Georgi Kay Interview
How much have your friends and family played a part in your career so far?
My mum, dad and girlfriend are my biggest support systems. They are there for me no matter what, through the good and the bad. And my best friends are the most caring, supportive and loyal souls I know.
They have all played a huge part in my career thus far. Keeping me grounded and shedding light and clarity during my darkest hours.
Without them I would not be the person I am today.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
I don’t think there was ever a specific moment where I decided to pursue music professionally. I was young and I opened myself up to all opportunities and possibilities that came my way. I just kept my head down, focused and did my best to remain humble throughout my journey.
Winning music awards were probably the most pivotal moments that made me realise that the music I was creating was making waves through the masses.
Those moments and successes were like tiny stepping stones, reminding me that my work not only had heart, soul and substance to me, but also to others.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
Johnny Cash, Bjork, Madonna, The Killers (1st album only), Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Robyn, The Beatles, The Doors, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Grace Jones…just to name a few. My dad would play such an array of eclectic artists and music styles when I was a kid. I didn’t know it at the time, but I guess subconsciously all of those artists had an everlasting impression on me.
I rarely listen to music anymore but if I do, it’s usually to an artist or band that are unique and have their own special sound to them – one that no other could imitate.
There’s boldness and self-respect in those types of artists.
And that is something I truly admire.
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
I love watching anime, I enjoy drawing and I’m currently reading Red Dragon by Thomas Harris.
What song of yours best describes you and why?
‘Lone Wolf’ off my debut album ‘Where I Go To Disappear’. It’s my sad yet hopeful loner’s anthem. When I perform it live it brings me the same melancholic joy that it did when I first wrote it. I feel whole and broken at the same time, every time I sing it. It’s contradictory to itself, just like I am. It reminds me that you have to accept the negative of the self in order to transform it into the positive.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Last year I flew back to Australia to play Splendour In The Grass festival with my DJ friends Carmada. We had written a song together that we were debuting at the festival, which we ended up performing live for the first time to over 10,000 people.
It was the shortest three and a half minutes of my life, but damn it was an incredible experience!
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
Have you ever seen Kill Bill? The epic fight scenes that take place in the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ location was actually a studio set based off a restaurant in Minato-ku in Tokyo, called ‘Gonpachi’.
Although the Kill Bill version isn’t a real place, it’s a space I’d die to perform in.
Such an incredible vibe! And the film junkie within me would be happy forever.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
I would have to say my best achievement to date is ‘In My Mind’. I originally wrote the song with Aussie DJ’s Feenixpawl and Ivan Gough. Axwell then remixed it and that became the “original” version that made waves across the EDM scene worldwide back in 2012. I won an ARIA and multiple APRA awards for my songwriting and performance of the song. We even got a Grammy nomination for it too.
Then last year in 2018 Lithuanian DJ Dynaro remixed it again, and ‘In My Mind’ skyrocketed yet again up the charts to #1 worldwide status – collecting over half a billion Spotify streams, reaching #1 on Spotify, Apple Music and Shazam in over 12 markets along with sitting in the Spotify Top 50 in over 40 countries.
It’s recently gone 2x platinum in Australia. All incredible achievements for just one song – I’m overwhelmed and eternally grateful for its success and power. Truly amazing to see a song I wrote be tattooed on countless people’s bodies, sung by hundreds of thousands of fans at live shows and performed by every top DJ under the sun. It’s unbelievable and incredible to see that this song still has so much life in it, even 6 years on!
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
There’s plenty, but I like to keep those to myself. They mean more that way.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
I like the therapy behind writing a song. Some people go to the gym and box, or ride their vintage motorbikes on long road trips. Others go to actual therapy or even confide in friends. Whatever it may be, everyone has their outlet of release. Mine just happens to be writing, and in particular, songwriting.
It’s also a pretty amazing feeling performing something you created from nothing live to an audience of people who add their own meaning to your words. I always love hearing what people think my song means – because 9 times out of 10 it’s never what the song actually means. It’s always so interesting and heart-warming to hear someone else’s perspective on something you created.
If you were not in the job you are now, what would you be doing?
Photography, writing novels, voice acting for anime and cartoons, or studying sharks…probably.
What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan and can you tell us about it?
Ah man, I’ve seen a few! Depeche Mode at The O2 in London was incredible. Gorillaz performing the Plastic Beach tour in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia was amazing too. And Bruce Springsteen in Sydney was insane!
I’ve been to a lot of festivals too. There’s honestly so many it’s difficult to pick just one!
What would your ideal festival line-up be and why?
If I could have it my way, I’d live in a castle in the middle of the British countryside – with a ginormous lawn out the back stretching as far as the eye could see. I’d lay on a daybed with a Moscow mule in hand, the warm English sun beating down, and classical music would be played live on a huge stage before me. Just me, myself and I – listening to the tranquil sounds of classical pieces performed live in the British countryside. Absolute bliss.
