The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party held July 20–22 in Seattle. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the block party, including rapper Keyboard Kid and indie folk/rock collective Western Haunts.
Keyboard Kid discussed his musical start, performing live, artists he would like to work with, and musical influences, among other topics.
"I would love to work with Kanye West probably because he's the reason why I make music today," said Keyboard Kid. "I heard [West's] 'Through The Wire' and [said], 'Man, that's the dopest beat I've ever heard. I gotta learn how to sample. I gotta do that.' From then on I made it my mission to be able to do that."
Keyboard Kid is the alias of Gregory C. Phillips Jr., a Seattle-based producer who has worked with rappers including Lil B and Main Attrakionz. Together with Lil B, Keyboard Kid has helped pioneer the "based" music movement, a stream-of-conscious form of hip-hop. After releasing several independent beat tapes, in May Keyboard Kid released The Transition EP, a five-song collection of "hyper-charged synth workouts, off-the-grid hip-hop and computer techno."
Western Haunts discussed recording their forthcoming release, The Ambassador EP, the evolution of the band's sound and individual musical influences, among other topics.
"[The album] had a real theme this time," said guitarist/vocalist Jake Witt. "It was inspired by a lot of the upheaval that's been going on globally and nationally [and explains] some darker themes for us."
Formed in Seattle, Western Haunts features Michel DeBauge (keyboards/vocals), Nathan Hamlet (guitar/vocals), Jake Witt, Nathan Witt (drums/vocals), and Derrick Wright (bass). Combining elements of Americana, folk and psych-rock, Western Haunts draw on influences from the likes of the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and Neil Young, among others. They released their debut album, Silos L.P., in 2008, followed by Shed Your Summer Shell and Utøya in 2011. Set to be released Aug. 14, The Ambassador EP is a collection of five songs penned for "the disenfranchised with a sonic wash of populist zeal," according to the band.