We’re used to seeing our favorite musicians, emcees, and DJs in the dark of the club. In an ongoing effort to see these artists in a different light, the light of day, we caught up with SOL REPUBLIC Savior of Sound K.Flay in Oakland for this installment of "Breakfast with DJs".


When K.Flay and I meet, she is singing under her breath. Her 2015 is off to a great start. Coffee with me is a stop on the way to finishing other errands before she leaves for a three-week European tour. This will be her first time playing Europe as a two-piece with drummer, Nicholas Suhr, whose drumming lends an additional dynamism to the live show. In addition to this tour, K.Flay has other projects in the works to support her 2014 crowd funded album, Life as a Dog, which hit the #14 spot on the Billboard Rap Charts.

On this cloudy day, we discuss how singing more on this album, feels more vulnerable than rapping and the shared American cultural heritage of hip-hop.



Cole Coffee, in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood.


What was on the menu?

K.Flay ordered an iced chai and I had a cafe au lait.


Who are the individuals that you respect most in your field and why?

It's largely the people who evolve and surprise me while remaining true to a broader vision. I look at Karen O and am overwhelmed by her talent and fearlessness. I remember seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2006-ish and thinking she was insurmountably incredible. Also, not technically 'in my field' (although she probably could make an album and everyone would buy it), but I love Amy Poehler.

In your
collaboration w/ MC Lars “Other People's Property”, you rap:

"Racial politics every time I spit

Am I a colonist or am I legit?

Is it appreciation, or appropriation?

What kind of statement are we making?" 

You ask the questions, but don't answer them. So, appreciation or appropriation?

Appreciation. Hip hop is replete with cultural legacy and context -- as an artist it's my responsibility to understand that. Appreciation is an outgrowth of a sense of continuity, nuance, conflict, all of those things. I think that kind of appreciation is essential in all creative disciplines. I started writing songs because I was genuinely creeped out by what was on the radio at the time. I’ve always tried to make music that authentically reflects my experience.


Along those same lines, where do you get inspiration for your songs?

The inspiration is emotional. I write when I'm feeling something that's in the top 5% or bottom 20% of what I could possibly feel.

What was the most surprising thing you've encountered as a touring musician?

What's interesting is that people everywhere have the same problems, the same doubts, the same heartache. It's cool meeting people all over the world and seeing that. Not that I want people to be sad, but it makes everything feel more connected and less terrifying.


How is it playing in other cities, versus playing a "hometown" show in the Bay Area?

Hometown shows are like bigger versions of house parties. They're awesome in a very personal I’m-drinking-beer-on-your-couch way. Playing in other cities can be liberating. When you don't know anyone in the crowd, there's no precedent for what you can or should do.


Your recent tour's merch for your well-received self-released/crowd-funded album, Life as a Dog, included a mad libs-style zine designed by local illustrator, 
Helen Tseng. What was the inspiration for that?

Helen is the shit. The inspiration came from me being in New York and feeling empowered to do the weirdest things I wanted. As I started working on demos for Life as a Dog, I began to put a lot of faith in the idea that writing begets writing. So I was writing a lot.


What are your tools of the trade?

Software-wise, I run Pro Tools 10, Logic 9 & Ableton 9. Pro Tools for all of my audio recording and editing. Logic for the bulk of my programming. Ableton for the live show. Hardware-wise, it's Maschine, MPK mini, Novation Launchkey and a bunch of other controllers I’ve accumulated along the way.

What music do you currently have on deck?

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Run the Jewels, The Acid, and Nicki Minaj.


What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

Actually everything, even the sad days.

If you’re in the Bay Area, see K.Flay play with local indie band, Geographer, for Noisepop on February 27th at The Fox Theatre. Keep up with K.Flay on SoundCloud, Twitter, and Facebook

About the author: Based in SF, Mai deeply obsesses about music, fashion, art and social justice. Chances are high she's photographed someone you know for her seven year old street style site, More info than necessary can be found about her, here:

Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.

Dark Waves + Brooke Fraser @ The Independent (Monday)

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City of Angels based Dark Waves just made Aaron Axelsen’s "Top 16 New Acts to Watch in 2015" and you can catch them tonight. This addition to the growing breed of dark and stormy pop is the work of frontman and native Californian Nick Long. The act's first EP was released back in the fall and has already climbed internet heights on Hypemachine and a damn respectable couple million plays on Spotify in no time at all. Don't go anywhere for the main event and touring partner, Brooke Fraser. The New Zealand export takes her booming folk pop to new heights with a more experimental touch in her latest music.

Bad Suns + Coasts + Maudlin Strangers @ Great American Music Hall (Tuesday)


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For anyone that has had The Bad Suns' "Cardiac Arrest" in their head for about two years now, please note their full length debut dropped a few months back on Vagrant. Equally maddening is the infectious anthem "Oceans" from UK based Coasts that has been re-released since 2012 without proper US attention. Finally, we have SoCal's (and Bad Suns labelmates) Maudlin Strangers and their dark but danceable indie rock. Maudlin Strangers just put out a four track EP ripe to be picked up by fans of Arctic Monkeys, The Neighborhood, and MS MR. Guess what? All of these acts will be in the same place, to play, for you.

