by Haley Mitchell & Vi Burgess, online & photography editor and executive editor

The Roar worked with AMCHS AVP to record Stereotype and talk to seniors Kennon Williams and Kaleb Chandler about their music duo.

Q: Can you tell me how you got your name and how you got started?

Kennon: We got our name, it was the summer going into ninth grade, actually, precisely, and we used to be called K&K Ent., but you know

Kaleb: It was too generic, it didn’t sound cool

Kennon: It never sounded cool in the first place but we couldn’t think of another name. So after some time came through, we just developed this name, stereotype., because isn’t the average stereotype that I’m the African-American, he’s the Anglo-American, the white person.

Kaleb: And the white person is not usually the rapper. The black person would usually be the rapper.

Kennon: So I’m the singer, he’s the rapper, so it’s not the stereotype, it’s not the usual.

Kaleb: It’s not the stereotype, and also, we’re the type to be on your stereo, like on the radio.

Kennon: We are the stereo type–the type to be on your stereo.

Kaleb: And it sounds cool, it looks cool in all lowercase letters with a little period at the end; that’s how we spell it. And that’s how we got the name.

Kennon: We actually always wanted to do something; we started making jerking videos on YouTube, which are still there.

Kaleb: I deleted all of the ones that I’m in.

Kennon: All the ones he’s in, you won’t see them, but I still have ten, maybe eleven.

Kaleb: We were at our friend Daden [Lane]’s house, and we wrote this song; it was called “The Class Clowns” or something like that.

Kennon: We named ourselves Class Clowns and it was everyone at his birthday party, basically, it was only like five or six of us.

Kaleb: And then I got a microphone for my birthday in Christmas of seventh grade, and I downloaded Audacity, which was a free recording thing, and we made our first song, which was a remix to “Odis” by Kanye West and Jay Z.

Kennon: And then it just took off from there. We had Audacity, and then we got Pro Tools, and now we use Pro Tools, and we taught ourselves everything.

 

Q: How would you describe your music style?

Kennon: I would start with beach for sure, it’s a little beach vibe, summery feelings going in there with a little bit of R&B/hip-hop/pop, but I would primarily say pop, like beach.

Kaleb: I wouldn’t put rap first, because people think you’re something.

Kennon: It’s like hard, rap, but it’s really not that at all.

Kaleb: When we’re emotional, we’re rappers.

Kennon: We tend to write about stuff that we know or stuff that’s cool, I don’t know. We just like beach stuff.

Kaleb: We use palm trees a lot.

 

Q: How has your sound changed over the past few years?

Kaleb: Definitely, our sound has changed because at first, it was, we wanted to be something that we weren’t, like we wanted to talk about money and cars and all of that stuff.

Kennon: Yeah, we didn’t know our sound; as time went on, we found what we feel is our sound, like our distinct sound.

Kaleb: Like if we had to describe it, we would definitely say beach, but like if you listen to songs like “Postcard from Paradise” and “Summer Breeze”, those are our sound that no one else has, really. It’s like a distinct, like, that’s what we make. It’s taken time, like for every artist, it does, but we’ve created our own wave, I would say.

Kennon: Like three, four years later.

Kaleb: It takes some time to find your own sound because you want to sound like everyone else because everyone is famous off of that, so you want to sound like that.

Kennon: When you first start, you don’t know what to do, so you’re like “Let’s make a song like that, that sounds cool, let me try that” and then after a while you kinda just stop taking stuff from other artists and you become your own self, I guess.

Kaleb: I mean, it’s like a mixture of a bunch of artists put together so it’s like your own.

 

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Kaleb: There’s honestly a lot, Kalin and Myles, for sure, lot of people don’t know who they are, but they’re basically an older version of us. The rapper’s white, the singer is light-skinned, and they make really cool stuff.

Kennon: We’re similar in every category, our music is similar, but at the same time.

Kaleb: It’s not, at the same time. Also, probably Chris Brown, Bryson Tiller, Drake.

