Can you talk to us more about your latest single “South Of”?
‘South Of’ is the first song we wrote together and was a big step in the formation of PELA. We landed on a particular sound world, existing on the intersection of our musical influences, which created the driving beats, vocal sound and climactic ending that you hear.
The idea of being south of something, we think, is very pertinent to your 20s. The way you often feel on the cusp of something happening, changing in your life.
We wrote and recorded the song before we decided to move forward as a duo rather than as an artist and producer. So really, we were south of that life change and new venture.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording and writing process for ‘South Of’ was a bit of a turning point for us both artistically. The layered and varying vocal tones you hear were born out of a session of vocal experimentation and I (Hannah) accessed parts of my voice I don’t think I had explored much before.
In terms of production, pretty much every sound other than the drums and bass come from the piano, sampled and manipulated in various ways. For us, this glues the soundworld together nicely and definitely isn’t the kind of thing you’d find as a preset in a sample library…we don’t really do them.
We definitely realised that we could look at songwriting / production in a new and less linear way with this track (than what we were doing individually beforehand) and this ignited PELA’s sonic identity, paving the way for our future tracks.
What role does South London play in your music?
We’re based out of Iguana studios in Brixton so our music is born in South London. Hannah has lived in various parts of South London for almost 9 years – in Brixton, Camberwell, Peckham and Stockwell. I think where you live definitely influences your sound even if you’re not completely aware how but your surroundings inspire you so we definitely have South London to thank for fuelling our creativity.
Any plans to hit the road?
We were booked to play Nozstock The Hidden Valley in July this year but for obvious reasons it has been postponed to 2021. As soon as we are able to, under the current circumstances, we’re keen to get playing live shows. All of our releases so far have been during lockdown, so we’re excited to connect with people in a new way over it, in real life human company!
What else is happening next in PELA’s world?
We’ve got a string of releases lined up so focussing on getting those out and we’re writing a lot too.
Hannah works for a women’s human rights charity, so with the COVID-19 pandemic, her work there has been pretty full on. Olly is a full time producer, working with a range of other artists, so being alone inside all day isn’t really anything new…