Mahgeetah + The Soft White SixtiesWove @ Brick & Mortar (Wednesday)


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No brainer: If you have yet to jump in the fray of The Soft White Sixties January residency you should already have your tickets ready. For those who have been hitting every week here's one more reason. Wove will shred, Mahgeetah will jam, and the Sixties will rock (again). Octavio, Aaron, Ryan, and Joey have been gifting audiences with some great covers the past few weeks for those who think they had their set memorized. For round IV yet another great local music scene enabler will be presenting. At the plate here is Showbams the local music blog who cover a wide variety of genres and always have great surprise ticket hookups.

Kishi Bashi + Elizabeth & the Catapult @ The Palace of Fine Arts (Friday)

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I'm all for listening to music for the sole purpose of bringing up some darker or less flattering emotions. But, if you crave a pure uncut jovial sound, put on a Kishi Bashi record. Perfecting his multi-instrumentalist talents with a long list of touring musicians and side projects his two solo works are stark standouts. Kishi Bashi is on tour supporting Lighght and will be joined by Elizabeth & the Catapult on the West Coast. The woman behind the curtain, Elizabeth Ziman gave us her latest record late last year after some time away from label stresses when she took to street busking and sought out a new collaborator for the growing number of songs she had been crafting since recently picking up the guitar. She found this partner in her former band mate Dan Molad (Lucius, Here We Go Magic).

Happy Fangs + The Trims + Survival Guide @ Rickshaw Stop (Saturday)

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The time for a full force Happy Fangs record hath come. We've all been waiting for more since their 2013 release with the great fight song "Lion Inside You" and it's video to match. Get out to Rickshaw to witness plenty of material from the new record, Capricorn, and pick up a stone cold physical copy of some great local warriors. In support are San Jose based outfit The Trims showing off 80's influenced indie rock. Emily Whitehurst's latest musical endeavor, Survival Guide, rounds out the bill. Find out what a day at the Boardwalk through her eyes looks like in "Symptoms". Bonus: Check out Happy Fangs entry into NPR's Tiny Desk Concert contest here.

About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and Training Director at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

As the week winds down, here's your guide to the new sounds that we recommend circling back to.

"At Your Best (You Are Love)" - Frank Ocean (Cover)

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The week began with a surprise treat from Frank Ocean, covering an Isley Brothers classic that Aaliyah made her own in 1994. Frank delivers a straight-ahead performance which shows off his upper register. Even if his biggest strength is songwriting, it's good just to hear his voice again.


"1 Sec" - Novelist x Mumdance

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The most explosive track of the week belongs to Novelist and Mumdance, who have returned after their popular collaboration "Take Time".  With "1 Sec", they combine forward-thinking production with a major pop sensibility and Novelist's Dizzy Rascal-esque flow. The prodigious MC and red-hot producer are well positioned to transcend dance and grime circles this year.


"Flags of the Old Regime" - Peter Doherty

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The second tribute this week to a gone-too-soon artist, here Peter Doherty (Libertines, Babyshambles) honors Amy Winehouse with his "Flags of the Old Regime". Sales of the touching, warbly ballad will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

"Really Love" - Body Language 

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Body Language has previewed their high-gloss upcoming single, a drastic departure from earlier material. The track borrows liberally from drum 'n bass rhythms, without ever forfeiting the half-time feel. The constant in this NYC quartet’s material is fun, borderline over-the-top pop hooks.

About the author: Luke Bradley is an arts and culture writer living in Toronto. He's written for The Classical Magazine,, Myspace, Consequence of Sound, DJ Mag and This Recording. Tweet to him @Sloganear.

This month we're bringing you an awesome mix of songs curated by San Francisco-based Savior of Sound K.Flay as part of the SOL REPUBLIC Mix Series. 

If you've never witnessed one of K.Flay's energetic performances, grab a drink and blast her mix to turn up K.Flay-style. We promise you'll love her as much as we do: 


Theophilus London ft. Jesse Boykins III - Tribe (Bixel Boys Remix)

Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck

Jessie Ware - You & I (Shift K3Y Remix)

Zhu - Faded (Wknd Gone Mad Remix)

Slow Magic - Waited 4 U (Odesza Remix)

Geist ft. Schumi - I Need Ya

Jack ü ft. Kiesza - Take U There (Zeds Dead Remix)

Mounties - Headphones (Sleepy Tom Remix)

K.Flay - Make Me Fade (Vanic Remix)

Sir Sly - You Haunt Me (Soysauce Edition)

Vaski - Hakuna Matata

Atlas Genius - Centred On You (Viceroy Remix)

Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On (Tchami Remix)

Flosstradamus - Rebound (CRNKN Remix)

Seekae - Test & Recognise (Flume Re-work)

Young & Sick - Heartache Fetish (Ta-ku Rework)

Make sure to follow Savior of Sound K.Flay on Facebook and Twitter for updates and some pretty hilarious tweets!

