Dance music duo Kinder, composed of sisters Briony and Savannah Osei, never seem very far apart. Yet when the zoom call begins they appear on separate screens in different cities. Briony in Sydney, Savannah in Melbourne. Despite this, their connection feels unbridled by the distance, and they chat as if they are in the same room, finishing each other’s thoughts and laughing at the same jokes. It’s a coupling that few working artists in the industry can relate to, and is the underlying factor that makes the pairing so successful. In short, it’s obvious that family is at the core of their endeavours, and their music.
Beginning their career as fill-in DJ’s, moving back and forth between big-city Sydney and small-town Maitland, the past few years have seen the duo move through countless festivals, writing camps and collaborations. And in the process seen them go from playing other people’s music to writing their own.
Their latest releases Come Along featuring beloved A.Girl, and Bus stop, a humorous track about their father running on African time, are the first tastes of their honed and unique style, coming into their Ghanaian influences, and combining it with their love of EDM. Both tracks are set to be a part of their upcoming EP surrounding themes of family and connection, prefaced with a joyous and not-too-serious attitude.
In celebration of the releases, we sat down with the sisters to talk EP’s, performing live and familial connection through music.
Let’s take it back to the start when you were kids. What was it like growing up in your house musically? Did you guys play a lot of instruments? Were you always encouraged to perform?
Savannah: I grew up playing instruments. I started playing the piano when I was 8, and then guitar not long after in primary school, and our mum was in a band so she was always playing and singing around the house. Briony was more of the performer because she was a dancer, and would do concerts all the time.
Briony: Yeah, we used to have a little concert at our Christmas with our cousins, they would sit there dreading it (laughs), but it was our favourite thing to do. We’d have these Wiggles microphones and we used to do a song and dance.
So obviously because there are two of you there are always gonna be two opinions when you’re writing music together. What’s the dynamic when you’re coming up with ideas? Is someone better at one thing?
Briony: I think Savannah is really strong at melody ideas, so I just kind of take her lead on that and then the lyrics is my strength. We still have input on both but those are our strengths, and we just know that now, so we just have this routine and kind of balance worked out where we just go with what works.
Savannah: And we’re quite lucky because we always think quite similarly with creative ideas. So we don’t clash a lot of the times when we’re writing, we’re always on the same page and we always love what the other person does.
Briony: Yeah, I mean it didn’t start out that way. In the beginning, we’d get into fights because we hadn’t worked out our journey or our structure but now we’ve got it worked out.
On your song with A.Girl ‘Come Along’, it seems like a new sound for you guys where you’re mixing those Ghanaian influences with dance music. Is that the sound that you were trying to get to? And what was the process to getting there?
Briony: Yeah it was. We’d been trying to I guess work out what we wanted to do for some time, and we loved all of these elements. We loved the percussion of the Ghanaian music and the chants, but we also loved that bass sound through the club music that we love to play. So it did take a while to fuse them all together. But then when we finally got there we knew straight away that that was the direction that we wanted to keep going.
Savannah: Yeah, it felt right.
So I’m from an islander background and I know that when you go to the islands or when you’re in Australia surrounded by islanders, everyone is family, and everyone has this really collective mentality. Obviously, you guys are sisters, but how does family play a role in your music?
Briony: Well especially with the recent tracks and the ones to come, they’ve all kind of revolved around the idea of family.
Savannah: And our dad, a lot of the songs are based on, because I guess with Ghana it’s a big community. When we’re over here and we see other people from Ghana it’s family, and with ‘Come Along’ it had that message of all being one and all being connected. So family does play a big role in the EP that we’re doing. It’s based around our Dad and Ghanaian culture.
Briony: It was really cathartic for us to be able to explore that side of our life in our music, cause it’s a real moment for us to connect.
Have you guys been back to Ghana recently?
Savannah: We were meant to go in April last year, we were doing a writing camp in Nigeria then we were going over to Ghana but then yeah, covid. So we couldn’t go, which was such a shame because we both haven’t been there since I was 18-months old, so I couldn’t remember anything.
You were saying that ‘Come Along’ and ‘Bus Stop’, your latest single, are on the same EP coming up? What will that kind of surround? Family, as you were saying before? Or what’s the plan for that one?
Briony: Yeah a celebration of family, and I guess a celebration of where Savannah and I have come together as sisters and then pairing it with that kind of club, heavier production. That’s in a nutshell what it will be.
Savannah: And having a good time (laughs)
Briony: Yeah, it’s nothing too serious.
Savannah: Light-hearted party vibes
Do you think you’ll continue making music that’s joyous and happy, or do you think you’ll ever reach a stage where you’ll make anything more slow or sad, I guess?
Savannah: I think one day I’d like to explore a deeper style of songwriting, even though I love the party, and uplifting, joy stuff. I think it would be quite cool to get quite personal with our writing.
Briony: During the lockdown, we did do a bit of that. We kind of tried to explore deeper topics and so we do have a little bit of a pool of music there, which will be interesting to see what we can do with that. It’s a whole different experience writing music that’s just like, you know, party fun to this kind of emotional-release stuff and so I think it’s good to be able to do both.
One thing about your music because it is made to dance, performing live must make up some of the best moments for you. What’s it like being up on stage and seeing hundreds or thousands of people watching you perform? Have you had any funny interactions with crowds that you could share?
Briony: Yeah it’s incredible. I would say that’s my favourite part of the whole music thing, that’s where I thrive is just being up on stage. But I’m trying to think if there’s been any funny interactions (laughs). So usually we play the much later slots and so by that point everyone is in a pretty funny state and it’s just so great. Savannah and I do a lot of our sets sober.
Savannah: Yeah, so it’s so funny watching people (laughs).
Briony: Everything that’s happening, so yeah it’s great. Because you can really clock people and see interactions happening. It’s good fun.
What’s been a standout moment you’ve had in the last few years or a surreal encounter with another artist? Because I know you’ve been on a lot of writing camps, and countless tours, and you’ve collaborated.
Savannah: I think supporting Rita Ora was probably surreal for us because we’ve never done anything like that before and it was our first time singing. We didn’t have the DJ decks or anything, it was just us singing with mics, so that was pretty crazy but it was such a good experience and she was so lovely. So that was a pretty surreal moment.
Briony: Yeah I would agree with that. Absolutely!
Did you get to chat with her much or was it like brushing shoulders?
Savannah: She came backstage to our dressing room just before we were on and had a chat with us and made sure we were comfortable and was so sweet. She was super lovely. It was really nice to meet her.
So last question, but what’s in the future for you guys?
Briony: Well I think it would be really good to fill out our show with as many original tracks as possible. You know, we started as DJ’s playing remixes and edits of other people’s stuff and now we’re in this transition to just build it out into a full show of our work. And so I think that’s the end goal for us, to be able to do that, and just build and grow. And then, hopefully, furthermore we can get overseas and do it over there.
Savannah: Yeah, when we can.
Follow Kinder here for more and check out the video for Bus Stop below.