Funk, Chaos & Blast: Genevieve Artadi On The Rise Of Knower

Get the latest from Beat

Funk, Chaos & Blast: Genevieve Artadi On The Rise Of Knower


The Melbourne International Jazz Festival is days away now, and as venues throughout the city prepare to host some famed names and local luminaries at the vanguard of jazz’s new wave, hype has continued to build around the arrival of Los Angeles’ Knower.

For Genevieve Artadi, Louis Cole and their rotating roster of touring musicians, the last eight years have been filled with sonic exploration and viral success. Their latest album, 2016’s Life, has seen Knower further expand in musical notoriety; their touring schedule has taken the group from LA right around the US and through Europe, to great success. Bringing Life to Australia for the first time for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Knower will light up 170 Russell with their unique flair.

“We’re going to go full blast,” Artadi says. “Fast funk beats, crazy solos, I’ll bounce and sing. We’ll do a ballad or two. [It will] be extra cool doing it with Rai [Thistlethwayte] in his home country.”

The Thirsty Merc frontman may seem like an odd addition to the Knower setup, but one quick Google of their work together helps it all make sense. As Artadi explains, the fusion of different artistic influences from each member of Knower is essential to its musical aesthetic.

“When we record our albums and when we perform our duo set, the music has billions of layers; many of them are electronic sounds that Louis creates. The show we’ll bring to the Melbourne International Jazz Festival will be fun because the textures will be reduced down and played live by amazing musicians who each bring their own fire to the songs.

“[There are] so many bad arses on the bill,” Artadi says of the MIJF program. “It’s an honour to be a part of it. Jazz itself is a music of progressive thinking, so if we are considered ‘progressive’ in our inclusion of pop and electronic genres, I don’t think we’re too far from a jazz-like mindset.”

While a new Knower album is in the works, Artadi’s focus is on enjoying the buzz of bringing their music to new crowds for the first time. That connection with their audience is an element of Knower’s output that has brought them much acclaim over the last few years, a facet of this crazy lifestyle Artadi relishes.

“We love playing for all different types of audiences, but the most fun are the shows where people go bananas and Louis can crowd surf. It’s also the best to talk to people afterwards and hear about their individual connections with our music. Touring has and will continue to affect how we write new songs. Maybe not hugely, but it is fun to think about how certain grooves or sounds or melodies will translate to a live audience. Maybe we’ll think about getting people riled up. It’s hard to say now, because when we get into studio mode, we are on an unpredictable journey with only ourselves.”

One listen to Life, or even further back in the Knower catalogue (special nod to 2011’s Think Thoughts), and you become introduced to a kaleidoscope of soundscapes. What kind of creative spaces do Artadi and Cole inhabit when they settle in for writing sessions?

“It’s all over the place,” she says of their recent influences. “We are very attracted to alien movies; we watch YouTube countdowns about strange phenomena and are nuts over YouTube poops. We go to a lot of our friends’ shows in LA and also listen to a lot of different music, even stuff we don’t like sometimes. Certain aspects make their way into our music, even if it’s just the energy behind it. We both love the movie Under the Skin and [we] got into a Naruto phase for a while. [We] got super into Skrillex’s albums and live show visuals.

“Lately, I’ve been listening to Bernice, String Boys and Ryan Power’s They Sell Doomsday, as well as KSUR AM in LA, where they play a bunch of cool pop songs from the ‘60s. Also been feeling the Twin Peaks vibe and music. I’ve been overhearing Louis listen to Boards of Canada and Earth, Wind & Fire. We also did a Keith Jarrettlistening hang together recently.”

With 2018 set to be another big year of touring for Knower, Artadi’s hopes for these shows remain simple – go big. Melbourne in particular is a city they’re pumped for.

“Big emotions,” Artadi says. “That’s behind everything we do; if that translates, that’s a great feeling for us.”