kayaNot content with penning some of the sharpest songs in the city, Norwegian-born, Scouse-by-choice songwriter Kaya, also hosts one of the city’s most eclectic and enjoyable music showcases: Studio 2’s celbration of songcraft past, present and future, Under The Influence.

This weekend’s event promises to be an extra special night – celebrating the pop art/rock musings of Drummond, Bragg, Cocker, Wobble et all – as it’s co-hosted by Salford’s acoustic music champions, unConvention. We caught up with Kaya, fresh from a whirlwind tour of Germany, and told her to make sure she stops before she gets around to her Toploader night.

These evenings have been really well received. Where did the idea come from?

When I first got approached by Studio2 to do a night there, and that the night was to be on a Saturday, I wanted it to have a clear profile. I also wanted it to appeal to people who may not be used to going out and see live music – but still not a cover night. ‘Under the influence’ (the name came out of a facebook post asking for suggestions) was conceived both as an homage to the artist that inspired the next generation and a way to appeal to two groups, in order to give up and coming or underground artist a different stage – the people who enjoy seeing great original music and those who are fans of “the influence” and would not normally seek out new music. And 21 Volumes later we seem to be on to something. I love the nights, and we still haven’t had any artists say they didn’t enjoy it!

We’ve been having a debate about the Liverpool music scene – that it’s not defining the music of a generation, or particularly making a big, influential noise, outside of the city. Care to comment from within it?

It is just overcrowded with bands and acts, and not all excellent. There are so many good, but not exceptional acts, so it’s harder for the cream to rise. I don’t think this is only applicable for Liverpool, though. I think most larger cities struggle with this and that the record industry has changed so that the labels don’t dare to take a risk. In that way it’s either scene based bands or really young acts who can be shaped into what they want – or artists and bands who has proven that they sell their music or sell out large venues.

It is very much up to the artists to get a team behind them and build their fan base. It’s important to know what you are doing it for. If it’s for the fame and fortune – then do the X-factor.

I just firmly believe that if you are good enough and work hard, good things will come even if it takes longer and the money is a bit tight. To use a cliché: it’s not really about the destination but enjoying the journey.

Tell us about this weekend’s event – a collaboration with the excellent Un-Convention. How did this come about? And what can we expect?

The collaboration was formed when Chris (Carney – boyfriend and X-Ray cat from CMWMSMDM) and I met Ruth from Un-Convention during networking/drinks at a festival in Norway this summer. We realized that a lot of what we want to do matches what they are doing – so it seemed like a natural partnership. Both of us are also playing the festival in Salford, so it’s a two-way thing!

Collaborations like this – how important are they to help promote the talent we have in the city? And do we do enough stuff like this?

It is obviously going to be easier to push together than separately. If we can show there is a great underground scene in Liverpool and create a stronger link between the Manchester scene and us, that can only be good. Manchester seems to have more of a music industry rather than a variety of scenes. But I might be wrong there. I think Glasswerk has been working on that for a while, so it’s not a new thing really..

What makes you happy about Liverpool right now?

My life, my man, my band, my friends, my work and my family. To quote my own song; “I’m an amazingly lucky girl” (from album title track “Balloon in a Cactus Field”).

What frustrates you?

Never having enough time and people who don’t want to help each other. I think we should all work together to keep Liverpool interesting, but unfortunately some people are so busy climbing up that they don’t notice that they are threading on others or losing track of themselves and why they started doling music in the first place.

Liverpool and Scandinavia – there’s still a bond isn’t there? What unites us?

Well… the sea! People who live close to the sea are similar – the Vikings came via the sea to give us Kirkby, Thingwall and lighter eyes, while the sailors brought scouse (Lapskaus). And there are so many Norwegians in Liverpool that the bond will continue, although these days we only rape and pillage at the weekend…

Under The Influence, Saturday 25 September
Studio 2
Parr Street