INTERVIEW: Wafia

Over the past couple of years, Wafia has created a unique impact through her captivating and emotionally charged tracks and her growing live show. ‘Bodies’ and ‘Heartburn’ highlighted that emotional side while recent singles ‘I’m Good’ and her Louis The Child collaboration ‘Better Not’ showcased a playful new side.

With her growing online presence sky rocketing, she’s teamed up with Louis The Child again for a new single from her highly anticipated forthcoming EP in early 2020. ‘Hurts’ is a bouncy pop song that explores a toxic relationship that is constantly clouded by fighting and words being carelessly thrown around, and all she wants is some peace.

The EDM banger has been perfectly intertwined with her inclusion on the Listen Out line up where she’s impressing massive crowds on the main stage. 

I recently chatted to Wafia about teaming up with Louis The Child on ‘Hurts’ for the second time, discussed the contrast of conveying toxicity through EDM and reflected on the shows at Listen Out 2019 so far. Check it out HERE;

TB: Your new single ‘Hurts’ featuring Louis The Child and Whethan is out now and reflects a bit on toxicity and the hard times we can experience in a relationship. But what I found really interesting was the contrast of the production that layered a positive feeling. So why was that contrast important for you with this track? 

W: Just because I feel that sometimes not every sad song has to feel sad. Just because you are going through a sad or hurt emotion doesn’t mean you can’t party through it. I guess that’s what I wanted to do with ‘Hurts’. 

TB: I feel like it also perfectly kind of continues the story of ‘Better Not’

W: Yeah! It definitely has that feel. It wasn’t intentional, it’s just the way the song is and when you have Louis The Child and Whethan on the track it’s inventible. But that’s also why they needed to be featured on the track because it doesn’t exactly sound like the stuff I’m working on solo wise. 

TB: The lyrics that really stood out to me in the track were “We can use some silence over war”. So what is your favourite lyric from the track?

W: Oh that one is my favourite too! Because it’s about someone that keeps digging a hole for themselves with everything they say which is essentially what the whole song is about. Like if they were to just shut up for one second they would have a chance to redeem themselves but they keep adding salt to the would. So I feel like that line sums it up perfectly. 

TB: You played ‘Hurts’ in your live show a few months ago at Big Pineapple Festival. So after you premiered it live, have you gone back and played with anything after hearing the audiences reaction to it and feeling it out on the live stage? 

W: If I’m playing a song live it means that it’s done and everyone has signed off on it. I would never play a song that I’m not sure about or still working out. I know that some artists do that but I’m really precious about what I share. 

As much as I love the audience, it’s my music and I need to put it in a place that I’m happy and confident with that isn’t based on how a audience receives it. Once the song is out, the audience will always react differently to how you imagine it so you need to be in a place where you a confident with it. 

TB: ’Hurts’ marks the second time you’ve worked with Louis The Child. So after forming a friendship with this duo how was the creative process different compared to ‘Better Not’? And where on the timeline did this track come together? 

W: It was written in May or March last year, which was after ‘Better Not’ was released. It actually took us a while to get Louis The Child on the track, like we didn’t get them on the track until Christmas because Wheathan was already on the track and we were figuring out where the song was sonically going. 

However it felt like there was parts missing so it felt right to hit the boys up and get them on ‘Hurts’ to do a follow up track. 

TB: What did you like about Louis The Child as a duo or the way they work that has sparked a different creative side to you? 

W: They just brought a fun energy to the music. They allowed the process and feel of the song to be upbeat which I had gone before on ‘I’m Good’ but not to the EDM extent of the territory. It’s definitely been fun to experiment with that genre a little and find a different energy. 

TB: ’Better Not’ was my favourite song of 2018, and I very proudly tell people that even if some people have no idea what song I’m talking about. Because what I loved about it was the hopeful love story of trying to convince someone to not give up which was integrated with this really playful DIY beat that felt like it was from the early 2000’s. So how did this track come about? 

W: ‘Better Not’ had come about because we had approached Louis The Child to do a remix of one of my songs. Robby from Louis The Child was my producers housemate at the time. So I was already spending a lot of time at their house using their studio and hanging out with the guys *laughs*. 

We approached them to do a remix and it was actually their A&R that suggested we just do a session together and do a song. 

Honestly, I was so super nervous because I was trying to figure out how it was going to work as they are a EDM group and I wasn’t sure how I would fit into that. But then Wrabel was in the room wand he helped us work on ‘Better Not’ so quickly and since then I worked with him on ‘I’m Good’ and the next single after ‘Hurts’ which is really exciting. I’ve written quite a lot now with him which is cool because we only met that day. 

I just wanted to write something sweet because you don’t really hear that in EDM music. So I wanted to work on it from that perspective. So I took away what I liked from dance music, like I love artists like Robyn, so I wanted to play with that style and approach which I think really influenced the emotional touch it has.

I just love how ‘Better Not’ came together because at no point did I need to give them notes, they are just such a team. 

TB: With tracks like ‘Better Not’, ‘I’m Good’, ‘Heartburn’ and ‘Bodies’ leading the way with millions of streams on Spotify and Apple Music. Where is one of the weirdest places you’ve heard one of your songs played? 

W: I’ve heard that it’s played at Taco Bell which to me is huge because I love Taco Bell *laughs*. I don’t really eat American fast food but I do like it when I’m a little sneaky high in California and go to a Taco Bell at 1am *laughs*. 

TB: You’ve just done your first run of shows last weekend for Listen Out. So how did those shows go and was your biggest takeaway from the sets and the crowd?

W: Just that my music can be fun! It’s also my first time on a main stage at a festival, so I really appreciate the promoters and organisers for giving my music that platform. No one has ever trusted me with a main stage before and I don’t take that very lightly. I’m taking that opportunity to grow as a performer and work on my skills and banter. 

i’m just having so much fun already on this tour, and I brought out my American band and they are smashing every single show. I just feel the music differently with them and I think it translates. 

TB: You’re no stranger to playing festivals, and while they can be a lot of fun, they can also be some of the hardest gigs you can ever do. So what is one of the biggest things you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist and performer from playing festivals and learning to win over a crowd that may not know who you are?

W: Just that I can do it! For the longest time I didn’t believe I could and I didn’t think I could dance but I’ve made a lot of changes to my health recently which has been very helpful in me approving as a performer and has helped my confidence boost. 

I’ve learnt that I can be a main stage act if you give me that opportunity. So again, I’m so grateful to Listen Out for giving me that opportunity and believing in me. 

Remaining Listen Out 2019 Dates

Saturday 5 October – Centennial Park, Sydney 

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