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PREMIERE: Hmong American Indie Pop KHAM Release New Single + Q&A

Kham and VENTS Magazine have teamed up for the release of his new single “Alaska” –– a beautiful and reflective love ballad — off his upcoming album. We also sat down with the Hmong American indie pop artist to discuss more about the single, new album and more.

Hi Kham, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey, I’m great! Thank you for having me!
Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Alaska¨?
“Alaska” is a song I wrote from the perspective of my younger self. I was reflecting on a past relationship in the wintertime. I’ve lived in the cold my whole life, and had just moved to New York City. At the time I was in this relationship, the person I was with always wanted to go to Alaska, so I asked myself, “Why would you take someone who has lived in the cold their whole life, to somewhere different, but still cold?” I wanted to create a track that was nostalgic and hopeful ­ beautiful, but also relatable. I like the ambiguous lyrics and meanings. So with this song, I tried to reconcile the tension between being with someone you can see yourself growing with wanting to take you back to somewhere you’ve already been.
Did any event in particular inspire the song?
My move to New York City inspired this song, having lived in Wisconsin practically my whole life. It was a new environment and it felt like everything in my life was shifting, so I found myself getting very nostalgic but at the same time familiar.
How has Brooklyn, Thailand and rural Wisconsin´s culture and music scene have influence your sound and yourself as an artist?
I was born in Thailand, but don’t recall much of it because I moved here at a very young age. However, my family is Hmong, which is a close knit culture with a long history. I’m sure this has affected me both consciously and unconsciously­ I still speak the language.
Wisconsin was where I grew up, where I made and lost friends, and learned enough about myself that I knew it was time for something bigger.
But as for sound, both Wisconsin and New York are cold states, so I wanted to allude that feeling in my music. Winter is cold, yes, but at the same time, intimate. As well that’s when you spend the most time being by yourself. There’s something beautiful about that.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording process was great. I remember it was chilly that day, so my vocal chords were kind of tight. I had to sing the song in a softer tone, which I think suited the mood of the song. It also has tons of whispers layered in, which i think created a very mysterious atmosphere.
I had written this song about a year and half ago. I woke up one day, and recorded a really short demo on my iPhone. I took that demo and from there, my producers and I found the key, and all that music theory stuff.
How´s your new EP coming along?
It’s going to be a 5 song EP. It’s finished! All the songs kind of relate to each other and the EP tells a short story. I can’t wait till everyone can listen to it. I’ve been very patient trying not to let it out!
Any tentative release date in mind?
I’m thinking February or early March!
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, after the EP is released. So hopefully sometime in the spring.
What else is happening next in Kham´s world?
Right now I’m working on releasing the EP, also writing new material. I’m also getting things together to make the music video for “Alaska”, so it’s all pretty exciting!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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