Interview: Vena Klymo Talks Romantic Idealism and Self Discovery

Soft Spot is “inspired out of frustration and disappointment for not being seen as a whole person by someone”

Back and better than ever, Vena Klymo sat down with Happy to chat about her musical evolution in her latest single ‘Soft Spot’ – the Australian singer-songwriter’s first release since 2018. 

The track, which dropped May 30th, is an intimate and raw exploration of her experience with dismantling idealism in relationships.

Vena Klymo 'Soft Spot'

To be loved, is to be known – and that’s exactly Vena Klymo taps into with this bedroom-pop hit

Below, we caught up with the indie-pop siren to break down her artistic process, her new sound, and what her newest single ‘Soft Spot’ is all about. 

Scroll down for the full interview, and listen toSoft Spotbelow. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

VENA: This morning I’m taking my dogs for a walk around Marrickville oval, going to a yoga class to try and stretch out my decrepit neck and shoulders, and then I’ll be settling in for some admin duties and probably compressing my decrepit neck and shoulders again 

HAPPY: Who or what inspires you?

VENA: I get inspired by the people around me and their stories, our similarities and differences, shared experiences and different perspectives. 

I’ve always just been a sucker for a good story really, and I like when someone has a clever and unique way of telling theirs. I love Tracey Emin, Wes Anderson, I read ‘How to murder your life’ by Cat Marnell recently and really enjoyed that too.

When personality shines through someone’s craft I really get swept away in it. 

HAPPY: How have you changed as not only a musician but also as a person since releasing Motions & Potions in 2018?

VENA: What a question. 

By default a lot of growing up has happened in that time and I think my prefrontal cortex is fully formed now …… the years lost in the pandemic felt like a growth stunt to me as an artist and an accelerated growth spurt as a person.

In 2018 I was much more attached to the outcome of my music, and these days it’s more about fostering time to slip into that ‘flow state’ (if you will), of just playing and creating and expressing. Enjoying the process of it all and getting to collaborate with other artists is the real prize.

I am a very intense person with lots of emotions, so letting go of the perfectionism involved with how I used to express that has been nice. I have learned to take things a lot less seriously and to slow down in both regards. 

HAPPY: Has your sound changed with you as a person, or do you think you’ve changed as a person since finding this new sound as an artist?

VENA: I think all the sounds were always inside of me and I have always been a multifaceted artist (perhaps scared to show it though as I kinda got pigeonholed as a folk artist very early as a teenager.) I still very much view myself as a folk artist in one light, and that side of my artistry hasn’t gone away. 

I had analysis paralysis after releasing my last album as by that point I had written so many songs that I had different visions for genre wise, and I knew the next one would be different but needed to pick a flavour – which is SO hard. 

I have a very busy brain and more ideas and songs than time and means to produce them. I was just lucky that Lttle Kng and I crossed paths when we did and his sound/production was exactly what I had envisioned for Soft Spot, so it kind of made the decision for me and it’s all felt really easy and right. 

So to answer the question, to me my sound hasn’t really changed. This is just one facet of it and there are others to come too.

Vena Klymo 'Soft Spot'

HAPPY: Soft Spot represents a big shift in your style compared to your last album. What inspired the change in production?

VENA: All of the songs on my last album were written on guitar, and Soft Spot was written on the keyboard with a bass preset. 

When I write at the keyboard this whole other side of my personality seems to come out, and it was just clear that a change in production was in order to give the song the life it deserved. 

HAPPY: Soft Spot is very representative of what I think a lot of us feel when entering new relationships. Why do you think people feel the need to warn potential partners that they’re “no saint”? Do you think it comes from a place of self-deprecation or protection?

VENA: That’s a really interesting take. For me it was actually written more as a clarification after realising I had been mistaken for someone I wasn’t, and things would never work out as a result.

I feel as women we can have this idealised image projected upon us, and in heteronormal dynamics men get so devo and shocked when they realise it’s not the case. I feel ‘lady-likeness’ is still so associated with being passive, silent and going along with the other person’s vision of you. Waiting around on them. 

Maybe there are elements of self-deprecation and protection, but really the song is inspired out of frustration and disappointment for not being seen as a whole person by someone I really hoped would. I think it’s a reoccurring experience for a lot of women.

Vena Klymo 'Soft Spot'

HAPPY: What emotions and experiences does the rest of the album explore?

VENA: Hmmm, it will be a journey through my voice memos over the years and a whole bunch of experiences through that time. There’s a lot of light shed on and fun poked at my misfortunes, like most songwriters there’ll be a bit of heartbreak in there as well. 

HAPPY: What can we expect from you in the future?

VENA: For now I am just really enjoying recording and releasing music, so that’s kind of the plan at the moment – to keep enjoying being a bedroom artist and working on the next album. 

After that there is talk of doing some band gigs which I’m really keen for – I’ve pretty much performed solo my whole life so it’ll be fun to share that experience with a band.

HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

VENA: This is an easy one; I am a dog mum to an 8 year old chihuahua x terrier named Bugs and a 4.5 year old Great Dane named Maia. Bugs is a wise old soul, and Maia is like a drunk housemate that can’t stop falling over and needs constant supervision. 

Together they’re ridiculous and hilarious. I love them both dearly and they are a constant source of joy in my life.