Exclusive Interview: ADRIA KAIN

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[On a warm day in April, I met with Toronto artist Adria Kain at a loud, petit, and overly crowded hipster coffee shop to speak about what she’s been up to since the last time I had seen her. Adria was recommended to me as an artist for an Iscream showcase party we had last year at Smiling Buddha in Toronto, and although I had never heard her perform live, I could tell I wasn’t going to be disappointed the moment I met her. Despite being mad talented and exuding an aura of calmness, she is super humble and down to earth. Of all the people that cross your path in life, few will make you feel comfortable being yourself right from the start, and Adria falls within that few.]

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Tell me about the pineapple aspect of your brand?

It started because I did the undercut in my hair and I would have my hair tied up and a lot of people would compare it to a pineapple. And it’s actually my favourite fruit too, so I was like maybe I should transition my current logo (which is like a pyramid) into something that has to do with the pineapple. But I feel like everyone’s brand is a pineapple right now so I was like how can I be different. I noticed a lot of people sexualizing the pineapple and using it that way…but I was like you know the pineapple has a hard shell on the outside and it’s kinda spiky so it shows pain, but I want to break away that shell and get to the sweet part. I pertain it to my life, my life is kinda the hard shell right now and I am trying to break away at it and get to the sweet part, so I am using it for that.

Very poetic.

Very deep.

Usually people resort to roses for that type of analogy.

Yea I like to go deeper than roses lol.

Do you eat a lot of pineapples?

I do actually, it’s probably the only fruit I tend to eat activily. Every other fruit I forget about. Until I actually go to the grocery store and I’m like oh yea…there is all these options lol!

Canned or straight up pineapple?

No, straight up. The actually fruit. Canned? What is that? Lolol. Sometimes I get lazy and go get the ones in the plastic container .

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I’m too lazy, I’m trying to get straight to the sweet stuff. Continuing on with that analogy and taking it back to life, which tastes better? I mean there are those musicians that put one or two hits out and they are picked up by the labels and BAM: they are at the ‘sweet stuff’ already. But then there are those musicians who are constantly breaking down the outer layers, they’re being criticized, they are constantly building themselves, re branding, and then finally they make it, and they’re at the ‘sweet stuff’. So in your opinion, which taste better? Sudden success or that of which you work really really hard for?

The pineapple, when you buy it from the grocery store, it has to be a certain ripeness for you to cut it and for it to taste the way you want it to taste. If you buy it and it’s still solid and kinda hard, and cut at it right away, it’s going to taste super sour and not ready to eat. So it’s like the patience of being able to wait for it and to get it to a point where you can now cut it open and eat it and it’s going to taste the way you want it to taste. In terms of music and life and the struggle, taking the time to work on the craft and develop everything is the actual pineapple. And that is where I am at right now.

We took that so deep. No one is going to eat pineapples the same again. People are going to be shedding tears every time they eat the fruit. Tell me about the recent stuff you been working on, your favourite tracks, and the direction you have been taking with your writing.

Basically, I don’t like to generalize myself into one category as an artist so I kinda just dive into everything like photography or painting, just to relieve stress. I do a lot of film stuff. Mostly film photography and music. Right now I am coming to a place where I am figuring myself out as a person and an artist. I am stepping away from the scene for a moment and getting to know what inspires me and where I came from. I feel like that is my main focus right now.

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Somewhere in the middle of what I’ve created, I was like what have I been talking about so far? It’s basically been about life and transitioning from one place to another. So after listening to all my tracks, I decided to make one massive storyline so that when people listen to them, they’re like ok that makes sense. I also had this thing with plants, and I noticed that my photography had a pattern of having plants in it. I am going to use that and pertain it to myself , like I am blooming. I was planted as a seed and I started to slowly bloom and roots started to grow. I came up with the concept of ‘When Flowers Bloom’ and you will definitely hear of that soon, I’m not going to say too much now but I’m going to be going along that direction.

Tell me more about the photo series you are working on, what is it about?

I came up with the idea because I went through a little phase of depression and anxiety and it was kinda difficult for me to find my way out so I went through a mode where I had to force myself to do things. I would lean on my music, or film, or photography. So this is basically what the project is about. Going outside and experiencing things and documenting it. You know and putting it together in a creative way. Almost like a visual journal.

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So is your newest EP release Reverse Psychology – is the photo series an extension of that EP?

Reverse Psychology is a representation of “nothing is what it seems”. A lot of people over the years have put me on this pedestal and made me out to be this dope artist, yet I still feel like I’m struggling to build this career in music without any real support. So the story behind the project was to bring that to life and dive into emotions regarding things I deal with regularly without it being too in your face. It also comes off of Island in My Mind. That was about memories from my past that reside in a place in my mind. SoReverse Psychology is kind of preparing my fans and listeners for something huge that will break down and describe everything to a T without holding back.

Who have been your biggest supporters throughout all this?

This is a difficult thing to say. I went through a very dark time and I kinda just pushed aside a lot of people that were there for me because I was in a bad place. And when I came out [of that phase], I became re-aware of the world and the people around me and [my friends] reminded me that they have always been there and supported me.

Do you have an alter ego?

I don’t think so. I never sat and been like oh this is somebody else in my brain that’s coming out during shows when I’m performing lol.

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Honestly, I strongly believe in alter egos. I am generally a very shy person, but when I have to be in a situation where I am on a stage of some sort…I’m Veronica lol.

You actually look like veronica lol from the comics .

You know what though…. pineapple may be your alter ego.

There you go. From this day forward, the pineapple is my alter ego. Cause of del, that’s it.

So summer’s around the corner, as we can see from outside, cars are backed up on queen street and it’s only 12 degrees outside but people are in shorts lol. What do you have planned coming up? Lot’s of shows? Releases?

I definitely have a lot of shows coming up. I lined up two shows for Canadian music week, so I am excited about that. I’m also doing Unity Fest in July, and a bunch of little shows mixed in from now to July. I’m going to be traveling a lot, I haven’t travelled enough. I plan to move to New York for like a month and just connect with the artists there. In the summer I want to take advantage of being free.

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Are you working right now on the side? Or are you just working on your music 100%?

I have been an artist, 100% for about 4.5 years now. It’s been very difficult and I would not recommend it to anyone that is working right now. But at the same time, I can’t see myself doing anything else. I was an assistant manager at a store before, and I would just feel a strong urgency to leave when I got in. So I was like you know let me take the leap and leave, and so I took the leap. Originally it felt like the worst decision ever made. But after a while I saw myself getting to a place, and going through life lessons, and figuring things out. It’s been a long horrid journey, but it’s been beautiful at the same time.

It’s been a pineapple.

Exactly.

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All photography by: Jordan Andrews of Xxist Forever

Art Direction Gregory Charles of Kadlife