Eves Karydas
Eves Karydas | Credit: Daniel Mayne

Eves Karydas: “I Was Caught Up in Something That Was Quite Toxic”

Eves Karydas released the new EP, Wide Eyed, at the end of November 2022. At just four songs and thirteen minutes long, Wide Eyed might seem like a relatively casual release, but it marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Brisbane alt-pop artist.

A few weeks before its release, Karydas shared an essay across her social media accounts in which she declared she’d be moving forward as a self-managed artist. In the essay, Karydas spoke of the disorientation she’s experienced as a result of trying to meet the expectations imposed on women in the music industry.

“I’ve posted thirst traps, marketed myself as a ‘hot girl’, obsessively checked likes, read comments, puked at the gross misogyny it incites but also secretly craved the attention,” she wrote.

But the release of Wide Eyed signals a shift in perspective for the artist formerly known as Eves the Behavior. Not only will Karydas’ career decisions now be handled in-house, but she’s also giving up the perpetual hunt for radio-friendly singles.

Wide Eyed represents the first steps in Karydas’ reclamation of her authentic artistic voice. Music Feeds speaks to Eves Karydas about the EP and the journey that got her here.

Eves Karydas – ‘Last Night When We Were Young’

Music Feeds: I saw you were just in Sweden. What were you doing over there?

Eves Karydas: I went over there on a bit of a whim. I love going to Stockholm but I hadn’t been since the pandemic. So, I went back in May and had a really great time. I met this one guy, his name is Jens, and we really hit it off, just one day in the studio. And then I was like, “Okay, well I’m going to come back.”

He’s a producer and he’s just so unbelievably talented. He has such good taste, or taste that’s suited to me and where I’m headed. So, anyway, it went great and I’ve come back thinking, “Okay, I’ve started an album.” I didn’t plan to do that but maybe that’s the best way to start an album.

MF: When did the sessions begin for Wide Eyed? Did you go into this project with intention?

Eves: No, not at all. This EP is more just me wanting to find a space where I can release music without this pressure of wanting to constantly put out radio songs.

I put out the album and that did really well and then I put out ‘Complicated’ and that did really well and then I got in this vortex, hamster wheel of, like, “Okay, I’ve gotta follow it up, gotta get another song on the radio.” I felt like I just started writing for that and was like, “I don’t even listen to the radio – what am I doing?”

So, with this EP, and just the shift in mindset and work ethic, I really just wanted to flex a different muscle and put out a collection of songs that… I don’t listen to them and think, “This is a single.” I just thought, “I like these songs. I think they tell a story, so let’s just put them out.”

MF: How different does that feel compared to being in the “write a hit” vortex?

Eves: It really crushes the artistic self when you’re trying to write singles all the time, and when there’s expectation attached to everything. And I just want everything to feel way more fluid and way more like, “Okay, this is a collection of songs. Let’s put them out, let’s move forward.”

I just want a sense of movement and motion in my life. And you know what, I’m just, for once, going to take a chill pill and let go of this life and death clutch that I had on the career side of things.

Eves Karydas – ‘Complicated’

MF: The essay that you wrote and published in October focused on some fairly unsavoury pressure that you were feeling. Was that pressure – to be on Instagram, attracting likes – connected to the pressure to keep writing singles?

Eves: Yeah, it was. It was a really unhealthy work dynamic. It felt very performative. I wasn’t even tapping into who I am as an artist and the me that I hear when I listen to my first record. And ‘Complicated’ has a lot of personality in it, but there’s this couple of years window where I look back and just cringe.

I’m not going to judge myself because I feel like I was really caught up in something that was quite toxic – a toxic work relationship. I always thought I had a pretty good radar for bullshit, but it turns out it’s very easy to get swept up in something like that.

I’m really thankful to be out of it now and be self-managing. That’s been a huge thing for me to embrace. I have a lot of good people around me that are great mentors and great for advice. But ultimately, I just need to stop looking for that outside validation.

MF: So, when it comes to self-management and trying to rediscover your authentic artistic voice, have you had to shed all existing expectations and ideas of success?

Eves: A little bit. So, end of last year was a real low point for me. I pretty much was like, “I think I want to quit. I don’t want to do this anymore if this is what it looks like.” And so I just shelved my career. I went offline and did something completely random. I did a furniture making course. It’s so funny – I have all these skills now but no tools.

But I feel like in that space of time, I allowed myself to just reconnect with music as a fan. And then I kind of had my eyes opened to a new way forward, which is letting go of expectation. Now, I’m just focusing on the process rather than the outcome, and that’s been a really, really good thing for me to move into.

“Your reward for creativity is just the fact that you’ve embodied something.”

I read this thing that Kurt Vonnegut [wrote]. Some high school kid in America, they had an assignment where they had to write to their favourite author to ask for advice on the creative process, and this kid wrote to Kurt Vonnegut and he wrote back. He basically wrote this kid a letter and talked about, you know, your reward for creativity is just the fact that you’ve embodied something.

He was like, “I want you to go home and write a poem and make it the best poem that you can write. And you have to love it. And then I want you to tear it up and put it in the bin and never show anybody. And that is the point of creativity – you’re not looking for your mum or your friend or your teacher to tell you that it’s good. You’ve already been rewarded because you’ve made something that you love.”

It sounds so simple but it’s an easy trap to fall into the opposite of that. But now I’m like, “I’m not showing anybody what I’m working on right now.”

Eves Karydas – ‘Be With You’

Further Reading

Eves Karydas Shares Statement on Being Pressured to Be a “Hot Girl” on Social Media

Lana Del Rey Says She Is Deactivating Her Social Media Accounts

Eves Karydas Releases New Single ‘Last Night When We Were Young’

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