Get to know: KAWALA

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KAWALA are a North London-based band consisting of vocalist Jim Higson, guitarist/vocalist Daniel McCarthy, drummer Ben Batten, lead guitarist Dan Lee and bassist Reeve Coulson.

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Their genre blending sound has been influenced by lots of different artists, including some of their favorite bands growing up, like Bombay Bicycle Club and Half Moon Run. Known for their luscious harmonies, Kawala claims to have also been heavily inspired by folk bands, such as The Staves. With Dan originally being shyer about singing, they soon gathered the confidence to try singing together, using their voices to complement each other: “We kind of developed our singing together, which is maybe why it gels so well together,” Jim told Indie Buddie in an interview in 2019. 

Kawala describe their music as "indie meets folk meets afrobeat”: “A Kawala song only exists as a Kawala song if it stems in the same way that it always has - if you don't rely on textures and different instrumentation and the song can still exist in its two-piece format” Dan said

But the music isn’t the only thing that’s important to the band, it’s a sense of community too: “I think we wanted to build this Kawala world that was bigger than us just being a band… the biggest compliment we ever get is that ‘Oh i wish i could hang out with you guys, it looks like you have so much fun’ we wanted to play on that and build this world that people felt like they were tapping into it”  they told Vintage Society at TRNSMT festival in 2021. 

Their self-titled community, ‘Kawala Universe’ aims to make their friends, family and fans feel included in what they’re creating: “We’re so lucky to have grown up in the area of Camden Town, very rich in community spirit and also creative people everywhere, so as we were building, it felt only right to utilize the community spirit of what we had.” 

With several EPs already under their belt, the band has announced their long-awaited debut album, ‘Better with You’, released on 4th March. They’ll also be doing a UK headline tour in April 2022 where they’ll be showcasing the new record.

To celebrate the release of the album, Kawala is asking you to help them design some artwork that represents the debut. Can you show us what ‘Better With You’ means to you? Submit your work to the exciting brief here

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