BTS: Killboy discusses queer culture and creative freedom ahead of single “U+ME”

Highlighting the experience of her first relationship with a woman, Killboy’s confident, no-fucks-given attitude shines on “U+ME.”

The song itself is upbeat, combining pop vocals with elements of EDM in the beat (self-produced by Killboy) to create a single that shows off the producer’s incredible skill range.

The lyrics describe the ups and downs of the relationship—the good times spent together, the outside opinions affecting them and the liminal space that asks “What are we right now?” For anyone having been in a situation like that, “U + ME” is a relatable track.

Killboy chatted with COLLiDE at the end of 2020 about how she’s learned to embrace herself and her confidence, as well as the situations driving her songwriting and producing. Check out COLLiDE’s interview and a gallery of exclusive BTS photos below:

First off, as a bisexual person myself, I want to thank you for referencing your sexuality in “U+ME!” It’s always really refreshing to hear upcoming queer artists and to hear women’s voices singing about being in relationships with other women; to have that representation slowly become more normalized rather than it being an exception.

It was subtle, but hearing it for the first time I was like, “Oh my god, she likes women! I like women! I can see myself in the story that’s being set up.” Was it nerve-wracking at all to state that on a track? Had you done that before?

I did it, not publicly before, but I didn’t even think about it, I just wrote the song. It was actually the first girl that I tried to date—it didn’t work out because there was a lot of emotions and paragraphs and stuff, you know? A lot of ‘so what are we?’ type stuff.

And I’m like, “Yo, that’s usually me!” I’m always writing about what’s going on in my life and I just wrote it and I liked it. I wouldn’t ever change the shit that I write just for how it could be perceived.

No, I totally get that. I was in a similar situation of “what is this?” with the first girl I was going out with. It was exciting but it was really confusing!

Yeah, it’s totally different to date a girl! With guys it’s like, I can bitch about whatever I want to bitch about and then once I’m done the conversation is over and they’re just happy that shit’s over.

With a girl, you have your conversation and you say what hurt you and then you think it’s over and then they’re like ‘and here’s what hurt me!’ Lots of communication. Not as many games, honestly.

What’s a good piece of advice your younger self would’ve loved to hear? Industry-related, sexuality-related or just anything in terms of your life story.

I would have loved to have known that whatever you feel and however you feel and however you perceive yourself—all those things are normal. You think it doesn’t fit into, like, whatever everyone else is telling you is black and white, but it’s really okay.

I don’t know, I just always felt like there was no place for me and that I had to go over to one side and be a certain way. And I’m so many types of ways! It’s so confusing. I’ve learned to just accept it and I wish I had accepted it way earlier. Bitch, you’re fucking weird and it’s all good!

Yes, yes! Embracing that weirdness! Was it difficult for you at all to break out of that black and white, two-sided thinking?

Oh yeah. I grew up in a really conservative family that wanted me to be a type of way. When I finally moved out I was really confused. It wasn’t until I moved to LA where you can really just fucking be yourself and nobody’s paying attention—everyone’s just paying attention to what they’re doing, so you’re pretty much good to do whatever—that’s where I found myself. That’s where I was able to just experiment with shit, start getting tattoos and start dying my hair and everything. Just seeing what makes me feel, like, really fucking good every day.

Do I want to date girls? Do I want to date guys? What kind of music do I want to make? I feel like everybody goes through that, where they’re like “I don’t know what I want,” and then you finally get this opportunity to figure out.

I know that feeling of kind of growing up in a conservative house. Like, my family wasn’t conservative in political views, but very much in what kinds of actions you should and shouldn’t take. I get that, I totally empathize with that. It’s an interesting growth to break out of that, which is why I wanted to know your perspective on it.

Photo courtesy of DONSLENS.

Getting side-tracked there. Anyways, it feels like you blend pop and electronic and all those genres really well stylistically. It made me think of Billie Eilish a little bit and Alison Wonderland. There’s just more opportunity in this whole era of streaming over radio, like you don’t need radio to become popular. You can play around with sound more. Do you think about that a lot when you’re producing tracks? How does your production process work?

 I usually make a hook in my head. I’ll be in, like, the car and I’ll think of something in my head and think “Oh yeah, I gotta write a song about this.” It’ll be something that I’m going through and then I go and do that, lay some piano down under it, figure out what the chords are, put some drums… I always like trap drums—kick 808s and air clap.

After that if I want to add guitar, add synths, there’s no limit. Some people use reference tracks to see what they want the song to sound like but I don’t. I make it until I like it.

It’s like total creative freedom when you’re making everything.

You’ll see when I drop more music, but I have so many different types of music. Every song and every subject of the song has a different feeling for me. I do whatever feels good, you know? I’m not sure how other people’s brains work, but mine works in a very picture-oriented way. I learned Photoshop, so things relate to me in terms of painting and pictures. I’m helping mix things, I don’t know, it’s weird.

It gets fun, it feels fun to get to know things.

Throughout this whole interview you’ve had so much confidence, so much self-assurance and you can really feel it. How do you maintain that? Especially in an industry that’s very much one of rejection.

Rejection fucking sucks, but I just like myself. I like my music and people like it, so I’m not really worried about the rest. It’s all about the people listening to my music.

Has there been times where that confidence has been challenged, both internally and externally?

Always, every single day! I might look confident but I’m always like, ‘Should I have said that?’ But there’s gotta be a point where you say “Shut the fuck up! You did it, that’s you!” and then just move on. Always be moving on, always be looking towards what’s next.

Speaking of what’s next, what can we look forward to?

Yeah, we’re going to wait [until 2021]. I decided that I’m so fucking over 2020 and I’m starting over, man, I’m starting over. I’m hitting that refresh. We’re just going to start dropping songs in January 2021 and we’re going to keep it going.

Nothing is getting in the way. We’re going to have consistent roll-outs.

Interview has been lightly edited for clarity and flow. Exclusive BTS photos courtesy of DONSLENS.