After spending the last year working with Abigail Knudson (MISSY), VïKÆ has quietly been chipping away at writing some bass-heavy-bops. With an EP somewhere in the works, VÏKÆ’s new single “RUMOURS” is the sequel to her recent debut single “TRUTH”, and tackles bullying created in toxic friend groups.
We caught up with VïKÆ to discuss some of the meaning behind her music and her creating process.
First off, congratulations on your first single “Truth” landing in the New Zealand Official Top 20, New Zealand Hot 20 Singles and the New Zealand Official Top 40 as well as gaining over 50,000 Spotify streams. Were you surprised at how quickly it blew up for a first release?
“Yeah absolutely, I mean the thing is that when you first release a song into the world it’s kind of like an experiment in itself I guess. It’s sort of like ‘is this going to work?’ ‘Is this not going to work?’ But I am pleased that people played it.”
You filmed and edited the music video independently?
“Yes because as I’m sure you can appreciate, as an independent artist we’ve got to cut costs in any sort of way. And I also I like to think of a song as being like a baby in itself and I want to make sure that that baby is represented in the best possible way. That’s why I wanted to have complete autonomy over the video in itself. And I think having done it now I’ll probably just make sure that I do all of the videos myself from now on because it’s kind of fun.”
It’s a very well shot video, was the making of it a hard process?
“Thanks, I did it all on my iPhone. It was hard in the sense that I’ve never edited a video before in my life so I’m pleased that it all came together in the end. It was hard but also it will make the next one easier and the next one easier and that kind of thing.”
How long did the whole process take?
“The song has been in the works for about a year. The video itself, we spent about five hours filming, we didn’t know what we were doing essentially. But the video-making process itself took about maybe 30-40 hours.”
Do you have a music video for “Rumours” in the works?
“Yes, so I have actually finished the music video for that one. It’s all done pretty much, so I’ve recorded it, put it all together added some dope effects. It’s being released soon, and much like the previous one I want to make sure that the visual aspect is there and to me, that is as important as the actual song itself.”
The lyrics in “Truth” and “Rumours” are very personal, you’re opening yourself up personally and tackling subjects of mental health and toxic relationships. Do you think it’s important to address those themes in contemporary pop music?
“Yeah absolutely. I think that now, let’s be honest my generation and below is so self aware of worldly issues and mental health problems. Obviously we’ve got people suffering with disabilities both physical and intellectual and I think people are looking for a way to relate to things. And I think for a long time, and I’m not saying for pop music in general, but I think for a long time on the radio all I heard was party songs. And I’m not saying “let’s have a party” isn’t subject for a bad song. But, because I have a rock background and obviously rock music focuses predominantly on melodies as well as lyricism, and I kind of wanted to bring that into my new project.”
Talking about mental health in a song would be very therapeutic would you say that it’s helped you personally in terms of your own mental well-being?
“Absolutely, it’s like you have all of this pent up feeling; anger, frustration, annoyance, love, whatever and it’s kind of in this energy ball inside you and then once it’s on the page and in the music it’s like ‘cool, I’ve got it out there now.’”
Have you found that people have reacted in a positive way to it?
“Absolutely, I teach singing at a high school and I think the most interesting thing was that some of my students listened to it and we’re like ‘Oh miss I really felt like I related to the words, I always feel like I’m not good enough.’ And that’s really sad to hear, but it’s also nice to know that the music actually does resonate with people.”
You have experience with lots of different musical genres; you’re classically trained in vocals and piano, you’ve sung for the Dunedin City Jazz Band, you’ve released a drum and bass track, and you were the singer for the rock band “VTMNK” was it always your goal to become a pop singer?
“I don’t think an artist should be limited to a box and I love all sorts of music. I was hoping that “VTMNK” would be a long term situation. But obviously when you have one person who is moving away and then another person who is finishing a degree it kind of dissipated in itself and when I came to Auckland I just couldn’t stop writing. I had all of these lyrics and melodies in my head and I decided let’s see how this goes, let’s see if I can do the pop thing and I guess it is sort of working.”
Would you say that your wide range of influences plays a factor in your music?
“So, I’ve been working with an Auckland producer called Abby Knudson, her artist name is MISSY and her partner also does my vocal production for me and he also comes from a very rock heavy background and he has often said, “I can hear rock melodies and I can hear different influences.” And Abby often says “that’s a very classical way of singing try and approach it a different way.” They all come together, it’s like a cake you have all of these different ingredients and you make this magical thing.”
You have an E.P. in the works can you tell me a little bit more about that?
“You kind of touched on it a little bit before when talking about the mental health aspect of things. But, I really want to/am creating a piece of art as opposed to an E.P. I’m looking at having five or six songs on there, I haven’t quite decided yet. My vision is that every song will have a video element as well because it’s art people need to see what I’m trying to say. I have bipolar and I am essentially trying to tackle topics that come with having a mental illness; whether that be any form of addiction, self-harm, self-isolation, feeling of grandiosity as well, let’s not forget that when we do have a mental illness there are periods where you do feel great and you feel amazing, and I think that’s what makes the sad times so sad because you’ve come from this huge elation into this pit of despair and doom and that’s kind of what I want my E.P. to do.
I want to create waves of what it’s like to go through those notions and I hope in some way that it will resonate with someone or inspire someone, or help somebody through a hard time, that’s a really big thing for me. Especially because in New Zealand at the moment mental health is such an important topic that people still find taboo to talk about. Taking a sick day off work because you need a mental health day, I’ve had bosses literally laugh at me and it’s like it’s not funny, it’s the same as having a physical illness it really is, it debilitates you, you can’t get over bed, you can’t eat, you can’t shower it sucks.”
And is the E.P. being produced by MISSY as well?
“Definitely, not that I don’t want to work with any other producer, that’s not true. With this particular project, we’ve worked so hard and so well together that I would just be silly to say “Au revoir” when we’ve got something great.”
Do you have a release date in mind?
for March 2020.”
In terms of live performance do you have any plans to start doing shows?
“Yes, absolutely, looking again at February, March to start doing some shows, I have some stuff in the works that I can’t really tell you about. Definitely some stuff in the works with some fantastic female artists that I adore, that I love and are great colleagues so watch this space.”
You can check out her recent single ‘Rumours’ below’