Brisbane DJ Kavina cites James Zabiela as her earliest influence. After seeing the UK’s technical whizz perform she was hooked, and set off on a journey that began with an appearance at the Your Shot DJ competition in 2011. That performance earned her a residency at Byblos and she has since played support for international superstars such as Hernan Cattaneo, Jody Wisternoff and Guy J.
Q. Kavina you are known for your eclectic sets that include a mix of deep and progressive house and techno. What was it that drew you to these styles of music?
A. I didn’t actually know what I was looking for when I found this style of music or what genres of music they even were at the time, that came later. At that point I was looking for a feeling. I was drawn to the depth, it being non-confronting and powerful in a different means. I adore complexity masked in the irony of simplicity. Warmth, basslines, the sway. Every sound has to be beautiful, and like all things, it comes in layers and waves. 🙂
Q. Around this time last year you played a support gig for one of your idols, Hernan Cattaneo. What did you learn from that opportunity and how has it affected you as a DJ?
A. I definitely learned that I could hold my own as a DJ. I was not very confident and it was very scary leading up to the set and not wanting to fail. But that was not the case at all. I was overwhelmed by how many people came in early to see me play and all the incredible feedback I received. People were dancing, smiling, everything was warm, I was given so much encouragement and I really realized how much this Brisbane scene had my back and believed in me. This was very overwhelming because all you want to do at the end of the day is move people. I think I realized then that I could do that. 🙂
Q. You’re playing with Hernan again in Brisbane on the 4th of October. What can we expect from you this time?
A. Definitely a more confident DJ! I have spent the last year trying to get over my nerves, so I am looking forward to being able to let people into my musical bubble and enjoy the experience together!!
As far as music goes, people know that wherever I go the deep warm basslines follow. 🙂
Q. Your sets often have an artistic theme and are accompanied by some sort of artwork or imagery. Does the music complement the visual art or does the visual art complement the music?
A. They both definitely compliment each other but the idea was to put sound into imagery. I want to give people as much of a vision for a mix as I can and the awesome thing about having a best friend like Michelle who knows me so well and is just as expressive, is that I could tell her what I see when I hear a mix and she can interpret it perfectly. Imagery was always something I found that was missing and thought, why do I have to wait till I am established to try this idea? When I read a book the cover art is very important to me, same with when I look at an album. I want to see a glimpse into the authors mind. I don’t just hear music; I see it in colours, images and people. Mostly it’s feminine which works perfectly because Michelle loves to depict females as much as I appreciate the grace of feminine power.
Q. According to your web site you have a degree in journalism and are currently studying law. Does striking a balance between academic and creative pursuits such as music come naturally for you or do you find you are always thinking about sound?
A. I am all about balance – spoken like a true libra… but I have zero concept of it. I am always thinking about music, and it is very difficult for me to pursue my degree now that I know exactly what I want. I don’t have too much longer to go but I could never quit something that I started. Luckily I found music once I started my law degree so journalism had a good run as I was obsessed with writing about musicians at the time though I still hadn’t got the hint that it was because I wanted to be one.
Q. You’ve been a resident DJ at Byblos bar at Hamilton in Brisbane for a while. Share with us some of your experience as a resident.
A. I really feel incremental to the atmosphere at Byblos and I treat it as my home. They picked me up when I was fresh blood and we have really built a strong relationship together as a team and they have been so supportive of me. I grew my confidence there. I used to be terrified and distressed to go to work out of sheer nerves for playing but now I look forward to it every weekend and have learned all the important lessons as a dj behind those decks including how to read a crowd, how to play music I love but make sure it is still accessible and most importantly to me, how to play long sets. My favourite comparison is that John Digweed started out in a wine cellar and I look forward to where my story will end.
Q. What do you think of the underground house and techno scene in Brisbane and where do you see it heading in the future?
A. I can’t speak for the scene as a whole but I think there will always be individuals trying to push what they love – how cool is the first Andromeda festival?? As for its future, there will always be one. T.B.C has such a cool vibe, they have come in and really taken ownership, and Capulet has done the same, which leads me to believe that no frontier could be left unclaimed, with the right attitude the people always show up.
Q. Finally, what do the next few years have in store for you as a DJ? What are your hopes and dreams?
A. My perspective on planning has really changed this year. I have tried to eliminate as much pressure as I can and grow as a person as well as an artist. What this has taught me for future years is that I want to try my hand at as many things as I can dream of as an artist instead of limiting myself. That I will be inlove with the struggle, which I have been so far, but that I will take the focus off the end goal and trust the momentum that comes with loving something as much as I do. The journey is so important.
My dreams: Without putting too much focus on the end goal, to play alongside icons that have inspired me so much as my peers and to genuinely call this my one and only career. You create your own definition of success and for me that is definitely to be influential in whatever I do and to share the passion and love for music.
Thank you so much for your time Kavina. I’m looking forward to seeing you play with Hernan Cattaneo on Saturday October 4th at The TBC Club in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Visit the event’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1457524027859564
Buy tickets: http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/hernan-cattaneo-4hr-set/72913