May 19, 2024

Inside the mind of KJ The Cool Nerd

The month of February is known for its association with love due to Valentine’s Day, but for some, it is a reminder of love that has been lost. Keith “KJ” Queener, stage name KJ The Cool Nerd, second year music technology major, describes the feeling of losing love through his newest album.

When asked about the album Queener says, “It’s a concept album called ‘OD.’ It’s about someone overdosing on love.” 

He describes the album as if losing love were like going through a drug overdose, but he tells the story in reverse, starting with the death and rewinding to the beginning of the relationship.  

“I think love is one of the strongest drugs we have,” Queener said.

Queener has a strong belief that someone being in love is just the same as someone being an addict, with a constant craving in the back of their mind. 

“Once you truly love someone, that never goes away, no matter how hard you try to make it.”

Queener also showed insight on the creative DIY aspect of being an independent artist. 

For the album cover, Queener and his friend Ian Bell, photographer for the Chimes, ordered empty pill capsules off Amazon. They then arranged the capsules into a heart shape and began to photograph them.

While explaining the idea of the album cover, Queener mentions that his main inspiration for the visual was Kanye West’s 808s album cover. 

“It’s that kind of imagery of the autotuned-romantic era, the post 2010s hip-hop is kind of the inspiration for the art style,” Queener said. Not only does Queener have a creative mindset with the visual of his album, he also is diverse with his musical style for the new release. He takes a lot of influence from the styles of G-Funk, Motown, R&B and hip-hop. 

 “I think with my music, what style happens is what I’m listening to at the moment and I’m always constantly switching.”

When talking about what music means to him on a personal level, Queener describes how even without anyone to hear his music, he would still be a musician.

“I feel that if I never released a song I would still make music, and I would make songs that are like the ones being released today, because those events that inspired them still happened and everything like that, but if it never went out to the public I’d be fine with it.”

The album “OD” is an intense rollercoaster of falling in love, heartbreak and self image, with a style that borrows from many genres. This concept album sheds light on the darkest parts of being in love. “OD” will be available Feb. 24 via all streaming platforms.  

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