Kennon: That’s just the typical, I mean, they’re just the biggest artists, so you can’t not hear them.

Kaleb: There’s a lot, but I can’t think of them. There’s definitely a lot of inspiration.

Kennon: Kyle, he’s just cool as far as the way he is, and how he’s just stayed himself.

Kaleb: Frank Ocean.

Kennon: Yes, there you go. That’s it.

Kaleb: I love Frank Ocean, that’s my favorite artist of all time.

Kennon: Go Frank! Frank Ocean, shouts to Frank, where you at, stop hiding please.

 

Q: What’s the process behind making a song?

Kaleb: We go on YouTube, we type in, the type of beat.

Kennon: Whatever we’re feeling.

Kaleb: We type like, we want to make an upbeat song, so we like type in

Kennon: DJ Mustard type beat or something.

Kaleb: Like Tyga or something that we know we like the sound, like a good radio song. And then if we really like, wanna push the song and sell it, we’ll buy the beat so we can put it on iTunes like we did with “Summer Breeze” and sell it, like with “3AM”, but if we don’t really feel like buying a beat, we’ll just get a free beat and put it into Pro Tools, and then we’ll listen to the beat and pretty much start freestyling like ideas about what first comes into our heads on the song.

Kennon: From the first hearing of it, we’ll pretty much start freestyling stuff, like whatever comes out of your mouth, like whatever it makes you do, and if something’s good, then then we just run off each other and we’re like “I like that, keep that going” and then we like, the chorus always comes first, and then we like, or sometimes he has verses, and we’ll just throw it on, and he keeps going and writes a full verse. If it fits, then it fits on that song.

Kaleb: But usually the chorus comes first on that song, so we’ll get the tone down and like we’ll kind of hum it because we don’t know what words fit yet and then we’ll come up with words, and then we’ll bring the verses in and it’ll become a full song.

Kennon: Takes about six hours, for a really good song.

Kaleb: It usually takes about twenty minutes to record my verses, as a whole, and then he takes.

Kennon: It’s a lot harder to sing, and make it perfect.

Kaleb: Rapping’s easy because it’s just like talking, but singing.

Kennon: There’s a lot of takes, a lot of deleting and redoing and stuff, so that’s what takes the longest.

 

Q: As far as America’s Got Talent, how far have you progressed in the last few years?

Kennon: We, so we’ve done it three times, well technically two, but we’ll get to that. The first time we went, and we actually did really good.

Kaleb: That was bad.

Kennon: We sucked, we were ugly, we were not dressed nice, not in a good time in our life, just not looking very good.

Kaleb: It was like mid-puberty.

Kennon: It just wasn’t a great time, but we went pretty far.

Kaleb: Like, the auditions on TV, that’s not a real audition. That’s like the fifth round.

Kennon: They’re lying to you. They’ve already gone through like four or five rounds before they get to the TV auditions.

Kaleb: So we got through like three. We went to the first room, then we went to this second girl, and then we went to the executive producers, and then they were like “Yeah, we’ll call you back” and it didn’t happen.

Kennon: Like “We’ll call you back in a month” and it never happened.

Kaleb: We went back the second year.

Kennon: This was in San Antonio, Texas. Keep in mind that’s about three hours away. Not about, it is three hours away.

Kaleb: We drove three hours at like five in the morning and we wait like six hours in the line.

Kennon: Register and everything, and they say you’re able to leave the convention center to go get some food or something while you’re waiting for audition, because we hadn’t eaten anything, waiting in line for about six hours.

Kaleb: And then I go to the bathroom to put my little clothes on, I’m ready to go. I come out, and he’s getting kicked out.

