Multitalented Producer Kim Tee Puts Together The Pieces On 'KIMPLS'
Kim Tee (or Hayley Briasco) is a blissful musician from the western suburbs of Chicago who currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At 24, She’s built quite the resume having been apart of several bands and touring with Clairo this summer. But amid the group work she does, Hayley is pursuing a solo career as an electronic artist, having released her first album under the alias Kim Tee. Her debut project, KIMPLS (released in May) marks the beginning of a new chapter in Hayley’s story, as the album bestows the versatile artistry she so energetically possesses. Multi-talented as a producer, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, Kim Tee's possibilities are endless.
Even when transferring to The University of Minnesota to study Communications and Spanish, she didn’t shy away from her creative background. Hayley found herself in Minneapolis’s music scene, taking on a drumming role with an all girl indie/punk band Tony Peachka. She reached two years with the all girl group until she reflected about the direction she wanted to pursue with her music. “Electronic Music or just different styles [of music] are way more my thing”.
Her appreciation with the electronic genre originated from watching production videos, specifically dedicating time to and finding an interest in observing British producer and DJ, Bonobo. “He was truly my first look into electronic music, or at least the first person I closely watched and studied.” Embracing her curiosity and what she was learning, she began to craft remixes using the production program Ableton.
At one point she hit a minor moment of discouragement when Soundcloud suspended her account for remixing a song she didn’t have rights to. The news left Hayley dispirited, and she halted her production for some time. But being the person she is, radiating vibrant and positive energy, the discouragement was short lived. True inspiration struck when she landed a job at a music house in downtown Minneapolis. “I had this crazy awesome studio to myself, so I got to spend so much time messing around with different sounds.” The studio at her new job was just what she needed to get excited about producing again. Feeling ready to give it another go, she was determined to use the environment she was in to her advantage. That moment marked a revitalization of Kim Tee, as well as the start of her first solo project, KIMPLS.
"Really that album is just all the sounds floating around in my head for a long time , and I finally got them out." Her sound is not intense nor is it quiet and timid, rather, a well balanced medium between calm and powerful. She gravitates each song to a climactic point, building from one sound to the next. That steadily paced construction of each track leaves listeners with anticipation, keeping them hooked to hear how Kim Tee will gravitate them towards each song’s complete sound.
The 10 track album is comprised by rhythmic beats, polished transitions, and poetic lyricism. It’s a sound entirely of her own. “The comfort of being with a group is really important to me, but at the same time when you put out your own project, you get to call all the shots. And that’s really cool.” A majority of the tracks on KIMPLS are purely instrumentals. While Kim Tee sings on 3 tracks, she did bring on other contributors. “Naive” features another artist DUVV, who sang and wrote the song, while Kim Tee produced. Their collaboration left Kim Tee feeling fulfilled and accomplished. “When you’re a singer, you’re a singer and you really do the thing. And then i’m a producer, and I produce, and I really do the thing. When you put those two together it’s like magic. It feels really good.” Other than DUVV, additional contributors were her roommate Joe Dillon (cello on “Bittersweet”) and Peach Fumes (Synth work on “Hold”). The process of finishing her first project also had its obstacles. Certain layers of Hayley's music, such as singing and songwriting, pose to be more of a challenge for her to develop, as she tends to be more critical with herself in those aspects of her creative process. But that level of critique she holds herself to reflects the care and effort she's invested in producing her personal sound.
KIMPLS is a stepping stone on the path Hayley is paving for herself as a solo artist. Now just over 3 months after releasing the album, her next goal is to perform the project in front of a live audience, also mentioning she would not be on stage alone. “When I do [perform live], I will for sure bring another person or 2 on with me because I really believe in the live band aspect of music.” Other than performing live, she’s also had thoughts about singing more on her future work, seeming to want to grow her sound beyond what it is.
While we wait to hear Kim Tee perform KIMPLS, she can be seen taking the stage playing guitar for one of Haight Brand’s rising artists, Clairo, alongside local talents Eddie Burns (drums) and DeJon Crockran (bass). She also recognizes the music scene here in Chicago, mentioning thoughts of possibly moving back to the area one day. Being the versatile musician she is, there’s no doubt Kim Tee would fit perfectly in Chicago’s local scene. We’ll just have to wait and see what her next steps will be. Until then, I encourage giving KIMPLS a listen, or if you’re in one of the cities for the remainder of The Lazy Days Tour, you can catch Hayley onstage playing the keys, queuing music, strumming her guitar, and of course, smiling in the midst of it all.