Q&A: Kito Is Back With Cross-Genre & Highly Collaborative EP, HAANI

Kito is back and better than ever, collaborating with Broods, Trinidad James, and more. Her first solo release since 2012, HAANI is multifaceted and completely brilliant, delivering pop, electronic, and rap elements into one harmonious EP. 

Kito made a name for herself as a teen when she sent her demos to Diplo, resulting in releases on Mad Decent. Recently, she has worked with Kacy Hill, Tommy Genesis, Normani and Kodie Shane. Now, she continues to grow as an artist and producer as she crosses musical boundaries and reels us in with her catchy beats and pop vocals. Kito’s arrangements push the confines of genres and take risks that create one-of-a-kind pieces.

“Ego” and “Creature Kind” set the stage for an album that flawlessly matches pop vocals with electronic backings. Then there’s the futuristic entity of “Pamplemouse,” where it feels like you enter the matrix. It acts as the Super Bowl half time show of HAANI – an odd yet enticing electronic collaboration that could be played at a techno club. This perfectly transitions into “Strawberries,” which contains swirls of rap by Trinidad James and Kodie Shane, layered by the smoky and alluring voice of Elley Duhe. The drop leads to a whirl of emotion, and you know you’re going to turn up the bass in your car for the rest of the song. “Love Hurts” is a pop and electronic collaboration, with universal messages that draw in a bigger audience. Then we end on a calm note with “Blue,” featuring the velvety-smooth vocals of Shy Girls. 

Kito dares to be different with HAANI, and we were happy to hear more as she discusser her unique EP with Ones To Watch below: 

OTW: After being a successful music producer in London for so long, what inspired you to get back to making music?

Spending time working on other artist projects gave me a lot of freedom to explore my capabilities as a producer and just enjoy making music without any pressure. The material for my own project came together pretty naturally, rather than it being a conscious decision to search for it. I was just making music without thinking too much about what it was for, and at the start of this year it really started to come together.

OTW: What aspects about producing music inspires you the most?

The aspects that inspire me the most are cool sounds, drums that stick out, interesting voices, hooky melodies, and collaborating with other musicians and artists.

OTW: What will be similar and/or different about your new EP in comparison to your 2012 release?

I always find it really hard to tell whether I have “a sound.” I’ve grown a lot as a person and as a producer, so to me it sounds completely different to what I used to do.

OTW: What will you bring to the table with your new EP from your time as a producer? 

This EP feels like a new beginning for me. It’s me exploring who I am as a producer and what that sounds like in the form of collaborations with a bunch of artists that I love.

OTW: What inspires you about your hometown in Australia?

Having the time to experiment with ideas without being conscious of what anyone else is doing. It’s a very isolated town in a beautiful part of Australia!

OTW: The lyrics in “Creature ft. Broods” are amazing. I especially love, “No one ever seems to feel what I feel, see what I see, be what I be.” What inspired that?

I can’t take credit for that lyrics because Georgia from Broods wrote it. She’s an amazing songwriter and her voice is so beautiful. I adore Georgia and Caleb as humans and musicians and I’m so happy to have them on my EP!!

OTW: “Strawberries” seems to be a song about freedom. What made you pick strawberries specifically? Does it signify something about your life?

The “Strawberries” concept was just the idea of this garden of Eden type environment, and two people getting high and being totally lost in the moment together. I like words that spark a visual too and for some reason strawberries made sense.

OTW: We feel the ache and the pain in “Love Hurts.” What advice would you give to others going through heartbreak?

My advice is that you won’t feel like this forever. I know it’s annoying to be told that when you’re going through it but it’s totally true. Time really does heal. And music also heals. Any sort of self expression can be such an amazing tool to help you feel whole again on your own and get your power back.  

OTW: What message were you trying to relay by ending the EP with “Blue,” repeating over and over, “Love is an ocean blue?”

This EP is a funny little emotional journey. I’m always led by feeling in music, and for me, “Blue” just feels like the perfect last song. It just feels so good to hear those word “our love is an ocean” repeated at the end of the EP. This is the only song that was written where I sent the instrumental out and wasn’t involved in the song writing. Shy Girls absolutely nailed this.

OTW: Overall, what do you want us to take away from your EP?

Music is so objective so I hope whatever experience you have listening to these tracks, it’s a good one! I loved making them. This EP is really just the beginning for me. I feel so inspired and clear about my vision for my project, and I can’t wait to release more.

OTW: How have the artists you’ve collaborated with inspired you in the making of your EP?

I’m so thankful to all the artists that I’ve collaborated with on this EP! They all inspire me massively in different ways and I love them for it!

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