Made By You: King Tuff

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This article appears in our “Made By You” special edition issue—created in partnership with Converse.

King Tuff, aka Kyle Thomas, is the individual behind the neo-psychedelia garage-rock sounds of the band, King Tuff. Tuff has been jamming out from a very young age, but his musical inclination really took off at the mere age of seven, when he crossed paths with a Fender Stratocaster. His open-minded, crass, and altogether otherworldly accounts of sound mesh seamlessly with the counter culture movement that Converse and Chucks have come to represent.

We asked King Tuff about his musical inspirations, traveling and his pair of Chucks.

Did you receive much support as a child in pushing you towards what you wanted to do with your life musically?

Yes. My parents have always been super supportive and my biggest fans.

When you were a kid, which music artist did you idealize/daydream about being?

 Jimi Hendrix.

If you could go back in time and see one artist in their prime whom would you want to see perform?

The Beatles.

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Where would you say that you draw most of your musical influence from?

My friends mostly. I’m always most inspired by what my contemporaries are doing and they push me to do more interesting things.

What is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to perform, and what did you learn from the experience?

Athens, Greece. I was shocked to learn that people in Greece knew my songs! Also, they have awesome street dogs that they just let chill out in the bars…some of them are really fat and cool.

You’ve said that your latest album, Black Moon Spell, would appeal to everyone from grandparents to plumbers to strippers. That’s quite a range. How did you tackle creating this album to be so all-inclusive? 

I feel like I’m part grandpa, part plumber and part stripper. It’s easy for me to relate to all those walks of life.

Do you have advice to those looking to follow a musical path similar to yours?

Don’t ever force your music on anyone. People will discover it if it’s good. Don’t send demos to record labels…it probably won’t work. Concentrate on developing your songwriting. You don’t want to be one of those guys on the corner pitifully trying to get people to buy your CD-R.

Your Chuck Taylors are pretty visually patriotic. What was going on in your mind when creating your customized pair of Chucks?

I was really just copying the classic American flag Chucks because I couldn’t find a pair in the store and decided to make my own.

Writer Amy Vosters is an old soul with a young heart. She is a marketing professional by day and an adventure seeker the rest of the time. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business and is currently the Marketing Manager at a start-up software company in Silicon Valley. Amy has a soft spot for classic rock and wishes she could take a DeLorean back to the 80’s. She is a nerd at heart and can recite the entire NATO phonetic alphabet. Learn more about Amy here.

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