We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiavi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiavi, is there something you believe many others might not?
I find I disagree with certain ideas concerning working hard and achievement. I don’t like the notion that the greater the hustle, the higher quality the product or result. Sure, this is true in many cases. But it’s an oversimplification, especially in art.
Sometimes good art comes about through waiting—deliberately putting aside the perceived need to do much of anything in order to clear yourself and make yourself available to inspiration. Society tells us to push through obstacles with willpower. But inspiration is a much stronger force than willpower. The energy of inspiration is so powerful that it will do work for you that you would otherwise need to do yourself. So to me, the question shouldn’t be “how can I push through this?” but rather “what can I do to make myself available to inspiration?”
Good art arises from many places, though. Certain experiences may give us creative fuel. Sometimes we simply haven’t lived enough to finish or even create the work we intend to, and in this case, no amount of pushing will give us our desired result.
Capitalist society is built on the foundation of working to earn money. But art exists beyond the bounds of our society. It is a reflection of life in totality, which is why our hustle muscle isn’t always fully equipped to make art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I grew up traveling a lot. I was born in Italy, grew up in the D.C. area, and lived in Laos and LA kind of simultaneously, as I attended in college in LA and my family was living in Laos. The pace of life and deeply-rooted spirituality in Lao culture especially opened my eyes, and nourished me in a way that I hadn’t often felt in the US.
Creating has always been a natural way for me to process the world. My musical background is in jazz, which I loved because of how free and spontaneous it can be. In college, I began the process of coming home to myself—finding out what felt most genuine to me as an artist. And as I began to dive deeper into LA’s electronic music scene and continued to have moving experiences every time I traveled back to Southeast Asia, jazz started to feel a bit confining. This expansion naturally rippled into my art, as I started to explore what it meant to source music from the essence of my soul.
Now spirituality has become central to my work. Specifically, how we relate to spirit in the context of modern life. Our world can be so busy and frenetic that sometimes the space between moments feels very small. That space isn’t empty—it can be subtle and quiet but rich and deep. Like a cracked beer bottle in a small puddle, reflecting moonlight. There’s a whole story in that, a metaphor. And I feel closest to something divine when I’m removed from busyness and sensationalism, whether that’s physically like in nature or just internally.
I prefer not to define my music in a genre, but I make music that’s fed by my lived experience and as close as possible to what I feel. I tend to layer my music with sounds from everyday life, like traffic or rain. I think this makes the world of sound I’m trying to design more complete. I want my music to feel really full: warm, dark, glittery, pretty, gritty etc. I think everyone pines for depth and beauty and I want to offer more and more people art that doesn’t underestimate their capacity for these things.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite parts of LA is how international of a city it is. I would go on an adventure with my friend to different ethnic grocery stores in either Thai Town, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, or Little Ethiopia, gather tons of ingredients, make a delicious meal and bring it to Elysian Park (my favorite park) in time for sunset.
There are too many restaurants that I like to name, but we’d definitely have to go to La Pergoletta, Dan Sung Sa, and at least one of the many incredible taquerías.
I love good city views, and the bars at the Intercontinental Hotel and The Standard are great to take in the full scope of the city, especially at night. And even though it’s such a tourist-magnet, Griffith Observatory undeniably has some of the best views in all of LA, so I think we’d have to go there too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have some amazing people in my life. My partner, Nicole, is one of them. She is constantly forcing me to grow and feel into things in ways I had never considered before. It’s an incredibly expansive and loving relationship, and my music and career would not be where they are without her.
My close collaborator, Correlator, also has been an incredible support. He wears so many hats: from mastering engineer to music video editor to live AV designer to environmental innovator. He’s a great friend and constant creative inspiration for me.
I appreciate my family, for loving me through my process and being endlessly layered and deep. They’ve always recognized the importance of going against the mould, which is something I’m really thankful to have been brought up understanding.
I want to shoutout LA, finally. I’m grateful that it’s my home and it’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. This city has shaped me and is constantly reshaping me as I grow along with it.