Pop’s latest future icon Willow Kane has just dropped a five-star debut EP – so, because we’re good like that, we’ve asked the 2022 Hype List alumni to run us through it. And she has. And here it is. Wonderful stuff.
I remember this was the track that made me settle on the theme for the EP. I had this Santigold sample in my head, and I took it to [producer] DANIO like, “we should do this”. It all came together from there, really. The track has a really strong M.I.A. feel to me, which is great because she’s a huge inspiration to me. We made the original version of the track at Wendy House Studios in like two hours, then we sat on it for months and months. It’s probably about a year old now – I didn’t even think this one would be a single at the time!
I Don’t Wanna Know
This one was made completely out of spite! Honestly, it was a reaction to just not knowing what to do! My label had boosted a TikTok promoting ‘Two Seater’. It wasn’t a good TikTok, but for some reason, I was getting loads of messages, and everyone in my hometown was talking about it. I thought everyone was just overreacting, then I was in Oscar Scheller’s garden on the phone to my mate before a session, and he sent me the link to the post. I read the first three comments but then just did a massive scroll down, and it was all horrible! I’ve never had anything like that.
I went back to Oscar, who told me to take that feeling and write about it. We then put a clip of the track on TikTok, and the reaction was great. The hate kept on coming, though. I just accept that’s kind of what you get with TikTok now. The song pops off live, too; there were moshpits at ALT+LDN when I played it.
This one’s pretty different to the rest of the record; it’s definitely the most mature track on there. I think it’s my favourite. I made this the first time that me and [producer] Detonate ever met – the place we recorded it in definitely fit with the vibe. It’s within this cold vault and it just worked perfectly for this Massive Attack kind of vibe.
I didn’t really go in thinking, “I’m going to make something trip-hoppy because of being close to Bristol”. Usually, when I go into a session with someone for the first time, I’ll get to know them a bit before; listen to their favourite music and get them to play me something they’re proud of. We’re both huge fans of Portishead and Massive Attack, so I think it came from there. The lyrics on this one fit so well, too – it’s more real than the other tracks. This feels like more of a taster of where I’m going next with new music. Lyrically it’s about growing together, and the moment you realise you’re hanging out with the wrong people. I worked out that while I’m embarking on this new life and growing creatively and as a person, my old circle were just stuck in the same old cycle of doing things that weren’t positive or contributing to their lives, so the song is about breaking out of that.
This Is My Film
I’ve had to change the lyrics to this one because when I first wrote it, I’d just been signed, and I was revelling in the fact that I was doing all the things that so many people told me I’d never do. It’s still confident and cheeky, but the lyrics to this one were a lot more intense before. It’s still iconic, but it feels a lot more authentic than it did to be like, “I AM FUCKING WILLOW KAYNE”. When I first met DANIO, this was one of the first things we did together, and I’d been put in a load of shitty R&B sessions. Not that the producers were shit, they just didn’t know what to do with me. Then I met him, and we were on the same wavelength, and it just brought out this confidence in me to be who I finally wanted to be. Oh, and we made all of these in a shed.
When I first started speaking to DANIO, his manager sent me a pack of like, 50 beats, which had all different kinds of styles on there. There was this beat in there that apparently wasn’t meant to be included but had somehow found its way there. Out of all 50, that was the beat I started working with for ‘Two Seater’. I was recording at Wendy House Studios, and this was when COVID was in full swing, so it was only me and an engineer. I was working on it, and he turned around and said, “I don’t know about this one; it’s a bit weird”. That’s when I knew I had to carry on with it. I love the juxtaposition in the song – I really wanted to fuck around and fuse hip hop with some kind of Stone Roses-like chorus. One of the first things that really flattered me about the music was how many people spoke about me blurring genres in what I do. It got a lot of hate on TikTok initially, but that all changed as soon as it got on the FIFA Soundtrack, now people hit me up saying how much they love the song all the time!”
I love ‘Jealous’! Me and DANIO were just messing around when we did this… we weren’t even making music! I tend to freak out in the studio because I put this pressure on myself that I have to make something amazing every time. But we do this thing where I’ll have the mic, and he’ll have the guitar, and we’ll take a genre and improvise a song about a scenario we’ve made up, like ’60’s country about a woman named Margaret who lives on a farm’. So we did that, but we were doing a 70s punk track, kind of a Sniffin’ Glue-era vibe and ‘Jealous’ came out of it. I couldn’t ever get sick of that style – if I ever get writer’s block, it’s back to the ‘Jealous’ vibe. The song’s aimed at mean girls who love to talk shit on anything you’re doing. They also love to talk shit about you even though they’ve never met you, people saying, “Yeah Willow looks nice, but she’s really a bitch”. This song is really just a massive middle finger to all of that.
Willow Kayne’s new EP ‘Playground Antics’ is out now.