Australian prodigy AViVA has been making waves locally and internationally as of late, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Spending her time between LA and Sydney, the independent auteur has just dropped her latest single ‘BRN’, while also being announced for the line up of this year’s Groovin The Moo, and earning a support slot on Tonight Alive‘s upcoming national tour. Meanwhile, she has also clocked up a very impressive 24 million streams online.
AViVA offered us some background on ‘BRN’, and how it came to be.
How does the song writing process begin for you?
Usually with a basic instrumental idea. I have lots of melodic and lyrical ideas but the sound of the song itself informs me as to which one suits. The rhythm is a really important influence with the lyrics. I can have ideas but how they’re shaped is often influenced by the ‘mood’ or movement within the song.
What were the driving forces behind this recording?
This song was initially inspired by the quote “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn.” The song itself is twofold. On one hand it’s a metaphor, my commentary on what I think about today’s obsession with boxing people and anyone who doesn’t fit into your boxes isn’t okay. There’s a real sense of elitism even within alty circles- are you cool enough? Different enough to sit with us? That sort of thing. On the other hand, the lyrics are more literal they tie into the action
within the book I’m writing (SELF/LESS a YA series that is accompanying my music) and I guess it’s also a message to anyone who wants to get to know what I’m about.
Where did you record and why did you choose that location?
At home, in our home studio. I like recording at home best. There is something about the safety of being in my own space that lets me be free and experiment more. It’s also nice because you can take as much time as you like and get tea whenever you feel like it without annoying people.
How did the title come about?
Our first single is called GRRRLS a choice I made about the meaning of the song to me personally. It was also a nod to Riot GRRLS but in the end I liked the lack of vowels. The song is essentially about being burnt, whether you want to take it literally or figuratively that’s totally up to the listener, but ‘BRN’ points them in the right direction of my general intention.
If you could describe your song in three words, how would you describe it?
Poignant, emo, visceral
How long did it take to make the song from inception to mastering?
The initial song we (MataisC and I) wrote in a weekend. Started it on a Friday night and by Sunday the original version was done. We like to have a fast turnaround on our songs. Then we sent it to JP (Jean Paul Fung) who did about 3 days on it. The songs sort of take their own life-force once they start… which is awesome! There is nothing worse to me than labouring over a song that doesn’t want to be born.
Would do you do anything differently if you were to record again?
No, some of the more natural affectations to my voice add to the overall world I’m trying to create with the music. It’s a real song about people needing to take you for who you are, you can’t play with that too much without losing the integrity of its meaning.
Who was the first person to hear your finished song in its entirety?
Other than Matais and myself the first person I sent it to was my best friend and critique Katy. Other than my parents she’s the most real with me, so I know if she gives it a tick of approval I’m good to go!
Did you write the music or the lyrics first?
I have hundreds of notebooks I’ve been writing for the past 10 years. Sometimes I take lines from my poetry in there or sometimes it’s all fresh stuff. With this song, I had the music done first and then played around with the topline- melody and lyrics. It was already in there, it’s just a matter of
finding the best way to say it.
At what stage of the process do you start considering the artwork?
I think about the artwork as soon as I know what the song is about. Like I had said, I have all my songs tying into the series I’m writing. That includes the artwork. It’s really important for the artwork to tell a story that can help inform the listener as to the action within the song but ALSO be
a springboard for their own imagination.
Most memorable moment/s in the process of this song?
I think the most memorable moment was when Max (the artist) sent through the colour version of the artwork. I had sent him a word document with my concept and heaps of reference images I’d hodgepodged together but it wasn’t until I saw his rendering of the idea that I could see it was going to be amazing! He’s an amazing artist. I’m really lucky to be working with a team who are all so switched on with helping me create the world I’m building.