"No waaaaaaay!" My eyes widened like the Red Sea as I was stunned and giddy with delight the moment I saw the release of Mango Love. The catalog of Giant's Nest (aka Daniel Kadawatha) contains a treasury of singles and a handful of EP's which frequently appeared on my rotation for a long time. What sets apart Daniel's approach to 'Soft House' and 'Lounge music' is the fact that we're acquainted with a multi-colored aesthetic, and a distinct VIBE that oscillates between dance-friendly and chill-out. Giant's Nest literally has the kind of catalog where you could hit play, and simply walk away from your stereo as there is that trust that something special is bound to arise from each track. But the only issue I had was that there wasn't a trace of an album nestling between all the stellar singles and EP's - until late February.
Giant's Nest is one of the many projects of Sweden-based artist Daniel Kadawatha and his debut project cohesively meshes together House, Lounge, a touch of Jazz, and even Latin American influences. We got to chatting on a Zoom call and he graciously opened up about his need for innovation, his inspirations and he explains how the new album was put together.
For those who aren't familiar with your story, how would you describe your journey with music thus far?
I got my first guitar when I was 6 years old, and I eventually came to realize that it’s the only thing I know, and know how to do well so I just kept on doing it. I wouldn’t say I am aligned with a particular genre though I used to be since I played in a bunch of Rock bands. Nowadays I try to explore. Music making is exploring to me, that is the essence of everything and exploring new genres is a big part of the joy of creating. So my musical journey has gone through a range of variations, like if we did this interview 4 or 3 years ago I wouldn’t have imagined I’d have a project like Giant’s Nest because back then I was making something completely different.
You mentioned in your introduction video with Epidemic Sound that you grew up in a very small town in Sweden, and that music wasn't a 'thing' in your family and where you're from. Who were some of the people that inspired you to believe that a career in music was possible?
Hmmm I’d have to adjust that statement a little bit because my father was very encouraging. When he gave me the guitar he noticed I had quite a talent for it and he’s been encouraging ever since. Regarding musical inspirations, probably the rock bands I was listening to at the time like Nirvana, Pearl Jam – you know the 90s Grunge era. Later in my life I had teachers that I saw as a source of inspiration. Though I think a big part of what kept me going apart from my inspirations was the fact that I just seemed to get music easily, especially since I wasn’t good at anything else. It was like a language I could just understand.
It seems as if every couple of years you change your sound through the creation of a new artist project. Why have you felt the need to continuously delve into new genres and monikers?
For me to be able to write music every day, feel inspired, and feel it’s worth my time I need to innovate. I need to feel as if I’m transcending my previous self. If I was doing one genre and doing that for a long time, I really couldn’t continue. For me a big part of music making is exploring new fields. As soon as I jump into a genre I don’t know I need to up myself. If I were to get into Jazz next year, I would need to get develop my skills and develop my musical understanding. I like that. It’s very essential to me to feel like I’m developing and discovering new things. I guess I could have a single artist project and release tons of different styles under that project. Though I think at this point that’d make people confused. I discover more parts about myself by going into different styles.
How did the name 'Giant's Nest' come about and how would you say it reflects the music you create under that pseudonym?
Hahahaha. To be honesty my friend came up with it. Joel, he’s my A&R but he’s more of a friend than an A&R. He came up with the name and it doesn’t reflect the music at all. When you think of Giant Nest you think of Transformers haha. The name sounds like this massive, sublime thing and then the music is super mellow. It’s a funny contrast and that’s the idea behind it. There’s no concept around it, just sounded cool.
You've dropped 9 EP's in the span of 2 years with Giant's Nest, although what made you feel as if the timing was perfect for your debut album this year?
I’ve always liked listening to albums myself, and I got tired of releasing EP’s and singles. I knew that releasing an album would probably not get that much features on playlists and stuff, but for once I really wanted to make a long conceptual project for Giant’s Nest. I literally have material for two more albums, so there are so many songs that also aren’t released yet. It felt like the project has had success, with a range of listeners too – so it was just time for an album.
Even though most of the tracks are instrumentals, there's this romantic undertone that prevails throughout Mango Love. Was that the intention? And how are you trying to make people feel by the end of the project?
So what happened is that I made a whole bunch of songs. Then I sat down with my partners and mentioned I’d like to create an album. We brainstormed to figure out which would be the best way to turn the finished tracks into a cohesive project with a concept. That was the process for this album, it’s not like I went into ‘album making mode’ from the very beginning. The romantic undertone you’re talking about is an aspect we wanted to be a continuous theme through the album. I just want people to vibe with the music to be honest. I didn’t create it so someone would have very elaborate and deep thoughts concerning the album. Giant’s Nest is purely the joy of the beat. For me the album is colorful and that’s how I want people to feel – for listeners to enter a colorful world and stay there for a while.
I've noticed that when you decide to include vocals, they are very sparsely arranged with a few phrases repeated. How do you decide which tracks get vocals and which ones don't?
A lot of Soft House or Lounge music stuff out there has quite a steady progression without much changing over time. So I wanted Giant’s Nest to have that Lounge vibe but I still want to have melodic dynamic in most of my music. Pretty much the song decides which melody it needs, I don’t really make the choice – it’s not premeditated. I start creating and after a while if something comes up during the process I’ll try it.
All your tracks under Giant's Nest have been released with Epidemic Sound. What was it about Epidemic that made you feel that they were the perfect home for your music?
The whole Giant’s Nest project actually started out as a mutual initiative between myself and my team over at Epidemic sound. They’ve been representing me for a while and at a certain point they had a lot of people asking for Soft House kind of music, and then they asked me if I’d like make Lounge music. After I started creating the music I realized how much I actually it. So it started off as work for demand, and became a full on artist project haha.
You've mentioned that you're usually clear-headed before you start creating in the studio. I'm curious if you have practices in life to help you get into a state of mindfulness?
No I don’t have any concrete activity like meditation or anything like that. I’ve been working in the studio for so long now and I know I don’t need to be in a certain emotional state to create music. I can create music independent of how I feel before I start creating. I know that as soon as I start making music I get into the state that I need to. It usually takes me 10 minutes to get into a flow state.
Three things you miss about being on tour?
I miss hanging with friends and the people I admire musically. The social aspect I really miss.
Playing shows and performing is of course a big one too. I started off like that when I was playing in rock bands. I need that and I think it’s a big part of being a musician.
Travelling too haha
Okay so, 1) An artist/band you’d love to have a D.M.C (deep meaningful conversion) with 2) An artist you think would be rad to party with 3) An artist you would love to spend a week within the studio. You’re welcome to select from artists who are dead/retired.
To party with, I would choose someone like Mozart! I’ve wondered how he would party. He was actually this wild guy though when you picture him you can’t think of him partying. If you think of someone like Drake or anyone popular of our time, you can get an idea of how they party. But partying with Mozart?! How do you picture that, I’d love to go back in time and have an experience with him in that light.
In the studio with, definitely Kevin Parker. There’s tons of people though he’s the first that came to mind