Mavi Phoenix is the 22 year old Austrian rapper, musician and producer making an impression with her distinct flow, feisty presence and low-key devastating beats.
Pair this all with the aesthetically enthralling music videos and there is no surprise we are eager to watch her live at the second annual Lighthouse Festival in South Africa. Catching up with her ahead of the festival we discussed social consciousness, her approach to production and how she feels about her upcoming performance.
You started making music by messing around with Garageband. Are you completely self-taught as a musician, and did you grow up in a home that was musically rich?
I started making music, producing on Garageband. It was just a hobby for me to make loops and make songs, and I did so for years and eventually, good songs came out. I grew up with a single mom, she loves music and listens to a lot of music but she's not a very good singer, and my dad also loves listening to music but he's not a musician.
Your formative years were in a time when internet access made connecting with artists and exploring your influences a lot easier than for previous generations. Which artists influenced your sound and encouraged your music journey?
I think I was inspired by a lot of artists, for example, Kanye West was very important for me because through his music I got in touch with hip-hop for the first time. N*E*R*D, Snoop Dogg and I also listened to a lot of Green Day, I listened to everything. House music and also Daft Punk, I think all these artists were very important for my musical development. And yes, my generation had access to all this music and I think that's why my music sounds international because I had access to all these different artists and now it's like a fusion together.
The post-millennial generation is extremely socially and politically conscious. Unafraid to tackle critical issues like feminism, intersectional equality, and mental health publicly. Do you use your music as a voice in this movement and is Mavi Phoenix an authentic reflection of your personal standards and ethics?
Yeah, I definitely wanna use my music and my persona to shine a light on issues like these but also my music is not extremely political. What I have been trying to until now is have fun in my music most of the time. I do have a few political issues here and there but it's not like completely only about those things. Mavi Phoenix is me so it is an authentic reflection of my personal standards for sure.
How do you approach production? I know a lot of producers can only work when inspiration hits, while others sit down and don't leave their computer until they've laid down a track. How does traveling and working remotely (like going to Red Bull Studios) affect your production?
I think I definitely more of a person who just makes music when it hits me, I don't feel like writing or producing all the time, I'd rather do something else. I'm not the type of person to try and do it all the time because it makes me very depressed when I'm not going through a creative phase and it's very difficult for me. When I know that I have a week of being in South Africa and being in studio then it's easy for me to be creative because in the weeks ahead I didn't write a lot because I know I can be creative when I get there.
What are your live shows like, in terms of your technical set up as well as your presence on stage? Do you translate the vibe and energy of what you portray in your music videos into your live performance?
My live set consists of a DJ and me, so without a band. And mostly the DJ is my producer, Alex The Flipper, who also produced the latest EP. I've heard from a lot of people that I am very energetic on stage, and it was always the thing to get the energy I have on stage into my music videos. So I think in my live performances I am even more energetic than in my music videos, for sure.
Lighthouse Festival South Africa is predominantly house/techno and electronica. How does it feel being included on the line up for LHF where your live performance will be a highlight?
I mean, it obviously feels very good because it's very international. I'm from Austria and to play in South Africa is a privilege, it's really awesome for me. I didn't know it was house, techno and electronica based but that's even better then. If you say my performance will be a highlight then that feels very good, thank you very much!
Words by Angela Weickl