Knox Fortune is a producer/songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. Right before Covid hit, he moved from his home town to Brooklyn, New York. We met up with Knox on the streets of New York City to talk about his new album, living in Brooklyn, the rise of drill music, and more. Read what Knox Fortune had to say below and be sure to stream his new album Stock Child Wonder!
You’ve come a long way since Myself and Paradise, which dropped back in 2017. What are some things that have changed for you personally since then?
I moved, I moved out of Chicago. I feel like my whole life changed. From the first release coming out and like not having any real like pop at all to now, playing festivals, putting myself out there as an independent artist, like so much has changed.
What’s your favorite thing about Chicago?
I love so many parts about Chicago. I love the food. The food is super good and indulgent. I love the scene and my friends and my family, I love how cheap it is. It’s a great place for young artists to live. You get to live off of very little money. Moving to New York, my rent literally doubled. It’s a little harder to make it, but it’s all good.
What’s the change been like moving to New York? And how do you like living here?
New York is dope. It’s like the greatest city in America. It’s a fun vibe. I moved at a weird ass time, though. I moved in January right when Covid hit. So my experience has been a little bit different than what I anticipated. But it’s great. It has an amazing energy, people in the streets living it up. I love it.
What songs on this album were the most fun for you to work on?
The most fun songs on this album were probably Shirtless, which just came out the other day, Sincerity which came out already, Gemini, which is one of the next singles in one of my favorites. I feel like they came together really easily, and shirtless, parts of it were recorded during a party. Literally I was having a party in my apartment and two of my homies, Collin Crume and Carter Lang, just started jamming. I was playing them the demo and they just started playing stuff. Wound up being like, “Dang, that’s good. We should record that studio tomorrow.” So stuff like that was fun for me. It made it a bit more collaborative and exciting, spontaneous.
What’s it like working with people like Will Miller from Whitney or some of the guys from Twin Peaks?
Will Miller’s on Paradise as well. He’s on the song Torture. The Twin Peaks guys, they’re all amazing musicians. They get it. We we know each other on a personal level, so they get me. I think that’s one of the greatest parts about it is that if I asked to collaborate with them, it’s something exciting for them to do potentially. Something different than what they already do. It’s exciting, I think, for both of us to be able to see how we can come together and make something interesting that we don’t do independently. They’re Dope too man. They’re practiced, good good musicians. Also Chicago people so the egos small. It’s easy and just comes together nicely. I love those guys.
Are there any upcoming artists or rappers that you like right now that are out of Chicago or New York?
Oh God, this is hard because I want to like, put somebody on that’s really good. And all that’s coming to mind is like Sada Baby, who’s dope as hell. The band Reservoir is really good from Chicago, The Hecks, and Divino Niño, who are out of Chicago, they’re both really good. As far as rappers, I don’t really know right now as far as new rappers go. Obviously I’m always rocking with Kami, he’s one of my favorites, besides my personal association. Joey, obviously.
Do you think we’ll see ever see another leather corduroys project?
I don’t know exactly about another leather. I know Kami and Joey are working on stuff now. I’ve been working with them independently a lot. We got some bangers on the pipeline. Joey and I’ve been trying to make a tape together, of just bangers. We have all this stuff in the archives and on hard drives and stuff. It’s a lot of work putting out a proper project that you’re very proud of, and we just haven’t really been given the time yet. Maybe through this quarantine we’ll be able to hunker down and get it done, but it takes time. We’ve been remotely sending stuff back and forth, which has never through my career really works for me. I’ve always been an in the studio sort of person. but it just started working now. So that’s all good.
So obviously you’ve been working on your solo album. Have you also been working on production and making beats, any other collaborations that you’ve been working on lately?
I have a few that I don’t think I can really talk about, only just because I don’t know where they’re going to end up. I’ve been working on a follow up to this project. It’s coming out now. The quarantine just gave you so much time to do whatever you want, you know. I feel like I literally made over 150 beats and like two other projects. So I feel like I’ve been working a lot for myself again, which is really nice. Just making things maybe without a home as of now, just for the sake of being creative and seeing what I come up with. That’s generally how I like to work anyway.
You’ve been working out of your apartment in Bedstuy?
Yeah, I’ve been working at home. I love it. That’s like my roots. I started as, I don’t I never like to say bedroom producer because I feel like it has such a connotation, but I started making stuff alone in the crib and I always liked that format. Sometimes I go to studios but I have a degree in that stuff, which means nothing now. Being in the big studio, for me, does not help my process at all. It doesn’t hurt it either. It’s just another cost and it’s not really a way I like to work. Like big fancy rooms with expensive engineers and stuff. It’s not really my swag.
Do you plan on dropping any visuals to accompany the album?
My next music video for Gemini, which comes out on October 15th is super sick. I’m super excited to show it. It gives me something to look forward to in a really weird time where you don’t really look forward to anything. I’ve really, really been looking forward to this release.
Who’s your go to director when you’re shooting music videos?
