do you find that male peers or other men in the industry treat you differently because your branding is somewhat “against” them?
Thank you. It’s funny – the more recognition my music gets, the more men come out of the woodwork saying: “That’s sexist!” or spam my merch page with something like: “Imagine an artist named kill a woman’s ego”. I can’t imagine, because that name is goofy and doesn’t have the same interesting ring to it, lol. But honestly, anyone who knows me (man, woman, nonbinary) loves the name or as soon as they figure out the pun they’re like “What?? That’s wild and genius!” Gotta give a shoutout to iamamiwhoami though. Best name.
I read in an interview from 2017 that you didn’t actually “like music” until you heard Dilla’s Donuts. Now that you’re more into music and actually make it, what are some other albums you find yourself pulling inspiration from?
Five years or so ago, I heard Kaytranada’s Kaytra Todo EP / Hip Hop Is Dead mixtape and Mura Masa’s Soundtrack To a Death. To this day, these records are still at the very top of my list to listen to whenever I run out of inspiration. They never get old and I find myself constantly inspired by these two brilliant artists.
You don’t like to be labeled into one genre. How would you describe your sound to people who aren’t in the electronic music world?
No matter what an artist describes as their sound, they will always get boxed in for someone’s branding agenda or by someone’s limited taste in music. Without a doubt. I recently found that electronic artist peers are heavily inspired by Mr. Carmack, TroyBoi, etc. I never heard of these artists ’til a few years ago. I grew up listening to Stones Throw Records, East Coast hip hop, ska, punk, hardcore, jazz that my dad played, and J Dilla. When I finally started making beats in 2016, it was Kaytradamus (Kaytranada) who made me thirst for experimenting with sound over and over again. So you could say that I’m very experimental with my approach to songwriting and I pull elements both consciously and subconsciously from all those genres I made music in and listened to growing up.
It’s a mountain range really, lol.
So what can we expect from this mix?
A handful of my favorite ear candy beats that I made between 2017 and 2020. It’s a mountain range really, lol.
Kaytranada is a name you’ve mentioned as a starting point to your interest in electronic music. Are there any other artists you would recommend to friends who you want to convert into electronic music lovers?
Machinedrum, JLin, Lone, SOPHIE (RIP), Shlohmo, SBTRKT, UNIIQU3, Mura Masa.
And as Champions of the Underground, we can’t fail to ask you: what underground electronic artists do you think are making the biggest impact on the scene?
First and foremost, Torr blows me tf away every single time. He’s really going places *cliche Hollywood magnate voice.* Willy Crooks, Moore Kismet, episcool, Mindsight, and Musa are incredible underground experimental electronic artists I’ve been bumping a lot lately too, who really deserve a major spotlight. It’s coming. Also, I just realized I said a lotta M names.
We know you’ve moved around the Northeast a lot. From the Bronx to D.C., and now, to Philly. What did you like about each city and which one’s your favorite?
I was born in the Bronx. Being a little kid there, in my experience, you end up acting like a lil Bébé’s kid so I won’t comment too much on my youth spent there, haha. D.C. had great food, and I was vegan at the time. I’m pretty sure most of my money ran out because of Soul Veg’s mac n cheese. I’ve been in Philly the longest so I call this place home. There’s so much rich art and music in this city that keeps me wanting more, such as Moor Mother, DJ John Morrison, Tierra Whack, 92Elm, Savan DePaul, OddKidOut, and the list goes on.
Everyone moves at their own pace. And if you’ve got the drive and talent, it’ll definitely be seen.
You’ve said that you get anxiety dealing with identity, expression, and life in general. I’m sure so many other people can relate to that. On Twitter, you recently said, “wow s/o to magnesium. that ish really works for us really anxious ppl.” Are there any other tips you have for dealing with those feelings, especially being in the spotlight?
Please take breaks! It’s so important. Whether that means staying off of social media for a week, taking small breaks throughout the day to step away from everything, or not responding to every little DM and text (but I suggest letting some people know beforehand if you’re taking a lot of space away). When I took a short break, I stayed away from my computer and phone as much as I could. It really makes you remember and indulge in the things you enjoyed before the Internet became a 24/7 obsession, and you’re able to refocus. Never feel like you’ll fall behind doing this, which I think is one of the biggest fears an artist has. Everyone moves at their own pace. And if you’ve got the drive and talent, it’ll definitely be seen.
We’re all in this together. Stay weird, stay you.
Do you have any advice you can give to people who feel like “outsiders” in the community–whether they’re artists, industry professionals, or fans?
We’re all in this together. Stay weird, stay you. “Outsider” just means anyone who’s “normal” or thinks they’re the “in crowd” wants you to be like them and looks down on you for being anything else, and that’s bullshit. If you see me around, def say wassup!
Thank you so much for that! I know a lot of people will really appreciate those words. Before we let you go, is there anything you’d like to add?
Check out my recent remix album, Anxiety (Remixes), which features five incredible electronic artists who sample my song ‘Anxiety’ to make it their own. You’ll be floored. And if not, I owe you a hug! *have to fast forward now lol: Also, check out my newest track that just dropped called ‘Does It Matter If You Do?’ via Stereofox Records. It’s a chill vibe <3
Kilamanzego – Anxiety
Kilamanzego – Red Light Green Light
Kilamanzego – Myth of the Groove
Kilamanzego – Fragments of a Dream w/ MacwithaQ
Kilamanzego – Black Weirdo
Kilamanzego – Jungle Frequency
Penthouse Penthouse – Figaro (Kila Flip)
Kilamanzego – Exploration
Kilamanzego – The Edge of Twilight w/ Skullkid
Kilamanzego – Everyone You Talk To Will Say I Hate This Song
Kilamanzego – Everything Goes Black
Kilamanzego – Crossed Out
Kilamanzego – Meditate
Kilamanzego – Does It Matter If You Do?