Few producers can claim as many miles on their passport as Sadiva.
Travelling across the globe bringing her brand of soulful, heavy and sharp beats with her as she goes; this Melbourne native has seen her music take her to amazing heights over the last three years. With U.S tours, a sold out album and sponsorship from the Brooklyn Breweries. behind her, Sadiva has gone from strength to strength whilst creating some of the punchiest tunes in Lo-Fi. With a new album coming soon and a looming tour in Japan, we leapt at the chance for a chat with the lady herself.
So last year you embarked on an amazing tour of the US. What can you tell us about that?
Yeah! So I've been going to America once a year for the past four years, this was my forth time out there. My beat journey sort of started with America actually. I came back from a trip and was like 'Fuck I need to start making music' like I had this overwhelming sense of inspirationand I thought this is what I need to do. The first time I went back for music I'd only been making beats for about 6 months.
Yeah not long! So I went back over to essentially see the place that inspired my journey (New York).I ended up meeting a bunch of rappers over there and I personally feel it took my beat making from 0 to 100. So from then I’ve always been like 'I need to go back' you know?
That's amazing. Do you feel the movement growing every time you go back?
Yeah 100%. Every time I go back now it's like I have a family that keeps growing. It's my home away from home. Each time I go back I have more people to see, more connections to make and more adventures to embark on, it was a huge reason how I was able to set up my tour. The Group More Beats > Less Sleep had a lot to do the connections I made for the tour too (S/O REASONE!). It was pretty amazing that I could jump on a plane half way across the world and be looked after by my online beat community
That group's cross continental reach is crazy. You can connect with some many different people. It’s cool to see this scene growing. Like Australia to America is crazy.
Absolutely! Like when I arrived in Atlanta and the man STLNDRMS picked me up from the airport I was just like 'Dude I'm connecting with a legend who’s created this amazing movement with controllerise and his own brand’ then in NYC when I was jamming with the whole pushing buttons crew It's crazy,I’m mega blessed.
Do you think those cross continental links up are the future?
I totally think it is, if all parties are involved, it takes more than one person to start a movement, it takes a team of people and I find if that teams all playing towards the same win the team will succeed. Like More Beats > Less Sleep is a great example of great leadership. But in saying that people are really busy right now and I see the groups activity isn’t as live as it once was but I understand like we all have a lot going on in and outside the beat scene. We never thought MBLS would blow up to what it has. Especially to the point of me travelling over to Canada and America! I think if there are groups that do it right then it will be the future, but they are rare.
Yeah managing groups in the right direction is tough.
Well yeah it's a lot as well you know? It's a lot of work for an admin and a good group needs a good leader, so the work load can be a lot. Personally the links I've made through MBLS and beyond have taken me on a crazy journey. If people do start making those connections the beat scene can be huge. The scene is so supportive of one another. Like Creassion from Sampler Cafe invited me over to Canada to connect with Sampler Café and now they are coming to Australia so were gonna link when he’s here.
It's truly amazing! So your last project, 'Lethal Chops', is quite a varied piece of work. It's very soulful but with a plethora of bpms and textures. What went into its creation?
Ok so firstly thank you! To say my music has soul makes my heart warm! Ha-ha. Yeah, I started making beats three years ago and I wanted to release an album but this kind of came about all of a sudden. I played a gig at a venue in Melbourne in November last year and they were like 'Oh my god, we need you to throw something here! Do an event or something' and I was totally down, really excited. They asked if I had an album coming out at all and I was like ' I can have an album coming out?' ha-ha. I didn't even have a plan you know? I just kinda winged it ha-ha. The art, the track names and everything were so last minute but it all just kinda came together like this beautiful mess!
Sometimes the best music comes from that though! I'm such a big advocate of getting things out into the world.
Yeah! I was so nervous too though; it was 2/3 years’ worth of work rolled into 18 tracks. I'd never released anything ever. Then here I am releasing an album, not only online, but on tape and all on my own. Inner Ocean did the duplication but the sales, organising the art work, distribution and everything was all me. It's just crazy to think I had no plan and it sold out, got me to tour America. It's really crazy. I'm very lucky.
I think with the luck comes a great deal of talent though. When I'm listening to your stuff I get a very 9th Wonder-esque vibe, with soul chops and the vocal leads. Who are some of your influences?
