Label-love & nostalgia with BLACKSTARKIDS

Dirty Hit signees BLACKSTARKIDS are the musical manifestation of what it means to be a nineties baby: from their irreverent forays into nostalgia, to their wholly modern sense of awareness. 

Recent album, Puppies Forever, showcases both end of this spectrum in abundance, with lead single ‘ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS‘ approaching one of our times most weighty conversation points with a ballsy sense of sincerity alongside a thumping hook.

Ty, Deiondre and The Babe Gabe roam freely between genres, with their discography playing as a lookbook on the last twenty years of popular music. Bugglebum-pop choruses bookend hip-hop verses, which are in turn adorned with pop-punk powerchords. Paired with the band’s penchant for flitting between both current and antiquated touchstones, this approach gives BSK an excitable everything at once energy.

Unsigned until the latter half of lockdown, BLACKSTARKIDS have released four albums over the past two years – an obscenely high turnaround even for an act with a large team around them.

In their pursuit of creating a cocktail that is rich in both sweetness and sophistication, each member the group pull BLACKSTARKIDS’ output in opposing directions. This brings to life a tripod that offers a sense of equilibrium that is so satisfying that you’d be forgiven for barely noticing the range that their individual parts represent; in a fashion akin to Run DMC. Or The Powerpuff Girls. Or perhaps somewhere in between.

We spoke to the Kansas City trio upon the video launch for their recent single ‘I HATE BEING IN LOVE’.

Congratulations on a great album! How did you spend release day?

We spent the album release drinking and dancing in our merch! We had a few friends over and played the album over and over again! It was an amazing night!

BLACKSTARKIDS – more than any other artist – have captured the fun energy of Y2K nostalgia: is there a secret to incorporating this retrospective sound whilst keeping a modern feel in your music?

I don’t think there is really a secret to it. We love to pull things from our influences that we listened to growing up and incorporate that into our own sound. I think it’s just about finding the perfect balance between that.

You joined Dirty Hit after a transatlantic phone call with Chris Fraser, can you tell us anything that was said during the call? Was it clear straight away that he wanted to sign you?

Our first talk with the DirtyHit team was amazing. They were just as excited to talk to us as we were with them. It had honestly felt like we already signed when we were chatting.

Dirty Hit have a real sense of community amongst its roster: have you had the chance to feel like a part of this community, having signed during lockdown?

Off the bat our label mates were really nice and welcoming. Matty [Healy, 1975] showed so much love from the jump and so did Beabadoobee. I don’t think there is any other label we would’ve rather signed to.

You use some great cultural references in your stuff, including Zoey 101, iCarley and obviously Frankie Muniz. What pop-culture touchstones from 2021 do you think you will be harking back to in two decades time?

I think I’ll be looking back on shows like Atlanta and Insecure. Also acknowledging people like Tyler The Creator and Issa Rae. Feel like these things and people shaped me the most coming into my 20s. Honestly they still are shaping right now.

When will we see you performing on this side of the Atlantic?

Hopefully sometime between next year and 2023. We’re honestly super stoked to get to the UK. Would love to spend some weeks in London.

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Matt Ganfield

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