The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
“Above the vultures hovered
And I thought it was the end
But then I thought again
And that was when I took the hand of the other.”
On the surface, things are as they seem. The surface is just the start, though; books have pages, onions have layers, and in everything, there’s something else going on, beyond what we can see. Some people call that fate, some say it’s destiny, and others might know it as faith. To King Tuff (the stage name of Kyle Thomas), it’s The Other.
The Other is a theme that runs throughout Thomas’ new album of the same name, but that doesn’t mean he knows what it is. It’s a mystery that he’s chasing, a quest that is as fulfilling as actually achieving its objective. Is there even a goal, though, or is the destination the journey? Does it matter that Thomas only has a vague idea what this concept that has come to define his life actually is? Then again, when it comes to these forces that are larger than us, does anybody really have a concrete, provable idea of what they actually are?
In this case, ultimately, it’s about the music, and to Thomas, that part of it hasn’t been this clear in a long time. I spoke with Thomas on the phone recently, and he admitted that while he wasn’t exactly passionate about his previous album, on The Other, he again finds himself inspired and making songs that have personal significance. We also spoke about music’s medicinal properties, and about dreams, which he believes (and perhaps I do too) don’t get enough credit as legitimate experiences that are as meaningful a part of our lives as the things we see, here, smell, and touch while we’re awake.
Like the songs on The Other, The Other itself, and our conversation, it’s some mystical stuff.
Around this time last year, last May, you had first started playing the songs from this new album live. How did it feel when these tracks were out in the world for the first time? How did it feel playing them?
Well I wasn’t playing them as they are on the album. I was just doing solo shows, just with acoustic guitar, and that just a few shows, so it wasn’t like any big deal or anything. But it’s always the best to play new music, that’s my favorite thing to do. I like playing old songs, but I get most excited by playing new things.
Now that this album is nearly out, how does it feel? How do you feel about it?
I’m excited, you know. I finished the record a year ago, so it’s always this thing where it’s like you finished the record and then you’re just waiting around, watching the frickin’ squirrels and the birds sitting on your porch, just waiting. It feels good in that way that I don’t have to wait anymore.
It’s gotta be hard to be patient at that point.
I’m a pretty patient person, but when it takes a god-dang year? Come on, now! [laughs] I’m already onto other stuff in my mind.
With these songs, you’ve said that you wanted to let them lead you to where they wanted to go, so where did these songs want to go?
By that, I meant I wasn’t forcing them into one particular genre or sound. That’s just sort of the sound that came out. To me, they were all sort of existing in this other realm that I hadn’t really explored before.
How would you describe the sound of this album, as opposed to that of your previous work?
I’d say it’s a bit more cosmic, it’s a bit more… [long pause] that’s an impossible question for me [laughs]. I don’t know how to describe it; How the f-ck do I describe f-ckin’ music? I don’t really believe in it.