Hell yeah dude ha-ha! So yeah 9th is definitely a huge influence but no.1 on my list is J Dilla. That guy is reason I make music. But yeah people like Nujabes, Preemo, Pete Rock. All that old school stuff. When I first started I was strictly inspired by these particular people, which was awesome because it gave me a great start, but now I'm getting inspired by people who may only have next to no followers on Soundcloud but I'm hearing it and thinking this shit is so inspirational, people are crazy talented. It's so cool to go online and find stuff from someone unknown and it influence you. Like the greats did some amazing things for all of us and there's still great producers like 9th Wonder out there (and it's cool that people like 9th are getting that real fame recognition now) but I just feel like if your limiting your inspiration then you're limiting yourself as an artist. I used to really limit myself. I'll be honest when I first started I was like 'I will only sample from vinyl, I will not sample anything Dilla and Preemo sampled' etc. etc. Back in the 90's they had that rule book and I followed it! They were the greats and they inspired me, so my benchmark for respect was set by them. But that shit doesn't matter anymore in 2017/18! It did back then, but it's a whole different ball game now you know? With the technology we have and everything I can go outside and record any noise on my phone and take it home, whereas 2-3 years ago when I started I wouldn't have even thought about sampling anything other than vinyl or cassette, I was just limiting myself.
I totally get it. Do you think this rise in Lo-Fi and the beat scene is leading to people like 9th getting their props?
Definitely. The rise of the beat scene and Lo-Fi is strong right now. People want new vibes and I feel like beat makers are creating those vibes in such a diverse way there’s seriously something for everyone.
Absolutely. I think it's set the bar so much higher. Like we may not have the unwritten rule about sample biting but if you're gonna use a sample someone else has flipped you gotta do something original with it.
You gotta flip it! That's exactly right! I still go by that rule. I'm not hating on those rules or anything, it's just my opinion. For example I love vaporwave but it's can be so simplistic from a production viewpoint. Half of it is just slowed down loop and sometimes with no drums over layed. You gotta put your own spin on it. When I’ve done the vaporwave style I’ve always put on twist to it and actually flipped it. You can loop a loop but it can be so basic.
Yeah because you not adding anything to the artistic canvas. It’s an issue the Lo-Fi scene is dealing with too. Like with all the jokes about every track featuring Shiloh etc. etc.
Well I mean personally I agree man. When I first came into Lo-Fi, firstly I had no fucking clue what it was, but I started listening to some of the greats of Lo-Fi, Dibiase and bsd.u, and I was like this is fucking dope. This is like silk in my ears. Next thing I hear some of these producers flipping the exact same parts and I just thought you can't do that. I mean you can but it's a bit disrespectful in my opinion. That guy's gone out and found that sample and you just lifted the exact same bit and added some different effects. If someone did that to me I'd be mad. Like it seems hypocritical cause I sample ha-ha but its not like I flipped the flip. I see some posts out there and some really stupid comments are being made and you just think 'This is why the beat scene had rules' ha-ha. Everyone wants to do it now and that's awesome but it's not for everyone. You have to bring something individual to the table now.
When it comes to making beats is there a specific process or does it depend on how you feeling?
It varies really. I usually never start on drums. There will be times when I do but it just depends on whether I'm flipping sounds or a musical sample. At the moment when I sit down to make a beat, I've been going outside a lot and sitting in a different area to the studio. When I came back from America I was a little heartbroken about all my stuff getting robbed on tour, also I've been through a lil heartache, so I've put a lot of my hurting heart into my music recently. It's nothing bad, just feels you know? Instead of getting caught up in my own head I get the beat caught up in my head. Recently I’ve been listening to songs that I know trigger certain emotions in me but I’ve definitely made some of my best music so far this year. My recent beats are very different to 'Lethal Chops' and I think it's because I've put more feeling into it. When I'm digging I hear it and I KNOW. I know what I'm gonna do and will be like 'fuck this is the ONE!' Sometimes though I'll sit and chop something for hours and not use it at all.
Yeah I feel you. When you can hear the chops without touching a machine you know you have something special. It's like an unnatural, mystic thing. It flows through.
Yeah! And when it works out so smoothly you're like 'hoooly fuck, how did that happen?!?' ha-ha. It’s seamless. That's what happened with my track 'With You'. It came so seamlessly and it works and its hands down one of my favourite tracks.
So you were on the Australian YouTube show 'Ride With It', where the hosts drive around with an artist and they do a set, and I gotta say I had no idea Australia had such a scene.
Ahh not so much Australia but Melbourne beat scene is SLAYING specifically.
Ah Ok. That's interesting because my follow up was that one of the comments on 'Lethal Chops' mentioned how dope Melbourne's beat scene was. Why is that? Is Melbourne the best city for beats?
YES! Melbourne is the best city for beats and I gotta say a huge part of that is Lab Co. Two years ago we had nothing but a night called Beat Lab. That was my first gig ever. They hit me up on Soundcloud and said they had a night focusing on producers and I was like fucking sick. Where in the world is there a night for producers? They were like come down, do a ten min set and you can just bring your laptop, you don't need anything else. Which was cool because a lot of producers panic when playing live. Like 'How do I play live? I've never played live before'. But they just asked me to bring a usb with my tracks on and that was so good. Every producer in Melbourne that knew of this night was there every month. Just sitting together and hanging out. From that we formed Lab Co. (there are about 14 of us now) and we got hungry. We got monthly residencies, we got people from overseas. There are so many opportunities and we just grew. It was scary how fast it grew.
