Posted on December 5, 2023
In Depth with Sevy
Words by Oisín Campbell/ Design by Michael Savage
Multi-faceted Zambian/ Malawian act Sevy drifts on to London’s Tobago Tracks with elegance on their forward-facing ‘Merry Go Creek’ EP.
After premiering ‘Wanna War We I Know Why’ from the release, we spoke to the Sydney residing creative about their unique take on hip-hop, the battle of internet scenes versus the physical, global sound influences, and performance opportunities in their adopted city.
Listen to the first single here.
Sevy's deft lyricism interlocks effortlessly with their sometimes blurry, yet often crystalline rhythm textures encompassing dancehall, Naarm style R&B and soul, PluggnB, digicore, amapiano, kwaito & more.
Growing up absorbing sounds from Zambia, Malawi, Congo & South Africa, Sevy approaches production in an alté style combining influences from the digital world and their everyday surroundings in South Western Sydney. You’ll find a fitting punch, but many a soft landing in their every production.
A unique sound that sticks out like a sore thumb both online and in the land of Oz, there are many identifiable foundations within Sevy tracks, but the combinations are rare and come sandwiched together so elegantly.
It’s the seabed of platforms like SoundCloud that such works predominantly reside. You can stumble upon it through radio playlists and suggestions (if you’re looking hard enough), but how does the ‘SoundCloud sound’, so to speak, endure in the ‘real’ world?
Sevy’s individual experimentalism may not find much commonality in Sydney on the whole, but they have found ground with their peers through their differences as well as the intricate similarities depicted in their captured sound.
“Stylistically, sonically, I think the people most immediately around me are all pretty different. That's not to say people aren't pulling from some of the same places, or even that there are no clusters of similar sounds.”
“What I'd say is that there are a lot of people around with unique and interesting stories to tell, and approaches to telling them. People who are making great music that isn't super compatible with the mainstream, especially with how it's currently set up. And we are all kinda in our own lanes but a lot of us are into what each other are doing and we love to link and work together as well.”
Interconnectivity with friends and artists within their closest circles has bred influence and inspiration for both Sevy and the surrounding artistic community. Digging each other's work and sharing it around has led to a breaking down of the internet’s limitations, with crossovers in music, art, web and visual design, leading to a broader audience scope for everyone.
“There's a lot of people working in other fields creating work that can interface with the music in different ways. It feels like we're at a time where there's an awareness of our position, and a lot of people are excited about working with each other knowing we can do cool things together. Me and my mates have found ourselves referring to it as an ecosystem a lot. There's a growing network of different interconnected circles and collectives and stuff is beginning to converge in very interesting ways”.
Through CONTENT.NET.AU, Sevy and cohorts like Stealthy n00b, Glo, and D0ntplay, have been able to project their art with a global eye via DIY inventiveness. It's through this collective network that their ecosystem lives and grows. Their art challenges the world around them, taking aim at physical and social injustices in a progressive & informative manner. They have a stringent outlook on Australia's main cities of Melbourne & Sydney where they reside, strictly referring to them by their respective indigenous names of Naarm & Eora. They channel youth culture through their interactive website, music videos & merchandise, offering a snippet into their underground.
Sevy has released on the imprint on a number of occasions, more recently with their statement single ‘FOWL’ and its accompanying lyric focused music video. Digital art consistently stands in close quarters with the crew, but they manage to have their own take on internet culture at every given opportunity. For Sevy, often the main things that influence their sound, and the different musical worlds and spheres they keep up with, have come from online experiences.
This combination of internet influence, coinciding with Sevy’s rich multicultural upbringing has opened their creative mind to venturing far rhythmically in a way that has almost become second nature to them.
“I think it has become a natural aspect of my production. There are so many fun rhythms in the world. So many fun ways people will approach a beat. You can literally do anything you want”.
The influence of physical space and the everyday surrounding world has also become an influential aspect in their productions. At its core, ‘Merry Go Creek’ is a personal reference to the planned outer towns of Sydney, with the music capturing a familiar sense of dichotomy - suburban slog meets irreplicable natural beauty. There is a vivid rigidness to a lot of the rhythm structures on the EP that act as platforms for Sevy’s soft toasting style, helping us to visualise the aforementioned social polarity they allude to in Sydney.
“Recently I've become more aware of how space impacts my music - I've been thinking about this as I've gotten into city planning videos. I don't drive, it's kinda tricky to get to certain places. So I feel like I'm not in the studio with other people a lot. It sometimes feels like there's a bit of an island effect where I've had to sort of figure out my own ways of doing things. I have a sorta scavenger character that I bring out in the music sometimes. Going out looking for bits and pieces for all the lil tasks I have to do.
I’ve been able to get in the studio a bit more recently which I'm really grateful for. It's always so much fun when you get in a session and everyones in the mood and on form”.
There is an undeniable musicality on ‘Merry Go Creek’ with tracks like ‘Waistline’ & ‘Dime’ giving way to Sevy’s performative powers, thriving on a melting pot of genres and relaxed funk tones. ‘Wanna War We I Know Why’ & ‘Don’t Rush’ both thrive on the feel of flotation, capturing a sense of stagnation meets mutation as new energies emerge throughout the process, also alike on ‘OPG (Woah Reprise)’. ‘Domino 2’ is more of a gritted teeth number that plays on the auras of acts like Playboi Carti, embodying a deeper, darker side of their sound world.
Within Naarm & Eora, the movement of Sevy is beginning to gain more & more traction. Performances with TRACKWORK at the illustrious Sydney Opera House, and a host of shows with the CONTENT.NET.AU team have sprung their sound on to a wider map.
“I’ve been able to perform more in recent years - a lot of the time alongside friends. This year has been cool. I performed with a live band for the first time while supporting mates. It was so much fun, I was like wow (pointing at a butterfly meme) is this jazz. I did my first headline show, it was a cute lil gig. I dressed up as some kind of fish-creature. There was also a big content.net.au set that was really cute, where we were all on stage taking turns doing songs. I’m excited about performing more! And I feel like I'm still working out what I want to do. I'm tinkering, turning dials, discovering what's possible, what's comfortable”.
The Sevy sound is now UK bound with the timely release of ‘Merry Go Creek’ forthcoming on TT this December 12th. It’s a deeply thoughtful piece of work from an artist breaking new ground, and applying their own specific and indefinable lens to music.
The second single ‘Waistline’ has just dropped over on offline meeting point. Get stuck in!