Image Credit: Dan Monick

The Knux: These Brothers Can’t Be Contained

by Kathryn Sesser
If sibling rivalry runs deep, you're likely going to notice it between Alvin "Joey" and Kentrell "Krispy" Lindsey, better known as The Knux.

The brothers, born in New Orleans, admit to having not been close as children, one being into video games, the other into girls. It was the 1997 Gravediggaz album that brought them together, it seems, leading them to become one of the more unlikely duos in the music business today.

Riding a wave of success off their freshman debut Remind Me in 3 Days, The Knux have found themselves playing festivals across the country for the past few years. Taking the stage at SXSW and a party during Coachella this year, the Lyndseys defied the odds and have began to carve their own niche in California.

They can't be classified as rap. Nor rock. Nor soul. Nor any category deemed already in the industry. And that's the way they want it.

"Music is shapeless, formless and should not have a category or genre or physical explanation for it's sound anyway," Joey Lindsey says. "The type of person that made it or what location of the planet it came from shouldn't even matter. It's all about how it makes you feel."

And for the Lyndseys, how music makes them feel has surely distracted them from a lot in life.

Raised by their single mother, the brothers were displaced in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, and found themselves living with their mother in an apartment in Houston, Texas, for several years before making their way to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in music.

But here's where the story takes a turn. (Not that having a hurricane destroy their home wasn't story enough.) What the brothers brought with them to the West Coast is unlike anything that's come out in the industry thus far.

"To understand 'The Knux' you have to not view us as rappers that play instruments or rappers that make their own beats," Lindsey says. "But more as artists and producers that happen to be great rappers also."

You got that? No?

See ... Back to the inability to throw The Knux into any one genre.

When asked about his influences, Joey is quick to want to change the definition.

"I don't like to use the word influence because we would never take anything from anybody," he says. "We take pride in finding our thing and letting that shine.

"But I would say there were a few artists and eras that inspired me as a human being which inspired me to [want to] create."

The list is eclectic, just like The Knux: Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Jimi Hendrix, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, Radiohead, Iggy Pop, among others.

"I have different influences from Krispy," he says which only adds to the pot from which they have been inspired and the results are, indeed, all their own.

Released on the Internet earlier this year, their latest single "She's So Up," has propelled them to a wider audience. And an appearance last month on Last Call With Carson Daly, thrust them into the national spotlight.

With their sophomore album yet to be released, The Knux are riding a wave of publicity over "She's So Up," (video below) which has garnered a lot of buzz since February.

"Honestly, it's a cleverly written song and it's catchy. But I mostly think it has a lot to do with the way that it was tracked and mixed and people don't even realize it," Joey says. "We put a lot of time into trying to make our songs' sonic sound completely different from what we've been hearing in the last couple of years."

And it's here that the bond between brother is most evident, as Joey is quick to offer praise to his elder sibling.

"The reason songs don't feel the same anymore is because of the [warmth] and depth that's missing in some of today's mixes," he says. "Krispy is a perfectionist ... especially on this album. He stressed not even releasing material if the sound quality was not where it should be. Being that '60s through '90s music is all that we listen to, the bar was set pretty high.

"We just wanted to 'feel' the music the same way all those records would make you feel. So I think [the listeners] feel it's refreshing to their ears, which is great because that means they are really going to enjoy our album."

Many are also going to enjoy the album for its fresh representation of rap, backed by guitars, bass, keyboards, etc., brought to the tracks by the brothers themselves. 

"The rapping part is a part of what we do," Joey says. "We are a band and we have always been, so we view and create music in the same way the Stones, Prince or Beatles would."

Happy in Los Angeles at the moment, where the hipster scene has obviously had an impact on their sound, the Lindseys know better than most that life can change in an instant. They visit home in New Orleans often, to replenish themselves of what's needed most, "food, hospitality and, of course, my family." And despite trials in their past, the future of The Knux is surely to be a bright one, as they focus on the future of their music.

"It's all about how it makes you feel, like love or faith," Joey says. "I'm really stoked about where it's going right now. The future generation knows no bounds."

  • Kathryn Sesser has been a designer with The Times of Northwest Indiana for nearly five years, but a writer all her life. A Mississippi girl, this resident of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is a Southerner through and through: Good food, good conversation and good music drive the soul. When not dreaming of grits, this lyrical junkie can be found wandering the streets of Chicago or searching for gems on vinyl. If the sun is out – and it’s above freezing – find her at Montrose beach with her dog, Huxley.