When creatives collide: In conversation with indie-pop artist Georgi Kay and jewellery designer Ryan Nevarez
24.11.2020

When creatives collide: In conversation with indie-pop artist Georgi Kay and jewellery designer Ryan Nevarez

Georgi Kay's new single 'Medicine' is out now.

All the way from Los Angeles, comes Georgi Kay’s infectious electro-soul single ‘Medicine’. The follow up to her recent releases ‘Gasoline’ and her Reimagined EP, this latest track signifies an all Australian collaboration, with the Perth-raised musician coming together with co-producer Andrew Furze (Ladyhood, Ari’elle, Reece Mastin, The X Factor Australia, Dancing With The Stars Australia) and mixing engineer Andy Baldwin (Bjork, Elle King, Haerts, St. Lucia, Car Seat Head Rest).

Like every good Aussie collab, the result is a mesmerising, relatable and affecting track, highlighting Georgi’s masterful storytelling ability and flair for embracing lush, cosmic soundscapes.

Alongside the single, comes a captivating video directed by Mixed Media which centres on the heartbreak and disappointment themes within the song. With scenes of waterboarding, submerged struggles and unwilling injection, the video pays particular attention to the symbolism of that pain, hurt and struggle we find ourselves in after being let down by someone (or something) we love.

To celebrate the release and the creative Australian talent that has gone into the music video, we had Georgi sit down for an in-depth interview with jewellery designer and artist Ryan Nevarez who helped produce the clip.

Who are you and what do you do?

RN: My name is Ryan (Nev) Nevarez. I am an American artist, jewellery designer and creative. I currently work for a Los Angeles based brand called For Those Who Sin as well as run my own artistic endeavours under the label of Disciple by Nev.

GK: I’m Georgi Kay – singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist hailing from Britain and Australia.

How do you create and what inspires/influences your artistic process?

RN: The creative process for me happens in a variety of ways. From a fashion or product standpoint, I almost always create from necessity. The way I look at the things that I wear is my way of communicating to the world around me, and that voice must be unique to me, which requires me to be the creator of the pieces that I wear. On the other end of the spectrum I also create out of obsession. I’m tremendously interested in symbolism and the role it plays in human societies, I often stumble across symbols (icons, artworks, words, cults, religions, books, songs) and I think about it obsessively until I can get it out of my mind in the form of artistic expression.

My artistic process is inspired by EVERYTHING, I literally cannot turn off my mind and I think this is something that makes Georgi and I such good friends. We see art everywhere. That being said, my sweet spot is literature. I wake almost every morning around 5 am and spend the first couple of hours of my day reading and sitting in the morning silence to let my mind explore itself without any outside interruptions that happen later in the day. It is this period of self-reflection and quiet data consumption that feeds most of my creative drive.

GK: When I feel inspired to write a song or to create a soundscape, I’ll usually start playing around with my synths on my computer or experimenting on my acoustic guitar. Some days I feel more drawn to writing more organically on my guitar, whilst other days I want to go in hard with dark bass synths and heavy programmed drumbeats. Regardless of what method I’m feeling, I am almost always inspired by sci-fi thrillers and horror films, novels, art and video games. I feel that what we perceive to be the “dark” corners of life tend to be the most brutally honest and truthful.

Like Ryan said, it’s difficult to switch off that creative brain. Whether we’ve collaborated on jewellery or visuals in the past, or just sat down for a drink at a local bar in LA, we are constantly discussing new ideas and concepts – majority of them being a fine blend of spiritual enlightenment and deeply emotive and dark taste. I think he and I run down similar lines and vibrations of perspective, and that’s why we click so easily as friends and as collaborative partners. There’s never a dull moment when we catch up, and there is never a moment where we are not creating something, whether that be together as a team or individually in our own time.

What are some of your favourite career highlights, achievements and milestones you’ve made thus far?

RN: To be truthful, my favourite milestone to date is being able to make a living as an artist and a designer. The ability to shuck off societal norm of the 9-5 has saved my mind, body, and soul. On a more inspiring note, I have done some good work that has been blessed with some notoriety. I think a few of my highlights have been getting jewellery pieces on the cover of Vogue Mexico with Bad Bunny, being hired by Christian Dior as a collaborating artist for their 2019 Menswear release with Kaws, having jewellery pieces featured in a Corona commercial with Bad Bunny and Snoop Dogg, doing a custom fedora for Mr. Kenny Burns to wear as the host of Diddy’s 50th birthday party here in Beverly Hills, and lastly, having a part in Georgi’s new music video ‘Medicine’ is a milestone I really am proud of. Moments that you get to share with someone you care about and who’s work inspires you will always trump any milestone that you reach professionally, at least in my book.

