19-year-old Angel is just at the beginning of their music journey, and already they’re creating some of the most impressive music we’ve heard. With elements of bedroom pop mixed with R&B, soul, shoegaze, and emo, Angel started the solo project “killuv” in high school, while going through emotional teenage heartbreak. After getting their first guitar and amp for Christmas, the artist started writing as an outlet, and the rest was history.
Growing up in the Bay Area of California, they were inspired by the environment’s diverse range of influences and by their friends, who were also making music at the time. An interesting fact is the musician is also of Filipino descent, something close to the Genjitsu Stargazing Society’s heart.
Just this year, Angel released their latest killuv album, entitled “self titled ep”—six tracks of introspection, healing, and finding love—both digitally and on cassette.
“The project’s name is pretty self-explanatory (kill love),” shares the musician, “but I’m not really about that now. I believe in love. I wanna keep it alive.”
For this article, we had a quick chat with Angel about their process, lifestyle, struggles, and goals. They’re low-key when it comes to online presence (which is super cool), so we hope this interview sheds some light on the mystery behind the music.
Hi, Angel! Can you tell us a bit about your musical influences?
“It’s really random. I’m into a lot of music, so it’s hard to narrow down exactly who has inspired me, but I’d say a lot of my friends inspire me—those closest to me. I share my energy with them, so it only makes sense we feed off each other.
Aside from that, I really love soul and pretty guitar music. Sade as a singer really inspires me. Erykah Badu is my queen. The Softies are great.
In high school, I was infatuated with the Cocteau Twins and the entire shoegaze scene, which is what inspired me to start, but I’m not that into it anymore. I’ll still start a shoegaze band, though. I think that would be really fun.
I also just listen to a lot of music on SoundCloud—beats and music by random artists from all over the world. I really can’t say exactly who has inspired killuv, because I’m inspired by a multitude of things; life experiences, love, art, etc.”
Describe your process when coming up with songs. How do you usually write?
“I don’t know how to read music, so everything I make is intuitive. I write when I’m feeling a certain way, when I need to feel better, or when I’m feeling myself. I either get on my laptop and make a beat, or just make a pretty sounding riff on my guitar and sing over it. Singing is the easy part, but finding a good guitar line or melody is tough. I wrote my first two songs by just freestyling. That’s mainly how I write now.”
What are some struggles you encounter when making music?
“When I’m in a block, which rarely happens these days, or when I can’t figure out a good melody. I need a melody that’s gonna make me scrunch up my face and go, “Ouh!” Making a good beat is hard, too. I’m still learning how to do that.
Aside from that, my relationship with music is a very passionate one, so if I’m not working to perfection, or if something sounds off, then it’s going to upset me. Nonetheless, I try to not be too hard on myself. Making music while also dealing with life can be really hard. I always have something to face, living in duality, trying to coexist with my art.
Right now, I’m dealing with relationship stuff, which can be distracting or a bummer when I’m trying to make music, but it can also be a drive. I’m figuring out how to balance it all. If any of it gets too much, I know I have to choose myself and my art at the end of the day.”
What do you hope for people to take away/feel/understand from killuv?
“I want people to take away multiple things. First of all, everything I make comes from a very real place. I want people to feel that. I can only hope it translates. Second, I want people to feel love. To make love to my music, or to at least feel good. I’m just here to express myself. Whatever people take away from that is ultimately up to them.”
Let’s talk about you as a person. What are some things you believe in or fight for?
“I believe everyone has a purpose, and I’m just trying to live mine. I’m 19 now, and I’m still having a difficult time growing up. People my age are starting to take life seriously, but it’s hard for me to do that. I just want to make art. I don’t want to do anything else. Maybe help other people heal, but that’s it. I fight for what is right, I guess. I don’t let people step over me. I don’t let myself be silent when I need to speak. Abuse can die. I won’t tolerate that shit.”
I noticed a certain character to your visuals and album art. Do you come up with these yourself? How would you describe the style, and how do they go hand-in-hand with the music?
“I just take photos and edit them to what I think looks good. My style is all over the place, truth be told, and that’s because I’m constantly trying to break out of my own element. I don’t limit myself to a single thing—doing so feels unnatural to me. You can hear it in my music. I’m trying to experiment all the time. I plan on getting better at it.”
What is the music scene like from where you are? Describe some good points and bad points.
“I grew up in the Bay Area, so I guess it’s artistically diverse there. There’s always a good show to attend, punk bands are always touring, clubs are always curating events, and artists are always putting on shows.
The people are inspiring, but a con would be how oversaturated it gets. A lot of the same things are happening, and none of it really impresses me anymore.
Right now, I’m living in Sacramento with my family, and it’s been a big move. I barely know anyone here, the transition has been hard, and I’m away from the people I love, but the community is really welcoming and friendly, which I admire.
A negative would be how far I am from everyone I actually know here, which stops me from connecting with artists and being able to productively work with them.”
Aside from killuv, do you have other music projects?
“I want to start a techno project and learn how to DJ—make stuff you get really high and lose yourself to, or drive really fast to.
I’m also starting a shoegaze band called ‘sweet thing’ with my partner, which I’m really excited for. I think the both of us working together will produce some really interesting energy.
I also just got out of a punk band called ‘Deimos Cult,’ which I fronted in with my best friends. We were doing really well until I suddenly had to quit in order to take care of my mental health, but I always pray at the end of the day we’ll get back together, when the time is right, especially since I’m doing better now. It still lives in my heart and remains one of the greatest projects I’ve ever been part of.”
What can we expect from killuv in the future?
“I want to take over. That’s what I plan on doing. I wanna be a star, and I know it’s going to happen—no matter how long it takes, or how hard it’s going to be. I want to be heard and to spread my love. That’s the most important thing to me, and if I don’t fulfill my purpose, I wouldn’t know how to live with myself. So you can expect the best from me. I promise that to myself.”
// For killuv tapes, you can purchase them here
~Words by Kurvine Anna Chua