Listening to Kid Bloom makes me feel like Lara Jean Covey from the movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. One moment I’m me, then Lemonhead starts blasting through my headphones and now I’m a sparkly-eyed girl who writes love letters she never intends to send.
Lemonhead is the latest EP from the Los Angeles-based musical artist, Lennon Kloser, whose stage name is Kid Bloom. Although he has a zealous and outspoken appreciation for other artists, including Tame Impala, the Beatles, and Bekon (a producer who is best known for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 album, DAMN.), Kid Bloom makes pop rock with a rare freshness. On his newest EP, he balances his upbeat but dreamy sound with melancholy lyrics.
While enjoying the sandy beaches of California, Kid Bloom took some time to talk to FRONTRUNNER, and we learned how he got his name, how the Lemonhead EP came about, and what makes pop music so propulsive for him.
How’d you get the name “Kid Bloom”?
When I was a little younger, I had created this little person, this little guy with long hair, this little character: Kid Bloom. I think it was just my younger self manifesting into [my current self]. I don’t want to make it sound like a cartoon, but I was basically just writing Kid Bloom on my notebook [in school].
What instruments do you play on Lemonhead?
All the Beatles’ instruments: guitar, drums, bass and piano. I play every instrument on [the EP] basically, except the drums on some of it, but I do do the drums [on other parts]. And I produced it. It’s my passion. It’s, like, all I know how to do, so I figure, “why not know all the ends and outs?” If [you’re] a mechanic, you don’t only know how to fix the bumper.
You sing, write and play a bunch of instruments. When you’re in a music-making mood, what do you go for first: the pen and paper, or an instrument?
I always go to the piano first, because it’s not my main instrument. It gives me a little bit of a handicap to get my ideas out. When it comes out it could be a mistake, and that makes it great.
Lemonhead is the EP title and the first track. What was the inspiration for that term: the 80s rock band, the sour-but-sweet candy, or neither?
I wanted to make Lemonhead my own meaning. “Lemonhead” is when you’re just a fucking jerk, and you’re going out drinking, and you’re full of the wrong thoughts, and your blood is dark red and filled with chemicals, and you suck, and your life is going the wrong way because you’re a fucking lemonhead. That’s what you are. And that’s how I felt I was [in] that period of my life. I wanted to celebrate that period and coming out of it. That’s why the record starts with that as a bang.
You have mentioned that in the lyrics of this EP is the most honest you’ve ever been. How did this additional vulnerability affect your music-making process?
I wanted to show the world who I was. I felt like the world didn’t know who I was through my music. I felt like there was a disconnect between people who listen to my music and people who knew who I was without the music. I wanted to find a way to tell a story and to just be heard. That’s it. I’ve made some groovy songs, but I’ve never had memes made of me, and now I have memes with lyrics. The biggest thing for me was to communicate to someone.
One thing that stuck out to me lyrically on Lemonhead was the theme of loneliness. You begin the popular single, “Sugarcoat,” with “Not sure if anyone has time for me.”
I was in a period where I fucked up my whole life and I was going down a really bad path. A lot of that just came out of the exact situation I was sulking in. I really was feeling all of that–I wasn’t just writing it. That’s why I find it really special: this piece of work was written because of [what a dark period I was in], and now it’s the thing propelling me out of that. That’s what changed my life. It’s a beautiful sentiment.
What genre speaks to you the most?
Honestly, pop music has always been something that has spoken to me. Pop music has always been this animal that I can’t wrap my head around. Pop music is much more than being catchy. If it’s done right, it’s the essence of music. When I was a kid I was listening to all of these pop songs–and I’m not talking Trey Songz or any of that–but I always heard Beatles pop songs or even the greater pop songs of our time, and I think that’s what pulled me in. Because how do you [condense] your thoughts into something so attractive? That’s something that’s always attracted me to music. Pop music is the one thing that’s been pushing me.
Do you think living in Los Angeles has inspired your sound?
Without a doubt. Living in LA–as the heart of the entertainment industry–I always get to see what people seem to be liking at the moment. The different rhythms and different melodies that are hitting, and all that stuff. There’s so many ideas flying around from different people that, if you just redirect your satellite dish into the right frequencies, you can get crazy ideas floating around all over the place. Living in California has influenced my music, whether it be through hip-hop, R&B or trap.
What were you listening to as a kid, and what are you listening to now?
As a kid I was listening to a lot of Jack White and Nirvana. I was this rock and roll kid, and also very grungy. As I began getting older I began listening to the Beatles and Tame Impala. Tame Impala is one of my end-all be-alls. He is my absolute idol, I’ll say that over and over again. Kevin Parker, to me, is exactly what I want to be doing, and how I want to be writing.
“Circles” is definitely a bop. What was it like collaborating with Bekon?
Dude, it was a complete honor. That guy is so fucking talented. His level of ability is what I strive to be. To have him [work on “Circles”], I was so blown away. Working with him was just sending back and forth, so we were never really in a room, because he’s a very busy man, and he’s in the studio as well all the time.
I got to produce some of his stuff [too], and it was great. It was one of my favorite collaborations I’ve ever done, and I mean that. He’s an inspiration, and I’m greatly looking forward to making more music with him.
What do you look forward to when performing live with your band?
Lately, I think we sound so fucking good that everything about it just turns me on. This music exists now, and it’s able to be showcased the way it was always meant to. I have my group–my boys–that stay with me, and I love them so much, and it’s so cool. It’s real, it’s not fake. No one is trying to be cool. The project has never been in a better place.