Having been writing music since the age of fourteen, Kaia Vieira is now set to release her debut EP later this month. Ahead of its release she has now shared her brand new single.
Oozing a soulful, impassioned lyricism over gritty trip-hop beats, ‘The Care Giver’ builds to an anthemic ballad, fusing together an eclectic range of sounds with a sweeping ethereal musicality. A truly innovative, and evocative, soundscape, Vieira has created a poignant and reflective slice of genre-defying neo-soul. Of the track, she explains:
“The actual title of ‘The Care Giver’ refers to a guardian figure abusing their position of trust. The figure is seen as this virtuous custodian from the outside but in reality, is ‘plagiarising’ the role of the absent parents. There’s a loss of childhood but there’s also survival, and even hope. It was my first attempt to ‘rap’ and I still wouldn’t call it necessarily rapping – I just wanted to tell a story more directly and it served the song to do it.”
We spoke to Kaia Vieira to find out more about her and her new release. Read the interview, and listen to the new single – for the first time – below:
Hi Kaia Vieira, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
What a welcome! Hmm, these are always the toughest to start with, aren’t they? So, I guess to sum up the vibe of my music I’d have to say, dark, beat-driven tunes that gives an ode to classic trip hop and dnb, particularly from a ’90s background. I love odd harmony – especially Eastern-derived – I love all things bass, I love gnarly top-end filters and I love… manic breaks. Oh, and of course I love the piano. I’m a singer/songwriter/producer originally from Bournemouth and now living in London. I can be perfectly content cooped up in a room for days just writing as much as I can, skanking with my full band mid gig. And to add a little about myself… I’m naturally quite introverted and private, so learning how to articulate myself between songs on stage and in interviews is always a bit uncomfortable, but I do find some comfort knowing that about a billion awkward artists before me have worn and outworn these shoes. In the rest of my non-musical existence, I love yoga, dancing, reading, just being with my closest mates and wandering about green spaces.
How did you initially start creating music?
I actually began playing very acoustic, rootsy folk music when I first picked up the guitar and ukulele at 13 – so a bit of a world away! But I believe every kind of genre you touch upon in your journey as a musician has its place in crafting the sound you’ll become identified for later on, so I don’t want to disregard it. I was obsessed with folk, blues and country artists. From some of the classics like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Howlin’ Wolf to the more contemporary (at the time), Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and my absolute favourite, The Tallest Man on Earth. I started out playing at my local open mic night in Wimborne (a small town near Bournemouth) at 14, first by myself and then in an acoustic trio playing covers, and soon I started playing gigs at local venues/mini festivals from 15. It was only when I was 16 going on 17 that I began to explore more electronic styles when I began playing with my first electronic band, experimenting with mixes of hip hop, alternative soul and drum and bass. I started writing music not long after I began playing the guitar around 14/15 and had a number of songs by the time I started performing with the band – it was my first experience then however to begin writing collaboratively and learning how to improvise top lines over the keys, bass and drums.
Your debut EP Vikāra is out 29th May 2020 – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the EP?
I actually formed the idea for the EP, found the name and decided I still needed to write the main single, which ended up being ‘Where Did You Go?’, all during a mini no-tech hiatus at the beginning of 2019. I’d already begun writing for it, but I knew I needed to finalise the name/concept and write a stronger single and I’d always romanticised the idea of the solitude retreat after hearing about Bon Iver’s experience writing Emma, Forever Ago. I went to stay in this tiny little wooden surfer cabin I found in West Wales for a few days cutting off from my phone. Turns out, a bit of solitude, intention and pressure to use a small bit of time can work wonders for indecision. The whole of the EP was written across a period of intense shifting in my life, pretty much moving from one older world to the next, and so all the tunes reflect this in a very cathartic way. It was when I came across the word Vikāra looking up different Sanskrit terms during this stay that the definition of the transformation through the wound really summed up the concept of the EP and did a lovely job just putting some kind of metaphorical casing around it, pulling the songs together.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Portishead and Little Dragon, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
My queen is Miss Badhu. I properly got into her at about 17 when I was in the early stages of crafting my individual sound and she was really the first female artist that completely made sense to me. Other massive influences have got to be Prince and David Bowie, for just being revolutionary and timeless, never failing to inspire and re-inspire me at every age. In more recent years, I think Thom Yorke’s completely harrowing yet liberatingly serene soundscapes are seeping into me and my music, and my interests in the more sound-design and instrumental world of film scoring is growing.
