Tripping on Wisdom is the name of London-via-Brighton based beat wrangler Py’s forthcoming mixtape, and perfectly describes the music’s trip-hoppy, punch-drunk pop appeal. She sits down with Wonderland to discuss developing the striking sound with producers like BretonLABS and Lapalux.
Explain some of the musical and lyrical themes Tripping on Wisdom explores.
It explores the idea of a vocal driven mixtape, not BPM or genre particularly. Although the producers I collaborated with are mostly from the dance/electronic/bass music scene, they all have such contrasting sounds. I wanted to work with these amazing producers I love, and create something with them, working to the structure of a song. Some of them are used to sampled vocals, and I really wanted to turn this on its head. It’s led by my own story, so it’s autobiographical really, growing up, moving from Brighton to London, things I have dealt with in the past. I cover “Wonderful World” throughout it, and you can hear how I have changed the lyrics to fit with my world and experiences. I wanted this to be a statement, a vocalist and lyricist’s mixtape, rather than a definition of my sound.
It draws in the talant of some notable figures – BretonLABS, Lapalux, Greenwood Sharps to name a few. How easy was it to compile collaborators for it?
Working with these producers has been a brilliant experience, they have given so much. It was an amazing opportunity to work with the people whose sound I love, and create something together. It all fell into place as time went on since I moved to London. Initially, I contacted a couple of them but then as I got to know the scene here, it became a really friendly and collaborative one. Throwing Snow was one of the first people I met in London, and continues to be an inspiring friend as well as one of the most versatile producers I know. Every one of the people I worked with offered a different approach, and it has been a real journey for me, learning to work with them.
Do you self produce? How would you describe your sound?
I do, I always record my own vocals, and am working on lots of demos at the moment. I get frustrated at times, I am still rusty on a few things I would like to be better at. I have been told my timing is quite mental! But I think in a way I come up with better hooks and melodies when I kind of let the rules go. I would describe my sound as bittersweet, full of harmonies and lyrically led.
Have you always been a creative auteur? Where did you grow up?
I have always made stuff, I remember making my own little radio shows on tape when I was really young, I would present bits, sing bits and do the weather! I grew up in Hitchin. I used poetry and writing to escape. I had always sung, but it wasn’t until later on I started to combine the two and write my own songs. I moved to Brighton and I did music and visual art at university and then started to makes films, and became interested in sound installations. I composed pieces with the voice using surround sound, and visuals that coincided – it was a great three years!
Finally, name your five favourite contemporary producers.
Can I say 10!? It has to be these gems on my mixtape! Throwing Snow, George Fitzgerald, Raffertie, Kadabrah, iO, BretonLabs, Damu, Greenwood Sharps and of course Lapalux! And then… in love with Jai Paul as always. Oh and one more sneaky one, Geoff Barrow! I will stop now…
Tripping on Wisdom is out on 21st May.
Words: Jack Mills