[Exclusive] Khiva Discusses her Musical Journey & the Importance of Soundsystem Culture in iEDM Interview
Khiva is one of Deep Dark and Dangerous’ most promising producers that has been captivating audiences with her deep and mysterious frequencies. She is quickly becoming a highly coveted artist at major festivals and nationwide venues over the last few years and is already one of the most widely recognized upcoming producers in the deep dubstep genre. We got to chat with Khiva after her recent performance at Shambhala Music Festival which was one of the inventive and memorable sets of the weekend.
iEDM: How was your experience being a part of the Deep Dark & Dangerous Showcase last night? Your set had such a distinctively intense style that captured everyone’s attention and they couldn’t seem to get enough of.
Khiva: Awesome I'm glad to hear that! DDD is like my family. The kind of sound that we push and love and the vibe that we've created for the label is really home. To be able to showcase that and have people there for that kind of sound and energy is amazing. Also, to have many people there that are new to the sound or new to Shambhala is awesome as well. The kind of stuff that we do is getting bigger but isn't mainstream yet and having people come to our sets and bringing this sound to the surface at a festival like this is the best feeling. Some people may complain about becoming mainstream, but the point of music is to share it.
iEDM: Definitely, deep dubstep is spreading in a way that still keeps that underground and grungy vibe alive anywhere because of the style of music.
iEDM: What was your inspiration for your sound design on your last DDD EP? It was such a dynamic sound that I’ve never really heard before.
Khiva: The tracks from Butterfly Effect probably came together over a year. It's funny, the title track Butterfly Effect was made on a day that I was really exhausted having just flown in from somewhere. I'm really hard on myself and was like I should be working on something but then I took a step back and decided to watch the movie Benjamin Button. I'm inspired a lot by films and that one was what ignited the sound for Butterfly Effect because of the jazzy New Orleans vibe. I love that style so it naturally ended up being a part of the rest of the tracks as well. The theme of the butterfly effect is something that I also think about a lot. Everything that you has a ripple effect. The impact and mark you make as a musician or artist once you release your music has a life of its own.
iEDM: I think this ties into the idea of how everything we do is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things yet is still significant in its own way which is a concept that can be applied to any level.
Khiva: And you’ll never really know the extent of it. That was the main inspiration behind that but it also served a guideline or landmark as to where I was musically at that time. I was listening to a lot of techno and was making it as well so you can hear that vibe in there. I also wanted to create dynamic soundscapes which you can hear in ‘Methods of Madness’. There were a lot of different influences for it but it came together quite cohesively.
iEDM: You are definitely one of the pioneering musicians in the deep dubstep genre. What direction would you like to see the genre go into in the future?
Khiva: Deep dubstep is predominantly bass oriented. It is very much focused on the low end and I just think that creating and building on the sound system culture is very important. Anything I make or play has that aspect and needs to be played on a sound system. Dubstep really started in the UK and they've always had such an appreciation for sound system culture and we are gaining that as well in North America. Making that culture the norm is what I want to see. I also want to see electronic music become the norm so people can open up their minds to something that they don't necessarily realize that they would absolutely love. Going into something such as a festival like Shambhala or a style of music with an open mind is important and even if you don't necessarily like it it will be in your sphere which is what counts.
iEDM: What are sources of inspiration you turn to for your creative process other than music? Are there any particular influences you feel impact your style?
Khiva: That's always been really big for me. I've always traveled a lot and it is always been a huge part of my life. I love being immersed in and seeing different cultures. I take a huge chunk of inspiration from the places that I travel, the people that I see, and the way that it makes me feel because at the end of the day it all comes down to emotion. When I'm not able to access those sorts of things, movies are huge to me. I love movies because of the access it gives you.
iEDM: Movies are great inspiration because they allow you to explore unlimited time periods and cultures instantly.
Khiva: Totally, you can really tap into anything that you want if you just make that call. I take inspiration from everywhere that I go and like to observe the world around me. Culture and people in different environments and ways of life that are different than my own is what brings me inspiration.
iEDM: I can definitely hear that in your music, especially when it comes to the sampling you use that comes from Eastern cultures. What is your process when it comes to finding those types of samples?
