A call for unity inspired by tragedy, Kyva’s debut single “Wide World” is an intimate, ethereal, and spiritually affecting resistance song. Get to know the artist in our exclusive premiere and interview!
Stream: “Wide World” – Kyva
“It’s a wide world,” sings an impassioned Kyva on his debut single. Driving drums and a pulsing bass line propel the Australian singer/songwriter’s message forward as he repeats this refrain again and again, imploring listeners to rise up and fight for what they believe in. A call for unity inspired by tragedy, “Wide World” is an intimate, ethereal, and spiritually affecting resistance song.
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Kyva’s first single release “Wide World,” out September 13, 2019 via Frenchkiss Records. The solo project Sydney, Australia-based artist Kyle Linahan, Kyva’s (pronounced K-eye-Vah) introduction arrives in the form of a reverb-drenched exposition on activism and action in the face of defeat; hope in the face of hopelessness; and so on. Washed-out synths and jumpy guitars form a watered-down and de-emphasized background, atop which the artist’s subtle vocals ring strong.
“‘Wide World’ is a song of resistance in the face of cruel oppression,” Kyva tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s an affirmation for all outsiders and social others, a reminder of the strength of our communities and that we must stand and rise together.”
He continues, “The lyrics were largely influenced by the tragedy in Orlando at Pulse nightclub which I saw in the media, as well as the general state of racial and gender politics. I felt deeply for the victims of that tragedy and what helped me work through the anger and sadness was to imagine our communities as a rising tide, which are emerging slowly and cannot be erased.”
Defining his music as a blend of “alternative pop” influenced by everything from dark wave to soul, The Cure to Prince to Elliott Smith, Kyva arrives as an exciting addition to Sydney’s bustling indie music scene. Linahan is also one third of Sydney cosmic funk trio The Goods, but his solo material is unique to itself: His sound is distinctive, yet familiar — in large part, thanks to a predilection for big, buoyant, and enchanting melodies that encircle the ears as much in each verse, as in the chorus.
He explains, “I’ve been trying to connect with what the project means to me, what it is at it’s core and where it might sit in the world. I keep coming back to one recurring theme: a search for home and belonging. The word Avalon came up as both the name of a suburb where I grew up ( a place I have a deep connection to) and in Arthurian legend – a place associated with mystical practices/ figures, but I also liked that it’s a place that is unknowable. The project represents occupying a space between two worlds. The pull and push of that experience. I’d been playing around with the stage name KAI AVALON so naturally tried blending the two together in variations.”
Hence, Kyva is now born – debuting with a powerful message of unity and hope.
Get to know Kyva in our interview below, and stream his debut single “Wide World” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
Stream: “Wide World” – Kyva
Atwood Magazine How, do you feel “Wide World” compares to your previous material?
Kyva: “Wide World” is my first single and I think this project is different to other songs I’ve written, because it came pouring out of me in a pretty dark time.
What inspired this song?
Kyva: I was feeling pretty down with the state of the world at the time of writing this song. The lyrics were largely influenced by the tragedy in Orlando at Pulse nightclub which I saw in the media, as well as the general state of racial and gender politics. I felt deeply for the victims of that tragedy and what helped me work through the anger and sadness was to imagine our communities as a rising tide, which are emerging slowly and cannot be erased.
What is it about the song's message as an “affirmation for all outsiders” that speaks to you? Why was this an important subject to breach?
Kyva: I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider, and I guess everybody needs affirmation sometimes. Lately, I’m pretty creatively obsessed with the idea of being both seen and unseen. That’s always been my experience and It’s a pretty odd feeling. If you understand that then you might understand a bit of what it’s like to be othered. I think it’s important to speak to my personal experience and I hope others might connect with that.
There's a good deal of layered instrumentation here; how did “Wide World” start, and what was the process like of building it up?
Kyva: I wrote the song with two of my close friends and collaborators, Sam Lockwood and Heather Shannon. We we jamming and Heather was playing this descending Synth bass line that I loved and Sam started playing along on guitar…I started singing what came to me naturally and I think the full shape of the song was born there on a voice notes recording. I took the sketch away to craft lyrics to it and both Sam and Heather played all of the instrumentation. Sam also produced the finished studio version.
Musically, what inspires you? What do you look for sound wise, or song-wise?
Kyva: I’m inspired by people or stories that reflect my own experience. Musically I have always been a sucker for a sweet melody and always search for balance between hard and soft sounds in my own work.
Who else should I be listening to these days? Who's on your radar?
Kyva: I’m most interested in the work or artists within my immediate friendship circles or artists I have an affinity with. More broadly though I’m currently listening to Moses Sumney, Aldous Harding and (Sandy) Alex G.
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