I first came across Pinklogik when I was busy finding interesting people to follow on Twitter. Her brand of delicately woven sound inspired me and I decided to message through some mini-reviews of some of her songs. Of course, I couldn’t simply leave it at that, and so I asked Jules if she’d like to have a chat.
TVE: I’m sitting here listening to ‘Headspace’ on your Soundcloud page. It’s quite an intense track and features your own vocals. I’ve listened to some of your earlier music on albums like ‘Learning to Trust Higher Frequencies’, which only feature minimal vocals on two tracks: ‘Colours’ and ‘Transformation’. Is it an area that you now feel more comfortable moving into?
PL: It’s an area I’ve always been curious to experiment with. I do think that with Pinklogik it’ll nearly always be a minimal vocal approach. I don’t have plans to do a vocal album, but never say never! If I feel that things are going that way, then I’ll allow them to. I prefer not to plan too far ahead and just go with the moment. I suppose I am getting more comfortable with using my voice now though. Sideway has been encouraging me to use my voice more and that is really what my collaboration with Sideway will be all about I think.
TVE: The album ‘Learning to Trust Higher Frequencies’ is filled with an engulfing warmth and drumkit glitch that is very reminiscent of tracks like ‘The Egg’ or ‘Crystel’ (by Autechre) on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ from Warp Records. Have you found inspiration in sounds like that? PL: I guess so. I’ve always been very interested in a lot of electronic music styles. Autechre’s ‘Amber’ LP was an inspiration for that LP I think. A few people have said that ‘Learning to Trust Higher Frequencies’ is “early Warp” in sound, but it wasn’t intentional. I just do what I do, y’know? If it comes out like that, then that’s how it comes out. I think my music changes a lot, and the next LP might be different again. Who knows! 🙂
TVE: I’ve no doubt you’ve been asked this before (in fact, I know that you have !), but I’m going to be predictable and go there anyway 🙂 You make it quite clear that you experience synaesthesia. What form does it take for you and how does it affect your composition of music?
PL: I think I experience 3 forms. I definitely have grapheme synaesthesia; which is a form of synaesthesia where I perceive colours for each letter of the alphabet. I also have coloured numbers, days of the week and months of the year. I also often perceive colour and shapes (sometimes movement) when listening to music; particularly music I love, or strongly dislike even! The strength of what I see does seem to be emotionally linked somehow. It’s difficult to describe, but when I say I perceive colour I see it in my mind’s eye. It’s almost like a memory I can recall, and it’s always the same colour for a particular piece of music. I wouldn’t say that my synaesthesia has any particular effect on my music writing, it’s just something that’s there. It has always been there, and I don’t know any different. People sometimes ask me if I find it distracting, and the answer is ‘no’, because I guess it’s just normality for me. Does that make sense? In general, I would say that most of my syneasthetic experiences are pleasant ones. It appears to aid my memory more than anything else. For example: I seem to recall dates very readily due to the colour/visual associations that I have with them.
TVE: So, if I understand correctly (and as someone who doesn’t experience synaesthesia), you perceive the colours not in the immediate visual field, but in your ‘mind’s eye’ as a sort of re-interpreted and re-encoded version of ‘the world’. Do you associate colours with timbres of sound, or notes or chords?
PL: Yes, that’s right. I wish I could say ‘yes’ to the other question, but the answer to that is a ‘no’. I’ve not noticed any particular colour associations with chords, notes or timbres. Some syneasthetes have colour associations with particular instruments, but I don’t have those associations…not really. I just get colour, shape and form with pieces of music as a whole.
TVE: What does it mean to you to live a creative life?
PL: For me, to be creative is a very big part of the essence of my life. If someone was to take away my ability (and time) to write music, I would probably become an empty shell of a human being. It’s something I’m driven to do and I’m sure most other musicians and producers out there would say the same thing.
TVE: Yes, the drive to create seems to be an integral part of the creative experience. Do you think that the need to create gives you a particular view of the world?
PL: Maybe it does. Sadly, I have observed a tendency amongst certain circles of people to downplay the importance of creativity. I think everybody is creative. Perhaps those people who are a bit dismissive haven’t discovered that part of themselves yet? Who knows? But I really feel that art, music and creativity give meaning to many people’s lives and I do think it’s a vital part of what defines us as human beings.
TVE: How important is an audience to you? Does the thought of an audience motivate you to make more music or would you still make music in the absence of an audience?
PL: Having an audience does motivate me, but when I first started out doing music almost nobody was listening to it. Looking back on that time, it was the pure joy of doing my own music that kept me interested. I’m not sure how I’d feel if people suddenly stopped listening to my work. I like to think I’d still continue, but it’s really nice when people say they appreciate my work.
TVE: An audience is always good of course ! We’re social creatures after all, so we like to share expressions of ourselves. I think it also provides a way for us to leave a legacy 🙂 Do you have strictly defined times when you compose, or do you just enter that space whenever the muse strikes you?
PL: Very much agree with you! No, I don’t really set aside any particular time to compose, produce or write. I often have to be in the right frame of mind to do these things, and sometimes when I find myself with time available I don’t feel like producing. However, there have been times when I’ve made myself have a go at something during those times anyway, and have sometimes ended up enjoying what I’ve been working on.
TVE: How do you begin a new piece of music? Do you have clear ideas in your mind before you sit down to compose or does it naturally evolve as you work? PL: I don’t necessarily have any clear ideas before I start a piece of music, although I often have an idea of the kind of mood I wish to create which usually depends on my mood at the time. It often doesn’t go accordingly though, so yes, I would say that it naturally evolves. It’s hard to say exactly how I begin a piece of music because it tends to vary. Sometimes it’ll start just by messing around and creating different sounds on one of my synths. Other times I’ll start with a drum track and build some variations and then maybe build some melodic structure over that, or I may start with a bassline and build the rhythm track into it. I usually start with drums, some sort of pad progressions or a sequence.
TVE: What does your studio look like?
PL: My studio?! If only! I don’t have a studio. All my stuff is on my trusty computer in the corner of a room, so I guess that’s my studio. I keep saying to myself that one day I’ll have a proper recording room/studio, but for the moment my current set up seems to serve me well enough. I use a PC running Cubase, a slave keyboard and some lovely Behringer monitors.
TVE: I was just about to ask if you used any software actually 🙂 Do you use virtual synths mainly? If so, do you have any favourites?
PL: At the moment, due to space and money constraints, I only use virtual synths. I think my current favourite that I use quite regularly would have to be FM8. I just love messing around with that synth and it sounds amazing. I also really like the arp feature on it too.
TVE: Thank you very much for your time Jules. So, what’s ahead for you? Are you working on anything new?
PL: A pleasure! Thank you very much for asking me to do this interview Steve. I am currently being a bit leisurely about my music this year. Last year was a bit of a remix frenzy, and late last year I was arranging and sorting out the ‘Playing With Sticks Remix LP’, which was released in February on Section 27. I’d like to keep things a bit deadline free for the time being, so I’m not making any promises…but…I would like to release another LP maybe later on this year perhaps. I do have some unfinished material that is probably near finished that I could release. We shall see! I’m also collaborating with a couple of other producers: Sideway and Lord Hagos (who used to be in Sleeping Dogs Wake, Senser and Lodestar). I’m just enjoying the more relaxed pace of things at the moment. We’ll see what happens. I tend to be more creative when I’m more relaxed! 🙂
- Interview conducted by Steven James Elgrove
- Edited by Steven James Elgrove
- All static images used by kind permission of Pinklogik. All Soundcloud links used by kind permission of Pinklogik.