- Thu, 2012-04-19 10:30
Since moving to London from Brighton, vocalist and songwriter Py has been busy collaborating with a whole host of the hottest new producers on the electronic music scene, building herself a reputation as a young artist worth watching. With her debut mixtape due for release in May it’s only a matter of time before the wider world begins to pay attention.
I Like Music had a quick chat with her before her support gig with Breton, taking the opportunity to ask a bit about her background, ambitions and musical tastes.
“I Like Music because... it either takes me to a different place or makes me live in the moment.” Py.
ILM: Tonight’s a big night for you!
Py: Yeah, it is! It’s really exciting, I’m going to be performing five songs from the mixtape live for the first time ever.
ILM: What is Py live all about? What’s your vision for the whole thing?
Py: I think it’s going to evolve as it goes on. At the moment I’ve got a live drummer, so there’s a lot of drums and percussion, which is really important. Then there are lots of bits of harmonies, and me singing live. Then I’m doing a track with Freddy as well, who’s Greenwood Sharps, one of the producers that worked on the mixtape with me.
ILM: Where has Py come from? How long have you been making music?
Py: I’ve been singing a very long time, and then I started to write a lot of poetry and words, and then I started to create songs. The mixtape is kind of an autobiography: life from Brighton to London, growing up... There are a lot of field recordings between each track. I wanted it to be from the vocalist’s perspective, because most mixtapes are about bpm or genre.
ILM: At what point did you decide to abandon Jade and become Py?
Py: Well Py is the beginning of my second name, so it’s been my nickname a very long time.
ILM: How difficult have you found it since moving to London to be an independent artist?
Py: I’ve found it so easy! It’s been such an amazing journey. I’ve met so many people since I’ve moved here, and done loads of collaborations. I think I’ve really found my sound now, which has made it a lot easier. I describe it like The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, but with me growing up as a white girl listening to Portishead and Billie Holiday and The Supremes and stuff. So I’m influenced by lots of different genres, but there’s something that brings them all together as one sound.
ILM: You’ve collaborated with some great producers – Lapalux, Raffertie, Throwing Snow – how important is their sound when you’re deciding who to work with?
Py: It’s really important. I never wanted to work with producers who had made big hits. I wanted to work with producers who are more up-and-coming and innovative. And I wanted to work with people who hadn’t necessarily worked with vocalists. I love their production, and I listen to their music anyway, but a lot of them had used sampled vocals before, so I wanted to spin it on its head and do it from a vocalist’s perspective instead; working with a more structured song.
ILM: Your voice is very distinctive. Is that something that you’ve developed, or is it completely natural?
Py: It’s just how I sing!
ILM: What’s your ambition for the future? What’s the dream?
Py: To conquer the world! No, basically I’m working on my own music now, away from the mixtape. I definitely want to do more of those kinds of things, but I want to get into the studio with every instrument that I love and just start recording stuff. I’m working on lots of demos at the moment. Then I want to focus it a bit more and work with a few producers and develop it that way.
ILM: Have you got any definite plans for an album?
Py: Not really. A few people have been talking to me about that stuff, but I can’t say who, or where, or when!
ILM: I’ve read about your sound installations, which sound really exciting, could you tell us a bit about that?
Py: Well that’s informed quite a lot of the mixtape, through the film recordings and sound. I did music and visual art at uni, so I did a lot of things where I’d do surround sound compositions just for the voice. I hung speakers and panned them, and people sat in a circle surrounded by the speakers...
ILM: What have you been inspired by recently?
Py: Just the same stuff that I’ve always been inspired by. Stuff like Portishead and Billie Holiday... vocalists that really convey emotion clearly in their voices. Then also I love the playfulness of the harmonies of The Supremes, and that’s why I love Lauryn Hill as well. There’s a real bittersweetness to it all. I’m always really drawn to that.
ILM: How would you describe your process of lyric writing? You said it was very autobiographical...
Py: It is, yeah. I use a lot of metaphors in the lyrics. I think in textures and sounds as well as words... and tastes and stuff like that. I dunno... it says something to me!
ILM: What’s the plan for 2012?
Py: I’ve just written some more vocals for Lapulux, and some with Raffertie. Then the mixtape is downloadable in May.
Py's mixtape Tripping On Wisdom will be available to download for free via www.facebook.com/pypage on 21st May 2012.
Listen to Py on Soundcloud at soundcloud.com/pymusic