KENZIE TTH ON HER LONDON INFLUENCE & LATEST PROJECT, ROBIN HOOD
Unfortunately, nothing in life is immortal. We venture off into the depths of life, searching for serotonin boosts and psychedelic feelings. When we venture too far, however, we find ourselves in pits of grief, sometimes making despair a more natural occurrence than it should be. Teasing the release of her latest single ‘Robin Hood’, Kenzie TTH focuses on those serotonin boosts that are filled with nostalgia, with a few glimpses of hopelessness. Now, the Boston-born, London-based supernova is back with a bang following the drop of her new EP ‘We Stayed Too Long’.
The London-based artist has made a name for herself through relatable tunes that blend your perspective on serendipity and consequences. Her projects champion lucid visuals, with Kenzie acting as the main character in most storylines.
CULTED last caught up with Kenzie back in August to chat career tops, inspiration takeaways and, yes, Tinder bios. Now, Kenzie TTH is back to talk about her current obsessions, creative process, and how “Robin Hood” came to be.
Hey Kenzie! Tell me a little bit about how you got into music, who was your main inspiration?
I grew up listening to incredible songwriters who knew how to set a scene and spin a story – artists like Erykah Badu and Alanis Morrisette; Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell played a huge part in my life as a kid and when I started playing the piano I’m sure my parents saw it as practice in discipline, but I started making up my own songs and that was when I think I really got into songwriting. I just love telling stories, and that has extended into visuals and aesthetics to accompany the music. I really just like the idea of creating worlds that sonics and visuals and feelings can live inside of.
The pandemic really threw a wrench in the plans of a lot of creative people. What impacts did you feel and how did you work around them?
Wow yeah, it was definitely difficult being forced to sit still, so to speak, but there has also been a lot of reflection in all of this that I think has changed and influenced where I’m at now as a person, as an artist etc. I think my biggest crisis of self came from the inability to collaborate during this time haha. I’m someone who loves my alone time honestly, but I missed going into the studio with someone else and having that connection over a joint feeling/goal of creating something. I filled a few notebooks with words and whatever, but I could barely bring myself to sit at the piano most days. When restrictions eased a little, that’s when my friend Leon Vynehall hit me up to get into his studio and we made this EP.
I heard you got to create your own BBYTTH magazine. How did this come to be and what was the process like?
That was pretty wild. I really just love a challenge and an excuse to learn something new. I was approached by Depop to put together a creative project that they offered to fund. I think they probably thought that I would use their help to make a music video or something similar, but I had it in my head that I wanted to try my hand at something I hadn’t done before. The idea was for it to be a visual extension of the music I was creating, like booklets that used to come inside a CD case, but in a more curatorially exhaustive way. There was a lot of stuff happening in my life that made me want to seek escape and find beauty beyond my bedroom. That surreal world became the magazine. Thankfully I was able to call on some amazing people who knew more about making a zine than I did. But the final product is such a cool physical artifact that I really love to return to.
You’re involved in every step of the creation process from writing lyrics to directing the video shoot. What step is your favourite and why?
Oh, that changes so often! Haha. I think it’s honestly whatever is directly in front of me in the moment. I get so galaxy-brained when I start a new project, but once it’s truly underway I get tunnel vision, and getting from point A to point B is all I can think about. The music is really where everything stems from. Once the basic song is written, and things start taking shape, I start thinking about the potential of where things could go, and that’s maybe my favourite moment.
Your musical prowess is super unique, but so is your fashion. How would you describe the way you dress?
Cozy, classic …with a side of chaos.
Are there a few brands that have been sticking out to you as of late?
I am actually obsessed with Depop (my friends will tell you I’m definitely on it more than any other social media platform), and I’ve been doing a lot of second-hand shopping, but I’m really loving Elena Velez, Ahluwalia’s latest season (she’s incredible) and those Lowena Chopova skirts are such a maximalist dream.
So Robin Hood has a self-directed music video. I’m really curious to know what the creation process was like?
We didn’t have much time to put this video together. It was a little down to the wire and one morning at like 5am I woke up suddenly and just had this idea in my head and it just kept spinning. I started breaking down the lyrics very literally and pairing them with visuals and it went from there. It was a fun, pretty DIY shoot, which I’m all for.
Following this, the video appears to be set in London, how does the city influence you creatively? Any advice to anyone beginning to navigate the London music scene?
London is so full of creative energy, it’s definitely inspiring and reaffirming to be around. If you’re new to the scene I would say don’t be afraid to insert yourself into situations. There is so much cool shit and good music happening in this city, but as a British-American hybrid lol I can say that London culture is maybe a little less forthcoming when it comes to new blood. Just go to as many things as you can, and talk to people! Explore different pockets of the city, and different venues that play different types of music and you’ll find the people and experiences you’re meant to.
It seems like the track itself has a ton of different muses. What feelings were driving, and which ones were sitting shotgun?
It’s a song about friendship and how it feels to be figuring stuff out. I think the biggest feeling that comes up for me is nostalgia because it describes a very specific moment in my life. There are a lot of warm feelings, but also maybe a tinge of sadness in a couple of lines because nothing is forever, feelings are ephemeral, and eventually, situations (even good ones) change.
Which has been your favourite track to sit down and write?
On this EP? I think probably “Driveway (Credits)”. It felt quite cathartic to get that one out.
What are five tracks that you have on repeat right now?
A mix of newer stuff and things that make me feel nostalgic because it’s winter and I’m in my feelings …
Sudan Archives – Selfish Soul
The Shins – New Slang
MorMor – Seasons Change
Moses Sumney – Indulge Me
Kilder and Jouska – I Don’t Feel Like Talking