Khiva: I like to use as many organic elements as I can such as live recordings just because I like to convey a lot of emotion through my music and that organic aspect does that. I love using YouTube videos for samples which I just tweak to fit my needs or find a song that I like and play it on the midi. So when it comes to that kind of sampling, I really love to use as many live aspects as I can.
iEDM: Any words of advice for fellow aspiring producers on breaking into the music scene while maintaining authenticity and confidence - especially women? You’ve done an outstanding job at that.
Khiva: The main thing if you're trying to do anything although it can be tough is to believe in yourself, stay true to yourself, and really follow your heart. You have to be to learn to be strategic and disciplined in so many ways. At the end of the day don't try to sound like anyone, don't think that you have to listen to something and don’t think you have to sound like anything to make it just because that's what you see because that is not true. You have your vision in your head and you know what you want to do so just stay true to that and figure it out. Everyone's got their own path so just believe in yourself and keep plugging away. And when you're doing it from love and you're doing it from your heart you're going to figure it out and that's where you going to get the motivation and the power. You will also find people on the same wavelength as you to help you accomplish that. This can apply to anything you want to do in life or any artistic endeavor.
iEDM: Tell us a little more about your musical journey. Did you play any instruments or anything before getting into production?
Khiva: I was always into choir and vocals when I was a kid so I was always singing and I was always doing music. I've also written poems and songs since I was really young so I have always had an interest in it. Then I started getting involved with metal and going to a lot of metal shows as a kid so that was the first real scene I was involved in. I grew up in Victoria and Shambhala was actually my first electronic music festival. I was at an art show and I saw a girl there that I had met through the metal scene and she told me that I needed to go to Shambhala. I ran to my mom the next day and asked her to get me tickets because it was sold out in Victoria back in 2011 or 2012. This is now my 8th year attending the festival. Coming here was my first exposure to electronic music. It changed everything honestly. Shambhala is definitely a life-changer.
iEDM: How do you stay consistently motivated to chase your musical dreams in such a demanding and fast-paced industry?
Khiva: Sometimes you go through a period where you're working on stuff but it doesn't feel like that lights a flame under you or ignites you. For me, you have to constantly be seeking the next thing for inspiration and not be afraid to step outside the box. I've been looking for a lot of new stuff lately and a lot of my inspiration has been coming from places that I would have never thought and it's because I'm trying to do that. Put in the effort to make sure that you are inspired, don’t just say that you are going to wait for it to come.
iEDM: I think that flow in creativity is important, but you have to make extra effort in certain stages.
Khiva: Exactly, and it does come as a flow to a certain extent but you have to put in that work. For example, I'm actively seeking that inspiration and then all the sudden I find a band through that effort that I would have never listened to but now they're changing the entire way that I look at music and the way I'm wanting to make stuff and I'm so happy about it. So make sure you're always striving to feel that internal fire because when you get too comfortable that's when you get bored and you start to get things like writer's block, so keep it consistent.
iEDM: Any hobbies or practices you do to keep yourself grounded?
Khiva: For me, yoga has always been a huge thing that has been a part of my life since I was young just to stay mentally and physically grounded. I've been slacking lately because of touring but I really do feel like that is one of the main things that is useful for your physical and mental health. At least have some sort of routine or outlet. Even if I’m not consistent in my yoga practice, sometimes all I need is to wake up in the morning and not look at my phone or read emails and instead just make some coffee, go sit outside on the steps, and just breathe and be present.
iEDM: Any plans for new music soon? What can fans expect?
Khiva: I have some new stuff that is very much me and it is predominantly very vocal-based and bass-oriented. I will be singing in my new music, which has definitely been a long time coming. I have done vocals in my music before but this is very much based around the poetry and lyrics. Everything I’ve been doing artistically is coming together and I am really happy about it!
iEDM: What are your dream music collaborations?
Khiva: I love My Chemical Romance! They are my absolute favorite band. My dream collaboration would definitely be working with Gerard Way.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Khiva!
Stay up to date on more iEDM interviews HERE to hear from some of the best artists in electronic music!