Kyle Hardy has been a good friend, and represented the amazing Green Halo out of Tucson as their Lead Wholesaler when I first started in the Arizona industry. The products as well as ethics of the company were always represented if not inspired by Kyle and his sales team. He had moved on from Arizona to find his path in the California cannabis market, and he is greatly missed as a fixture of knowledge in Arizona dispensaries. In getting to know him, we discovered a mutual love of music and live performance. We bonded over similar musical tastes, talking over experiences with leading musical projects. We are friends to this day, thanks to the culture associated with music and cannabis communities. Now Kyle has gathered his talents into a new project, Blight, a solo dark-core groove project, with haunting vocals. I get a chance to speak with him about his music experiences, cannabis, and his new project,
When did you start playing music?
I started singing at an early age, really thought I was going to go into opera when I was in elementary/grade school. Picked up the clarinet in band, and realized orchestral/woodwinds certainly weren’t my thing; so I joined the Chicago All City Youth Chorus, professionally getting a grasp on how to train and tune my voice. Picked up my brother’s guitars in 7th and 8th grade, I got into riffing and writing my sophomore year of high school. I’ve been playing music ever since.
What inspired you to start playing?
I was fortunate to be raised in a family in South Chicago that allowed me to chase after any idea or project I wanted. Our school systems really focused on the arts as well, so I was trained early on that music was not only soothing, it also empowered people and gave another sense of community. My sister lent me her Doc Marten’s in 4th grade and took me to a punk show at the Metro in Chicago. Since then, the experience has always had an influence on my musical taste. My brother has always been extremely eclectic and artistic, and I’ve always looked up to him for inspiration or insight into music.
What are some of your past projects or experience in music?
My first music scene I felt comfortable in is; and has always shown that appreciation back, was the metal and hardcore scene. I formed a band with some friends in high school, To Spill the Sun, and we played several shows around our neighborhood. Nothing glamorous or technical, but gave me confidence and gave us some purpose. By my freshman year at the University of Arizona, I was deep in to the AZ Hardcore scene, and formed a band called On My Honor. If you saw a hardcore show in the mid 2000’s in Tucson, chances are On My Honor was opening for your band of choice. I fronted this band for years, and eventually met the fellas in NORTH. They were already established as a post rock monster in that scene, but wanted to transition to more post metal/stoner metal. We toured the entirety of the country several times, and I released two full length albums with them. I fronted this band for years, these guys are my brothers, still in touch with them damn near on the daily, and they all have separate projects as well.
What is the significance of music in your life?
Music is a daily routine for me. Whether it’s writing, singing, listening, or studying, there is always room to be more educated. I love discovering new music, hearing up-and-coming local acts, and watching my friends succeed after years of dedication. It’s a positive force that I’ll always look forward to.
Your music and project is almost entirely solo, how are you making the music, recording, and self-releasing?
After parting ways from NORTH, I began to dig into producing electronic music, releasing an album’s worth of tracks on a random Bandcamp, and then never really thought about doing much more. I was working 24/7 in the cannabis industry at this time, and really pivoted my day to day focus on increasing my footprint in this new cannabis space as well. I would come home, write some riffs, and just leave it, not pursuing much more. My friends, my family, my fiancée, all pushed me to get back into writing more. All guitars, synth, keys, and beat production are created by me, and vocal layering is all me. Every track I’ve released has been self produced, with mixing and mastering provided by Zack Hansen (NORTH, Languish, Hist, Precarian Cuts Vinyl).
When did Blight start?
I’ll pile on a bit more, but Blight started roughly a year or so ago. I was dealing with a lot on my plate. Just moved to Los Angeles, feeling the new job pressure, and constant competition around me, Blight was really formed out of the modern day working man’s thought process. The songs and themes deal with business, rejection, extreme success, failure, and a peppering of political or religious veils over a society of greed. I originally wrote songs based on conversations, which I heard in, and around the greater Los Angeles area. Money laundering, sex, pollution, and self-care are central driving themes of the original writings.
Any special or unique gear to shout out?
I couldn’t do what I’m doing without my Akai MPD26, and certainly enjoy my newest pedal from EarthQuaker Devices, the Data Corrupter. I’ve used both extensively in tracks, and practice.
You have experience in the medical cannabis industry in Arizona and California, what advice do you have for others?
Get yourself involved in local meetings, expos and events. The cannabis industry, much like the arts and music industry, is a networking industry. Introduce yourself with a joint at a small or large circle, and you’re almost guaranteed of meeting one new friend/acquaintance that evening. I’ve had my medical cannabis card for Arizona since before the days of dispensaries, having to meet caregivers in parking lots, or their home-grows. The passion of cannabis entrepreneurs is what will always keep me close to this industry. Recreational and adult use will be the norm everywhere in the near future, it’s been an absolute pleasure to serve the medical cannabis patients over the years.
Are you an mmj patient?
I am most certainly an MMJ patient. Cannabis helps me focus, relieve anger and depression, and also has provided comfort and relief from migraines. My father and sister both suffered from tremendous debilitating migraine and cluster headaches and when I was in middle school, I was hospitalized for a serious migraine. Years of pain pills, studies, and tests, then my true relief is cannabis.
Indica or sativa?
Tough to say, I think I prefer a strain with a high terpene count, and one that will do the trick so to speak (focus on songwriting, focus in the workplace, get some sleep, etc.) I feel like sativa and indica as our daily nomenclature will be a thing of the past in a decade or two with more and more research done on the other cannabinoids other than the big 3 (THC, CBD, CBN), as well as grow patterns and techniques to farm higher terpene and flavonoid content. A great strain that punches you in the nose, and is inhaled and exhaled in a similar taste will always be best.
Any favorite brands, dispensaries, or strains that you would recommend?
If you’re looking for the best hemp wrapped blunts in the California market, grab Tradecraft Farms. The best solventless wax on the market right now, in my opinion, for the western half of the US, 710 Labs. Best dispensary and edibles in AZ is The Green Halo in Tucson. Best flower in AZ, AZ Nectar Farms, hands down. Get yourself some Agent Orange, Chronic Thunder, Vanilla Bean, or their Ultra Sour Chem.
Where can people hear your music and what’s new that you have going on in your life?
You can hear my music via SoundCloud, and Bandcamp. I am working with artists I know to create logos and designs for short run vinyl releases, as well as partnering with other bands to offer my vocals and production as features. I’m traveling, creating, and supported by loving friends and family, and my fiancée. I am planning to release a slew of new tracks throughout the remainder of 2019, I will hopefully have some music pressed and released on larger media platforms in 2020.
You can hear Blight @blightblightblight on Instagram which has the Soundcloud link in the bio, or on BandCamp at blight666.bandcamp.com. Look for further releases from Blight, but give a listen to Tilt or Heat Freak for a great introduction to the music. It is a great luck to know and associate with so many talented people like Kyle, of the cannabis market here in Arizona. I miss seeing my friend Kyle at work, be it dropping amazing flower from AZ Nectar Farms or any of the quality product from The Green Halo, but I wish him success in all his ventures. I hope Kyle continues to make great music, live life, and smoke only the best cannabis. To see more, check out Blight online, or on the Cannabis Cactus Website for links!