Kid Hastings on Heartbreak, TikTok, and Creative Freedom [Q&A]
Photo By: Eddie Mandell and Aamir Khuller
Kid Hastings makes the kind of music you'd overhear on a night out in downtown Austin, TX, a jazzy pop juxtaposition punctuated by distinct synths and glitchy drums, offsetting it from the noise of garage rock and club bangers that typically bleed into the noise of 6th Street.
Born Jake McEvoy, Kid Hastings is a self-described "reformed theater kid," citing Thelonius Monk and Wes Montgomery as heavy sources of influence. Like most bleach-blond indie pop/rock artists, Hastings combines a variety of breathy vocals to create a nuanced signature sound, exploring the depths of solipsism and postmodernity that have become increasingly popular with young artists.
"Call Me Up" marks his return from a year-long hiatus and is the first release from his forthcoming EP set to release later this year. For the music video, Kid Hastings partners with friend and fellow creative Ava Doorey, recreating the hazy feeling of being surrounded by cigarette smoke and spilled booze. The video condenses the electrifying intrigue of the rise and fall of a tumultuous relationship into a single night.
"The song chronicles the supernova that occurs when two people want too much from one another in too short a span of time, ending with a desperate plea to reignite what once was," he says.
The intensity of the inspiration throws caution to the wind when it comes to self-expression, and "Call Me Up" attempts to articulate the complexity of navigating ambiguity and passion that comes with a welcome relief from normal constraints. An invitation into fantasy is abruptly interrupted with a violent wake up call, a dramatic flair thrown in for those enamored with creating their own secretive worlds.
Like many artists this past year, Kid Hastings has been afforded the blessing of a slower timeline that's lent itself towards doubling down on creative expression without the constant distraction of touring, interviews, and having to constantly be in performance mode.
Thus, out of quarantine he emerges with the jazzy, eerie atmospheric noises, fading in and out of a spotlight with dramatic movement.
We caught up with him to talk about quarantine, exploring identity, and his forthcoming EP.
Ones to Watch: You've had a quiet year since you released Golden, what have you been up to?
I took a pretty long break from writing after COVID hit, so a lot of this project was created before March and more recently in the fall. I've just been taking some time to reflect on myself, pick up new hobbies and figure out what kind of music I want to make. I think I've come to realize the importance of surrounding myself with people I love and make me feel loved, so I'm happy something came out of this time. I started to read a lot more, learn about the nuances of injustice in our society, play chess (add me on http://Chess.com @JakeMcEvoy if you want the work) and write more intimate and personal music.
TikTok has become a prominent creative outlet and avenue for music discovery recently. How have the changes in the past year affected your creative process?
I think the main evolution of my creative process has been deciding to take myself and my process less seriously. There's no point in making content if you're not having fun doing it, or its not meaningful. I approach music, art and appearance more through a lens of absurdity than ever before. I also have a Tik Tok chock full of solid gold comedy if you want to check it out (@kidhastings)
How does your theatre kid background influence how you approach your music?
I wouldn't say it has shaped my actual music too much, but I think my time in theater made me really comfortable with my body's movement; it's given me the ability to perform on stage but also have a greater sense of confidence in my daily life, moving through the world. It also taught me a really valuable lesson - performing is so much more than just playing a song or character - it's about conveying a story and sharing something really intimate and personal.
What's the inspiration behind the music video?
The video was inspired by the feeling I based the song on - confusion and a clash of identities. After getting broken up with a while ago I was absolutely crushed, even though the relationship only lasted about a week. It had come directly after the first serious relationship of my life that lasted around two years, so I think there was some latent anguish from that as well. It all led to the feeling that I didn't really know myself that well or what I wanted in life. When Ava Doorley and I approached the video, we wanted to convey that crisis of identity in a literal way and use movement and dance as the central vehicle to communicate the meaning. I love dance as a medium and have been wanting to incorporate it into a lot more of what I do, so this video was super fun. It also gave me ability to express myself in a way I hadn't been confident enough to do before, which was ultimately really euphoric.
"Call Me Up" touches on some intense emotions - do you write from your own experiences or explore outside of them as well?
"Call Me Up" was all me - it came from a very literal account of what happened when this weeklong fling ended. We were skating on 30th street, under the sun when I got my heart broken - the song is a plea to return to that glimmer of careless happiness we had only days before. Generally, all of my music comes from different, slightly cryptic accounts of personal experiences that really affected me.
Describe your forthcoming EP in five words:Super lit epic swag vibes.What do you hope this next year will look like for you?
I hope I'll be able to keep experimenting with writing and production, get to meet some new talented people and become more content with myself. I recently started believing in astrology, so apparently all of these things are going to happen since I'm a Capricorn. I'm looking forward to it.
Who are your Ones to Watch?
Kyle Lux, Luke Jr, Sally Boy, Chinese American Bear, Will Davila, Spill Tab, Ellie Williams and Hong Kong Boyfriend to name a few.