What would you say has been the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Surrender to yourself. Work hard, stay humble.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
Now that would be a VERY long list.
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
I enjoy reading, drawing, writing (poems, stories), watching horror, thriller and sci-fi films, gaming (loyal PlayStation fan), cook, go on walks, photograph things I see, read up on science and astronomy.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry and how do you cope with using social media to build a profile in music?
I think that like most things in life, social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps artists who are at various levels of success share themselves and their work with the world, yet on the other hand it means they are also up against so many other artists. It’s an insane amount of competition to battle against, and often many artists find themselves drowned out by the constant noise and content that is shared to the world every few seconds by others. If you’re not careful you can really get lost in negative thoughts about yourself – doubting yourself or thinking that because you have small numbers of listens, likes, follows or views that you are insignificant and lesser than other more noticed artists out there. But that is not necessarily true.
I think it is important to make social media and the internet work for you, but not to let it consume you. Before social media there was a different way of surviving this industry, and since social media that environment completely changed. We all had to adapt if we wanted to attract the attention of the masses, and if we wish to stay relevant and poignant, then we will have to continue to adapt to survive – because the music industry, like so many other entertainment industries, is constantly changing.
How important do you think your look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
It’s far too important for my liking. I don’t like it. That’s not what music’s about.
Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and their significance to you?
I have 10 (I think). They all mean something different and special to me. You’ll end up with a novella if I went into it all! But what I can tell you is that all tattoos on my left arm are of natural, organic origin – whilst all tattoos on my right arm are man-made. So I have organic and synthetic perfectly balanced on each arm. Just like my music and outlook on life.
If you ran the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
I would immediately resign, appointing a descendant of cats as my successors.
What would your ideal day consist of?
Most likely a coffee, some journaling, drawing, reading, petting of a handful of cats, photographing some flowers, going for a walk, watching a great horror film, and having a beer with one of my good mates.
Can you tell me as much as you can about any new releases, gigs or anything else coming up soon?
Of course. I am about to film my music video for one of the song’s off my debut album ‘Where I Go To Disappear’ called ‘American Psycho’. I feel it’s going to be my favourite shoot yet and I’m so excited to create something weird and wonderful to accompany one of my favourite songs off the new album. I’m really pumped to see how it turns out!
After that, I’ll be touring with my friend LP on a handful of her North American tour dates (specifically Ponte Vedra, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta & Nashville) before performing at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March.
I’m currently working on new songs for future release later this year as well.
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
Thank you for your constant support, patience and passion. I love you all.
How would you answer the question who is Georgi Kay and what are the differences between you as an artist and you away from music?
Hmm…that’s a good question!
‘Georgi Kay is somewhat of an enigma. Whilst she wears her heart on her sleeve, there is an unreachable depth to her that no other can understand. Fully aware of her flaws and imperfections, she knows she will be her own demise. A lone wolf in a world full of white noise, she longs to reach the highest and most unrealistic of expectations – to live in a fantastical dreamscape where she feels she truly belongs, and where she reigns King. There is endless sadness in her eyes, and if you look closely you can see a small child lying scared within them, afraid of the monster it may become. Yet there is joy in her smile, for she accepts these truths, and admits her place in the world. This melancholic joy emits profusely from her soul, a raw and beautifully sad honesty that spreads across all aspects of her life. There is no difference between her music and her true self. They are one and the same.’
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
I remember is listening to the Lion King and Top Gun soundtracks on my Walkman as a kid. I would dress up as Simba and run around the house jumping on furniture and dancing.
What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Don’t let others get you down. It is your life to live and yours alone. Learn to better yourself and to expand your horizons. Stay focused, work hard and remain humble. Surrender to yourself and most importantly, enjoy what you create!
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Royksopp. Kaytranada. Rufus Du Sol. Kamandi. All artists/producers who have a distinctive and eclectically textural sound about them. Would be amazing to collaborate with any of them!
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Easy. ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff.
Apparently the song has earnt Mariah over 60 million dollars since its release back in November 1994. And even though I would have only been a year old at the time and insane amounts of money don’t matter to me…if I want to live in that castle I mentioned earlier than yes, yes I would have written this, ha!
What things make you uncomfortable?
The thought of nails scraping down blackboards. The sound boiling water makes when it fills a mug.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
It’d be a psychological thriller for sure. An anti-hero struggling with an identity crisis and a personal vendetta against a list of victims, peppered with a fuck load of gruesome murders. Sounds pretty gripping to me!
What has 2019 got in store for you?
New music. New live shows in places I’ve never played in before, to new audiences. New creations, new friends and working relationships to make and nurture. Overall, new experiences to create and encounter. A lot of exciting things that are moments away from taking place, with even more to follow.