Featured Image by Beth Taye.
Falling into the comfort of familiar playlists happens to the best of us. That is until a powerful force sends us somewhere over the rainbow to then question everything we know about music. In this case, that force is Kansas City genre-bending duo, The Black Creatures. Their debut album, Wild Echoes, orbits around a mass of emotions and musical textures. From the mystic “Fear & Chaos” to a contrarily mellow “D’ummm”, each song brings a multiplexed story to fruition, accompanied by gorgeous sci-fi backing tracks.
We caught up with the duo to talk about their experiences, drive, and future projects.
Jade and Xavier, when did the two of you start making music together?
It was the Fall of 2013 when we made our first song, “Glass Thoughts,” and decided we actually had great chemistry and should make more songs together. The plan was only to make two songs, and then three songs, and then eventually… we had made a whole EP. And then an album.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
We would describe our music as a Choose Your Own adventure experience. Listeners are welcome to choose the level at which they engage; maybe they just want an easy listening experience disregarding lyrical context, maybe they want to cry about a lost love, maybe they want to join a political conversation.
Being that you are writers in the genre of dark-pop, does channeling the experiences of your past ever hinder the creative process, or aid its growth?
Both, for sure! When we’re writing from our own experiences, we WANT to share what we’re channeling, but it can be difficult unwrapping those feelings, memories, and trauma. And, there can be difficulty trying to put into words such specific yet abstract emotions while trying to represent them accurately without exploiting them.
In your song “Wretched (It Goes)”, you sing about “changing the tone”. Can you speak more to that?
Because of the importance placed on things like tradition and comfort, many aspects of our society have been stuck in place and causing unnecessary despair for so long. The idea with that line, “let’s change the tone,” was to say we can’t keep going on like this with no change. Because for some of us, the only way to survive in this world means creating new ones.
Which artists currently inspire you?
Andre3000, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, and Missy Elliott are huge foundational inspirations for us but in this very moment, Blood Orange, SuperKnova, Tobe Nwigwe, Noname… these people are all super inspiring and doing a great job using their voice right now.
What changes would you like to see in the music industry?
We want to see a non-competitive structure in a huge way. I heard a saying once that “if you’re not creating your own lane, you’re driving in someone else’s.” To me that has everything to do with our current situation as creatives. We have to find new ways to engage, create, and feed our psyche during this time of mass isolation. We can’t keep trying to fit into old worlds, especially ones that don’t respect our existence.
Your first two music videos–“Wretched (It Goes)” and “D’ummm”– gave off such therapeutic and down-to-earth energy, can we expect to see more videos from Wild Echoes?
Absolutely and of course! We are, at our cores, creators and we have no intention of just stopping at music for listening. We want our content to be enjoyed on various levels and in various ways. It’s an accessibility thing. We are putting out a final video from Wild Echoes early in 2021, but after that we are eager to be working on many other things.
Stream Wild Echoes here.