KWASSA; LOVE SONGS IN A HEARTBEAT words Luca Mitchell and Maisie Daniels - photography Eva Pentel - fashion Sophie Emmett
Scott Verrill, artistically known as kwassa, is the kind of young creative you easily fall in love with. The South London-born singer-songwriter has been creating music since he was very young, around his childhood to pre-adolescent years, and was among the youngest band to ever play at Glastonbury while still having to attend school. For the past four years, Scott has been developing and perfecting his sound, becoming more mature and refined without losing those key elements that make him so special and loveable.
Verrill first hit the music scene under the name 'kyko' and quickly found for himself an online audience who connected with his music. The daydreaming vibes and lyrics that talk of life and love led him to release two EPs which combined racked-up over 15 million streams followed by a sold-out gig at London’s Omeara. As the years went by; Scott's lyrics and sounds matured reaching a new and fresh creative height. He waited for the right time and place to re-launch himself into the world with a new code-name: kwassa. For him, the transition from 'kyko' to 'kwassa' was not only inevitable but also necessary and very timely.
The new - and super cool name - reflects the wide range of inspirations Scott feels he is under, including the music he grew up with from Vampire Weekend - in particular, ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ - which has directly influence his new name.
To cement the new code-name with style, kwassa's newest EP 'fka kyko' brings together the best sounds and lyrics we had yet to see from him. In a fresh and energetic way - without losing that romantic touch we initially fell in love with - the EP features recent pop single featuring recent pop singles "Moonwalking" and "Sad Songs" as well as two brand new tracks "Woozy" and "Better". And if that wasn't enough, Scott is also headlining a show in London (Borderline) on May 23rd.
As we patiently wait to see kwassa's heartfelt performance in London later this month, we took some time to speak to the young creative to find out a bit more about his creative beginnings, musical influences, creative processes, and much more.
Listen to kwassa's 'fka kyko' EP
Luca Mitchell: Hey Scott, let’s begin with where in the UK are you from?
Kwassa: I grew up on the south border of London.
Maisie Daniels: It’s clear that music has been a part of your life for a long time - I read that you were part of the youngest band to play at Glastonbury (congrats!) However how old were you when you first got into music?
Kwassa: I probably started guitar at something crazy young like 8 years old. I always wanted to be some kind of guitar-hero like Slash or Hendrix but that never really worked out [laughs] and because of that I never really ventured into trying to sing until I was about 15 years old.
L.M: Tell us about your evolution into ‘kwassa’?
Kwassa: Well, I released about 10 tracks under ‘kyko’ over a couple of years, and, got to the point, over a long stretch of writing, where I noticed my sound was shifting a bit and I felt like I needed a new lease of life to release again, so the name change was the perfect way.
M.D: That's cool. What is the origin or backstory of the name 'kwassa'?
Kwassa: For me, it’s a little nod to one of my favourite ‘vampire weekend’ tunes, ‘cape cod kwassa kwassa’ as they are a big inspiration and a lot of my songs start with highlife-esque rhythms loops because that’s what I’m into.
L.M: How would you describe the feeling and energy behind your music?
Kwassa: Uplifting, I guess. I like to think of it as a form of escapism. The kind of music to let your mind wander for a little moment.
kwassa wears jumper FARAH; jeans BDG at URBAN OUTFITTERS
L.M: Who would you say is your biggest influence artistically?
Kwassa: Paul Simon and Vampire Weekend are massive influences on me. I get carried away with a lot of genres when writing but always try and bring it back to that style in some way because it is what makes me tick.
L.M: Where do you draw most of your inspiration as an artist? Tell us about your creative process.
Kwassa: Mostly from the sounds I hear. I rarely ever do lyrics first because it’s mainly the process of putting sounds together that inspires me to make songs. Sometimes I watch movies and obviously lyrically wherever I’m at in life.
M.D: It’s clear that your creativity goes beyond your music as you also co-run Hundred Club. Can you let us know a bit more about this?
Kwassa: Yeah! It’s a clothing brand that does 100 limited runs of things. At the moment it’s mostly t-shirts but there are cool things on the horizon.
L.M: Your newest track ‘Sad Songs’ has a really interesting concept; can you tell us some more about this?
Kwassa: Thanks! Yeah, it’s kind of just about growing up and going through all the motions; kind of like a coming of age movie. The whole thing is meant to be confusing; an upbeat song about the sad songs that make you happy.
kwassa wears hoodie CHAMPION; trousers BRIXTON
M.D: I love how you use the idea of opposite feelings to create this. Do you think you’ll continue this theme within your music?
Kwassa: Thanks! I’m not really a sad singer; it’s just not me. But I like the idea of doing the opposite next time and doing a really sad sounding song with some positive lyrics.
M.D: You have already achieved quite a lot as a young man, but, do you have any more aspirations for yourself and your music moving forward?
Kwassa: So many. I’ve been building a checklist of goals since I was like 12 years old. So I’m just trying to tick them off as I go. A Glastonbury slot would be nice. [Smiles]
L.M: That sounds even more interesting. Okay, so, let’s do a quick-fire round. If you could be any animal what would you be? (and why?)
Kwassa: A Great Dane. I’m big and clumsy, but less drooling!
L.M: Dream location to live?
Kwassa: At the moment, a tiny Italian countryside town in the middle of nowhere.
L.M: If it could be one Season forever; which would you choose and why?
Kwassa: I’m 100% happier and more inspired around the sun; so summer.
kwassa wears shirt THE HUNDREDS; jeans URBAN OUTFITTERS; trainers SCOTCH & SODA
L.M: What is your favourite sad song?
Kwassa: I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Rait.
L.M: Do you enjoy cooking? Which type of cuisine do you prefer?
Kwassa: I dabble but I do love Deliveroo. But I’m trying to perfect the perfect curry at the moment.
L.M: One word to sum yourself up?
L.M: And finally, what is your favourite F Word?
For more information on kwassa's gigs and upcoming news visit kwassamusic.com
Words: Luca Mitchell & Maisie Daniels
Photography: Eva Pentel
Fashion: Sophie Emmett
Grooming: Emilie Louizides
kwassa wears two piece and t-shirt NANAMICA; shoes KICKERS