by Morgan Davis
Austin singer-songwriter fuvk is an alluring enigma, a talented and gifted musician who views her music as therapy and creates it in relative isolation, eschewing the ambitious drive to “make it” that we most associate with careers in music in order to create her own sound on her own terms. Since fuvk first appeared on Bandcamp with her quiet yet powerful EP Current Biology, Ovrld has been following her, intrigued by the enchanting beauty of her music and by the lack of details about the person making it. After reaching out to her collaborator Clint Burgos (one of the only names associated with fuvk’s releases), we managed to get in contact with fuvk to talk about where she came from, what her goals for her music are and why she won’t be taking the songs live any time soon.
Morgan Davis for Ovrld: You can see the development process for most artists, watching their sound evolve over a series of demos and singles, but it feels like you emerged fully formed this summer with your Current Biology EP. Were you in other bands or working on other projects before this? What was the spark for fuvk?
fuvk: I started writing songs at the beginning of 2016 (technically December 31, 2015?). I was never in a band, though I’ve been playing the violin for about fifteen years now. Current Biology encompasses a select few tracks from early 2016 that I thought were worth sharing. I think the reason my sound hasn’t evolved much is that fuvk is less of a musical venture and more of a personal project. The driving force behind fuvk is emotional liberation, and I haven’t yet felt the need to change up my sound in terms of that. The only thing that’s really changed is the recording quality. My earliest songs exist as voice memos and Macbook recordings.
Ovrld: There’s a fascinating contrast between the intense intimacy of your lyrics and performance and the anonymous way you present your art— you have no social media pages that I’ve found, no press photos and the only names on your releases appear to be your collaborators. Is this anonymity a tactic to make people hear your music without any “brand” getting in the way of what you’re trying to convey?
fuvk: I think the lack of social media presence can actually be attributed to the fact that I hadn’t intended for anyone to hear my music at all. The Bandcamp page is more of a personal record for me than anything else so there was no motivation to promote anything. However, at this point, I do want to remain anonymous so that nothing detracts from the music itself.
Ovrld: Something that also strikes me about your music is the way your lyrics present such specific imagery so efficiently. Your Bandcamp page describes your music as an “audio journal,” and that’s a great phrase for your music, it feels like I’m glimpsing someone’s hidden thoughts. Songs like “Solano Drive,” where you sing “If you see me drowning slowly/Please don’t pull me up” have a devastatingly raw quality to them. Do you view your music as therapeutic in a way? What do you hope people take from listening to your audio journal?
fuvk: “Solano Drive” is one of my favorite tracks. It’s the first song I worked on with Clint Burgos, a friend who I’ve credited on every EP so far. I can’t speak for any listeners, but I definitely find my music to be therapeutic. I started writing as a coping mechanism for depression and anxiety, and I hope that people can find a sense of relatability through my words. I hope that even if they can’t share my experiences, they can understand my sentiments and find solace in that kind of solidarity.
Ovrld: For me, your music also brings to mind a certain strain of late ‘90s, early ‘00s emo that emphasized lyrics, minimal instrumentation and airy vocals over melodrama and bombast. I hear elements of How It Feels to Be Something On era Sunny Day Real Estate, and Saddle Creek acts like Azure Ray, but your music has such a haunting, unique quality to it that it’s kind of impossible to accurately pin down any soundalike. I’m curious to hear which songwriters and artists you identify with most.
fuvk: I think it may be difficult to liken my sound to anyone else because there’s really no “sound” that I’m trying to achieve. The unique quality you hear may really just be a minimalistic quality that stems from my echo-y room and lack of instrumentation outside of my tiny acoustic guitar. As for songwriters I identify with, I think Gregory and the Hawk and Benjamin Francis Leftwich are good examples.
Ovrld: The production on your EPs does an excellent job preserving the intimate feel of your songs and creating a dreamy mood to bolster the unique qualities of your guitar and vocals. How do you and your collaborator Clint Burgos work together? What methods do you use to achieve your sound?
fuvk: Clint and I don’t live in the same city anymore so we send projects back and forth online. Generally, I’ll record the parts to a song I’ve written and he’ll take that and mix/master it. More recently, he’s been contributing more to the production and adding some instrumentation and effects here and there. His mixes definitely give my music a cleaner quality. There aren’t any particular methods we use to achieve the sound, at least none that I think are noteworthy. We just use some reverb and EQ out some bad frequencies. I do tend to double track most things though.
Ovrld: You’ve released an EP more or less every other month since May. Do you find the EP format easier to work in? Do you have plans for a full length album any time soon?
fuvk: The EP format is unintentional. I try to put tracks out as soon as I’ve written them because I find that the more time I spend with a song, the more issues I have with it. Each EP is a collection of songs that fit a certain time period or relate to a particular sentiment, and I release the collection as soon as I think that portion of my life has concluded. Based on that, I don’t think there’s a very strong likelihood that I’ll put out a full length album.
Ovrld: Will fuvk remain strictly a recording project or do you have plans to do shows?
fuvk: The plan right now is to keep it a recording project. It’s probably better that way. I’m in no way a performer, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Morgan Davis sells bootleg queso on the streets of Austin in order to fund Loser City, the multimedia collective he co-runs. When he isn’t doing that, he gets complimented and/or threatened by Austin’s musical community for stuff he writes here at Ovrld, which he is the Managing Editor of.