After dropping a number of quality projects, New Zelander KVKA is establishing himself as a preeminent artist in the hip-hop scene. Blending hardcore hip-hop, boom bap vibes and raw soul, his latest release, the ‘Outlierz EP’ further solidifies his place in the ever-changing scene by kicking it old school. The EP is a collaborative effort with legendary NZ producer DENZ 1 which brings his own take on soulful boom bap hip-hop.
We spoke to KVKA on the day of the ‘Outlierz EP’ release about the meaning behind it. When he linked up with DENZ 1 and making it into the semi-final of the Wellington Def Jam showcase Victor McMillan writes.
How did you first come up with the name KVKA and is there a meaning behind it?
Yeah so my name is Makiivka which came from kvka, back in Latin writing they wrote u’s as v’s because they couldn't carve a curve so I thought that was cool and plus I’m the first born so that was another part of it.
When did you and DENZ 1 initially link up and what was it about his production that drew you to want to work on a collaborative EP?
Me and DENZ met through my old producer Tony Douglas, me and him had started a collective and a label called Stay Savage and DENZ was a part of it so initially met him in Hamilton when I was working on my music. He then joined the crew and I decided to come out to Wellington for shows and was staying at his place and just got real inspired by all the analog work that he does and all the records so I just got inspired to do something old school.
The Outlierz EP was released today, in your eyes, how does it differ from some of your previous work?
It’s definitely taking a step back into how I used to rap and the boom bap style I originated in. But it’s different in a way that its more raw hip-hop and its more of a dirty grungy New York style of hip-hop and also more of a New York style neo-soul vibe. I was taking the Freddie Joachim style of boom bap vibe mixed with a Busta Rhymes I guess.
And a little bit similar to some of the artists DENZ has worked with before like The Outsidaz and The Fugees.
Yeah definitely because I do a bit of singing and I’m definitely heavily inspired by The Fugees. It is very different from what I have been dropping, it’s less contemporary and more focused on the boom bap aspect and the lyricism rather than melody tone and cadences, stuff like that, its just real raw and grungy.
With the way in which the world is now connected through technology, how much do you think where an artist is from still matters in the grand scheme of things?
I think in more of general life view it wouldn't matter but personally I do think it matter that you represent where you’re from because where you’re is where you are going to develop different aspects and your whole type of vibe rather than being like someone from another place. Definitely it doesn't matter as much now, in terms of sound, you have a whole bunch of people from different places but as long as you have originality and have your own vibe I think your origins and where you come from does come through, you always go back to it you know. It is important but it’s not as important at the same time.
You have made it to the semi-final of the Wellington Def Jam showcase, what has this experience been like so far and what do you think of your chances going into tonight’s show?
I’m confident, I always try and go into shows as confident as I can because at the end of the day because how you fell inside will show when you are on stage. If you have a lot of confidence and a good stage presence you can learn how to control the crowd. I feel that I definitely do have a good chance and even if I didn't I wouldn't say that out loud (laughs).
Have you got any plans for any shows in Australia?
We are hoping so, mainly just waiting for people to contact us and then we’ll see what we can do from there. We want to come over as soon as we can, we’ve got a lot of support and I’d definitely want to see the people.
What Stimulates Your Soul?
Music, vibrations, frequencies, vibes, that stimulates my soul. Energy is a very big thing for me, I pick up on peoples energies very easily, so if there’s not a good energy my soul is kind of bummed out. So I’m always looking for energy and positive frequencies.
Purchase the EP here.