No group is more eclectic, diverse, or energetic in terms of its approach to their craft and their musical stylings than New Age Narcissism. New Age Narcissism is a collective of musicians with a true passion for cultivating their uniqueness as performers as well as bettering the greater Milwaukee community.
Their name, New Age Narcissism, in and of itself is a conundrum that may confuse listeners at first. “The name New Age Narcissism is about self-love and having confidence and seeing yourself in other people,” stated producer Kiran, who goes by the stage name “Q The Sun,” in a recent interview with Rock The Green. Kiran is also the musical director of TRUE Skool, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to leverage the arts to engage youth in social justice and humanities education, leadership, and workforce development.
Rock the Green learned that performing music is a passion for the group that consists of Q The Sun on production and keyboards, MCs WebsterX and Lorde Fredd33, singers Siren, and Lex Allen, and featuring Chris Gilbert on drums, along with Bo Triplex and Jay Anderson (who also fronts Foreign Goods who will be playing earlier in the day at Rock the Green). However, in the minds of these unique and gifted musicians, performing music is simply a vehicle to help achieve their greater mission- to help unite, educate and better the greater Milwaukee community’s youth through the arts. “Working with young people is one of the most important things to us,” exclaimed Kiran. “We were all misfits and weirdos in high school, and the things that made us the “weirdos” are now the same things that drive our success as a collective. Our goal is to give inspiration to be yourself, be true to yourself and to gain confidence in yourself to be a force to better your community.”
Rock the Green is excited to welcome Kiran and the rest of the members of New Age Narcissism to headline the pedal power stage. We had a chance to catch up with Kiran, aka Q The Sun, and learn more about New Age Narcissism approach to music along with their passions, influences, and desire to create more of an awareness community-wide regarding sustainability.
Rock the Green: With the wide variety of musicians in your collective, you may be the most eclectic group on the festival bill. How would you describe your sound?
Kiran (New Age Narcissism): At our core we all come from a soul/funk/hip-hop background. That is at the core of our energy. We have jazz musicians and rock musicians. Our foundation is taking an experimental approach to hip hop or dance music, so we’re not bound to anything. We don’t necessarily sound like artists that most people associate with hip hop. Our band features rappers, singers and instrumentalists. While you won’t find our music as “New Age Narcissism” on iTunes or Spotify, if you search for our artists, WebsterX, Lorde Fredd33, or Lex Allen, you’ll find a lot of our stuff.
A lot of the music we make starts in the studio. As a producer, when I’m working with any of the other musicians in the collective, it’s a real organic process. There is lots of creating on the spot and seeing where we connect sonically. For me that’s most exciting.
Rock the Green: How do you approach your live shows, and specifically your gig at Rock the Green?
Kiran (New Age Narcissism): All of us are really bored with the popular music that is out there, especially in the world of hip hop and rap. All four singers/rappers are very high energy and when we perform live we make the crowd part of the show. It’s like a ritual for us in a sense, when we perform. We start every show with a chant and draw everyone in with claps and stomps. Each voice in the band is so strong and unique that it always draws people in. We’re proud to put on a high energy show that feeds off the crowd.
As for Rock the Green, we’ve played just about every festival in town except for Rock the Green, so we’re really excited to play the festival this year. We’ve done just about every gig you can in town-- Locust Street Fest, Brady Street Fest, you name it. This summer we opened for The Roots at Summerfest which was a great gig and a lot of fun. We’re generating lots of support and national attention and are hoping to bring energy to Rock the Green. We are excited to have a lot of new people in attendance who may not have ever heard of us before as well as the good folks from 88.9, who are familiar with us and who have helped promote our music.
Rock the Green: What sorts of things do you enjoy doing in the Greater Milwaukee community?
Kiran (New Age Narcissism): Working with kids and youth is a passion of ours as people. Lorde Fredd33 is a teen group leader for COA at the Holton facility. He does a songwriting, performance and music production program in the community for kids, with an emphasis on knowledge of self and emotional wellness. I’m involved as the musical director at True Skool. Webster X holds “Free Space” every month for young people with 2-3 featured artists each time. The goal of this program is to inspire folks in the art scene to be their best selves.
Rock the Green: As you know, Rock the Green has an eclectic lineup of artists. Is there anyone on the bill that you are personally looking forward to seeing or perhaps even collaborating with?
Kiran (New Age Narcissism): Foreign Goods is kind of like our cousin band. A lot of us have played with each other closely over the years. We’ll be collaborating with them, and Jay Anderson, who is the lead singer for Foreign Goods plays with us as well.
We are looking forward to seeing Great Lake Drifters- they’re old friends of mine and I’m excited to see them again. Ricky Ganiere has been doing his thing for a long time around here.
I’ve also heard great things about Lord Huron and I can’t wait to see them.
Rock the Green: As you know, the focus of Rock the Green is sustainability. Why is sustainability important to you as a person and artist?
Kiran (New Age Narcissism): My parents are from India, so I have spent a lot of time there over the years. When you have family in another place, like India or Africa, you notice the lack of basic things like fresh water and electricity. I am mindful of the tap running and turning lights off. We all ride bikes and are into biking as opposed to taking cars everywhere. We Uber, carpool and make conscientious efforts to make good environmental decisions day to day with little things.
You don’t want to miss Siren with New Age Narcissism at the Pedal Power stage at 8:45pm...