GK: Like Ryan, I’ve made some incredible milestones in my own industry and artform, all of which I’m proud of, grateful for and very appreciative of. Some of my more recent milestones and achievements I’ve reached that were really exciting was receiving my Billion Streams Award from APRA at the first APRA LA Awards earlier this year (pre-pandemic), collaborating with UK based graphic and visual artist Zal Tehrani on creating a commemorative merch bundle to celebrate my decade of achievements and successes in the music industry (aptly titled ‘GK 2020 X’, and heavily influenced by old sci-fi film posters), and of course the making of ‘Medicine’ during COVID here in LA. I was so happy and excited to have Ryan play a part in the music video, too. He was the perfect fit and did such a good job. No surprises that working with good friends can only lead to creating great work you can both be proud of.

Past successes I’m also proud of include winning an ARIA, multiple APRA Awards and receiving a Grammy nomination for my EDM anthem ‘In My Mind’ with Ivan Gough, Feenixpawl and Axwell (Swedish House Mafia), as well as acting and featuring my original music in Jane Campion’s multi Emmy Award-winning TV series ‘Top Of The Lake’, of which I had the incredible opportunity to star alongside Lis Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan and David Wenham.

How did you start off in your respective artistic walks of life? Were you doing something else beforehand?

RN: Prior to having a career in the arts and design, I was actually a professional soccer player.

GK: I wish I could say I was a pro soccer player…however, prior to creating music full-time I was very interested in photo-journalism, creative writing, drawing and at one point even considered studying to become an elasmobranchologist (shark scientist).

How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of each other?

RN: Georgi and I met on Instagram. The woman I was seeing at the time had introduced me to Georgi’s music and I reached out to Georgi to see if I could make a few custom jewellery pieces for her. We hit it off immediately. We have a very similar sort of amusedly cynical way of looking at life.

GK: Yeah so I get this message on Insta right, and I read it thinking “ok, this guy’s profile pic looks kinda cool and vibey, let’s see what he’s about”, and so I checked out his page and it was just full of custom-made sterling silver jewellery, rudimental and rugged styles of graffiti art and sketches, etc. Very much my vibe. So, I hit Ryan back and we ended up meeting in-person and doing a silver jewellery exchange one night in a particularly dark corner of Black Rabbit Rose, an iconic bar that sits deep in the belly of Hollywood. I feel that’s where our friendship truly kicked off, in a grungy little LA bar…of course it did, haha.

What was your experience like working together onset of the ‘Medicine’ music video?

RN: Aside from nearly drowning Georgi with a bucket of water, the experience was great. I was extremely honoured that she asked me to play the role that she did, and it was terrific to get to work on our first project together. As I said prior, there is nothing better than getting the opportunity to be a part of one of your friend’s projects, and to watch it blossom from an idea into a successful release! Georgi crushed this project in every aspect of it.

GK: It was an absolute blast! Ryan was amazing to work with, so easy and chill. It’s a great feeling to know you are supported and appreciated by your friends, especially when their respect and opinions hold such great importance and meaning to you. He nailed it of course, so it was really just a chance to hang out and chat clothing and jewellery, etc. But yeah, he actually did almost drown me with that bucket of water. It was pretty intense for a moment there, but the shot looks great and I’m still alive so…can’t complain!

What’s next for you? Any upcoming releases, projects and collaborations that you’re excited about?

RN: I am currently working on my first collection release. It will include a wide array of pieces that I have been working on from jewellery pieces, to vintage inspired garments, to silk bandanas, and even custom Palo Santo pieces. I am also gearing up to do a few murals, some fine art prints, and I am also looking to start creating a lifestyle book!

GK: With ‘Medicine’ just out, I’m keen to dive into writing more of my dystopian sci-fi novel and continue to work on new music for my second album. During COVID I’ve been writing poetry too, and it’s always been a dream of mine to release a collection of my poetry and sketches as a sort of coffee table book for friends and fans. There’s also a collection of art graphics/visuals I’ve been working on this past year, as well. Something I was hoping to release at a debut exhibition here in LA this year before the pandemic hit. COVID has given me more time to sit on various projects and finesse them – so in a way I’m quite thankful for this extended incubation time.

If you could give any advice or words of wisdom to other aspiring artists and creatives, what would it be?

RN: Take the time to do it right. This artist process is more than a career, it is a process of self-discovery. The more you discover about yourself as a person, the better your work will be. You must let it become a lifestyle, something you cannot separate from yourself and your life. It will never stop, and that’s a beautiful thing.

GK: Be kind in your words, thoughtful in your actions and humble in your demeanor. And be proud of your work! Every step leads to another pathway, and no one branch is right or wrong. Professional success is great and all, but it never lasts. Happiness, self-acceptance and “knowing” are what remain. And like Ryan said, the process of creating and giving yourself to art is more than just a career, it is a process of self-discovery. So, it is vital to practice and hone your craft as openly as possible, to keep the floodgates open and the current strong. A self-sustainable process that you and only you command.

You can listen to ‘Medicine’ here.