When KALI began recording the tracks on their sophomore EP Maltman And Effie, they became unintentionally attached to a beige, scaly slug mask. Wearing the mask, which appears on the Maltman And Effie cover art, first started as a gag to disguise social anxiety, but it soon became clear to KALI that it had another meaning. It helped them discover their music was also a mask of sorts; “I began to realize that the songs were more about myself, and my insecurities than they were about the physical circumstances that allowed me to reach this point of introspection,” they said.
But on its surface, Maltman And Effie exudes confidence, particularly for a 17-year-old musician. Lush soundscapes and rich, swirling melodies offer a backbone to KALI’s tender reflections on their teenage years and relationships. The slightly twangy and electrifying “Anybody Else” is a ripping anthem while the poppier and effervescent “Addicted” speaks to the euphoria of a crush. To celebrate the release of Maltman And Effie, KALI sat down with Uproxx to talk their love of Prince, Pixies, and cooking in our latest Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Ambitious, Dynamic, Meditative, Athletic.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Rich with details and doesn’t get old. Every time you listen you remind yourself that it still hits as hard as it did in 2022.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
My three closest friends because I am intrigued by the way they each react to different sonic palates and lyrics, specifically when we listen to music in the car, which is probably my favored hangout. I reference my own experiences but also those closest to me when writing, I find that my friends and I are often connected through similar mindsets even when going through different things. Musically, I always have Prince in the back of my mind, he likes to make his instruments talk to one another with as little of them as possible. Although, I’m not sure that my most recent songs would be of his enjoyment, they’re a little dense.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
I have been vegan for 2 years now but when I was 8 or 9 I traveled to Berlin. A piece of well-oiled but toasted brioche with a heap of arugula, wild mushrooms and a runny or scrambled egg. I can’t remember.
What album do you know every word to?
Doolittle by Pixies.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Dr. Dog at the Hollywood Palladium.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Blazer and dress pants with a plain tee. Comfortable yet demanding and easy to move around in.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
“The King” by Sarah Kinsley.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
“Synonyms for transportation.”
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Songs In The Key Of Life by Stevie Wonder.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
In a bedroom sleeping next to a pair of pet mice.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I’ll get back to you in a few years.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Wilco, D’angelo, Beach House, John Cale.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Supported my making of music.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t suppress your instincts.
What’s the last show you went to?
Snail Mail at the Palladium.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
The Squid And The Whale.
What’s one of your hidden talents?
I’m a mean chef.
Maltman And Effie is out now. Get it here.