Eves Karydas On Her 'Liberating' Comeback LP 'Burnt Tapes': 'I Was Able To Do Whatever The F*ck I Wanted'

4 July 2024 | 1:37 pm | Mary Varvaris

Eves Karydas created an "emo yacht rock" record that came together like a "patchwork quilt," and she couldn't be prouder of it.

Eves Karydas

Eves Karydas (Credit: Gavin Anesbury)

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Allow us to reintroduce you to Eves Karydas: the version of herself she’s always wanted to be.

Karydas, formerly known as Eves The Behavior, has been recognised for her catchy indie-pop tunes for over a decade, receiving support from record labels, triple j, and support slots for international stars like Dua Lipa and George Ezra.

This year, Karydas has relaunched her career as a completely independent artist. Her new album, Burnt Tapes, set for release this Friday (5 July), shows just how far she’s come as a musician, songwriter, and performer—not to mention the clear rise in her confidence.

On Burnt Tapes, she tells an emotionally resonant story of navigating a male-dominated industry and reclaims her sound, image and power following her experience of burnout due to the industry’s “sex sells” narrative. She’s done with being the “pop girl” people thought she was, instead embracing playing instruments like guitars and synthesizers for her own “emo/yacht rock” record.

When The Music last caught up with Karydas, it was after she shared an open letter that condemned the industry’s expectations of women in music.

At the time—October 2022— Karydas revealed that she felt there was no other option than to be self-managed and speak out about how she felt about being a young woman existing on social media.

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“It was either write that and address how I was feeling with all these ugly emotions or quit,” she told The Music.

“I was feeling at the end of my rope. I was like, ‘I don't actually want to do this job if this is what it means.’ I also felt like I owed it to people who followed me for a while to help them connect the dots to see how I have definitely changed the way I use the platform over the last couple of years.”

When we catch up with Karydas now – just days from her upcoming tour in support of Burnt Tapes – she reflects on that time in her life, explaining that promoting the album and tour on social media still brings her an element of anxiety after previously using social media to be depicted as a “hot girl.”

Burnt Tapes is Karydas’s story, and its mission statement is “an ode to reclaiming my sound, image, and narrative.” And nowhere was that clearer than on the single Girlboss, where she flipped your expectations of a song with that title on its head. Instead of being loud, Karydas found a way to be commanding with an acoustic guitar while her lyrics do the talking. “I’m a whisper, not a scream… maybe I like being soft,” she sings.

Ahead of Burnt Tapes’ release on Friday, Karydas has offered up the singles Sunday Drive, Girlboss, Take 2, and the most recently released track, Hair Down, a song that expresses a genuine comfort in desire that stems from trust, confidence and security Karydas feels from a lover.

In a statement, she added, “Metaphorically, this idea of letting your hair down means you have no reservations being your whole self. In a way, there is no purer representation of me being exactly that than on this song as I am the sole songwriter and a co-producer… There's this idea that sex appeal is inherently aloof and mysterious, but I know I speak for a lot of women when I say attraction comes from being with someone who cultivates a feeling of complete trust and safety.”

Karydas tells The Music that Hair Down came together like a “patchwork quilt” as she found samples she loved on the internet.

“One of them [samples] was the strings that are in the verses, and there was this other string sample I found that’s underneath the chorus,” she explains. “There’s a flute sample that’s in the chorus as well. And then I found a drum loop, and it was one of those moments… usually, samples can speak loudly that they’re samples, but these all just work together so well.

“It was incredibly inspiring hearing a really interesting mix of instruments, like hearing this violin/orchestral thing with the flute with that really dirty 90s beat put me in a mood [laughs].”

And that mood was? “When you feel your most powerful,” Karydas says. “It’s a beautiful song. I think it's probably in my top two on the album, and I love that. It's come at this moment [where] I've had a chance to show you some of the other songs, but now I’m like, ‘Okay, here’s this track. There’s a bit more in this vein on the record.’”

For those wondering, Sunday Drive is Karydas’ other favourite song on the album. “The album’s been done for about ten months, and it’s not that there are songs that I don't love as much now from when I finished it, but those two, in particular, have been favourites the entire time.”

Due to the “different flavours” on the album, it took Karydas a little while to figure out the tracklisting, recalling when her dad described the album as “emo yacht rock”.

“I’ve been joking around [and] saying that this record is emo yacht rock, which is something my dad said as a joke, and I was like, ‘Wait, dad, you're actually onto something there,’” she admits with a chuckle.

“The first half of the album is indie/emo—it’s definitely got darker energy weaving through it. [I’m] not being happy-go-lucky Eves, and then the second half flows more into the yacht [rock].

“I'm bringing it back; I'm reinterpreting yacht rock for my own use [laughs]. It's this modern soul hybrid very influenced by Carole King and music of that ilk.”

Karydas hadn’t made music the way she did on Burnt Tapes since dropping her earlier music as an 18-year-old, and for her, self-funding the entire project was empowering and really worked.

“It was liberating knowing that I was funding the whole thing because I felt like I didn't have to refer to anyone or get someone's approval,” Karydas says. “I was able to do whatever the fuck I wanted.

“It was the best way I could have made music, and I hadn't done that in so many years, not since I was probably 18,” she adds, recalling the highlights of not requiring approval after getting demos sent back. That’s a world of music that she finds “unbelievably confusing” and doesn’t align with how she makes music.

Karydas was in that area of the music industry for “so long” and felt like she had become “blinded” by it.

“When you're in it, you can't see it from this bigger perspective. But the minute I got out of it, I was just like, ‘This is what it's like to just create and not have your ideas watered down’. It was a really beautiful time.”

Karydas is aware of the privilege of being able to self-fund her new album (“making an album is not cheap”) and acknowledges that her previous successes allowed her to move forward independently.

“In a way, backing myself and being like, ‘I am going to put everything I have towards this’ was another way of me choosing to believe in myself and choosing to back myself.”

What Eves Karydas fans didn’t see behind the scenes of singles like Sunday Drive and Girlboss and her awaited reintroduction was the “nerve-racking” feelings of resetting her narrative.

“When I re-approached it [social media] with this campaign, I was definitely a bit nervous going in because I didn't know if people would be following me from all that old stuff or what they would think of this new stuff. So, there was an element of nerves,” Karydas admits.

But even with the nerves, ideas were flowing for Karydas, her collaborators, and her partner Dan Puusaari—of Cub Sport fame—who she says was an “amazing sounding board.”

While making Burnt Tapes, she recalls asking questions constantly, like, “What does this song mean? What does it feel like? How can we explore ideas and just have fun?” To Karydas, emphasising having fun became the primary focus.

“I think that's the main thing,” she concurs, “It's been a return to having fun, and the pressure was taken away to prove myself. I was just like, ‘Ah, whatever. I'm just being me now’.

“I like the idea of showing people my less serious side as well,” Karydas says, musing on the release of her 2021 single Complicated, where “everything about it was so serious.”

She recalls, “The Complicated era was like, ‘Oh, you got to be this pop star/pop girl, and you can't show your personality because people won't get it, although I think you're weird, and stuff like that.’

“And I can't express to you what that did to me internally and how hard it was to build myself back up from all of that,” Karydas explains. “But now, I'm in such a healthy place, and it feels so great putting this album out and not feeling self-conscious about what's going on in my head and what ideas I want to explore.”

Burnt Tapes will be released on Friday, 5 July. You can pre-order the album and buy tickets to the tour in support of the album here.



Friday 5 July - Howler - Naarm / Melbourne

Saturday 6 July - Mary's Underground - Eora / Sydney

Thursday 11 July - The Zoo - Meanjin / Brisbane