Hailing from the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, we have the synth-pop artist Pretty Ugly Boy. The solo musical project of Kaleb Zamudio, Pretty Ugly Boy (PUB) has several singles and one record to his name. We speak with the talented lad about his new single ‘High Brow’, being an independent artist and future plans.
OSR: How did you come up with the stage name Pretty Ugly Boy and why use a stage name?
PUB: I was sitting on the metro and this guy came on and sat in front of me. He had a neck tattoo that said ‘Ugly Boy’, so I wrote that down in my notes; the rest is rock and roll history. I think I use a stage name because no one wants to listen to Kaleb Zamudio, they’d rather listen to Pretty Ugly Boy and it has a bit of mystique.
OSR: Can you tell us about the new single ‘High Brow’?
PUB: ‘High Brow’ is off my upcoming album currently titled Quarter-Life Crisis. It’s probably the most blatantly 80’s inspired song I have. I wrote it while I was working on beats for this guy, so as soon as I got that hook I knew I had to keep it for myself.
OSR: Does the single have a significant meaning for you?
PUB: I think it totally does, just like every other song I have. Every song should have a significant meaning or you shouldn’t release it. This song just kind of fits into the entire concept of my upcoming album which is the feeling of turning 20 and becoming an adult. This song specifically touches on the fear that maybe I’m not as cool or hip as I used to be.
OSR: Is there a consistent sound to your music or are you constantly evolving?
PUB: I’m always trying to evolve my sound. Pretty Ugly Boy is set up for me to consistently evolve because I use it as a vessel to try out techniques I’ve learned. Primarily, my production is one of the things that I think has definitely evolved since my first album and will continue to because I’m always striving to make the greatest sounding thing with the resources I have.
OSR: What do you hope people take from your music?
PUB: I hope they can relate somehow and maybe shake a little booty along the way. I’m curious to see how relatable my new album will be because it’s essentially a concept record.
OSR: Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will change the future of the music industry?
PUB: 100 percent! From my own experience, it’s forced me to be more DIY and think how I can promote my music without playing shows, that’s definitely something I think will change post-pandemic. I’m already seeing it now with artists branching out and creating more content that is not music-related. I’m seeing lots of artists doing podcasts, song dissection videos and their own visuals.
OSR: What challenges do you face as an independent artist?
PUB: People not realising my genius.
OSR: What are the benefits of being an independent artist?
PUB: Complete freedom. I love being an independent artist because I get to do pretty much everything I want to do. If I want to release a 30-minute song of me just playing a single note over and over, I can. Who’s going to stop me?
Seriously, it’s great because I love the visual side of being an artist so much and being independent allows me to make my own designs, album artwork, advertisements, stickers, pins, posters, business cards and music videos. It’s not like I choose to be an independent artist though, there’s just no major labels at my door trying to get me to sign a contract.
OSR: What advice do you have for emerging artists?
PUB: From what I’ve learned and seen, the best advice I can say is to just get good first. I’m not saying that I’m undoubtedly good right now, but I know a lot of people don’t think that. What I’m saying is just write 100 songs first and learn how to record. I spent my entire youth, from age 12 to 18, writing probably over 1000 sons before I felt remotely comfortable releasing anything. Of course, you don’t need to do that, but chances are something you release in your first months of writing songs isn’t going to age well.
OSR: What does the future hold for you?
PUB: I’ve got a new record dropping September 25th if all goes to plan. I got a ‘zine that’s going to accompany it which I am super excited for! I got more videos down the line and am already working on another album.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
PUB: Stay safe and for pure joy listen to Pretty Ugly Boy.
Thanks to Pretty Ugly Boy for chatting with us! You can find more about him on his official website.