Hate em or love em, Southern Cali-bred rock/rap outfit, the Kottonmouth Kings, are legends in the indie music game, who formed in the mid-1990s, not knowing what was ahead. Nearly two decades later, they've built an empire and have garnered a cult following through hard work, dedication, and... a whole lot of weed.
The group -- consisting of D-Loc, Brad X, Johnny Richter, The Dirtball, Lou Dog, DJ Bobby B, and Tax Man -- dropped their latest album this week, entitled Mile High. It's their 13th together as a group, and that's not counting the multiple solo and side projects each have gone on to release. How have they been able to stay relevant after all these years? They run their own label, play by their own rules, and don't have any plans to stopping any time soon. They are the epitome of what being independent is all about -- not conforming, doing what you want, when you want, and not having to apologize for it.
We caught up with Kottonmouth Kings frontman, Brad X, who discusses their independent success in a business where change is constant, the group's evident hip-hop influence, and of course, what their latest album, Mile High, is all about.
13 albums is quite an accomplishment. Being in the game this long is a milestone. How does it feel to be here after all these years, being able to do the music you want, and still have a core fanbase?
Brad X: We have never stopped pushing and grinding Kottonmouth Kings. We do things on our own terms and we have a super loyal fanbase that has allowed us to evolve, grow, and push musical boundaries. We started this group 17 years ago, so to keep it together requires constantly breathing new life and music into it. We really built our fanbase from word of mouth and live shows. There is no secret other than hard work, sacrifice and loving what we do.
How does KMK approach a new album? Obviously all the members have grown over the years, you all have your own houses and businesses, solo projects, etc. How does a group album coming together?
Brad X: Getting everybody on the same page is the hardest part. The process begins and everyone has a chance to input ideas or songs. The songs start to take shape and the magic happens. There is a great chemistry with this group that can't be explained in words. The Kottonmouth Kings are blessed to still be in a creative position to constantly write songs and create music.