Following the release of his 'Just Kids' mixtape last spring, Australian up-and-comer Stevan is now gearing up for his new 'un, 'Ontogeny', due later this month. Already teased with recent singles 'Impress You', 'SIA' and 'Onyx', they showcase an artist with a talent for lo-fi, introspective pop, and woozy beats channelled through alt-R&B vibes. Get to know him a little better ahead of the release.
Hi Stevan! How's it going? What are you up to today?
It's been going good thanks for asking. Just getting some press work done listening through some new ideas and watching a show later on tonight.
When did you first realise you wanted to make music?
I was 12 years old, and my older cousin put me on to some awesome artists. Then after hearing them, I wondered if I could recreate the feeling I felt listening to their songs myself with my own music.
Is being a musician living up to the hype so far?
Haha umm, it's a weird thing to pin down at the moment, mainly considering a big part of my job is live shows, and they aren’t really a thing right now. But yeah in many ways it's even better than what I expected it to be!
Can you remember the first-ever song you wrote?
Yes haha, I made it in class with a friend of mine. It was year 7; I never did any work. I'd be out the back playing computer games or trying to make beats. How does it compare to what you're making now? It just doesn't compare haha. I think the songs I’m making now may rival some from my favourite artists. I mean I've still got a long way to go, but I'm on a whole other level now.
What were your first steps towards getting your music heard?
I used to email big YouTube channels; they were like the Spotify playlists for the SoundCloud era. I pretended to be my own manager and I'd tell em to play music from this "up and coming Australian act'. It ended up working, and I started generating a lot of listens on SoundCloud.
How do you approach putting together a mixtape?
It starts with one song really and that song kind of embodies feelings and musical ideas that I want to carry through the mixtape. From that song, I work backwards and identify all the little individual feelings and musical ideas and break them down into their own songs. At the end of that, I have a project.
What can you tell us about 'Ontogeny'?
It's my transition from a teenager to a young adult almost a follow up from 'Just Kids' where I was talking about my transition from being a child to teenager. It's about me dealing with the realities of finding myself again in a new context this time instead of high school; it's the world.
Does songwriting come easily to you?
I won't lie, words do come quickly, but the downside is I have to really feel what I'm saying. I'm not the type of artist that takes notes and pieces them together and finds a melody and bla bla bla. My process is often spontaneous; some songs on the project needed the extra attention and forethought in terms of sitting down and writing. But lyrics, melody and harmony usually all hit me at once, and it's like I'm chasing a dragon, it feels like I have to lay the idea down asap before the moment's gone.
Do you work with other artists on their music too, or is it all about Stevan for now?
Not sure how much I can say, but I'm definitely open to working with artists and expanding my reach.
What do you do for fun?
I skateboard. I like movies a lot, hanging with the guys at chill spots, chatting and sharing a drink. I wanna get back into quad biking, that shit is so fun. I also got a film camera recently. I lost it though, so I need a new one but yea haha I keep myself busy.
What are your hopes for 2021?
Normal shows to come back and yeah, I think that's the year I become a huge act, haha.
Stevan's new mixtape 'Ontogeny' is out 20th November.