KennyHoopla Chats About His Debut Album, SURVIVORS GUILT//
Produced by Blink-182’s Travis Barker, this debut album showcases the dynamic storytelling of an emerging indie rockstar.
With a roaring new release, KennyHoopla drops his debut album, SURVIVORS GUILT//, executively produced by none other than rock legend Travis Barker. Through eight tracks of pounding drums and electrifying guitar, KennyHoopla tells tales of lost love, the pain of moving on and the false glimmer of Hollywood. Over email, we caught up with Kenny for a short chat about his music, Wisconsin upbringing and working with collaborator, Travis Barker.
V MAN: Hey Kenny! Can you introduce yourself to V Man readers who may not be familiar with your music?
KENNYHOOPLA: My name is KennyHoopla, and I make rock music.
V: This album follows up your successful EP, How Will I Rest in Peace if I’m Buried by a Highway?. Did you grow up in a very creative household or how did you get inspired to get started in music?
KH: Not necessarily. I just always had a relationship with music. My mom loved music, my big brother, my cousins. It was always a thing that was around. My mom would leave for work and my brothers and sisters would be watching me and I would just put CDs in the DVD player and just listen until my mom came home from work. It was kind of like my best friend.
V: That’s amazing. I understand you were born in Cleveland and raised between there and Wisconsin. How do feel your Cleveland upbringing influenced your artistry?
KH: I was in Oshkosh more than Cleveland, but in being from Cleveland, there is a lot of pride. I think that gave me pride in myself.
V: Every musician is different in how they tackle songwriting so what is your songwriting process like? (What do you do to feel inspired? Do you surround yourself with musical inspiration or sort of lock yourself away to create?)
KH: Normally, I am either extremely overstimulated with emotion or feel nothing at all and I kind of just attack it from both ways.
V: Who or what are the biggest inspirations for your sound?
KH: I think inspiration comes from my life, just all the stories in my life, where I came from, the people in my life, and what I want to make in the future as well. How I see the world in the future.
V: You closely collaborated with Travis Barker for this new album. How did you get started working with him? Has he taught you anything musically or about the business?
KH: Literally just Instagram. He has taught me to trust myself more.
V: What was the process like creating this mixtape, especially during Covid?
KH: I kind of just stayed and slept at a studio for a few weeks and we just made it. I would wake up and make music and then I’d just go to sleep.
V: In your opinion, why does Hollywood suck and what makes life better in Wisconsin, where you are currently based?
KH: So that was a personal, funny, metaphorical line – no one knows this, but I did this so I could inspire people in Oshkosh by naming Wisconsin. Wisconsin was a super witty, off putting word too. Hollywood sucks, Wisconsin sucks but the joke is that I am moving back to Wisconsin because anything would be better.
V: Lastly, for your listeners: how does SURVIVORS GUILT// differ from your previous EP? What can they expect?
KH: I am using my voice more, not blending. Everything feels more straight forward.
Listen to SURVIVORS GUILT: THE MIXTAPE//, out now.