It’s Superfan, honest

Adam Alonzo


The Opener is The FADER’s short-form profile series of casual conversations with exciting new artists.

Kali Flanagan works at a record shop in Los Angeles where, at the moment, he’s being yelled at by his boss. Employees taking phone interviews with music publications on the clock, it turns out, is frowned upon. That’s how Kali spends his days, splitting his time between impending indie rock stardom as Superfan and a day job — even an opening slot for the Strokes and Weyes Blood this past summer at Red Rocks doesn’t get you off the hook for a shift.

Superfan laughs it off — “I’m just taking my break!” — and slips away. His music is similarly defined by a refusal to compromise on his vision. It renders the music vibrant and alive, and the danceable moments more immediate and evocative, prime for audiences to claim as their own. Personal truths are sown seamlessly into laidback bass grooves. Voice cracks are endearingly preserved in final mixes, a subtle act of authenticity. And on multiple occasions, blunt lyrics have caught the irritated attention of exes.

Superfan quickly earned the adoration of teenage Los Angeles with 2020’s breakout single “Back to the Start” and his subsequent EP, Circles, in 2021. Performing for and amongst his peers, the relationship was symbiotic: “I was playing a lot of shows in high school, and I would play the material that I was working on as I was writing it. It helped me to just be positively motivated and not get in my own head, and that’s a big thing.”

Still recording under his real name, KALI, Superfan released his second EP in 2022, Maltman and Effie, a record that showed a leveled-up lyrical maturity and production experimentation veering from alt to psychedelic, remained true to Superfan-form as an ode to everything synth and the tumult of young love and coming of age.

With his new album Tow Truck Jesus out on June 28 — announcing today alongside a new single, “75 Germany” — Superfan feels beholden more than ever to the idea of music as a personal catharsis. Writing the project during a year of immense personal change, he remembers “one of the biggest things just being liking the sound of your own voice, and feeling represented by your physical body. Just being able to be yourself instead of being challenged by that on a daily basis.”

Though he’s always considered himself honest — it’s “a really obvious trait of mine, which I think shows in my music as well” — Superfan admits that this next album will mean putting himself out there in a bigger way.

“My relationship with the music I’m about to release is very different from my relationship with the work I’ve previously released. And I think one of the biggest changes is that I actually like myself as a person now… I’m nervous, but I’m also so secure with the quality of the work.”