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SPOTLIGHT ON CHYMES

Karma is out now!

Image: Rocket Weijers


Australian alt-pop artist Chymes recently unveiled her sophomore EP, Karma, We caught up with the singer to chat about the release, the therapeutic nature of songwriting, the impact of social media and more!



Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and what led you to pursuing a career in music?


I grew up loving music, I was obsessed with Michael Jackson as a kid, I’m talking from like 6 years old and beyond. I used to watch the “Michael Jackson Number Ones” dvd on repeat. My sister had also learnt guitar and singing and she taught me some chords on guitar and I just took off from there. I taught myself because I can’t read music and started singing lessons. It was definitely therapy for me and I’d come home from school and spend hours in my room watching videos of Ed Sheeran on YouTube and copy how he played guitar. Eventually I started writing my own really really bad songs. I kind of always knew it was what I wanted to do with my life.




Your sophomore EP, Karma, navigates and critiques toxic friendships and relationships. What drew you to documenting this theme on the body of work?


That’s a good question. I’m not exactly sure if I’m honest. I just feel like I’ve experienced a lot of bad friends and it felt like a theme I hadn’t seen a lot in music and at the time I was going through a friendship break up so it just felt natural to me.




How does songwriting and in particular working on Karma, help you process and navigate what’s going on in your life and relationships?


Well, firstly I think it’s a really fun artistic process to take a situation or emotion and turn it into something musical, relatable, fun, silly… something that encapsulates the whole thing but with melody and production. It’s hard to describe it as anything else other than therapeutic. It’s like this thing you went through is nearly wrapped up in a box now and every time you listen or sing it it’s like being able to open it up and remember and then put it away again… does that make sense? Haha!




How did you arrive at the alt-pop sonic realm EP exists within?


Honestly I am influenced by so many different genres of music, different elements or moments of individual songs, certain sounds etc. It’s hard to pinpoint how I “arrived” at the sonic realm. I just do what I like and what sounds good to me haha! I do however really like to contrast darker pop production with my soft vocal. I feel like it’s very satisfying to me and also balances out how sweet my vocal can sound (things can sound “Disney” reeeeeal fast for me lol). I really love the contrast, the “opposites” of things and this mix of angelic and dark is exciting to me.




Which three songs off the EP would you pick to play to someone who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan and why?


Oh god haha. Well I wouldn’t pick all 3 from just this EP alone. I feel like each “era” I’ve gone through has showcased something slightly different so I’d probably want to pick from my whole discography! (Because I don’t just make music about friendship breakups, which is what Karma mostly is.) Maybe Gasoline, Death Wish, Black Hole Friend and Feel Better??? I don’t know!




Is there a particular motif, line or lyric from the record you’re most proud of, or one that you return to more often than the rest?


Hm… not necessarily but I really love how fun Karma feels, it’s got this sense of letting go, almost euphoric, upbeat and non-serious in a way? A little moment in time that just reminds me to not get so caught up in the bullshit and let karma take care of it.

I also really love “I can be all the things that you think are crazy” from Gasoline because it’s this kind of fun psycho behaviour that we all feel sometimes especially after being pushed to your limit and gaslit.




If Karma was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would best capture the album?


Wtf!!!! I have no idea omg this made me laugh. Maybe The Scream??? Hahaha




How did the EP evolve throughout its creation, from initial ideas to the body of work we hear today?


I had actually written it last year so it’s been ready to release for a while but covid messed things up for me. The songs are mostly the same from how we wrote them in the session. We struggled with Karma the most because it’s to me it feels VERY different from my usual sound but I loved the lyric concept and wanted to push myself to try something new. If I’m honest, I’ve written a lot since then (and the new songs are fireeee) so I feel like emotionally I’ve definitely moved on from who I was when I wrote the Karma EP.




You’ve grown a massive audience on TikTok with your engaging videos, how important has the platform been for you as a tool to reach new audiences and how do you think platforms like TikTok can change the trajectory of an artists career?


I think TikTok is definitely the leading platform for someone’s music career, and is the most essential. I definitely struggle with TT and get frustrated at the ever changing algorithm but it’s just something you gotta work with now. This is the climate we are in and no amount of moping around will change that! I think it’s an incredible app to reach people and it’s so unique in that way. It’s 100% worth putting time and effort into, even if it feels fruitless at times.




Will fans be able to catch you on tour, and what can audiences expect from one of your live shows?


Hopefully soon yes! I’m currently working on my live set to do shows for the latter half of this year. People can expect dark pop sassy sensual ethereal realness lol!!



RAPID FIRE


Biggest influences?

Selena Gomez, BANKS, Melanie Martinez, Madison Beer


Dream collaboration?

Omg um… any of the above ^


Album that has had the most impact on you?

Charlie Puth “Voice Notes” it’s such a good pop album!


How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Dark pop ethereal???? Idk


Best song of 2022 so far?

Maniac by Stray Kids


If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Ummm


Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Omg don’t ask me that!!!! I grew up with Hannah Montana, but Miley is iconic and I love her music


What was the first song you loved to sing?

Ed Sheeran “The A Team” or The 1975 “Chocolate”


A song you would love to cover on tour?

I actually have a Selena Gomez cover in my set alreadyyyyyy hehe


Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

Charlie Puth “Voice Notes” or Ariana Grande “Dangerous Woman”


First concert you went to?

Gwen Stefani


Best concert you have been to?

One Direction for sureeeee


First album you ever bought?

Probably One Direction


Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

Spice Girl


DEPENDING ON PREVIOUS ANSWER:

If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

“Cry Baby Spice” lmao


OR

What’s your favourite back street?



Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

Ohhh hmmm well I did an awesome show at the beginning of 2020 which was lots of fun, I also did a BTS event that year too which was so lovely. I also really enjoyed playing on the main stage of Lost Paradise festival.


Guilty music pleasure?

None!!! I have no shame. I love singer-songwriter, kpop, rap, hip hop, pop, electronic etc etc


If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Selena Gomez, BANKS, Melanie Martinez, Madison Beer


An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

There isn’t just one! I personally feel like lately there hasn’t been any one specific person that has come out and done something that’s changed the game drastically, but throughout the years there’s been heaps!


Probably Michael Jackson I guess. He did such a good job of blending genres at the time, drawing influences from his younger music days and bringing his own new flavour. People now are still so influenced by what he created.


What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Take care of your mental health


The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

Probably when I discovered Ed Sheeran lol!



Karma is out now!