Photo by Frederic Aranda
East London, along with Berlin and Paris, has become the locale du jour for many young artists and musicians in Europe. Musician Pelin Pelin is just one of these many creatives, who has carved a unique presence for herself on the gritty streets of Hackney. Her musical style is a blend of R&B, hip hop, and indie dance pop. The result - pure aural awesomeness! Pelin Pelin (or just singular "Pelin" as she is known as to her pals) takes some time out of her busy schedule to let us know what this musical maven is all about.
What is your name, age, occupation(s), location(s)?
"My name is Pelin Pelin. I'm a London musician. The music I write would best be labled as 'rhythm and blues music promoting violence,' I guess. I have been producing beats for a few years now and I play the piano from when I was a six year old Mozart fanatic. Somehow I have quite a loud voice (I'm rather a petite person) which I try to combine with a bit of rough beats. But I also include the piano in my performances to allow myself to be vulnerable for approximately 5 (OK, let's say 6) minutes of almost every show I do."
Why do you do what you do? What inspires you in general and in your work? What makes you stand out from other artists?
"I regard the ability to entertain people with my music as part of the job. So I wouldn’t do this if I was only a good singer or a talented piano player - that's not the point. I really believe that I have a story to tell and that is why I do what I do (pathos alert).
If people come to my shows they really feel entertained afterwards; they feel like I have given them a new perspective on things, that's just ... GREAT! I reckon what makes me stand out from some quite original artists you come across is that I am not only an artist but a musician - so if you ask me to write a song for a singer I dont even like (that would be...lets say Lee Ann Rimes) I could do that in 10 minutes (chords, lyrics everything! By the way I did that just a few weeks ago, I wrote a country ballad - so if she calls me one day, she will get it). I have absolute pitch and it takes me 3 minutes to memorize the chords and key of any song I hear on the radio (and I could even tell you the key of them years after I heard it - so freaky, I know). But on the other hand that’s only half of the performance. I come from an artistic background - I started to paint when I was 13, I have worked as an artist assistant and did performance art in a few galleries as well. And you can sense all that when I'm on stage I believe. Many creative musicians I find convincing are often bad singers, and many good singers are just boring artistically speaking (yes, I'm talking to you 'wannabe next Jill Scott'). I guess with me you get the whole package - a big voice and an artistic mind - HOORAY!!! (OK, end of ad announcement).
And with regard to what inspires me, I guess that would probably be avocado spread. And my lipstick collection. Probably also my neighbour’s dog, whenever we meet he never seems to be quite decided about whether to absolutely love me or hate me. (I have made that enumeration to people who asked me this before, by the way - so it seems I'm not THAT original after all, eh?)"
What are some current projects you are working on?
"I am doing a track with Ximon from TEETH!, a band from London (they're the ones that hacked into LadyGags Twitter btw). The stuff he produces for the band is great - but he shouldn’t read this, he gets spoilt so easily if you tell him these things. Also I'm working on tracks with one half of the techno duo COMA which I met whilst gigging in continental Europe. I don’t know anything about that music genre but the boys are very polite and handsome.
With regard to the years to come, I have been asked to do one or two residencies in galleries, putting my music and paintings into context, and I will start doing the first preparations for that soon."
What are you hoping the future will bring for yourself and your career?
"OK, first of all: Is there a way I could run into Elton John and Mobb Deep on a night out? We would then instantly feel THE VIBE between us, go to the studio, do this incredibly bohemian midnight recording session and write the song of my dreams? Because that would actually be my biggest, and at the same time, most realistic hope."
What are your favorite places in the general London area?
"OK, I'm not sure your Boston readers want to hear this but in spite of what happened in 1773, if you ever come here, you need to have afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel. Also go and have as much cake as possible at Patisserie Valerie once (preferably the one on Queensway). And you need to absolutely go to Fortnum & Mason ice cream parlor, no 'buts' allowed! (Sorry about the cliché, but yes I am a girl and I have a sweet tooth)"
What's it like to be a creative in a city like London? Do you feel happy, sad, stressed, paranoid, etc.?
"I have to admit I find the competitive environment rather inspiring. As long as you're able to just shut yourself away every few weeks and only work on your stuff and remain focused, it's all fine. Just don’t compare what you create to others too often, or don’t show it to them all the time, seeking their instant approval. Many successful musicians living in metropoles, sometimes wrote their best songs when they were outside the hub, like somewhere abroad on tour in a city where no one knows them, or they have their studios in smaller cities. Basically to put it in patronizing words: don't distract yourself from working and you're a happy artist."
Do you have any advice, life tips, suggestions for the Ladies Lotto community?
"I bet you all know there is this idea that women natively can never be genius because they give birth to children which is their way of bringing newness to the world, whilst men need to put all their energy into art, for they envy women for their ability to give birth. Their energy is thus bigger and the art better. (What you think? Is it true?) However I'd prefer that the collection of female ingenuity you put together on your lovely blog will prove Freud wrong..."
To listen to more of her tunes and get the latest info on what Pelin Pelin is doing in the musical landscape, check her out on MYSPACE: www.myspace.com/pelinmusic
Be sure to send her some fan mail at pelinmusic [at] gmail [dot] com.
Seven Questions is a Q+A segment I, Susie G, will be doing EXCLUSIVELY for Ladies Lotto. Seven Questions will be featuring female artists, creatives, and the like from various locations worldwide. The goal of this is to introduce creatives to the LL community and the interwebs, and hopefully create potential collaborations, networking opportunities, etc. All interviews are done via e-mail correspondence. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have suggestions for future interviewees @ d j s u s i e g [at] g m a i l [dot] c o m.