More from ellesse’s #MyStyleMySound, we catch up with Skinny Pelembe during a break from recording his live sessions.
ellesse: I just want you to talk to us about your biggest musical memory, was it a CD or something in your childhood or teenage years that made you think ‘yeah, I just want to make music’?
Skinny: Yeah, we had a teacher in year six called Mrs Laurence, and we used to do mixed CDs for every student, so she did one for me with Gorillas and Faithless and I remember her running towards my mum the day after in the playground like ‘I’m really sorry, I’m really sorry’ because she thought my mum was really religious, ‘I’ve given him a song called God is a DJ, are you okay with that?’. She was like ‘Yeah it’s fine’. But yeah, that mix was immense and ‘The Sleepless’ by ‘Red Snapper’, was on it, which was the best thing you could ever give to an eight-year-old.
ellesse: I’ve never heard that, is it a good tune?
Skinny: It’s immense.
ellesse: So, is there any reason why you make music and what drives you?
Skinny: I think, probably to start with it was just to have a reason to talk to people and get girls! Now I feel like if I didn’t do it I’d probably go crackers, it’s therapy isn’t it, I think I’d just go insane if I couldn’t play music.
ellesse: A lot of people think that music can improve moods. Say if you’re sad, you’ll listen to a sad song, and it can either make you more sad or you can listen to something and it will remind of a better time. How can you relate to that?
Skinny: I feel like I just listen to sad music all the time anyway, so maybe knowing that there are people out there that are sadder than me makes me feel a little bit better.
ellesse: How would you want your music to be interpreted by somebody else? Would you want it to cheer them up or do you want someone to catch on to your lyrics and think about something?
Skinny: I don’t really care, you can take it however you want. It’s there and I hope it makes people happy, if it makes you sad, maybe don’t listen to it! But there are lyrics and little references that I really want everyone to pick up on and they never do, maybe one day, hopefully one day, on genius.com and they do all the little annotations they’ll be like ‘That’s a reference to blah blah blah’. Yeah, maybe.
ellesse: Have you ever had a bit of time away from music, have you ever given yourself a break so you can ‘re-jig’ your mind and write better music or is it something that’s just a constant?
Skinny: No I don’t think I’ve ever stopped trying to make music or have a break.
ellesse: So, to bring fashion into it, how do you think fashion ties in with music so you can look at like hip-hop because, there’s obviously a fashion with hip-hop?
Skinny: Baggy Jeans!
ellesse: Stereotypically, yeah so like do you think that fashion influences music?
Skinny: No, I think music probably influences fashion more than the other way around. If you’re quite a creative person I think you usually think visually anyway. Everyone wants to be a part of a gang, you know, like mod-rockers, hip-hop, even then you’ve got ‘jiggy’ hip-hop and then you’ve got like backpackers and all of that stuff, like you just want to be part of a gang and that just ties along with music doesn’t it. Apart from nowadays where everything’s just a big jumble, which is good.
ellesse: So, just trying to tie something in with the rules … do you have a routine before getting on stage?
Skinny: Yeah, I just get like really anxious and make sure that everyone is in the same room for about an hour before we play. No, I just get very, very nervous and get pushed onto stage to do it and then it’s really good.
ellesse: Who are your big inspirations behind the music that you make?
Skinny: I mean, I guess it’s everything that you ever hear, kind of pops into your music like I mean I think I heard maybe something that I ripped off of ‘The Vengaboys’ in a tune the other day, but you know, I try not to make that very obvious. I’d like to be like nearly on ‘Miss Madlib’, yeah, that would be like ‘the thing’, if they could have like a test-tube baby, I’d be that baby.
Matt: If you just look into this lens and just give us a brief explanation as to who you are and what type of music you make.
Skinny: Hey, I’m Skinny Pelembe, I make music that I would hope sounds like the product of a Neil young and Madlib test-tube baby thing.
Follow Skinny Pelembe on Instagram – www.instagram.com/skinnypelembe