We had the good fortune of connecting with Allen Kass and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allen, how do you think about risk?
I think risk is one of the biggest aspects you encounter when it comes to this journey with music. I’ve been making music for over half of my life, and what I learned is nothing is ever guaranteed. I released a mixtape back in 2012 called Free Falling. The idea behind it is that essentially that is what chasing this dream really comes down to, putting everything on the line and going hard for what you believe in, without any idea of what’s going to happen. But knowing deep down in your soul that you’re hear, doing this for a purpose. Music saved my life and gave me a purpose way bigger than myself, at a young age. Ever since then I’ve been chasing a dream, and risking so much in the process.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I remember one summer, when I was a kid, I was visiting Russia and spending time with my family. I must’ve been like 12 years old. We went to visit my great grandma, she lived in a small apartment like an hour away from St. Petersburg. In her apartment she had and old piano, and that summer I remember I was listening to Linkin Park, and Chronic 2001 by Dr. Dre a lot. I remember just sitting there for hours on the piano just trying to play the melodies I was hearing. I was lost in the music. Fast forward to being a teenager around 14 years old. There were a lot of things going on in life, never having a father, he was either on drugs or in jail most of my life. My mom also struggled with addiction and many other things back then. We were broke, struggling, and just had a lot of things going on that were hard to cope with.
A friend of mine in high school had a recording studio. I was like, hold on let me get this composition notebook, find some beats and start writing my thoughts down. I went to the studio for the first time when I was 14 and recorded my first song. Even though I was hot garbage, I knew that this form of expressing myself really helped me. It was a feeling I really couldn’t describe, and even being that young, I knew this was the beginning of something really meaningful for me. That was 2004, and I’ve been making music ever since. And when I say make music, I mean I wanted to be able to do it all on my own, so I produce, write, edit a lot of my own videos and conent also. I make music from the heart and anything you hear from me will come from an honest place. Music saved my life, so I promise to always bring nothing but real emotion, into what you hear from me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in San Francisco. The first thing I would do is show my friend around the city. You want to see some of the tourist spots, golden gate bridge, coit tower, twin peaks? Ok bet, I ‘m going to take you everywhere, but I will show you the off the map locations the locals go to, to see our favorite staples of the city from our point of view. We will go grab some food from Tommy’s Joynt, maybe some pizza in North Beach, Mission District to get the best burrito on earth lol. Definitely would have to hit up the Richmond District for some insanely fire Dim Sum. Then grab some Russian food, so you can experience the food I grew up on, being a first generation Russian American.
Definitely would have to hit Ocean Beach to catch the sunset and just vibe out. Unfortunately with gentrification and the displacement of many families from San Francisco, things have changed. But I try to preserve what I grew up on, support local business and keep the good memories of the place I grew up close to my heart, even though many of them are now gone.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I just want to shout out all the people who believed in me. I can’t shoutout just one person because without each individual I’ve met on this road, I would not be who I am, and where I am. Still got a long way to go, but I’m thankful for anyone who ever showed love, listened to my music, came to my shows, listened to my mixtapes when I was handing them out on the street, and supported this vision in any way, or form. I’m not me, without you.
All Photos taken by: Cathy Nguyen