Triangle Talks: Kim Petras | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Triangle Talks: Kim Petras

The rising icon Kim Petras will return to Philadelphia Nov. 19 to play a show at The Fillmore. She has had a busy year, releasing two full-length projects (“Clarity” and “Turn Off The Light”), completing her first headline tour over the summer and collaborating on projects with various artists like Charli XCX, Ariana Grande, Cheat Codes and Max. Ahead of her show in Philly, The Triangle got to talk to “the b—-h with the sauce” about her new music video, her inspirations and her new tour.

Photograph by Clare Gillen & Alexadre Moors

The Triangle: Was there a specific moment or thing that you feel pushed you to start writing music?

Kim Petras: I’ve always loved music, and I feel like I could really relate to songs. They would always make me feel things. I used to listen to music and be like, “Wow, I feel exactly like this.” I felt understood. I think the reason I started writing songs was to express my own emotions. I was an introvert and kind of shy, so I’d write songs to express things the way I wanted to express them as I was too shy to talk to people and didn’t always feel like I could get my point across in conversations. I think songwriting is me being in my head and expressing how I really feel because I can’t always say those things to people.

TT: For people who have never heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

KP: I don’t like to describe my sound as it’s actually influenced by many  things. It’s influenced by pop. It’s influenced by hip-hop. It’s influenced by old music, by new music, by all kinds of music that I like. I think people should listen and make up their own minds of what they think it sounds like. I don’t want to put a label or a stamp on it. I listen to all kinds of music, so my sound is my own personal mash-up of all my favorites things.

TT: What other musicians inspire you whether in the studio or on stage?

KP: My songwriter friends inspire me, like lil aaron, Theron Thomas and Vaughn Oliver, who’s an incredible producer. I think songwriters and those that work behind the scenes are very inspiring. I used to religiously watch anything I could find about Max Martin on the internet, as well as anything I could find about the Bee Gees, Carole King… just all kinds of amazing, classic songwriters.

On the stage, I’m really inspired by Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. I’ve been listening to a lot of his music, and I think his voice is insane. I recently got to meet him and see him live and was so impressed that he sounds just as good now — if not better — than he did years ago. I always feel inspired by Lana Del Rey as well. She’s probably my favorite lyricist ever. Nicki Minaj is also amazing. She’s another artist who I think is one of the best lyricists of all time. She can really write, and it’s so incredible. I love Post Malone, I love Daft Punk – lots of people!

TT: You recently released a video for “Icy.”  Who did you make the video with and what inspired you while creating the visual?

KP: I made the video with this amazing director, Alexandre Moors. He’s really incredible, and he’s done some amazing stuff with Juice Wrld and Miley Cyrus. We started talking because my creative director knows him, and we really wanted to make “Icy” come to life. I think the sound of the song is really cold and chrome-y and has all the colors that the video does. The chorus is about becoming a bionic, stronger version of yourself. I love it! I think it’s definitely my favorite visual that I’ve done so far, and I think it represents me the best.

TT: Which song on “Clarity” means the most to you? Why?

KP: They all mean a lot to me, and I think my favorite changes weekly. “Blow It All” gives me a really hopeful feeling and makes me want to not give up. I know it has its silly moments as well, but I think it’s really melancholic in an uplifting way. “Another One” is also one of my favorites because it always makes me really emotional. That one came together really organically. I just sang the chorus a couple of times and then every other lyric fell into place in the studio. That one is really special, but my favorite changes daily depending on the mood I’m in.

TT: There has been a growing coalition of diverse voices in pop music in the past few years. Do you feel this is the result of the industry changing and opening up for more voices or fans searching harder for musicians they can more closely identify with? 

KP: I don’t think this industry changes for anybody. I think it’s really about the artists breaking through. Now, with the internet, you’re able to build your own platform and you don’t have to depend on the opinions of people who are looking at how much money they can make off of your music. All the diverse artists that are breaking through and breaking barriers have built their own fanbases who love them for who they are. That’s the reason they’re succeeding. I don’t think it’s necessarily the industry opening up. I think it’s the artists fighting hard to get seen, building their own platforms and breaking through on their own.

TT: You have gained a reputation for constantly releasing new music. Just this year, you have released two full projects and a handful of features. How do you approach planning all these releases, and do you feel pressure to keep this steady stream up for your fans? 

KP: I don’t feel any pressure. I release music when I feel that it’s ready and when I feel that I’m ready. I just don’t like releasing songs all at once, which is why many people are like, “Woah, you’re constantly releasing songs and projects.” I’m just splitting up bodies of work, letting every single song shine and trying different things. It may be a little unconventional for established artists, but it’s really amazing for upcoming artists because you get to constantly keep your audience on their toes and surprise them. I wanted to do things my own way, so I release music when it’s finished and then just have fun with it!

TT: So, you’re going on a second headlining tour this year. What can fans expect to be different from your show earlier this year?

KP: Well, this time I get to really do it on a bigger scale. The last tour was my first headlining tour. It was in smaller venues and had smaller staging. This feels like a real show! I don’t want to give too much away, but I have a story arc from front to back, and I feel like it’s the best show I’ve ever put together.

TT: What’s your favorite memory from touring and performing so far?

KP: There are many because I’m traveling with my best friends. My entire team consists of friends at this point, and I love spending time with them all. I think, most of all, my favorite memories come from meeting all of my amazing fans, but I can’t really pick just one!