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Kawala at Reading Festival 2019.
Kawala at Reading Festival 2019. Image credit: Taz Usher

Reading Festival interviews: Kawala.

“We felt so small on that stage. It is huge.”

Kawala are a duo from North London- Jim Higson (vocals) and Daniel McCarthy (acoustic guitar, vocals).

Following a fantastic performance on the Main Stage, they spoke to The Spark Newspaper about their first time performing at Reading Festival and gave some advice to our student readers…

Facing their biggest audience yet, the musicians tackled a wave of nerves before their set but were immediately calmed by the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Reflecting on their performance, McCarthy said: “It was lots of fun. Being the opening act of the day was an immense feeling and we feel extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity.”

The tightly knit duo- who met five years ago prior to university- added that Reading Festival differed from their past gigs including those alongside George Ezra and The Vaccines.

Higson said: “Reading feels almost prestigious. We’ve appeared at numerous events such as Wilderness Festival, but the scale of today’s performance was something else.”

The singer added: “In the past we’ve been the ones on the other side of the stage, enjoying the music. So this was really special. We really couldn’t have asked for more.”

“We felt so small on that stage. It is huge.”

The artists- who have been honing their act for just 2 years- also spoke about their latest single Play it Right and the sentimental value of its music video.

Spotlighting the distastefulness of bullying, the video explores the healing power of music and the power that taking pride in who you are can have.

McCarthy said: “To be honest, we didn’t set out to be an act that would deliberately change the world or motivate social change.

“We do however believe that if you have a platform, you have some responsibility to use your voice for the good.”

Higson added: “We’ve recently had a rush of younger fans which first became apparent to us during our gig with dodie.

“This new crowd is so enthusiastic about towards our music and we want to thank them for their support by giving them something they can relate to.”


Spark Editor Taz and Print Entertainment Editor Lois with Kawala.

Spark Editor Taz and Print Entertainment Editor Lois with Kawala. Image credit: Taz Usher


Tailoring their response to readers of The Spark, the act also mentioned the importance of staying unique.

McCarthy said: “If we could give one line of advice to students and young people, it’s don’t try to be something you’re not.

“Enjoy who you are and pursue what is right for you.”

Higson added: “I guess we never finished uni so can’t give a huge amount of advice, but we’ve made it where we are today by learning to listen to ourselves and taking the path that feels natural so that’s the best help I think we can give.”

And speaking specifically to students with musical interests, the musician added: “Don’t ever be nervous. Leave all your worries behind and the outcome will be a tonne better.”

“Here’s a good analogy- you might feel nervous before a party, but once you’re there you have a bl**dy good time. That’s should be your attitude to every other nerve-racking scenario.”

Kawala are also performing on the main stage of Leeds Festival tomorrow at 12pm.

About Taz Usher

Print Editor of The Spark Newspaper.

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