GET TO KNOW: RETROPXSSY
A couple weeks back saw the release of ‘Part of Me’, a loose garage style hiphop concoction from London-based artist, Retropxssy. We caught up with her after the launch to speak about the track, what she is about as an artist, and how the last year has challenged her music making processes
Nestled amongst London’s eccentric music scene is a sound that is rather hard to pinpoint. Her subtle yet raw style of delivery can be seen as one of the only constants, with a refreshing array of instrumentals from off beat hiphop stuff to - as of recent - more garage influenced beats. This can be seen with her recent single, Part of Me, where the style’s shifted to more loose drums and bouncy chords, with some vibey Detroit style electro thrown in there as well.
Retropxssy delves into personal and self reflective narratives, a sound humbly placed in our world to fall on ears that need to hear it. A strive for musical and self contentment, the Retropxssy message and story is sure to be an exciting development to watch. Lockdowns have been a trying time for everyone, musicians in particular, so we caught up with her in a midst the tail end of the madness to what's going on her world.
How do you think your style and musical direction has changed in time?
I started making music rapping over type beats into my iPhone headphones. I met Joe, who’s JoeJas or Hairy Muffin Man when he’s producing. That was sick because he was making music, a lot of his friends were making music and putting on shows. It was great because I suddenly had all of these producers who were super talented and interesting, so I was just rapping on their beats which meant I already had quite an eclectic sound, and through them and putting on shows and through the beauty of the Internet I’ve managed to meet a lot of other people. Now I’m connecting through all these different worlds with different producers and there’s loads overlapping. Some are UK hiphop, some are trap, obviously the garage stuff, and that’s a really nice community there so I get to live in all these different worlds and it’s really exciting.
I think what’s also changed is I’ve become more confident in myself. I was just making stuff at the start without really knowing what I was doing, which I think in someways was great because I didn't have any fear or preconception. I think when you’re making music it’s really easy to get into this mentality of, ’I’ve got to blow cos I want to carry on doing this, so I want to make money’. That means that a lot of your energy is spent promoting your stuff, which is important, but I think it’s easy to get caught up in how other people perceive your music.
Have these lockdowns had an effect on your music making process?
I’ve talked about it a lot with people who make music - and there’s this kind of consensus that it made making music or performing music - it made it feel illegal. It felt like if there had been any doubt that the Tories don’t value creative output in a really imaginative, challenging way, it was evidence right there. If you’re making it or you’re consuming it, I think music has an amazing power to point things out that need pointing out, and bring about positive change in the world. It was terrifying, it was depressing, it was demotivating, but I think it really made me realise like, I gotta keep making it, I gotta find a way.
It made me even closer to the friends I was making music with, always trying to find new ways to carry on, be that videos, or later on in the summer bringing a little speaker to the park and performing there. Through that it really confirmed how important it is for everyone. Just that reception of playing music on a speaker in a park and everyone was like, yeah! We need this. It also meant that I made an album, that was cool, it was definitely a coherent time period to write music in, gave me a lot of material. It made it bloody difficult, through adversity comes innovation.
KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING
AND IT'LL BE SICK
What's the story behind Retropxssy?
If you want to be a Retropxssy, then you’re resilient, you do what you want. I didn’t even realise the extent of sexism - it was a whole new experience of sexism when I started making music and performing - I have no choice but to push for equality in women with men and anyone else.
Tell us about your recent track, Part of Me.
Part of Me was a little loop that Deijuvhs had made and I was like, I like this - cos he had heard Sleepy Head and said, ‘I’ll make a little garage thing and give it to El’. Went to the studio with Joe and he had this break which was some sort of like DJ Assault, booty bass house little beat in the middle. I was going through a really weird time when I wrote it, I kinda lost all my confidence, I felt like I couldn’t work out what to do to move forward, I got very into that preoccupation with the commercial side.
Even if you’re making alternative music it’s like, how do I get it out there, how do I brand it, and that was really bad for my self esteem. It was also really bad for making music cos I got really preoccupied with like, how am I going to promote this? I was like, have I even made anything recently, or had any joy? I think I wrote it in that turning point where I realised I needed to change my perspective and also be true to myself. Like, don’t look at the people around you, they’re on their own journey and you’re on yours and just keep doing what you’re doing and it’ll be sick. The part of me I don’t like is my own critical voice.
Follow Retropxssy’s journey through musical exploration and societal exploitation with the links below:
May 16th 2021