Photo by: Eric Ryan Anderson
DK: I’m so glad to know you’ll be playing at Lincoln Hall tonight; can’t wait! Last time you were here in Chicago was in April of this year and you played a sold out show with Betty Who at Concord Music Hall. Now you’re selling out shows on your own headlining tour… how rewarding is that for you and how was Canada?
It’s a really surreal experience. I’m beyond grateful to the people who are coming. Currently in Canada with no complaints.
DK: Now, you’re on the road with Tigertown who are from Sydney, Australia, how are they to be touring with so far?
They’re a great vibe and sound amazing.
DK: You just released “Somewhere in Between” in June… how have the reactions to the new music been so far?
They have been really positive. It’s an interesting experience spending so much time writing a chapter of your life and sharing.
DK: I expect it would be. Being your first full length album, did you have any anxieties or anything like that before the release as opposed to the releases of your EPs?
I had a lot of nerves releasing this album. It did feel like more pressure than the EPs in a weird way.
DK: I suppose there may have been the sense of expectations of what the fans might be looking for in your first full length album and I think that would be natural given the circumstances. What did you do differently in the production of the album?
My goal was to elevate what I’ve always done. I like blending electronic elements with organic, live sounds. I wanted to make the production dynamic and not so cookie cutter.
DK: Did you take more time to produce it the way you’ve always wanted your first album to be?
Yes and no. I spent a lot of time, but I am a very quick decision maker.
DK: When it comes to finalizing an album of creative works that define the whole of who you are as a person, I guess you would have to finally come to a point and say, ‘this is complete, this is me’ and perhaps look at the works again for potential remixes, if that is something that you’d pursue. How would you sum up ‘Somewhere in Between’ and what your artistic creation (now alive in the real world) means to you and how it’s impacting the lives of others around the world?
It’s a summary of my existence in a weird way. It follows the idea that we’re ‘somewhere between living and dying’ and hopes navigate that thread.
DK: What song on the album was the most difficult for you to write (if any)?
Somewhere in Between was the hardest because it was the final song of the album and I was ready for it to be written.
DK: What does it mean to [you] as an artist to retain your independent status and has it been worth all the extra personal efforts you’ve already undertaken?
It has completely been worth it. I get to make a living doing what I want, when I want to. It is the highest luxury.
DK: You’ve stated in other interviews that you can compartmentalize your many facets of your life in order to keep everything together, do you segment specific times of the day to specific functions of your career?
I want to say yes, but I’m really bad at committing to a schedule. I’d say my life is less scheduled day to day, but blocks of time in my life are dedicated to different areas.
DK: I am very interested to learn more about the secrets to your success and how other performers may be able to follow in your footsteps to reach their own dreams. If you had to attribute your success thus far to any one thing, what might that be?
Keeping my head down and being okay with feeling uncomfortable. I have a high pain tolerance and I’m able to just push forward regardless of circumstances.
DK: Working as a waitress at Applebee’s, how did you manage to be able to save your tips for your music career while continuing to pay your bills, are you [that] disciplined? If so, it is seriously impressive of you to have been able to do that given all the problems that tend to arise that takes away anyone’s savings (usually).
I was psychopathic. I worked so much I didn’t have time to spend money. I didn’t realize my work mentality was abnormal or more intense than usual.
DK: Well, as you stated previously, it ended up being worth it and while it may not have been the best for your health (to work so much), at least now you’ve gained a balance in life that [is] healthy and you’re reaching a lot of people the way you’ve always wanted. When you consider something like Spotify where even millions of streams unfortunately still does not equate to that much on a check to you. How do you keep the money coming in?
Spotify streams equate to a substantial check when you own your masters. That’s a common misconception. But in general, you just need to constantly hustle and make opportunities happen.
DK: Looking at your career from the business-side, do you feel you may have had to work extra hard to tackle some of this aspect of your career or did a lot of it come naturally for you?
A lot of the compartmentalization comes naturally to me. Sometimes it’s easier than others. Honestly, operating in the regimented world of spreadsheets and logistics clears my mind.
DK: Keep the other side of your brain busy for a change, eh? Are you a goal-setter? Do you set realistic benchmarks for yourself to achieve?
Yes, but I’m also pessimistic so I set goals I know I can achieve then wonder if I’ll be capable of achieving them.
DK: Sounds like me sometimes… ha ha. How do you handle personal expectations in your life? Do you keep expectations low? Or not even think about any expectations at all?
I keep expectations very low. I try not to be too hard on myself.
DK: I almost hate to ask, but have you ever observed either in your career or other people’s careers any stigmas in the industry?
There are stigmas everywhere. I think “male producer/executive/person” taking credit for shit they don’t do runs rampant. But honestly, I don’t care. You function and move forward in reality.
DK: How would you define ‘the music industry’ as it is as a whole and from your role in it?
The music industry is an industry like any other. It doesn’t pander to creativity and expression. It exists to turn a profit. My role is disrupting the old mode of operation and showing you can find success without selling your rights.
DK: Amen to that Verite and keep it up! Of all the many hats you wear in your career, do you have any one hat you enjoy wearing more than the others?
I love performing. It’s the only hat I want.
DK: Completely understandable. How would you describe your connection to your fans?
My fans are fucking dope. Really. They are really good, diverse, chill people. I couldn’t do anything without them.
DK: What has been one of the most impacting things a fan has said to you?
I’m not sure exactly. When people explain how something I’ve written has impacted them it is pretty intense.
DK: How involved are you with the direction of your videos?
I am 10000% involved.
DK: Have the videos been as creatively fulfilling to you and helped express more of the meaning of the songs in ways the songs (themselves) perhaps couldn’t on their own?
Yes and no. I think it’s interesting to take an altered perspective of a song in video form. I don’t make videos that are literal interpretations of the lyrics.
DK: Would it be safe to say that you can and will accomplish anything that you set out to do?
DK: I am going to hit you with one question about the state of America right now and I know we can do a whole interview on this topic alone unfortunately since there is so much going on here. What is your take on all that has been going on this year and how can we make things better?
Be realistic and own your shit. Do what you can for others. It’s easy to feel helpless while it seems Trump is burning down democracy, but you can always do something kind for someone who needs it.
DK: You’ve got quite a bit of U.S. dates and one more Canadian date coming up through the beginning of October, what do you have lined up after that?
I honestly have no idea.
DK: Will there be any more video releases or perhaps a live video for everyone to look forward to in the near future?
You will have to wait and see!
DK: Well, I cannot thank you enough Verite for taking the time with me today and I really hope you have an amazing show tonight and an even brighter future in your career ahead!