#Unboxed Vol. 29: Kxllswxtch Used The Pain of His Past To Create a One-Of-Kind Sound

Combining the genres of rap, heavy metal, and grunge influences, Kxllswxtch is set to continue making his mark on the underground scene to a household name.

Jonathan Robert Whitmer, famously known as Kxllswxtch, has gained a significant buzz and a considerable following for his high-energy, screaming vocal prowess and horror-inspired visuals that made him stand out among his peers. Combining emo, alternative rock, and heavy metal rap, the Orange County native has created his own lane in the world of music.

In 2020, he released his debut album, KILL!, followed by his 2021 album DISORDER, which showcased his. He has over 30 million streams and counting. Whether it be emo, alternative rock, or heavy-metal rap, Kxllswxtch is a genre-bending artist who refuses to be boxed in by limiting musical categories.

Without question, Kxllswxtch continues to make his mark on the underground scene and is on his way to becoming a household name by carving out a unique space on the music scene.

Speaking to for #Unboxed, Kxllswxtch shared how growing up in Orange County shaped him as an artist. Contrary to popular belief, Orange County is more than surfing and the home of Disneyland. According to Kxllswxtch, his hometown was where his family faced intense struggles and where he was spiraling out of control as a teenager “

“There are some places that are really bad even Orange County although it’s considered the suburbs,” Kxllswxtch said. “We had family issues. My dad was in and out of prison and then I ended up getting taken away from my mom. I had to live with my grandparents.  I started to hang out with the worst kind of people doing crazy sh*t like getting in fights, doing drugs, and drinking when I was like 11 and 12.”

As he encountered numerous challenges in his family, he rediscovered his love of music and began to use his creativity to express himself. Cultivating his musical gifts became the lifeline that helped Kxllswxtch transform his life.

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Discovering inspiration from various kinds of music, Kxllswxtch noted that one of his earliest influences was Nirvana because of how the legendary grunge band focused on the “energy of the music.”

Kurt Cobain did not know how to play guitar very well and he didn't know any music theory. That's why those chords were so simple because sounded good to him so that's what he put out,” Kxllswxtch explained.

On the rap side, he has an affinity for Future because “he says the most depressing lyrics of over the hottest beats.”

“Whether Future is talking about being addicted to drugs or this girl left him, the beat makes me feel wonderful [Laughs]. So I try to put my lyrics  about pain over the most turned beats that I can find because it's a good duality of music that you can listen to at any point in your life and say, “ I can relate to this.”

In his early projects, Kxllswxtch was widely known as one of the leading proponents of the scream rap subgenre of hip hop. Although he may have toned his style down a tad, he owes his new approach to music to his progression as an artist and being in a much better place than when he made his early albums. But you can count on him to always bring that unbridled energy to every song.

“I kind of slowed down the screaming sh*t because I'm getting older and I don't feel that same energy where I just want to scream at the world,” Kxllswxtch said. “For the most part, when I hear the beat, I feel this burst of energy and it gets me excited. That's where all the energy comes from. That and Red Bull.”

Now signed to Empire Records, Kxllswxtch believes he has everything to catapult him into the next level of his career. Signing with Empire was where Kxllswxtch wanted to be.

“I first signed with Empire in 2020 when my homie Flexatelli, who's a big producer in the underground hip hop scene right now, plugged me in with Mikey the Magician in South Florida. He worked on getting a distribution deal because he thought I was what they were missing,” Kxllswxtch said.

Currently, he’s on tour along with Fat Nick and BVDLVD in promotion of his most recent album, THE WALLS HAVE EYES, which he released in February 2023. He’s also putting the finishing touches on another project that he's excited for his fans to hear.

“I should be dropping music over the next couple of weeks. Right now, I'm in the phase of my next album,” Kxllswxtch said. “I have pretty much the whole album recorded already so I'm going to be sprinkling songs here and there.”

Above all, Kxllswxtch’s vision is to be authentically himself as he evolves as an artist. He said he’s thrilled that so many have taken the journey with him and he’s excited to see what the future holds for him.

“My new music is a complete shift from my original music,”  Kxllswxtch said. “So I think this is the right time while I have a good amount of eyes on me to switch it up and be like, ‘Yo, I can do more than just rap and scream.’ I can make a whole project and make it sound good. When everyone hears my new stuff they’ll be like, “I didn't expect this.”

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