What's in a name? The artist Eves Karydas might have the answer – she's been known under a few. First, there was her birth name, Hannah Karydas. Then, she adopted a more mysterious moniker in Eves The Behavior. In recent years, she's merged the two and seen the success that she dreamed of. But it wasn't the name that did it, though we're sure it didn't hurt. Eves' success came through perseverance, ambition, and the knowledge that she could. Well, all that, and a little crossover hit called "Complicated".
"It's been the highlight of my entire career," she tells MTV Australia of her crossover success that saw her transcend from triple j favourite to certified hitmaker country-wide.
"Ever since I was young, I have had one ambition, and that has always been to be played on the radio, like artists that I idolised when I was a teenager. I definitely am not taking it for granted because it's something I've wanted for so long. I just never really known how to do it."
Commercial success in Australia is something that isn't afforded to many alternative favourites, and once you're on that ride – you're on it. This month has seen Karydas try and follow-up the magic "Complicated" delivered with a new single, "Get Me So High", and she could very well achieve it.
"I only care about your plans and I couldn't give a shit about mine," she sings over fluctuating bassline and a smorgasbord of synths, bells and strums. Similarly to "Complicated", "Get Me So High" shines because of the deft touch it was produced with. Konstantin Kersting and Madelene Elasson hold back with their production but to great success, slingshotting the listener with special, punchy moments as opposed to a maximalist atmosphere.
"I wrote the song with two girlfriends of mine in Stockholm, Maddie and Amanda (Cygnaeus)," Karydas explains, marking the first time she worked with an all-women songwriting team.
"We just sort of sat in the studio really late one night and just kind of talked about our love lives. We all were in a similar place, I think. We looked at these little snapshots of things that you do when it feels like the stakes are so high with the relationship. 'Oh, they're not replying straight away, [it] must mean this,' when it never does. I just found writing those things down that I do helped me realise how silly they were."
Karydas also says that the writing of the song propelled her in a personal way, in addition to refining her songwriting skills. "Having these sorts of thoughts out into the open that may have coincided with me writing a song, I was just learning to check in with myself a lot more, and being aware of my responses to how people interact with me rather than just reacting."
This growth was in no small way influenced by her being so comfortable in the studio where she was surrounded by like-minded young women. "I don't think I've done three girls in a room before, only a girl and a guy" she says, before catching herself on how that sentence might read out of context. "You can just hear that it's such a genuine outpouring of like, I don't know, things that girls talk about."
It comes as no surprise that Eves found herself thriving among an all-female team, considering her biggest songwriting inspirations are women themselves. In fact, she notes one songwriter in particular – potentially the most famous one – as having a craft that she admires most.
"Artists like Taylor Swift have always been such a big inspiration for me," she says. "The way she just manages to look at situations and put it into words, and you're like, 'I've been in that exact situation'. Realising something, and being able to view it in such a way that you can then write about it, I think, is a real skill. So I always found her so impressive in that way."
"My songwriting has been an ever growing journey," she continues. "I've been mainly trying to figure out how to sort of mesh those focused songwriter roots with my love of radio pop. So yeah, I think I'm on a real good little journey with these two songs, as well as what's coming after."
Taylor Swift is someone who, very famously, had crossover success from her twanged country roots to stadium-filling pop megastar. While Karydas isn't there – yet – she did have a feeling that "Complicated" would be the catalyst for her to reach a wider audience.
"I wrote 'Complicated' late last year, before anything to do with COVID. Within my team, everyone was responding to that song in a way that I hadn't really experienced before. People were like, 'Wow, this has something to it that we feel like would work in a commercial sense'."
Of course, it was ultimately impossible to predict the crossover success of "Complicated", let alone in the shitshow that is 2020, but Karydas also notes that the lyrics – frustrated with the contradictions of our lives and in our minds – were especially pertinent in the middle of a pandemic.
"The lyrics resonated with people because of this pandemic, I can't overlook that," she says. "I keep thinking, 'I wonder what would have happened if it had just been released in a normal year?'"
As Karydas embraces her newfound burgeoning pop star status, and prepares herself for the challenges ahead, she's already made note of some bizarre obstacles she's been confronted with, as well as some surprising delights. The fans of triple j have a known problem with traditional pop music – you just need to look at any comment section of the page to know that – but still, Eves, who is very much immersed in that space, has hit an unexpected demographic.
"There's a big chunk of my fans that are just lads," she said, with a laugh. "They come to my shows and they know every word. I don't know if I've been living under a rock, but I would not have expected these people to love even the poppier songs on my album" – 2018's Summerskin – "and know every single word."
"I get so many DMs from guys that you'd think would just be creepy, but instead it's like, 'Your music has gotten me through so much'. So I think the way the country looks at pop music, thankfully, is already shifting."
But, there's also a big part of the pop world that Eves isn't too down with: specifically the labels, even the congratulatory ones, that fans barrage female acts with.
"It's interesting. I definitely get labeled as a 'pop queen' or like, 'She wrote a bop', and I'm always like, 'Oh, thanks'. I know people are complimenting me, but I really don't like the word 'bop'." "I find it belittling," she continues, "because it's only ever girls who seem to get that."
Misogyny also rears its ugly head whenever Eves' chooses to swear throughout her discography. "I noticed a trend of the comments that were critical of my swearing also lumped into an agenda. 'Oh, it's just another girl on triple j swearing,' they would say ... I don't mind if you have a problem with swearing. But why? Why do you seem to have an issue with girls swearing?"
Fucks aside, Eves has her sights set on 2021. While there's no locked in plan for her second album as of yet – so much of her time has been spent pushing "Complicated" – she does have her next target: triple j's Hottest 100, which she has so narrowly missed out on in the past. "Justice for 'Further Than The Planes Fly'," she laughs, after the song in question came in at #105 on triple j's Hottest 200 of 2018.
"Complicated" is set for domination on the world's biggest democratic music countdown, and "Get Me So High" could give her the extra push she needs to become the first solo female Australian musician to top it. With Eves Karydas' new direction and an entire new demographic begging for what's coming next, topping many more charts from here on out doesn't seem too far of a reach.
Just don't call her next song a bop.
Listen to Eves Karydas' new single, "Get Me So High", here.
More good stuff: