It was early-March when we spoke with Keyz Vango, just days before the release of his “LATE,” EP. “LATE,” is a long overdue project and introduction to Keyz Vango himself. When thinking back on his musical journey he says, “it’s a long story which I actually struggle[d] with for like a really long time, in terms of figuring out who I am as an artist. It’s part of the backstory behind the entire EP. I am sorta late to understanding who I am. And just in general, late to realizing a lot of things about myself including what I am comfortable with.”
The “LATE,” EP is an eight-track moody celebration seamlessly weaving tragically beautiful pop ballads and introspective hip-hop bangers. An emotional rollercoaster if you will, a feeling many independent artists are familiar with and could relate to. The genre-bending work of buttery ego-less audio implores you to “get high from the fall” as your ears are lured through a quest for self-recovery.
It begins with a sonic exploration through a variety of sounds in the first song ‘LATE, (INTRO).’ After a minute and some change moving through time and space, Keyz sets us up for ‘THE RIDE,’ a fun song to groove to under the Sun. Just from the first few notes alone, you already know you’re in for a good time. But it all changes so fast, just when the going was good in ‘CHOOSY.’ There is still a vibe going on with the upbeat tempo, but you get the feeling something went down when Keyz sang, “Know you had my best side/You was on your Left-Eye/I don’t wanna burn down bridges/And I ain’t wanna hurt no feelings.” Transitioning from ‘CHOOSY’ to ‘HEADLIGHTS (INTERLUDE),’ we get a sense that things are not working itself out for the better and there’s a noticeable change of the vibe going into ‘ELECTRIK CHAIR.’ The song represents the death of Keyz’ ego, and he manages to bring forward a pop-rock feel by including a solo guitar riff. The use of string instruments carried over in ‘EMOSHITNAL,’ symbolizing the lingering memories Keyz has about his past. He’s essentially trapped inside of his head, forced to face his past to move forward. In doing so, he revisits the idea of the love he once had in ‘MARBLE COUNTERS’ but is quickly reminded of the toxicity that comes along with it and you get this feeling from the various synths layered on top of each other throughout the song. Finally, Keyz snaps back to reality in ‘LOMO (Lit On My Own),’ a clever mid-tempo tune about finding peace in accepting your own unique flaws and demons while being content with flying solo.
Watch Keyz Vango’s Latest Music Video For ‘ELECTRIK CHAIR’
What started three years ago has finally seen the light of day. When asked about his feelings on his debut EP, Keyz said, “It’s a little bit nerve wracking, I’m not going to lie. It feels like my first child in that sense. I started this three years ago, but this is the first time where it felt like I was finally arriving with eight songs. I never really done a project this big before, never done like this many videos, and the amount of work that went behind it… it’s a lot of pressure in a sense like, ‘you’ve been building up to this moment’ and I’m kinda already excited for what’s next.
It’s like mixed emotions…Like it’s over, certain people part of the process that they were involved in, they’ve already completed their tasks. Like I kinda had some goodbye speeches with one of the engineers I worked with who’s based in L.A. now, Christal Jerez. So like once she mastered everything it was kinda like, ‘damn, so… this is over.’”
To promote the debut of his “LATE,” EP, Keyz released a series of music videos leading up to the release of what it now dubbed a calligraphic marriage of music and visual art. The 8-part video collection turned into a moody short interpretive experience celebrating the exploration and journey of self. Keyz worked very closely with film director Tommy Rebel and screenwriter/producer Kelly Liu to create “LATE, The Film,” which premiered on Thursday, June 10 via YouTube. In addition to the short film, Keyz Vango also presented us with “LATE, Behind The Film” Zines designed by Liu to expand the creative process behind the scenes of the EP and short film. Each zine includes director’s notes, unreleased alternate lyrics, and a closer look into the various set designs and props!