New Zealand artist Liv Jones first featured on our website roughly six months ago following the release of her debut single Callin' ur Phone. We were fortunate enough to speak with Liv about her career so far, her writing process, along with some of her favourites & influences within music.
ITNOR: Were you surprised with the reaction of Callin' ur Phone? Did it meet your expectations?
ives. : It was amazing, I genuinely had no idea it would be received that way. I think it has close to 40,000 plays on soundcloud, it's on iTunes, Spotify.. I absolutely did not think that was going to happen. To be honest I've had the concept/idea of ives. for such a long time, I've been writing so much music, to finally be able to share something I've been working on (with Mark, aka merk) - that was what it was about. We didn't push it, it wasn't about how it would be received, I just really wanted to share it with people. We only really shared it with my friends on facebook first and then it just spread (organically). It was amazing to see, and it makes me so excited for the next song (which is coming out soon).
I'd never done anything on that kind of scale before, I'd never had a song produced before. I'm just really excited by it [laughs].
How’d you link up with Baytek for Change?
That was at the start of 2016 when I was still kind of living in Sydney. Baytek is based in Wollongong (just out of Sydney). I got in contact with the label that he's with through a friend I danced with in 2015. Her boyfriend is a DJ with that label, she managed to help set it up and somehow it all came together. She told them what I was about, and they didn't have any kind of expectations, so I sent through some demos. He sent me the instrumental - it sounded so different to anything I'd worked on before. I did a voice memo on my phone of the vocal to go alongside it. I was back in NZ at that point, so they flew me over, and we had a few weeks in the studio (recording that). I'm really proud of that song, it was such a cool experience to work with Chad (Baytek). I'd definitely do that again.
Do you see yourself working with different types (genre-wise) of producers but still ultimately under the umbrella of pop music?
For ives. tracks I know what sound I'm after, but yeah I think ives. is also capable of sounding different on featured tracks. If that makes sense. I learnt so much from doing the song with Baytek. You learn so much more working with others than you do just by yourself. That's why I love working with Mark (merk) so much because we think so similarly but he has so much more (extra) to offer, his ideas & perspectives and everything are great to work with.
Are you always scribbling down lyrics & ideas at random parts of the day when you find inspiration?
Yeah, my voice memos on my phone are just sitting there, none of them have names, I don't know what any of them are - they're just random recordings [laughs]. I even have the Baytek hook in there.
Lyrics are great, you can write lyrics down, but a melody is a lot better (for me) to have. I generally tend to write melody first without lyrics (which is also what Bon Iver does)! I find that the lyrics come to me quite easily after the melody.
What have you got in the works for this year?
I'm working on an EP - really excited for that. Some videos as well. I don't want to give too much away about those!
What were you listening to in 2016?
I love Bon Iver's album 22, A Million. Channel Orange - that's a classic. It was getting me hyped for Blonde. OutKast - Aquemini. It's crazy how much hip-hop music can indirectly effect pop music. A little bit of MAALA as well, of course! Sampha, Erykah Badu..
Who would your dream collaborators be?
James Blake, Bon Iver (I'm just obsessed). If Nina Simone was still alive that would be a dream. James Vincent McMorrow. Matt Corby - I watched him do a cover of Chains by Tina Arena on Triple J. It's amazing - just the ease that he sings with, how is this sound coming out of your body? How is this happening? [laughs]
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