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KHIVA unfolds a story “through rhythm and rhyme,” hitting various US festivals and hot venues with her Dark Dream Tour. The lyrical queen, known for her dark soundscapes and poetic musings, brings her listeners into an obscure world of wonder. Already having hit Sunset Music Festival and Chicago, KHIVA now brings her midnight circus to Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on July 1st.

Denver is about to meet their deepest dream state through gothic vibrations and the iconic line of support featuring Mantra Sounds, Joe Nice, and Atek. We’re honored for this opportunity to talk with KHIVA about her artistic processes, the vision behind the tour, and her upcoming Cervantes headline.

KHIVA cervantes
KHIVA at Larimer Lounge (courtesy of KHIVA)

Khalila Haque (Electric Hawk): Let’s start off with getting to know you more as an artist. What drives you to write such deep-minded and creative work?

KHIVA: For me, life and art are synonymous. The perfect pair in continuously experiencing oneself as nature and that which sees it. The alchemy, or magic if you will, of writing/creating anything lives in that middle point; between arriving to the canvas and allowing the current to come through. First, we clean the glass, and then delegate the mind and body to transcribe the image. Through some sort of natural refraction of light as we view the image in the mind’s eye, distortion by way of the soul into the world, it becomes our ‘unique’ piece of art. In short, my soul knows art can help channel the message. This just reminded me of a book I have called The Medium is the Massage [by Marshall McLuhan]. I always think of this title. It’s a good one if you ever come across it.

KH: Your lyrics are the utmost strengthening and empowering for many of us. What’s your process behind writing them? 

K: I’m very glad to hear that. Haha, I think I pretty much answered this above. These days I really enjoy the process of completing an instrumental at least 80% of the way, letting it sit for a while, then coming back and focusing solely on shaping the lyrical structure. Then I go ‘lalalalala‘ and spew gibberish until a semi-real word/verse forms. The process of lyrics for me is often the smoothest and fastest. I just have to be primed to let them flow.

KH: Who and/or what are some of your inspirations behind your sound and production style? 

K: It all, of course, goes into the pot of what ends up as my sonic soup. But if we’re really talking backbone, I relate my production and structure styles most to names like Truth and Enigma Dubz. Those are the first two that come to mind for me and are strongly imprinted on the way I make music because they were among the first electronic artists I ever heard and loved.

I get really musically inspired or charged up by specific atmospheres and will often try to create a soundtrack for that vibe. Once I’m in the chair, they’re molded by my affinity toward dark soundscapes, wonky fun house shit, nature, and of course, the purely sacred vibration of creation. The inspiration doesn’t always reflect the final image. I might be sitting in a super pretty cafe smelling flowers, or walking in a disgusting alley and find both to be very inspiring. But, maybe the music is not reminiscent of either of those things, haha! I’m very inspired by people and film.

KHIVA (courtesy of KHIVA)

KH: Diving into your live performances. What was the inspiration behind the Dark Dream Tour?

K: In this chapter, I feel at a point where worlds are finally colliding. While there are many elements to grow and will always change, a lot of the groundwork, so to speak, of what I want to want to convey has been laid. This allows the space to really tap into what the Dark Dream is and what is it trying to say. The incredible thing about art and music is, truly no matter what it looks or sounds like, its whole being is birthed to invoke a feeling.

I’ve noticed a massive shift in the feeling of shows as of late. Of course, organically unfolding alongside the story of Akaal, the poster baby of this run. When it all lines up and the tangible elements are sonically/visually present, you’ve got yourselves a whole experience. That’s what’s most important to me.

The journey is the show, the show is the story: The Supernatural Circus. Truly, I just really want everyone to straight up have fun, forget about everything, just be, and enjoy the aliveness of the moment. The upcoming Denver show features a brand new visual component, and a set list I’ve very intentionally curated to really narrate the story so far. Perhaps, to foreshadow things to come while staying true to the heart of KHIVA.


KH: How did the first few stops treat you? Any memorable moments?

K: Getting up to the decks and on stage is the shiny golden egg that you get to unwrap after all the weed-whacking and bunny-wrangling. Each show truly holds its own unique magic, so they are all spectacular in that sense. You know, it’s been an absolute blessing to meet so many amazing people over the years. I’m never not in awe of that when I show up and get to have fun times with some cool cats, so that’s been great.

It’s always interesting, the contrast between larger and smaller events. I will say, it is so absolutely fun and special to be able to connect with the crowd in more intimate venues; the energy just straight up goes insane. So many times I look back at a picture or video and be like, “Nah, that wasn’t it,” because you just can’t capture what it felt like in that place. That’s the saaauuucee right there.

KH: The upcoming Cervantes headline has quite the iconic and unique support. What kind of vibes do they all bring to the experience?

K: Yes! We are so so excited about the amazing artists on this lineup! We, of course, wanted to hit a nice balance of styles to span the evening, elements, and energies that speak to the ethos of the experience. Each artist brings such a unique flavor and apparent passion to the lineup. I always look for variety and diversity in a run of shows, which can mean similar styles or not! Heart and soul over all. It will be my first time seeing Atek and Mantra perform, and I haven’t heard a set from Joe Nice in a minute, so I cannot wait for it all! Check ’em out and come catch everyone’s sets!

KHIVA cervantes

KH: You have quite a few festivals coming up this summer. With no offense to anyone, is there a particular festival you’re most excited about? 

K: This year I’m playing what seems like a lot of very different festivals that are also new to me! So honestly, I’m equally as excited for them all! Special mention to the b2b with Distinct at Submersion thought because I know that will be very special and cool!

KH: Any other news, merch, or upcoming releases you’d like to share with us? 

K: Yes! My current merch line will be available to order in the shop until June 28th! So get ’em in while you can. I just dropped a spicy free download, my fired-up One Direction bootleg; it has been a blast to play this one live! You can find it on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. As always, all my love and thank you for being here. I’m so jazzed to play a bunch of forthcoming stuff for y’all this summer. See you soon!

We know we’re ready to step into KHIVA’s dark circus and experience this soul-awakening realm. With new visual media and unreleased music, KHIVA’s Cervantes headline is sure to feel like a dream. Already experiencing FOMO? Catch KHIVA’s Dark Dream at Big Dub Festival or at the magical Suwannee Hulaween later this year!

Listen to KHIVA’s spicy One Direction bootleg here!

Keep up with KHIVA
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And if you’re looking for new music, keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts, or follow us on Twitch. Whether it’s the newest drops from KHIVA all your other favorite artists, some old school, or underground—we just want you to hear it.

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