Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the Knux found new life in L.A.

The Knux is made up of brothers Kentrell and Alvin Lindsey, who go by the nom de tunes of Krispy Kream and Rah Almillio, respectively. The siblings moved to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their childhood home in New Orleans. When they were kids, their mom made them join marching band to stay out of trouble, and today they use that training to play instruments while they rap. The resulting sound is wholly refreshing.

The brothers see their role as the center of something new in the hip-hop world. They're writing songs instead of verses, building their music from the ground up with guitar solos, keyboards, drum tracks, rhymes and whatever else they feel like tossing in. They're also espousing hip-hop as a state of mind – the summers-in-the-park amateurism of the old school, back before the suits and the promoters and the big sacks of money mattered. Yeah, they want to sell a shitload of albums. But they want sales to follow the music rather than the other way around. Krispy Kream talked to us about the past and the future and gave us his inside scoop on the record industry.

Westword: In the studio, you guys do it all, is that correct?

The Knux kick it back to the old school.
The Knux kick it back to the old school.

Details

The KnuxWith Nas, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi and more, Rock the Bells, 2 p.m. Thursday, August 6, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, $58.50-$158.50, 303-830-8497.

Krispy Kream: That's a big misconception. We do do it all, but if we feel like something could be added by someone else, we'll have someone else come in and play some shit – a solo or whatever. We're definitely producers. We understand our limitations. I'm not going to fuckin' play oboe in the studio, obviously. Sometimes you gotta understand: Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

I think that's rare, to know when to hand off the reins to someone else.

That just comes from being the producer and not being egocentric. Honestly, us playing all our stuff on the album is not a big thing to me, because I grew up with kids who could play all kinds of instruments, gangsters and shit. In New Orleans everyone plays music, and it's not a big fuckin' thing. I knew kids that would crack you in the back of the fuckin' head who could run circles around you on the clarinet.

How were you able to stay so in control of your creative vision?

We were able to get a decent deal when we got signed, where Interscope was like a distributor and we basically just do everything we want to do. We try to come to them with a lot of things and listen to their ideas, but a lot of times they don't have any. They didn't understand how you could get big on the Internet but not be big on the radio. They had no idea. No fucking idea. You want to know the real insight to the music industry, I'm the fucking dude to talk to. They are fucking clueless.

With this new album, we're going in the same direction, but our target is totally different. We're going with the people who actually like our shit, who want the revolution. We felt like hip-hop could be bigger; it could be way bigger, in the sense that we could be doing bigger things with our music, with our records. They could be recorded better, they could be produced better, they could be more musical, they could be more creative, they could more human. I feel like there's so much more that could be touched on.

 
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