Known for their angelic melodies and electronic sounds mirroring the elements of nature, one can’t help but be transported to another world when listening to their music. Following the success of their single Merewif the Uncle and Niece duo are currently playing a string of shows around the country to promote their latest EP Water. For this month’s edition of PEARL we spoke to Narayana Johnson & Kalyani Mumtaz who are Willow Beats.

PEARL: So back in 2012 you won Triple’s Parklife competition, do you think this was what propelled you into the airwaves?

NARAYANA: Well our music was on Triple J Unearthed for about a month and I was living in this house in Melbourne and we found this wallpaper in the cupboards. I folded it and made CD cases out of them for all the EP’s and sent them individually to each Triple J presenter. When they received them I guess they were like for the first time you know wow what’s this? This is cool and started playing our music. So for me I think that was the beginning. We entered the Parklife comp and that got us on the radar of like management and got us the attention. This got the people in the industry to notice us. We also wrote a little that went along with it too you know saying I hope my landlord doesn’t mind (laughs) and a lot of the presenters have told the story since its an interesting thing to talk about a smart mood to tell.

PEARL: You both come from the same musical family, how did you two come to make music together? I believe your dad and Kalyani’s Grandfather wrote ‘A Home Among The Gum Trees’?

KALYANI: We always played music together I remember dancing around in my princess dresses yelling and singing over Nara playing guitar. We used to record ourselves on a tape and then listening back to it and freaking out saying oh my God I sound like this. Delete it! (laughs)

NARAYANA: My mother is a piano player and my brother is really good bass player, Kalyani s mum is a singer and our cousin plays guitar, everyone has a go.

PEARL: Who or what would you say influences your sound? You have a lot of natural elements in your music.

NARAYANA: We each play a part, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and I think we have a really good working relationship. I think a lot of it comes from where we grew up and where Kalyanii still lives now actually, in Mooloolaba and it’s just incredible there are forests and rivers and it’s quite close to the beach. It’s incredible, nature everywhere. The inspiration came from growing up in that environment and being able to go out and run through the forest and jump in creeks and climb trees. Musically I’m quite by Matt and Kim and Naas as well.

KALYANI: Bjork, and Nora Jones, the quality of her voice she’s always been an inspiration.

PEARL: Talk us through your song writing process?

NARAYANA: When I’m making music or when Kalyani is writing lyrics, I’m picturing this space, a fantasy area. I want people to feel like they are also in this place when they hear the music. So I’m thinking what kind of melodies would exist there what kind of sounds they would use there. I’m trying to be in the headspace that has its own kind of feel and journey.

PEARL: You recently played at Strawberry Fields, what was the show like for you guys?

KALYANI: It was amazing, so much fun.

NARAYANA: It was amazing its ideal. It’s an incredible crowd, everyone’s there for the music and to dance and when you look out you can see that people are actually listening to your music and feeling it through their bodies. Whereas when you play in a club a lot of the time everyone is squished and less of a vibe. It’s still awesome but strawberry is the ideal setting.

PEARL: Looking forward to playing at Beyond the Valley over New years down in Phillip Island?

NARAYANA: Yeah really looking forward to it, we haven’t been there before. I can’t wait.

PEARL: How was the Merewif Single tour?

KALYANI: It was really fun.

NARAYANA: We say it every tour but I feel like it was the best tour yet. I guess you hope that every tour is the best. There was definitely a vibe, we are playing shows in every state and people are showing up. People know our music.

KALYANI: And people are singing along its awesome.

PEARL: What’ the plan for next year?

NARAYANA: We are going to start working on an album; it’s exciting and daunting at the same time.

Willow Beats play Beyond The Valley Music Festival held on Phillip Island December 30-31. For more information and ticketing visit


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