Wow that's good looks. What about Australia as a whole?
The scene in Australia is very Hip Hop centred and the beat scene kinda gets associated with it but it's really two different things. All the producers I fuck with are very chilled out, humble people and rappers have their own personality which is very different. We established our beat scene for producers so it really is two different things. Bars and venues love it because they are hearing something new and they are hearing it live.
That live aspect is so important. It can be completely mind blowing for an audience to hear all these sounds coming from one little machine or gizmo.
Yeah that's it. Without a doubt when I play someone will come up to me (A lot of times I'll play before or in between DJs) and say ' What the fuck is that you’re playing? Ah these are sick tunes! Nice set! You’re a good DJ!' So I’ll be like 'I'm not a DJ, I'm a producer. This is my stuff' and then they lose it even more ha-ha. It's awesome. The fact the whole of Lab Co. is being supported that way by the city is amazing.
What's your favourite part of paying live?
I've played so many different gigs, from packed venues to empty ones. But I find with every show Sadiva comes out ha-ha. She's her own lady ha-ha. I kind of just get a bit lost in it. I don't really know what's going on but I come out of it and just feel really good. I think just being able to play out is cool. Getting paid for it is a lil bit of an extra bonus ha-ha. It's fucking cool. I'm like there's these really amazing bars in my city that book me and I'm like 'What am I doing right?' you know? Ha-ha. The best part though is the fact I get to be there and share my music with people who have never heard my music before. Especially when I go overseas. When I go overseas and someone shows love and comes to a show, it's so overwhelming... it's like a feeling I can't explain. I just know that, that's what I want to keep doing.
I feel you. So moving on, you have a working relationship with the Brooklyn Breweries. What can you tell us about that?
Yeah! So I'm sponsored by them. Mainly they look after us. They will sponsor our gigs; throw us a couple extra beers. The whole thing came about because of a past trip to the States though. I went and visited the brewery and they hit me up offering a sponsorship and I was like 'Hell Yeah!' So this time when I went over they decked me out in Brooklyn gear, showed us round and told us all about what was happening. I think we got some really exciting stuff coming. They hold my hand I hold theirs. Like we said before luck plays a part in all of this because my connection to the beer industry was formed way before I started making music and when I started my journey Brooklyn noticed and decided to get behind me.
I think it's a dope look for the scene. It's a first. It shows that it can be the scene can be legitimate in a wider sense. I also think its dope that you have gone out and done this because it shows, if done in the right way, it can happen and it's not some super elite, producer only situation.
I agree man. I so appreciate that. That's what I want to do. Unlike most producers I'm quite extroverted you know? I've always worked with people and I think I know when to play the right card maybe? I don't know but I just love it so much that I want to make it work in a way that's beneficial for me AND the rest beat scene.
I agree. Totally. So I've got to ask you about your sunflowers and your gardening. We get constant updates on your IG about their progress and various other green fingered projects. What is the story there? Why do you love it so much?
Yaaay! Ha-ha. Yeah so I kind of got a green thumb after moving into this house. We all do actually. My house is full of creative people. We have another producer, a painter and another girl who sort of does everything. Jacqui planted the sunflowers initially and now we are attached to our garden ha-ha. I don't know, we just have a really communal household, like we all hang out and play video games together and so it's just a part of us now! Like right now I'm looking at my cactus and is flowering so much. It's really cool!
It seems like such a feature of your personality and it seems to fit you so well. Like this big, bright sunflowers coming out and the way they seem to blend in with you music. I couldn’t let the opportunity to ask, pass!
Ha-ha aww! They are my favourite flower to be fair.
So what's next for Sadiva?
I have a new album coming out very soon. The demo’s almost done but I keep making new beats when I go to finalise the album ones ha-ha. Lots of soul on this project and major moves in the works on this one.
I saw recently you’re headed over to Japan as well. Is that a first for you music wise?
In terms of gigs yes! I went Japan last year with my Pops and we had a great time. I going with some of the Lab Co. boys (with Entro//Mellowolf, Oxcyde and Coldrip) and I think it’s just gonna be fun you know? We are just gonna get a bit wild ha-ha! I did a tour with those guys on the East coast of Australia last year. They are my family man.
Excellent! Well thank you for chatting with us Sadiva! Where can we follow you?
Thank you! We can find me all over! Search ‘SADIVAMUSIC’ on FB, @sadivaa on IG and @SADIVAbeats on twitter. I’m also on bandcamp and Spotify!
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