Kavi’s new EP, KRUSHED!, is one of 2022’s most anticipated debuts. The single, ‘REALITY TV’, introduced the Eora/Sydney-based Kavi to the Australian public in late 2021. ‘D-TRIPLE-U’ followed in early 2022, with both tracks showcasing Kavi’s taste for pop and electronic retro-futurism.
Kavi is the project of Malaysian-born musician and model Karvesh Pillai. Pillai worked in tandem with producer Rino Darusman to create KRUSHED!, drawing from a pool of influences that included pop, new rave and hyperpop acolytes Charli XCX and Shygirl. Here, Kavi goes into detail about the artists who inspired KRUSHED!.
Kavi – ‘KRUSHED!’
Five artists who influenced Kavi’s ‘KRUSHED!’
The inventor of pop, songs, EPs and albums, Charli XCX is a mother to many, myself included. My world was never the same following the arrival of Charli’s Pop 2 mixtape. I had been experimenting with making music in school for a few years before Pop 2’s release, but never felt that the sound I was developing was authentically me.
I view Pop 2 as a project in which Charli harnessed the technicolour energy of hyperpop – pioneered by artists such as SOPHIE, A. G. Cook and Danny L Harle – and fused it with incredibly well-constructed, familiar songwriting. The result was a body of work that was experimental, yet accessible to audiences who mightn’t have been familiar with the world of hyperpop, which is something I aim to achieve with KRUSHED!. I’m manifesting a Kavi XCX release. One day.
I don’t think Ninajirachi gets enough credit for her impact on the Australian music landscape. She’s been pushing the boundaries of electronic music in Australia for years and is a pioneer of an incredibly exciting scene of local electropop artists.
Her album with Kota Banks, True North, is a project that was foundational to the making of KRUSHED!. Nina’s perfectly saccharine yet hard-hitting production served as a reference point for my EP, while I was in the process of curating a sonic mood board for how I wanted KRUSHED! to feel.
Ninajirachi & Kota Banks – ‘True North’
I discovered caro<3 as I was writing ‘lungs’, the closing track on KRUSHED! and the last song I wrote for the project. Relative to the other songs on the EP – big, expansive pop songs – the intimate, downtempo vulnerability of ‘lungs’ took inspiration from caro<3’s Heartbeats/Heartbreaks LP. An album packed with the most beautiful, shimmering, meditative soundscapes, the project’s hero is caro<3’s gorgeous voice – super tastefully processed without taking away from her delicate delivery.
Co-founders of the UK-based NUXXE collective and label, Shygirl and Sega Bodega’s work together is club-inspired pop perfection. Shygirl’s ALIAS EP, with production from Sega, was a huge inspiration for KRUSHED!, fusing high energy, rave-esque production with addictive melodic hooks and clever lyricism.
I love the more pop-leaning direction that Shygirl is currently heading in with her recent releases, and am in awe of her versatility as both a vocalist and songwriter.
I was hooked on daine’s ‘My Way Out’ from my first listen and it became a staple of my 2020 lockdown soundtrack. daine’s knack for capturing emotive vulnerability in their lyricism is something I admire and it’s exciting to watch them develop their sound and continuously deliver poignant songwriting against new sonic backdrops.
I discovered daine’s music around the time I began conceptualising KRUSHED!, and their early releases informed the way I approach songwriting, especially in the context of hyperpop, which is a genre that I think can often place greater emphasis on production over well-written lyrics.
Kavi – ‘REALITY TV’
Kavi’s debut EP, KRUSHED!, is out now.