“'Scary People' for me was just shedding light on what’s happening out there in the world."

Music

8.3.2017

"Scary People" is Georgi Kay's 2017 Anti-Hate Anthem

To say that our country is in a moment of political unrest might be the understatement of the century—with Trump and his posse swinging punches at Lady Liberty left and right, it’s all we can do to keep up the fight for justice. Last month, Georgi Kay served up what might be considered the best type of silver lining: a brand-new track, titled “Scary People”, that addressed the hate head on. Her counter message? Love.

The artist says it most poignantly herself: “They don’t have love, and if we keep that love alive then we can keep fighting.”

Kay’s been down many roads of musical experimentation to get to this point—she’s tampered in Australia’s acoustic, singer-songwriter genre, London’s deep house scene, and now finds herself in LA, mastering electronic pop like it ain’t no thing. What’s next for this multi-faceted, woke AF musician? You’ll have to hear that straight from Kay herself (luckily, you’ve come to the right place).

So “Scary People” dropped just a few days ago—what has the reception been like so far?

It’s been going surprisingly well. Lots of blogs have been talking about it, blogs on Hype Machine, blogs in the UK, blogs in Australia. It had a radio premiere in Australia which is great, that’s my home country. I shared that as well with the UK, also my home country. Yeah, I don’t know a lot of fans are super happy to have a release out that they can grab their hands on and listen to, so I’m super stoked, really. SoundCloud has a lot of listens, Spotify has a lot of listens, so it’s been pretty good so far considering—I keep forgetting, it only came out like, four or five days ago. So, it’s doing pretty well.

Can you talk about the story behind the song, or what headspace you were in when you were writing it?

Yeah. I guess, long story short I decided a different approach to songwriting. In the past, I had been writing a lot with other producers and songwriters, and I spent three years in London going through all these sessions, and everyday I felt like a hamster in a wheel, you know? I was writing for a sound that I didn’t really want to write for. So, when I moved to LA, I got in my bedroom, just me, and I learned how to use Ableton, and record and stuff. “Scary People” was actually the first song I wrote, just by myself, in my bedroom, here in LA. So, it’s kind of like a christening my bedroom and christening my new home. But it all sort of stems from the time we live in really. I think we’ve always lived in scary times, but now we’re so much more aware—with the internet, mass media—we’re so much more aware with what’s going on now, in the big world. And it’s affecting everyone, I mean I moved to LA at the time that Trump had just become president, and just watching that effect on my friends, and their friends, and their families—it was a big deal and there were a lot of people that were scared to live in their own country that they called home. You see that in so many different countries as well, that are ruled by almost a dictatorship really, and there’s a lot of sexual harassment that goes by unnoticed, police brutality, and then you’ve got people within authorities that are beating up normal innocent people for no apparent reason. And then there’s racial hate, and there’s homophobia. “Scary People” for me was just shedding light on what’s happening out there in the world. All in all, it’s pointing out all of the negative things—

Yeah, it’s dark.

Yes, it is quite dark and it’s also saying, “We fight fire with fire because that’s all that we have, that’s all that we’ve got, and we can light them up.” So, the positive message in it, is that love is something that those negative things and those bad people don’t have. They don’t have love, and if we keep that love alive then we can keep fighting.

Prior to “Scary People” did you ever feel a need to put in your two cents about the political climate and social climate, or were you more so writing about personal things?

More personal, but I guess in a sense there’s a few songs I’ve written in the past that—I tend to write a bit ambiguously, so people will listen and often make up their own mind about what the song means to them, which is the whole point of art, I think. You make something that means something to you, that’s not so literal enough that anyone else can’t decide what it means to them. I think that’s more important—not how I feel about it, but how it affects other people and how they perceive it. So, I haven’t intentionally done it before, but it’s kind of come out that way sometimes for some songs. Especially “Scary People”, that was the intention.

I mean I feel like with a lot of music, once it’s out there it takes on a life of its own and then it’s almost no longer yours because it’s everybody else’s and whatever it means to them.

That’s right, it’s like you’re carrying around this child for ages, and then you finally give birth to it and let it see the light of day and then it just goes off and grows up very fast, and goes to college and experiments around. You’re like, “Well okay, I’ll see you Christmas!” I don’t know. [Laughs]

[Laughs] So, are you working on a larger project, or an album that that’s going to be a part of? What are you working on right now?

