Keep doing your work, keep learning and develop a specific vision for your artistry. There’s always going to be negativity from others or people trying to bring you down but you just can’t give into it.
Meet Sisters Kelly Kawaii and Sophie Kowai, also known as the powerful pop duo, Novelties.
Based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter sisters launch a new wave of do-it-yourself artists. Both entirely self-taught, Kelly produces the tracks, merging her innovative pop production with Sophie’s poetic lyrics. “Kelly self-produces the music, Sophie co-writes the lyrics and joins her on vocals.
The duo’s new single, “Pillow Talk” became an instant tastemaker favorite and quickly gained new music discovery buzz overnight on popular music blogs, indie radio and curated Spotify playlists. Sexy, ethereal and lyrically captivating, the single evokes a seductive ambisonic melody with words that whisper softly to the soul.
We had the honor of interviewing the band, where they share their songwriting inspiration, advice for all womxn in music, and what the future holds for these incredibly talented babes.
As self-taught musicians, what initially inspired you to pursue music?
Kelly: I’ve always loved music as a way to express my emotional layers. If I can’t put how I feel into words, I can translate the feeling into music. We’ve always had fun singing together growing up on our karaoke machine, so Sophie randomly said, “Let’s just start a band.”
How does music affect you and the world around you?
Sophie: Music is there for you when no one isn’t. Music is a safe space. We‘re both affected by music the same way and we need it to fill the spaces that are hard to explain in words. You can escape, feel, cry, laugh, dance, get inspired and be understood by music and lyrics.
The renewed discussion of feminism is playing a major role in today’s music industry. What words of wisdom can you share with aspiring female musicians and entrepreneurs on how to overcome gender discrimination?
Kelly: The best thing to do is become knowledgeable about music production and what you want as an artist. As an artist and producer, I think it’s so empowering to have creative control. Start learning the recording process on your own by familiarizing yourself with DAWs, microphones, and MIDI controllers. You can overcome anything and be your own source of power by learning as much as you can about the production process.
Sophie: Keep doing your work, keep learning and develop a specific vision for your artistry. There’s always going to be negativity from others or people trying to bring you down but you just can’t give into it. Try to surround yourself with like-minded individuals or other artists who support you. There are so many new organizations like SheIsTheMusic.org, GirlSchoolLA.com, The7Percent.us or social media accounts like BookMoreWomen here to support you and your craft. Just focus, believe in yourself and never give up.
Your new single ‘Pillow Talk’ is quoted to being “dreamy and takes you to a new era”. Tell us about the songwriting inspiration behind the record. (We can’t stop listening to this, by the way!)
Sophie: Thank you! We’re so thrilled you connect with the track and love it. “Pillow Talk” was inspired by a few keywords: edgy, simple, chill, Tokyo, flirty. I followed Kelly’s direction and came up with the “Pillow Talk” lyrics after several different attempts. I love that one review stated, “…takes you to a new era,” because Kelly and I are always pushing our own boundaries of what we think the future of music should sound like.
Kelly: As the artist and producer of “Pillow Talk” our intention for the track had to be specific. Once we decided on the sonic inspiration, I made the beat and Sophie devised the lyrical direction. Sophie came into the studio the next day with intimate and airy lyrics for “Pillow Talk.” I clicked with the lyrics immediately and came up with the topline and finished recording and mixing it that night.
Which female artists have you always admired and why?
Sophie: I’ve always admired Lana Del Rey, Patti Smith and Chelsea Wolfe. I’m inspired by words and all three women have created works of art through their poetry and lyrics.
Kelly: I’ve always liked Grimes since she was the first modern female artist I was exposed to that promoted her artistry in a DIY-way.
How has your experience living in Los Angeles influenced your music?
In our experience, Los Angeles is not a nurturing environment for artists. However, LA can quickly show you what works for you and what doesn’t. Since it’s hard to impress the person next you hear, it pushes us to become the best artists we can be.
Name one person dead or alive who you’d love to cut a record with and why.
Sophie: Lana Del Rey and Chelsea Wolfe since they’re both powerful artists. Their music and lyrics perfectly capture so many feelings and they both have created such strong artistic worlds. I love how they both reinvent their sound and aesthetic with each project.
Kelly: Grimes. She’s my original inspiration and I appreciate that she’s an advocate for women in music with a focus on producers.
What do you want fans to take away from your music?
We want fans to experience emotion. Just two minutes of escape is the point of what we do. As artists, we hope to inspire others to continue doing their work and know that they’re here to serve a greater purpose.
Music is known for also being a representation of fashion, and you have found such a unique way to intertwine the two. Use three words to describe your personal styles.
Sophie: Spooky, witchy, dark.
Kelly: Cute, cool, light.
Can we look forward to a tour this year? Let’s bring you to Vegas!
Yes, we’d love that! Right now we’re concentrating on releasing new music but we’ll go to Vegas first!
What’s your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
A Raw Femme is someone who embodies a strong sense of self. A Raw Femme is authentic, unapologetic and knows how to use their voice wisely and effectively.