Kennon: But what happened was, I walked back in, cause I mean there’s only one entrance to the convention center, and I asked this lady who works there if we’ve already registered and stuff, where do we go, and she didn’t work with America’s Got Talent, she just worked at the convention center, and she was like, you go that way, the same way you come out, and you’re fine, you’ll be good. So I was like, alright, sweet, so I do exactly what she tells me, and an America’s Got Talent executive guy was like “Hey, what are you doing?” And I was like “Uh, she just told me to go this way; we’ve already registered and stuff, like we’re just waiting for our audition.” He was like “Nope, gotta get out of here, give me your wristband, you gotta leave.” And I was like, “Why, it’s not a big deal, she just told me that” and he was like “No, she wouldn’t have told you that, because it’s not right” and then he grabbed my wrist and like basically we got kicked out for no reason.

Kaleb: And this year, we went back, stayed in Dallas, and we woke up at like five and we ended up waiting not very long in line at all, it probably two hours max with everything, and there’s a bunch of lines you have to go through, waiting for auditions and everything, so it was two hours, which was really not bad compared to the six or eight hours waits before, and we went in and we were the first group to audition.

Kennon: We honestly killed it.

Kaleb: Yeah, we were great.

Kennon: We went as far as you could go. The way they do it is that they bring in 10 acts at a time, and then everyone auditions in front of each other, and then they send everyone out and anyone that the judges like, they call back in, and we got called back in, us and this one other guy, and then we auditioned again with another song, “Smile”, and then she was really liking us, she was really enjoying it, I mean from what we were judging off of how she was acting, we thought that we were good, like we were going to be on TV, at least for the auditions. But I mean,

Kaleb: She probably saw some better people throughout the day.

Kennon: We were also the very first audition group and it’s also America’s Got Talent, so who knows, it’s music, someone else might be riding a motorcycle on a monkey or something

Kaleb: But she gave us her email and told us to give her some videos of other songs by Monday, so we sent some to her and she pretty much never replied, so basically, didn’t make it. But it was fun.

Kennon: But who knows, we might still be waiting for it because we were also the last audition city, and there’s like sixteen, and she said that they filming in March, and so who knows, they still have sixteen shows and Dallas is the last one. We might still have time, but we’re not banking on it, it’s all good. It would be cool if we did get a callback, though.

Kaleb: But we did get a show this past weekend off of it, because these dudes heard us and so we performed in San Antonio, that was fun.

 

Q: How does it feel to perform?

Kennon: It is the funnest thing ever.

Kaleb: Best feeling ever.

Kennon: Like we were on the football team and playing football is also very fun but I could definitely say that performing is literally the funnest thing I could do.

Kaleb: It literally doesn’t matter like how many people are in the crowd or if one person is reacting off of what we’re doing, but like last week, we were singing “Summer Breeze”, which is our most popular song, so like turned it on, and immediately five different people knew the whole song front back.

Kennon: And we had no idea that they knew it.

Kaleb: It was the coolest thing ever because we were in San Antonio, like we’ve never been there before, besides like once or twice but not for music or anything, and they knew the song front to back, and we gave this dude a mike, and he grabbed part of my verse, and it was the coolest thing ever.

Kennon: Definitely surprised. It was awesome.

 

Q: What are your plans for the future?

Kennon: You know, hopefully to go on tour, that it like our actual dream to go on tour, to open for a growing artist that has his own tour and then

Kaleb: Work our way up to getting our own tour.

Kennon: Just keep dreaming.

Kaleb: But if music doesn’t work out like that, probably going to go to music of some sort, not like making my own, but like stage performance, like sound engineering, I really wanted to be the dude that does the lights and all that stuff cause that’s fun.

Kennon: And I mean, if music doesn’t work out, I’m going to Southwestern for football and college, but Division III School, I really want to work for a corporation and I don’t know exactly what yet, but I want to be the guy who takes the clients out, like the new, potential clients out for dinner and stuff and get them to pick us over the other big company. So basically get to be the fun guy who gets all the accounts.

Kaleb: Basically get paid to eat dinner.

Kennon: That’s what I want to do.

 

Stereotype posts music videos to their YouTube , publishes music on their Soundcloud, and will perform live at Consolapalooza and at Loudfest on May 21st at 7:15 p.m. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram at @stereomusic979.