Posted On 20 Dec 2018
On November 30th, he released his debut single “Butterflies.”
Austin Kolbe is more than what you’ve seen on screen. In “Westside,” Austin is frequently portrayed as the aloof and defiant villain of the series. However, a closer inspection of the young musician, reveals a much more complicated and human figure. Austin’s unique brand is a complex amalgamation of hard work and artistic vision. On “Westside,” viewers will get to see a side of Austin that might ruffle some feathers. “Most of the conflict came from me wanting to do what I thought was best for me and maintaining my artistic integrity,” says Kolbe.
Influenced by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, B.B. King and Lenny Kravitz, Austin’s music is a modern take on a nostalgic sound. Austin’s song writing is deeply personal, “I can’t really write anything that isn’t from experience,” he says about his craft. “Everything I do is with purpose. I want to create a lifestyle everyone can embrace. I want to see everyone on the dancefloor embracing each other. I want people to enjoy themselves.”
Outside of music, Austin’s been garnering attention for his unique personal style. Inspired by Alexander McQueen, Yves St. Laurent, Prince and Lenny Kravitz, Austin always had a taste for the eccentric. “I grew up running around the house in my mom’s heels. When I started to develop myself as an artist, I knew I hated fitting in.” Austin’s love of fashion also led to the creation of his debut apparel collection of unisex bell bottom line, DRTY DSCO.
Learn more about Austin Kolbe in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
Hey! Thank you, I just left a session and back at home with my pup disco. As much as it seems I should be constantly playing music, I actually enjoying sitting in silence at the end of my day, hearing my thoughts, getting grounded and coming back to a tranquil place.
Now that the year is just about over, how do you think 2018 treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year? Did you accomplish it?
You know when light passes by your eyes so fast that it leaves a trail, almost as if you can see it after despite it moving so fast? That sums up my year. 2018 was game changing. I got to experience what I feel is the “true” launching of my career, mixed in with almost dying 3 times really created this light speed rollercoaster, and I’ve been holding on the best I can, haha. This year brought me closer to my end goal than ever. I could talk about my end goal forever but I’m happy to say that I’m closer than ever.
Growing up, how important was music to you in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I was always drawn to music from day 1. I have video of my dad teaching me to bang on toy percussion instruments on my Instagram. Though, the moment that really drew me to pursuing it full time was when I started writing my own lyrics at 11. I had a cousin who died in Iraq, and when I was 11 the first and only way I really released that young loss and angst was to write lyrics, I think that was subconsciously decided.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise to me was the realization that talent is the least important factor when it comes to making it in 2018. The most unexpected challenge is having to break through all of that noise created by unqualified artists. Those artists compensate for lack of talent by being over-the-top and insane, and it does a pretty good job at masking their actual ability.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
I was never inspired when I lived in Arizona, moving to L.A. 8 years ago was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, it’s a blessing that I’m free to be me all the time and not apologize, but on the other hand L.A. can and sometimes succeed at sucking the life out of you. You have to step back, breathe and continue creating.
Let’s talk about your debut single “Butterflies.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it introduces people to who you are as a singer?
I was walking disco (my dog) when I can came up with the idea, I raced back home and wrote the whole song in one day. It’s essentially my life story, but also everyone’s life story. If people discover me through ‘Butterflies’ then they will know exactly who I am as a person and artist, and I couldn’t be more content with that.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs? What has been inspiring you musically lately?
My goal is to release music as often as possible, right after I write it, but for me it’s about quality over quantity. Firstly, all of my music is inspired by my life experiences, the more I live, the more and better music is released.
How did you first get involved with the Netflix series, “Westside”? Did you immediately agree to be part of? Has anything surprise you about the overall process of making this show? What has this experience taught you about music and ultimately, life?
Getting the part on the show was a pretty L.A. experience. I was recommended for the part by a friend I met 6 years prior, a friend of a friend of a friend reached out and sent me to Netflix. I found out about It on a Wednesday, met on Friday, accepted by Saturday, looked over the contract on Sunday, signed Monday morning, and by Monday night I had cameras on me. I had to agree pretty quickly, haha. The process overall was a huge surprise, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I grew and learned and learned a lot about myself.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
I want my records to be the soundtrack to people’s lives. I want my songs to be the soundtrack to your first kiss, your first heartbreak, your most memorable road trip, or even just a song you enjoy your day too.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
The feedback has been crazy, I love being able to hear from people in all corners of the world, but I’m not naturally comfortable on social media so it is very hard to keep up with it. Honestly, my favorite way to connect to my supporters is face-to-face, I love hearing how they feel in person, there’s nothing like it.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’m always inspired by true artist and musicians that either write their own music and/or shred on whatever instrument is their craft. I have the ability to be inspired by something in every genre and not just music. I’m dying to work with Nile Rodgers.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I actually thought long and hard about this, but it would probably be a saxophone or Flute. Why? I have no idea, I just know I could travel with them and they make sounds that are beyond nature, but still feel organic.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
My genre doesn’t fit, but I gotta have my music in Narcos, just because I love that show with a passion.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?
I’ll be performing again in the beginning of the year, around mid January beginning of February. And for the winter I’m going to try and get lost, haha.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
You’re never wrong when it comes to being you, only you have the answer. Be true.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I love you very much, and just like you’ve been there for me, I’m here for you. I’m yours.