FDRMX had the incredible pleasure of sitting down with up and coming artist Ken Fury. Most artists are content to master just one art form. Not Ken Fury. He just keeps on learning as much as he can from Dance to Sculpting to Music to Filmmaking. The Encyclopedia of Music is honored to have such a multi-talented artist featured on the site. Decked out in fantastic jewelry that he designs, Fury offers some eye-opening insight into the world of art as well as some interesting history of famous New York City clubs.
FDRMX: You’re a man of many talents. How do find time to juggle everything?
Ken Fury: Well I do different things on different days depending on how I feel. They’re all my professions. I have my workspace at home, which includes a full music studio, jewelry workstation and dance space where I’m able to constantly produce new work. The only thing that makes it challenging is my constant traveling, but other than that it all fits together nicely.
FDRMX: It seems that as you grow older you just keep on adding more and more art forms.
KF: It wasn’t all planned out like that. They all intertwine within themselves. I simply follow my instincts that guide me to new explorations of expression. Even though they’re all different, all of the art forms are part of the same universe. The music is the soundscape, the jewelry is the sculpture, the paintings and videos are the visuals, the dance is the movement and the poetry tells the stories.
FDRMX: Do you see yourself taking on even more art forms like short/feature films?
KF: Sure. It’s funny because if I were asked the same question six years ago about music, I would have told you I don’t think I’d ever create music. The development of my music stemmed from my poetry, which I’d been writing for several years. I had the idea to transfer my poems into sound, so that’s how I got into music. I’m open to all types of possibilities. I’ve been working on how to translate the stories of my albums into a film and comic book.
FDRMX: It says on your website that you came to NYC seeking artistic advancement and the desire for “truth and freedom.” Can you expand on that?
KF: I had the desire of life. To figure out why I was here and what I was meant to do. Those were the questions I had and, of course, the questions we all have. I was trying to break out and explore rather than just read about things. I wanted to experience life and push its boundaries, and then record them through mediums like poetry. That’s what it’s about for me. I was seeking more in terms of the overall human experience and what’s beyond the physical eye.
FDRMX: Have you found what you were looking for out here?
KF: Well the only thing I was looking for was trying to better myself and see what the world has to offer. I’ve experienced lots of cool things and met great people. But I think the quest for more experiences and knowledge is an insatiable desire that keeps growing.
FDRMX: In the music video “Close To Me” you have a specific look. How you go about creating that look?
KF: The look is all just an amplification of who I am. I exchange ideas with my makeup artist and then she’ll try certain things and we experiment. I do all of the styling – from the Jewelry to the wardrobe. I perceive the image to be just as important as the music, like a painting; where the outward and inward experiences are perfectly reflected.
FDRMX: What was it like to make the music video?
KF: I initially just wanted to shoot a music video with my dancing in it. I didn’t know what the concept would be until this one night I was meditating. I got these few flashes of scenes that inspired the direction and approach. Right after that I contacted the filmmaker JungYun Lee and makeup artist Phoenix Golden. We experimented with lighting and makeup while we shot it. I didn’t use a script— it was mostly improvised. I edited the whole thing. While in the editing stage, I approached the process like editing a song. Video editing software uses a timeline much like audio editing, so when I saw it in terms like that, I started to view it as editing a story or putting some type of structure to the video while not losing the freeform aesthetic nature of the song.
FDRMX: How did you get into teaching at NYU?
KF: My friend, the legendary Pop Master Fabel from Rock Steady Crew had been a Professor there for 17 years. We’re both working on this program called Next Level. It’s a cultural exchange program for the U.S. Department of State where we go over seas and teach dance and entrepreneur skills to others in hopes to helping the community. Right now Pop Master Fabel is in Serbia, but before he left he asked me if I could fill his teaching position. So, I just went in and taught my stuff. It’s been great! They’re always teaching me things. I teach in the experimental theater wing, so I focus on how the dance form carries over to acting and characterization. Their movements inspire me because they move in a different way than I do. So there is a sharing aspect too. If there wasn’t I’d know it all and I would stop learning.
FDRMX: When you’re not doing absolutely everything you can, what do you like to do for fun?
KF: I like to just hang out in central park. I like to go out to restaurants and see movies, and wander around. I like this one restaurant called Gandhi Cafe on Bleecker Street. I think that’s my favorite one. I don’t go out to clubs as much as I used to because they take so much time out of your life.
FDRMX: How did your recent concert at the Pyramid Club go?
KF: Great. It’s a club with a lot of history and one of the last legendary clubs left in New York. Andy Warhol and Basquiat used to hang out there. Klaus Nomi performed there. It was also the venue for the NYC debuts of Nirvana, Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Madonna . A lot of people would go through there, so the venue is rich with cultural history. I always wanted to perform there. The Pyramid Club and Bowery Electric are probably my favorite places to perform in NYC.
FDRMX: What does the future hold for you?
KF: Last month, I was focused on performing. This month I’ve been working on new material. I’m working on a new album, The Cry of Nature’s Birth, it’s my third album and it should be done soon, so I’m really excited about that. Maybe I’ll book another NYC gig by the end of August, but it’s important for me to change up my set before shows. Along with the new album I’m looking into performing more abroad.
FDRMX: Whenever you’re creating music, is there a specific issue on your mind?
KF: My songs are more journal entries than one specific thing. There’s not too much thinking before I start, it’s all about the feel. It’s always different, but every once in a while I hear a song or two in my mind at once, and I need to go to the studio right away and record it. So basically, sometimes there is a specific issue or topic I would like to extract, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously.
FDRMX: What is the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever received?
KF: When I first started singing I wasn’t too confident because I never had voice lessons. Being that my mother is a singer; I asked her for lessons and responded, “Why don’t you just do things your own way, sing from your heart and always be authentic.” That struck me because I had already been doing that, but her saying it reaffirmed it. I think that’s the most important advice. To do things your own way without thinking if it’s technically right or if it fits within the music theory. Do it your own way and be authentic.