Yeah, so I predominantly, really exclusively work with weird life films, which is my best friend Jackson, we’ve known each other since we were born. His partner Ryan Ohn and Laura Gordon. They’re a three person trio directing unit. They’ve done all my videos. They’ve done Lil Thing, No Dancing, Help Myself. The newer ones, Sincerity, and Gemini They’ve done all my videos and all the promos.
Chicago style pizza or New York pizza?
Chicago style. New York pizza does not stand a chance. It’s not even deep dish versus thin crust, its like anywhere you go in Chicago and get pizza is fire. In New York, It’s a dollar for a reason. It’s worth one dollar. In Chicago, it’s worth five dollars at least. No offense to New York. I know people get super defensive. New York pizza is good for what it is like how bagel bites are good for what they are. It’s like something you can make in the microwave at home thats cheap, but it’s comparison to like real Chicago pizza. Y’all do have like the like island food, Trinidadian food by my house is so bangin.
So you’re from Chicago. What are your thoughts on the rise of drill music, how it’s come up so quickly and blew up in London and now New York, but it originated in Chicago.
I really think it’s funny because it’s kind of like a game of telephone. Where Chicago said something, London heard it, reinterpreted it a little differently and a little weird, then New York heard what London did and reinterpreted their own way. It’s funny because it’s been completely co-opted as a New York and London thing. And I feel like Chicago really gets forgotten as the pioneers for it. King Louie, obviously the pioneer of all this. I do really enjoy New York drill music and I do really enjoy London drill music. They’re both sweet. I liked moving here and hearing it in the cars going past my house constantly. It’s such like a vibe switch from where I was living.
Who are some of your musical influences?
It’s a big question, but I feel like I have an answer. Like Gorillaz, I really like the Gorillaz. I like Moby, which is kind of funny. Now, I think people think Moby is being a little funny. I like the Avalanches. I really like early like 2000s, dance, genre-less music. When genres started to get destroyed, when people were like we don’t actually have to make rock and roll music. We can do like dance music and make it collage like. The Beatles obviously. I feel like a lot of it though comes down to more like local. The people I surround myself with and the musicians I enjoy working with, they have a larger impact on my sound than anything else I would say.
When you’re recording this album, was it primarily recorded in your house? Did you recorded some of it in Chicago, some in New York or was it all over the place?
The way I record, it’s just a modern way where I’m not like a band going to the studio, I’ve rehearsed my songs for six months and I’m just doing the take. It’s like I’m picking at songs for like the span of three years. Calling in people individually, which sometimes is a headache but sometimes it’s just like a nice way that I like to work. I recorded it everywhere. Chicago, a lot in my apartment, a lot of different studios, New York, London for a little bit, L.A. for a lot of it actually. Working at my friend Nate Fox’s studio. He did a lot. He did a lot of harnessing stuff where it’s like some of the songs are kind of like 80 percent, and he just knew what it took to make it sound real.
What’s something that you’re excited for right now?
I’m excited for the Gemini release in a week. I’m excited to put out some new music. I really think these times you have to create something exciting for yourself because it’s not really coming in a lot of other ways. I’m excited that Donald Trump got covid, too. That’s a that’s a big one. That was my first breath of hope in a while, not to be too morbid. I am excited for new music. I’m excited to just get back into the swing of things. I feel like the walls and the structure of how things used to work have been kind of destroyed. I feel like a brand new artist, you know. Everything I’ve done in the past has kind of been wiped away in a nice way, almost. I’m able to re-market and rebrand and promote however I’d like to. It’s challenging and that’s exciting. The challenge is nice.
What’s been something about getting you through this pandemic?
Face time. My girlfriend. Living with one other person is really hard. So we’ve had each other’s backs this whole time. I’m giving a really honest answer right now. Being able to make music in my home. If I didn’t have a studio at the crib, I would have lost my mind. I would have moved back to Chicago. I don’t even know what I would have done. Riding my bike too, hat’s another thing. Bike riding, skating. I’ve been skating a lot more again. I grew up skating, I’m back in it now. Staying off the phone, trying to.
Where do you see yourself in the next six months?
Well, it’s really hard to predict the future right now. I don’t see shows happening for a long time, And honestly, I don’t like the Internet shows. For a lot of reasons. I don’t really enjoy them, So I would like to say playing shows, but that even seems pretty far off. Continuing making art. At the end of the day, I’m a studio artist. That’s what I like to do. I like being in a studio as opposed to live. So it’s kind of a blessing for me. I’d like to see a lot more records out, a lot more videos out, and a lot more collaborations, whether it’s remotely or in studio. Hopefully in six months I’m sitting in a studio working on some new music. A real studio.
Do you think you’re going to be staying in New York?
Yeah man, I don’t want to bail. I love it. It’s a fun energy and it’s really exciting. I’m still in my 20s, you know, and I’m just trying to, live it up in New York. It’s the same thing everywhere you go in the world. You can’t escape covid. So it’s like, Ima stick it out in New York. That’s the decision I made, I’m excited about it.