SVFARI is the mysterious beat maker specialising in modern, innovative hip-hop-tinged R&B beats.
Having always been a DIY-creative from a young age, it’s not surprising that SVFARI is set on doing things his way. Working away in his backyard studio (which he built in order to make sure he can record whenever the feeling strikes, work for however long he needs to execute his vision and not have his creativity quashed by set studio timings) SVFARI’s attention to detail is impeccable. Working collaboratively alongside his brother, SVFARI creates raw, blunt and emotional R&B fusions that keep you hooked from start to finish.
Harnessing the energy of his home town London, SVFARI never seems to stop. From books to the Tate Modern, and even just being outside, SVFARI’s influences can be anything that he stumbles across. His new EP is an ode to the process of self-discovery, the importance of growing to have a wide perspective and think about the reality of life – deep, but SVFARI isn’t one to shy away. Harnessing his emotional and spiritual side through his lyrics, which are laid over recognisable yet pared back hip-hop basslines and smooth R&B to create a genre-fluid sound, SVFARI’s creativity is running free.
Where did the name SVFARI come from?
Earlier this year, when I was thinking of an artist name for the music I’d been making, I saw the letters SAFARI pop out when I glanced at my name written down, it’s an anagram of my surname. There was already a Swedish acoustic band and a few other artists called Safari, so I flipped the ‘A’ to ‘V’. On the plus-side it saves me from being mistaken for an internet browser.
You’ve been writing since you were 10 – what was your first song about?
My first full song I wrote was called “I’m Sorry”. I spent a lot of time drawing as a kid. I’d create my own characters, comics and make fan-art for my favourite songs. Most the teachers made it clear they’d rather I pay more attention, so I wrote a song apologising about the fact I preferred music and drawing over what we were being taught. Thinking back now, it sounds pretty funny.
You collaborate with your brother a lot – why do you work so well together and what’s your collaboration process like?
My brother and I were always on separate journeys with music. I would mostly write on keys or guitar and he was making sample based hip-hop beats that were better suited to rappers. Our collaboration began with me helping him with beats and him starting to give opinions on songs I’d written until eventually we started bringing them alive and finishing them together. We both bring something different to the table, it’s like Ying and Yang. The fact we’re brothers is great because we’re completely open with each-other, which also comes in handy if an idea sucks.
Why did you want to build your own backyard studio rather than work in a standard studio?
I’ve never liked the idea of having a time limit for creativity. Some of the best music we’re making right now comes as a result of following ideas that end up not working but instead inspire something we never would have thought of. I feel if I were renting a studio, I’d be focused on making the most of the time with less attention to detail. It took all summer to build but every day I’m so grateful to have a zone to feel completely free.
How has the London music scene shaped your sound?
The London music scene has a special place in my heart. I spent my whole teenage-hood in a band playing around the UK and mostly in London. One of the things I love about the London scene right now is that genres are crossing over like never before and a lot of young people seem to just love music rather than a single genre. I saw Tom Misch play in Peckham recently and the energy was crazy. I feel lucky to be able to step out into my city any night and know there’s something great going on; the energy sticks with me and I take it back to the studio.
“I try to make time to be in nature and new places or spend a day wandering around a gallery or exhibition, The Tate Modern is one of my favourite spaces in London. All new experiences leave me with new ideas.”
Is there anywhere unusual that you find inspiration?
I always find inspiration from books and people but recently I’ve found there’s something about open spaces that seems to open my mind. I try to make time to be in nature and new places or spend a day wandering around a gallery or exhibition, The Tate Modern is one of my favourite spaces in London. All new experiences leave me with new ideas.
Can you tell us about your new track “Switch Your Love”?
I wrote Switch Your Love when I found out that someone I was dating with had moved on right after we had some time apart and she seemed to be perfectly happy with someone new. At the time, I felt that if it was so easy to find somebody new so soon, she could probably switch back to me just as easily. I started questioning how much our time together really meant. Thankfully the feeling didn’t last too long, but long enough to get on the keys and write about it.
You’ve got your debut EP coming up soon – what’s it all about and how does it differ to your previous work?
The EP has a theme of a self-discovery. I wrote “Beautiful Human” and “Switch Your Love” when I was beginning to reflect on things more but I still felt like I was holding on to things and struggling to find some kind of contentment. I wrote the rest of the EP as I was beginning to have a wider perspective on everything and think more about what life is all about. The rest of the EP shows a more emotional and spiritual side through songwriting as well as the production.
For me 2017 is all about the playing live shows and putting out music regularly and collaborating with other artists, I want to show all the different sides of SVFARI. I get my kicks from performing the music just as much as I do making it, so my aim is to get that perfect balance to start the new year off. “