I have a couple of follow-up singles in mind, in the coming few months. I do have a bigger body of work that I’m crafting in my head. I have plenty of songs for it, it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s this next concept? I’ve sort of got some ideas for that, but it’s in the works—the more I focus on one thing at a time, it’s bringing the whole entity together more. So, the process I’m going through is working, which is good. But, yes, I would like to release a bigger body of work with “Scary People” involved, and my other singles in the near future.

Cool. You said that this is the first time that you were completely alone in your writing process. What is that like to have total creative control over your music?

It’s great. I’m the most proud and the most excited about this release. In the past, I’ve written a lot myself, but them I’ve gone in a produced it a lot more and it’s gone in a different direction. At the time, I’m following that direction—I didn’t know what I wanted to sound like, and I was young so I was experimenting. But this is the first time in a while that I’ve done something, pretty much produced it all the way up until the point where I’m happy with all the sound, and then went in with my friend Steve and he gave it that last little lick of paint—that gloss on it that it needed. He enhanced some sounds that were already there, made some minor suggestions here and there. So, the song now does not sound that different from the demo I did in my bedroom, which I loved. It’s very exciting, because when you have all of these ideas and this world in your head that you so badly want to make a reality, it’s a lot easier to do that when there’s nothing in your way, and there’s no opinions in your way, or you don’t listen and you just do your thing—and then, bam it’s done. There are a few of my friends I worked with that I honestly couldn’t have done it without, too, and it was a real hands in the dirt, DIY job. Everyone helped out in their own creative way, and really helped bring it to life, so that’s why I think I’m the most excited about it, cause it’s working with a team on the creative levels, but I’m always manning the ship.

Yeah, I mean so much of anyone’s art is about the people they surround themselves with and the environment they’re in. Speaking of environment, I know you moved from Australia to London, and then over to the States. Do you feel like your music was affected with those shifts?

One hundred percent, definitely affected me. Australia, I started doing music with acoustic guitar—you know, singer-songwriter stuff. I’ve changed a lot since then—well, I would say evolved. I mean, I went from acoustic singer-songwriter to indie-pop with a band. Then, I was all of a sudden, “Oh my God, electronic music,” like Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack and Depeche Mode. I was like, “That’s kind of dark and groovy but it’s still melodic and it’s still catchy.” So I wanted to do something like that—that screams to me. So, I was doing that for a while, but the sound was a bit too 80’s. I wanted to pay homage to those inspirations, but not actually be that inspiration. So, I was like, “Fuck it, I’m moving to London.” I signed a label deal for three years, and whilst I was there I went to a lot of raves, and I thought, “Why wasn’t this available to me when I was fresh out of high school? This is amazing.” I’m listening to all this deep house, and tech-house stuff, really dark sounding basses, very simple melodic synth—fresh sounding, not from another era. So, that, to me, was a big influence and inspiration. Then I moved back to Australia briefly and was like, “You know what? I’m just going to try LA, I’m going to try it and we’ll see what happens.” Did that, came here, fortunately had a lot of friends here. Being surrounded by a lot of great creative people really set me off hitting the ground running in terms of inspiration and writing. I ended up writing a lot really quickly, and then I had like, 10 songs and they all sound pretty much like one body of work. I think this might be the sound I’ve been looking for, for like five years. [Laughs] So that was really cool. It came very naturally, too. I think traveling is important, moving and being nomadic is important. It opens your mind up to different influences and styles and singers that you may never have thought of and wouldn’t think would work—and voila!

Do you feel like now that you’ve found that sound that you were looking for, that you’ve kind of going to be married to that for a while, or that you’re open to continue evolving?

I think you always evolve, but I feel like I’ve experimented a lot, up to this point where I feel very comfortable and at home in this sound. I think it will only evolve from this. It won’t change quite drastically or go in a different direction. If anything, it will just grow more and more and enhance from the sound that I have right now. This kind of 80’s-esque inspired, a little bit dark, deep house-ish in some parts, atmospheric in other parts. It’s kind of all my inspirations, like sci-fi and horror films are in one and it’s coming through my music, which I love. So, I’m happy.

Cool. Well we love the new single, I’m excited to hear more.

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Featured image courtesy of Ruben Padilla

Stay tuned to Milk for more rising stars.

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