About K.Flay: An artist who quickly evolved from parody to indie, Chicago-born rapper K. Flay first grabbed the mike while a student at Stanford University in California. It was the frivolous topics and misogynistic lyrics she saw in mainstream rap that first drove her to record a parody of the genre, but she was surprised by both her talent and how much she enjoyed recording. She spent the rest of the year recording and writing, spent her sophomore year performing, and in her junior year, she dropped her debut album, 2004's Suburban Rap Queen. And the rest is history.

Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.

Willie Watson + Mikaela Davis @ Great American Music Hall (Wednesday)

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Mikaela Davis carries two voices, one her own and the other emitted from the harp. She is currently touring as a three piece including drums and guitar/sitar. Prepare for the opening set her session with Audiotree in Chicago [Watch]. Following, is Willie Watson who provided us with a great folk record last year that feels unearthed from a time capsule inside a bottle of moonshine. The familiar vocals are likely to be familiar as Watson served a decade as one of the founding members of Old Crow Medicine Show.

Foxtails Brigade + Idea the Artist + Ghost Tiger @ Awaken Cafe (Thursday)

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First things first, watch "Science Camp". Santa Barbara's Ghost Tiger is an excess of fun. Their folk pop is interwoven with soulful vocals, complex rhythms, and 60's era guitar. Go listen to last week's release Some Friends Feel Like Family perfect for fans of Lucius, Freelance Whales, or Radiation City. Rounding out a night of all female fronted acts, you will have Bay Area locals Foxtails Brigade and Idea the Artist. Clues in the world of Foxtails Brigade lead to a new music video on the way so be on the lookout.

Waters + Hot Wave Heat Flash @ The Independent (Saturday)


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It continues to be difficult to find someone not hooked on Waters. The last few years had a reigning champion of bright indie pop like Youngblood Hawke and Grouplove before that. From the dangerously catchy It All Might Be Ok EP it looks like Waters is on the way to claiming the next title. Plus, we've been systematically luring you out to check out Hot Wave Heat Flash for some time now so two birds one stone etc etc. The show is being presented by Live 105 and Different Fur in case you wanted even more professional opinions to get your ticket.

Sunhaze + Phosphene + Sunbeam Rd @ Neck of the Woods (Saturday)


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Phosphene dropped a new single not long after their debut full length last year and it's great. The trio's first two members met in college and scooped up their bass player once they began putting their songwriting into reality. They lie on a border between shoegaze and indie rock and their fandom of major acts from Sharon Van Etten and Neko Care to Interpol shine through. Recommended tracks: "Silver", "Wire", and "Go To Sleep". Who else is on deck? You'll have the surf pop of Sunhaze along with the relaxing psych induced rock of Sunbeam Rd (who currently have me in a trance after getting lost in their collection of album art).

Monster Rally & Jay Stone + Queens D. Light + Kid Trails @ Leo's (Saturday)


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A week before the release of the new collaborative album between LA beatmaker Monster Rally and Oakland emcee Jay Stone you have the chance to see the project live. You can preview a few tracks off the record now on Bandcamp. Here's how Gold Robot, who will be releasing the record, describes Foreign Pedestrian: "The album's production focuses heavily on Monster Rally's "global haze" sound combined with funk and jazz elements." Bonus track: Synth pop soldier Yalls will be DJing sets throughout the night.

About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and occasional DJ at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

This was a hectic week for new music and if it’s a sign of things to come, 2015 could be a very strong year. Here are some of the sounds we thought warranted a click or several:


Ricky Eat Acid - 'Context'

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A new track from Ricky Eat Acid is available next week and can be previewed now. “Context” sounds a bit like a hyper-emotive soundtrack to a 16-bit racing game.


SOPHIE x Gucci Mane - 'Lemonade' (Rare MP3s Edit)

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Rare MP3s have unleashed this bananas blend of SOPHIE and the Gucci Mane classic, offsetting the piano riff with a whole palette of percussive bubble sounds.


Jazmine SullivanReality Show

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Jazmine Sullivan returned this week after a Jay-Z-like fake retirement, with her third album, Reality Show. Talking about Sullivan's music in a column on brand new sounds is kind of nonsensical - she generally avoids sonic trendiness in favor of perfectionistic, 90s-rooted R&B. There are few cheap thrills here; the album will be a pleasure to absorb over the next weeks and months, rather than minutes.


Young L - Final Fantasy

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Clearly displaying his Future, Rich Homie Quan and DJ Screw influences, Young L has added his own softer touches on his new 7-track release Final Fantasy. It’s well suited to cold mid-winter days.

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

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Of course, the most hyped music story this week was the release of Sleater-Kinney’s comeback album, No Cities To Love. You can listen to the album here on NPR.

If jagged guitars and anthemic rock ‘n roll choruses are your bag, this will be hard to beat. The celebrity sing-along video for the title track is also pretty damn charming.


About the author: Luke Bradley is an arts and culture writer living in Toronto. He's written for The Classical Magazine,, Myspace, Consequence of Sound, DJ Mag and This Recording. Tweet to him @Sloganear.