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Well, I live in London nowadays and so (pre-pandemic and lockdown) there’s hardly a shortage of live music. The tough bit I’ve always found is actually making the time to explore new music enough when you’re so intensely immersed in your own little music bubble of gigging, recording, promoting. I’m Brixton-based though and loved going to Hootananny for hip-hop/dub nights and the local record store ‘Pure Vinyl’ for their weekly ‘Straight Pocket’ jazz/neo-soul jam sessions. I actually love Bristol for the filthiest dnb clubs though – The Black Swan was always a favourite to drive up for, especially pre-London days, when the Bournemouth music scene just wasn’t cutting it (which was pretty much always – although I will shout out to Chaplin’s and the Cellar Bar for being the only venue to continue striving to keep the Bournemouth music scene alive)! Nothing really touches on the grimeyness and satisfying bass-drops of The Black Swan – I haven’t actually found anything that quite compares yet, even in London. So yeah, dnb/jungle nights are one of my favourites, and classic 60s/70s funk, soul and disco events – just the both ends of dance music that provide the sweatiest nights – half or double time!
And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I love mixing live and electronics as much as possible – recreating electronic sounds with live instruments where we can and then filling in samples in between. I’m a bit obsessed with live dnb and jungle break drops as my drummer Tomas knows all too well. I have to keep switching up the beat ideas though as if I got too carried away, we’d just be raving to a continual stream of an emulated amen break! The live shows also consist of lots of sub bass played by my live bassist Dan, and then lots of piano-based often discordant harmony and eerie synth work that my keyboardist Clem soundscapes. I actually had a ‘no-guitar’ rule for a while as I got very bored of almost all guitar-based music for a long time, but I’m happy to say that pretty much got thrown on it’s head recently. Our newest member of the band, our guitarist Ze, introduced me to the world of the pedal board and we’ve since been messing around and realised how much you really can do with live instruments and a couple synth emulators. It’s cool as well because the keyboard synth/samples have a their own realm of very solid, flat signals that create that static wall of sound that’s essential when you need as much fatness as possible, but then the pedals that play around with the more natural waveform of an acoustic instrument provide a different world of more unpredictable and organic effects. So yeah, we’re trying to bring them all together and just so looking forward to when we can finally be back in a room again getting ready for new live shows!
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’ve got to admit I’m very guilty of being a total self-consumed artist at times, existing in a bubble of my own writing/playing and forgetting to hunt out for new artists! But when I do find new music I’m totally excited about, I could be a walking advertisement. My latest new artist discovery has got to be James Holt. We met at a new music discovery night that we were both on the same bill for, and his style is definitely not one I normally listen to or find new acts pushing boundaries in, but I was completely won over. He’s like this time capsule that stepped out of the 60s and brought with him the qualities of the proper classic songwriters – his writing is just so wholesome. So much so that I had to buy his CD (and I’ve got to admit that rarely happens that I feel that compelled when stumbling on new live acts), especially as his song ‘Burning Moon’ just broke me and I listened to it on repeat in my car for a good couple of weeks. So yeah, check him out.
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It’s definitely tough. The white noise of the masses is more so than ever with the internet and virtual platforms giving the opportunity for anybody and everybody to put out their music. So, there’s a lot more noise to break through, which is the more difficult part, but equally there’s so much more opportunity in another sense because anyone can use these platforms to empower themselves and push their creations as an independent artist. Maybe I’m the eternal optimist, but I strongly believe that at the end of the day true quality has the potential to cut through and be recognised despite any noise, and the most important thing is to focus on your individuality as an artist as that will only ever and always be your only unique selling point. I think pushing boundaries and risking creating a newer, not as easily definable sound is worth it for the long run even if it’s a slower burner.
Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for Kaia Vieira?
We’re mid-campaign now with the EP, so we have another single ‘The Care Giver’ on the way before the final EP drops too. This one’s more trip hop and down tempo than the first single ‘Where Did You Go?’ – best described by my PR company ‘A Badge of Friendship’ as a “celestial groover”. Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with that phrase but absolutely love it! Aside from the EP, I’m currently already so excited about all my new material – like a little kid really, the delay of releasing is definitely a tester for cultivating serious adult levels of patience. But I’m just going to focus on building the catalogue during these times that have offered us some extra space at least, getting ready for the latter of 2020/going into 2021. Oh and, I may be venturing further into the dnb world with a collab or two post EP – that’s all I can say!
Huge thanks to Kaia for answering our questions! Listen to ‘The Care Giver’ for the first time below:
Vikāra, the upcoming new EP from Kaia Vieira is out 29th May via These Furious Recordings.