KAWALA FAULT Magazine Cover shoot and Interview

When you’re a band that thrives on live performances like KAWALA is, the global pandemic might just be enough to destroy you. Luckily for all of us, the band took what could have been a disastrous year and channelled their energy into their songwriting and finding new ways to engage with their fanbase despite the lockdown. With a newly released single Chasing/Wasting and tour dates flooding in for later this year, we caught up with the band to discuss their process, their musical journey and, of course, their FAULTs. 

Can you tell us the inspiration behind ‘Chasing/Wasting Time’?

Perhaps it’s something everyone can relate to. When you’re working hard, it feels like your chasing time as it quickly runs out, and any moment you have free, you feel like you’re wasting time. Success is a long road, and time is your most useful vehicle. I guess this song is a way of telling myself to stay focused.

Are you forever double guessing yourself in the lead up to single releases, or are you content with knowing when music is ready for the public and to take on new meaning?

Naturally, but that’s the beauty of music and words. They help people in different ways, so we let them interpret the music however they like.

You’re kicking off your tour later this year, does it feel real yet?

It still feels like a bit of a dream, and we’re not going to believe it until we’re actually there. We can’t wait until that moment when we step out in front of a packed crowd without Covid restrictions. I went to see Brittany Howard the day before we went into complete lockdown, and it was like an absolutely incredible gig because we didn’t know when we would be able to do it again. 

 2020 was a crazy year. Has it influenced your songwriting in any way?

Surprisingly, it’s improved our songwriting. I don’t know how because we don’t have any new experiences to write about, but we have definitely improved. It’s helped that there’s nothing else to focus on, so the songwriting has become an escape for us. It can be a difficult time to release music so this is our way of escapism. We’re prone to writing uplifting and happy songs, and despite everything going on, we haven’t stopped doing so. It’s quite cool because, for a lot of people, they need happy escapism songs right now.

Are you disciplined with your songwriting, or do you prefer to go with the flow whenever inspiration hits? 

We’re quite proud of the melodies we write, which is a blessing and curse because it means we might write ten verses just to make sure we pick the very best ones. Sometimes we’re not the quickest writers because we want the quality to be so high. We set ourselves goals and try to achieve them, but it’s essential as a songwriter to stay relaxed; otherwise, you get lost chasing that hit. 

As you continue to grow in acclaim, does it start feeling unreal that your music is inspiring others?

I think it’s interesting to think about who as an artist we inspire. It’s still crazy to us when an artist who inspires us knows who are we are. If you ever get followed on Instagram by a more prominent artist, it’s such a weird “you know who I am!?” feeling. I’ve always been a big fan of Laura Mvula, I think she’s a musical genius, and it was so wild to see that she followed us recently. 

The music industry moves so quickly; do you ever feel pressure to keep up with the fast-paced release schedules?

I think that pressure is quite good. Churning out the songs is exciting because it means people are interested in finding out more about who KAWALA is as a band. I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to progress in our abilities, and I think one way to do that is always to be writing and enjoying the process. No matter what level we get to, we always want to showcase different sides of what we do. 

What would you say has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in order to take KAWALA to the next level?

On a major label, we’re in a very fortunate position; I don’t think there’s ever been like one main hurdle. It’s just been the constant battle of getting to the next stage. We are constantly growing, and I guess it’s natural to see other artists making leaps in a way that you haven’t – as obvious as that sounds, 2020 was a massive setback; we feel our recorded music isn’t the best showcase of what we do compared to our live shows. We thrive when the giggling, but I think we’ve really tried to do as much as possible to stay relevant at this time. 

Do you ever think about the listeners you’re writing for? 

I tend to think of our songs as self-help songs. We’re trying to help ourselves in the way that our music focuses on the journey and progression of our lives. You do naturally start to think, “Oh, are people going to sing this back”. I think we’ve really lucked out based on some of the shows that we’ve done that gave us such an incredibly wholesome relationship with our fans. 

What is your FAULT?

Forgetting people’s names and being control freaks!