Krip-Hop Nation, KHN: Kalyn Heffernan what have you been up top lately?
Kalyn Heffernan: We finally released our first full length record this year on Strange Famous. It’s been done for a while and was produced by the legend Ikey Owen who passed away right after we tracked it all. It’s called NO BIG DEAL, but really it’s the biggest deal we’ve done. We played a lot of shows and released videos that have been finished for a while now and it’s all been such a long time coming so it’s hard to even summarize cus i’m still processing. But, it’s been a good year to shed and finally share all these things we’ve been working so hard on achieving.
KHN: Tell us more about this tour.
Kalyn Heffernan: We played around the record release on the West coast and had probably the best time we’ve had on the road yet. We’re sounding better than we ever have and we were fortunate to play a good round of diverse, awesome shows across the country, even Mexico. Every show we played was met with lovely people and great artists and a reminder to why we do all this crazy shit we do.
KHN: You just released the new music video, Hard Out Here for a Gimp.
Kalyn Heffernan: Ya we filmed this great video with Chris Bagley who directed the Danceoff video. We had been thinking about it for a while now, but I happened to have a broken leg, Chris had a hospital bed so we mobbed around the city, gathered all the crips we could, and were quickly in love with the shots we were getting. So good we had to add it to the new album as a bonus track. I actually wrote most of the punchlines from the song in my notebook as jokes and thought about doing some standup with it someday. But the day never came for me to stand up and i had been meaning to write a song for my childhood friend with my disability who died shortly after another one of our other childhood friends did. They played stairway to heaven at his funeral and I thought that was so ironic. So I made a super dark, sad beat to make the song about him OD’ing and stairway to heaven and how fucked everything is, but I just never could do it justice. So this song was a way for me to make a fun, more sarcastic song about the daily CripLife. I didn’t realize at the time how or why it is so important. But shortly after writing this I started coming to terms with my own ableism and my world came crashing down when I realized we are the last on everyone’s list of marginalized people to fight for. Even my own. It turned out better than I expected, I recorded this song when I dropped the WheelGrabbers project and rapped on like 15 songs in one session. The vocal delivery on this one stood out and I realized it’s because it’s the most personal to me. This is shit I deal with on the daily. And I’m not always great about writing super personal things but now looking back and after performing it on the road so much with such great response, I realize this is probably one of the most personal songs I’ve ever wrote about being disabled. I’m super glad I didn’t think too hard into it at the beginning so that it could happen as easy and sarcastically as it did.
KHN: There has been a lot of police shooting of people with disabilities and I think one in Denver. What is your view on this?
Kalyn Heffernan: As with everywhere, there’s a history of police killing disabled and as of recently there’s been more than one unfortunately. Lots of disabled people have been killed by the DPD. I wish police were trained to deal with PWD. I wish police traveled with someon experienced with disabilities when they are called to deal with someone who they know are disabled. This shit happens every day across the country. Police are called to assist someone with a disability and leave with a dead body. I wish the media talked about it more. It’s like cops are excused for killing folks because they were disabled. It’s so gross and so real for disabled folks and it’s worse for disabled people of color, even worse for queer disabled people ofcolor.
KHN: What is the latest of legalizing marijuana. Is Denver still leading on this issue?
Kalyn Heffernan: Yes Denver is most definitely leading on the legalization of marijuana but we are also loosing. The city has been so gentrified it’s hardly recognizable. The cost of living has sky-rocketed making it nearly impossible to stay in Denver and the homeless rate has matched that increase in a time where the government has been the most harsh and made it effectively illegal to be homeless. There is a good chunk of money from weed going to public schools, and we’re finally starting to see some of it, but Denver public schools are still behind and it’s so hard for families to stay right now. Affordable housing is so hard to find for everyone, but finding affordable, accessible/affordable housing for disabled people is even harder. Our new album cover for NO BIG DEAL is a foreclosed house that pops-up. The album is all Denver all Day.
KHN: You ran into some sexism in your hometown at a Hip-Hop show Please explain.
Kalyn Heffernan: Ah ya, I went to a show to support my girl Bianca Mikhan who was pregnant with her baby girl when this local group I know ended their set with a song that just crossed my line. I’ve noticed their misogynist lyrics in the past, but we’re submerged in that shit everyday so I guess I’m de-sensitized. But this night in particular just really upset me. The chorus lazily repeated “where the whores at” and I was just like fuck it’s 2016, and this city is way cooler that that. So I wrote them a message about my feelings, posted it anonymously from my page and then one of the boys got embarrassed and tried to diss me on the Internet. It was dumb and easy for him to attack my existence with some bullshit ableist/homophobic slurs.
KHN: When is the official album going to drop?
Kalyn Heffernan: The official album dropped late Sept this year on Strange Famous.
KHN: March is international Women Month what is on your mind for all the ladies especially ladies with disabilities?
Kalyn Heffernan: Ladies are on my mind hard right now. The root of patriarchy is so deep within us and it seems to be the where all oppression intersects. We all know, if anyone’s gonna change anything, it’s going to HAVE to be the women. We make up the majority and have since the beginning of time, so the power is on our side, we just gotta be ready to fight harder for it. The problem is, we already fight daily just to exist, but when you’re a disabled woman, esp a queer or WOC, you fight to exist more than anyone. It’s hard to maintain energy to organize the fight on top of your daily/hourly fight, not to mention your physical or mental needs and stability. The generational trauma we’ve experienced is hard to escape, it’s changed our cells and our genetic makeup. We’ve been told time and time and time again, we do not deserve the same quality of life let alone a life at all. I feel like if anyone is going to clearly represent what it’s like to live with a disability in 2016 it damn well should be a woman.
KHN: What is your next project?
Kalyn Heffernan: We played Mexico this last tour and it was just incredible. It seems like the right time to be there and we connected with so many great people and bands and now we’re trying to plan our return with more dates. I’m finally starting to write again so I’m super excited to get back to the drawing board with the band and take advantage of the sound we’re locking in on.
Kalyn Heffernan, white disabled woman in the dark holding a blow horn with a cap on and black sunglasses coming through a purple bubble