We had a chat and photoshooting with LA-based producer and DJ JVNA.
Photography and interview by Christopher Brown
JVNA – you have built a strong fanbase with your unique ability to produce, sing and write all of your own music. Can you tell us how you got your start in music and the steps you take when creating a track? What do you hope to achieve with the JVNA project in the future?
Thank you! My start in music began with playing piano and a bit of violin & cello from the age of 6. I’ve always been writing and producing throughout high school and then went to a classical music school to study composition and game/film scoring at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. My process of writing my music can start from two ways. I either go about it the same way I would film score – painting an image in my head and writing melodies & placing sounds that emulate vivid imagery from my head, or I start off with writing lyrics & a top line and then go about producing the track once the top line is finalized. For the JVNA project, I don’t have a set plan of how I want it to lay out since it’s not fun if I am formulating a plan for my life. I think with an artistic career I plan on just doing whatever feels authentic to me, but I hope to explore all avenues of music beyond being my own artist. In the later part of my career I would love to go back to my roots and score for film and game as well.
You recently debuted the first single from your album ‘Safehouse’. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the track? Will the single be part of a wider story on the album?
Safehouse is a song about finding strength in yourself and not relying on protection or being dependent on anything but yourself. I was inspired to write this because I was going through a lot of personal growth last year of having friends I so heavily depended on leave my life, graduating from college, jumping into my first headline US tour, breakups, & living on my own for the first time. It was all so exciting for a transition into “adulthood” after college, but at the same time it felt lonely because I was not used to doing things on my own. ‘Safehouse’ is a track that defines the meaning of my upcoming album as all of the songs are driven by the learning process I underwent throughout all of this.
“I don’t have a set plan of how I want it to lay out since it’s not fun if I am formulating a plan for my life.”
You’ve been an avid Twitch streamer over the past few years and have developed a solid following online. How do you come up with all your creative ideas to do on Twitch and what do you find has been your most successful content to date on the platform?
My approach to streaming has always been experimental. I have tried almost every type of streaming content on Twitch and I just stuck with the one I felt most comfortable being consistent with. My approach is that I try not to overthink it. A lot of people are hesitant to stream or try different things because they are afraid it is not the “right look”. But at the end of the day – if it feels natural to you that is going to be the “right look” unless your entire brand hasn’t been the real you the entire time. My most “successful content” has been my DJ sets for my JVNA Live series which I do about once a month. Other than that, I typically just do whatever I feel like doing and that usually ends up being cooking, playing piano, or playing very low-skill based easy games (because I suck at FPS games lol)
You have a very bold style and unique sense of fashion – from your multi-hair colors to your e-girl inspired looks and street style. Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from and what’s your go-to outfit for a night out?
I really like streetwear but I also like to draw some inspiration from character design I see in cyberpunk & dystopian anime or video games if I’m really trying to piece together a special outfit for a video or photoshoot. In those cases, I’d layer a lot of belts, random harnesses, chains. I also like contrasting those bold accessories with more feminine styled clothes made with mesh, lace, or velvet material. My go to outfit usually are just black jeans, some tank crop top, and some random bold jacket that I like.
Mental health is a very important topic in the world right now especially in the DJ community. What steps to do you take to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay centered?
It definitely helps to set up a daily routine or schedule that you will commit to everyday & communicating with friends on facetime or discord as much as you want. My schedule has consisted of me working out, practicing instruments & vocal exercises, writing music, streaming, walking my dog, & going on discord at night with a group of friends. I write down everything I am going to do that day on a planner and feel accomplished by the time I complete the list of things I committed myself to do that day.
Now that we are in quarantine, have you picked up any new hobbies? Have you been watching any exciting movies to tv shows?
I was never an avid gamer myself, but I have started to play more video games throughout lockdown. I bought my first switch (animal crossing edition muahaha) and have been playing random platform games on it since. I also hopped on Valorant hype but kept dying so I haven’t played much of it recently. As for TV shows, I think I am going to finally start on Game of Thrones since I’ve never watched it.