Ot over the past 30 years the garage has become a major influence in certain areas of the UK music scene. In 2001, So Solid Crew’s pacy MC-ing on ’21 Seconds’ took them to the top of the charts; a year later, The Streets ‘”Original Pirate Material” took inspiration from the funky old-school garage sounds of the’ 90s to create a defining first record for the generation. So it’s no surprise that we always celebrate the sometimes forgotten genre as a tribute. PinkPantheress, 20, makes scintillating renditions of hidden garage sounds, drum and bass, and the jungle, whose songs have become one of the most popular sounds on TikTok and beyond.
Fans around the world have spent the past year documenting (virtually) their lives on his music, however, it took a while for PinkPantheress to let the world see him. Part of a digitally savvy generation, she managed to hide under a cloak of invisibility online – all because she wanted people to hear her music before they saw it. And with the music video for recent single “Just For Me” (produced by hitmaker Mura Musa), the Bath-born artist offered her first face reveal, though she insists she “takes advantage of the fires. of the ramp right now “with the current level of privacy it has. Even with her penchant for mystery, she became one of the UK’s greatest breakthrough artists of the year, despite people barely knowing who she is.
Until now. Finally ready to talk NME on Zoom, PinkPantheress tells us all about her TikTok fame, her garage expertise, and why she thinks Americans should dig deeper into UK musical history.
For a long time, you hid your identity. Why?
“I think it depends on what you put in there. I wanted it to be more about the music than how I presented myself. It’s about how much you can control, and you can’t control everything, but I decided that sometimes I can be incognito. It’s good that people are interested, but they also say to themselves, “Well, I can only give them what I want to give them”. I like the privacy that I have at the moment.
Did you think you would ever be in this position?
“I’ve wanted to be an artist my whole life, but I kind of deleted it because I thought the chances of that happening were slim to zero, and it also didn’t really conform to that. that I was doing at the time. This is something I wanted to do since I was 10 years old. When I was in school, I leaned more towards a career in film. I am still in college for making movies – and I have no plans to give up. I’m going to stay here as long as possible, but I feel like cinema is a closed book for me. But it’s not completely closed because I still love it and want to make videos.
When did you want to become PinkPantheress?
“I would say it was when I saw Paramore live at the Reading Festival when I was younger, and I saw Hayley Williams on stage. She was doing something I wanted to do, so I figured I’d better start protesting early so I could get there.
“From the performers’ point of view, Hayley Williams is a big influence; she’s amazing and one of my favorites in this game. I’ve never seen someone have so much fun on stage and look so easy doing it. I was so jealous of her.
What exploded on TikTok for your career?
“I tried all the other options to stream my music – and I feel like TikTok was my saving grace. I was using TikTok just for watching videos anyway, but the idea of using it as a music sharing platform came to my mind one day when I made a video with zero subscribers and it worked pretty well. I don’t want to use TikTok to promote my music forever, but as a boost it’s really amazing for a new musician.
“I wanted it to be more about the music than how I presented myself”
Central Cee recently sampled you on their new single, ‘Obsessed With You’…
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a big fan of Central Cee!” And when I saw his message, I was like, ‘You know what? Obviously that would be a yes. I’m super excited he’s out. I think it’s great. I’ve always wanted to be a sampled artist, and I’m happy that this process begins with an artist like him.
Where does your love for the garage and drum and bass samples you use come from?
“If you listen to my music and think, ‘No one’s done this before,’ then it’s probably because of my melodies. Usually the people who sample the garage are rappers, which is super cool; artists take modern songs and turn them into garage hits, like AJ Tracey’s “Ladbroke Grove”. I’m a big fan of it.
“For me, what I want to do – because I’m super lazy – is take a garage beat that I really, really like and cut it a bit, loop it, and then sing along. There’s nobody in the UK who doesn’t like the garage, so it’s with a twist.
Do you think your music is a gateway to The Garage and other genres of UK clubs?
“My music is not the norm for the garage. This is also not the norm for drum and bass or the jungle. I don’t even want to lock my music into one of these genres for a lot of reasons, one of them being that I believe what I’m doing with my music and the samples is just that I dive in. my toe in the pool. If you want to dive into it you have to check out the old drum and bass, garage, and jungle stuff.
“You can’t just listen to my stuff and think, ‘Yeah, that’s it! “. You have to go back to basics and listen to Shy FX, Adam F, Shola Ama – you have to listen to them all to get a taste of what it’s all about. This is something that is very important for me to share with everyone – I don’t want to pretend I have done something that has never been done before.
“The British garage has been around forever, but I don’t know if Americans grew up with it like us. Many of them might think it’s new – dive in and listen to old records.
How did you know these founding artists of UKG and clubs?
“It comes from three things. One: YouTube. Two: my mother’s car. Three: to be a British teenager and to be in London a lot, even though I’m not from there. I have found that going to parties and being in the car with my friends, who are really in the garage, exposed me to this music.
And what comes next?
“There is definitely a work in progress, so watch this space. There are some things in between that I won’t reveal since you know I’m a mystery lover. The project is a bit of a mixtape, more than an EP, but all I can say is it’s coming out next month, and it’s kinda dark.
“Eclectic? You can be the judge. But I hope I have the same love for this record as I did at the beginning of my career. It was really nice to see everyone reacting that way to my music. I just hope. that I just created a while ago.
PinkPantheress’ Latest Single, “Just For Me” Is Now Available