Muki: Super sass and modern Pop

Words by Paul Waxman.

Muki is a powerhouse of pop music, crafting bubblegum pink soundscapes with upfront and sassy lyrics.

Establishing herself as a pop force to be reckoned with, through her lead singles ‘Sassaparilla’ and ‘Friends Don’t Make Out’, Muki is at the forefront of a genre she calls “Brat-Pop.” With this genre well and truly fleshed-out on her debut EP, It Won’t Hurt, Muki parts the competition away with her unique sound and her inventive lyrics.

It Won’t Hurt, your debut EP, takes its title from one of the EP’s lead singles, Sassaparilla. What was it about this one line that resonated with you so much? 

A lot of the lyrics on this EP are very tongue in cheek. I guess I liked the lyric ‘It Won’t Hurt’ because it was playful and super sassy and I think that perfectly summed up the entire EP for me. 

Another lead single is Gold Oxygen, what does the phrase “Gold Oxygen” actually mean?

Gold Oxygen I wrote about having enough self confidence that when faced with opposition you can give yourself a little pep talk. The concept of Gold Oxygen came from the legend of Midas, but instead of everything you touch turning to gold, it’s like everything I breathe on turns to gold, every time I talk it’s gold etc. 

You recently took part in a “K-pop writing camp” in Seoul. Firstly, what was that like, and what was it exactly?

So K Pop refers to the kind of pop music that comes out of Korea. A lot of the pop stars in Korea are scouted or they audition to be pop stars, it is a very different kind of industry than to ‘western pop’. So on a K pop writing camp essentially you are just spending concentrated time writing specific songs for that kind of market. It was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had, being able to be in a studio from 12pm – 4am every day and writing specifically for K pop artists was so amazing. The calibre of producers and writers I had the privilege of writing with was insane! It was such a cool moment for me! 

And, what did you take away from it and does anyone of that appear on the EP?

Because the songs are going to be translated into Korean, there was less focus on the lyrics and more focus on the different melodies you could come up with. We would always be starting from a melodic point of a view rather than a lyrical point of view. I am definitely going to take that kind of learning experience away, it forces you to work out the best melodies. I was referencing K Pop whilst writing that EP, so i think it features a little bit, particularly with the kind of fun quirky adlibs that you hear my songs. 

Grimes, who is one of your inspirations, was famous for locking herself away and writing music based on that feeling of solitary for Visions. You did a similar thing by locking yourself away to record the EP for 2 weeks, do you think that experience made the EP what it is? 

I think that writing my EP with Aaron [Reyes, producer] over 2 weeks was an incredible experience. I think it made the EP really cohesive and a piece of art rather than just 4 really cool songs with no thread.

You’ve described your sound as a Brat Pop artist, who are other Brat Pop artists that inspired the EP?

I didn’t actually reference other brat pop artists with this EP, I was referencing a lot of strong female artists such as Spice Girls, SOPHIE, M.I.A – even Whitney Houston. The Brat Pop aspect just came from my writing style.

Did you ever used to collect Bratz Dolls? Did they inspire you in anyway?

I totally use to collect Bratz Dolls! I haven’t thought about them in a while, except that the other day I was thinking about them cause they had the coolest fashion… I might start using Bratz dolls as fashion inspiration!

Listen to Muki’s EP It Won’t Hurt