The Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival takes over New York's Jones Beach this weekend for two days of sounds and sunshine. The lineup is packed with too many names to mention, so REVOLT caught up with three of the amazing — and wildly different — acts to give you a sense of what to expect.
R&B rapper/singer Jahkoy, electronic trio Cheat Codes, and pop singer Hayley Kiyoko talked to us in advance of the fest about their sets, the song of the summer, and more.—Reporting by Driadonna Roland and Danielle Cheesman
What does the word "Billboard" mean to you?
Jahkoy: That is a household name right there. I think charts, hot No. 1.
Hayley Kiyoko: For me, the word "Billboard" is validation that you are on the right path. I'm not on the radio yet, I'm still up-and-coming, but it makes me feel like what I'm doing is headed in the right direction and I'm just gonna keep continuing.
Cheat Codes: The best of the best. I think of stars, the biggest artists; really quality music, definitely.
How is playing a festival different from other shows?
J: Just 'cause there's like a lot more people that discover the music. Because, like, being at a show I assume that people know who they're coming to see, where at a festival you run into different acts and you find out different things.
HK: Well, this is my very first festival ever! I definitely think it'll be different. I think I'll be more hydrated for sure [laughs]. I'm excited to live the dream of, like, being sweaty on stage and wearing sunglasses. I'm just so excited.
CC: A festival I think is a wide variety of music fans, not just necessarily electronic music fans, you also get people that like indie music, pop music...honestly festivals are really good for us because we kind of hit on a lot of different subgenres in our style of music, so we love festivals.
The Billboard festival has a broad lineup as far as great musicians from pop to hip-hop to dance music — I think Wale's playing on the same stage as us. So we're just excited to play it.
How do you decide which songs to play during your set and what do you have in store for your fans?
J: I'm on tour right now with the Kill the Summer tour, and the Billboard festival is one of the stops, so I'll be performing the Kill the Summer set, which is definitely going to kill the summer. You're in for a surprise. Everybody so far has been enjoying themselves on the tour, and I hope that New York can feel the same way.
HK: Well, for the Billboard festival, I'll be premiering my entire new EP that nobody has heard yet, so I'm really amped about that. It's the first time I'm playing all my new music from Citrine that's coming out in the Fall. I'll also be playing the EP I released last year, but it's gonna be extra special because those that are at the festival get a big sneak preview of what's to come. Because I haven't played [a festival before], I just know that up-tempo is always the best, so I definitely left off some of the slower stuff this weekend. Everyone goes to festivals to just have fun, be with their friends, be in the sun, listen to good music, and you tend to just kinda walk through the fields and then whatever beat is calling your name, you go toward that stage, so I kept it energetic.
CC: We have a good amount of originals that we play for most of our shows, and then we kind of just mix in other songs that we like and we know that fit the energy of our set, that we know is gonna come across in a powerful way when people hear it. We just wanna keep people moving, keep people having fun, is probably the biggest thing.
What's your vote for Song of the Summer?
J: [Drake's] "One Dance."
HK: "Never Be Like You" by Flume. That's my jam right now.
Describe your sound in one sentence.
J: I would describe my sound as a bipolar sound. I can't put it in one sentence, it just explores the nature of good music.
HK: Playful and flirty [laughs]. I wish it was more artistic! I'm like, "It sounds like a smoothie on the beach in the middle of July." My genre is definitely pop, it's left-of-center pop, but it's pop.
CC: Euphoric as f-ck. If you can't use that, then say, "Our sound is the Cheat Code to your party."
For tickets and more info on the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, go here.