Honest Thoughts With PILLARS
Photo By: Markus Henttonen
PILLARS is a London based musician creating vulnerable music with a mysterious vibe. Her new EP, Honest People, was released December 1st and we can’t stop listening. Recently, we had the chance to interview PILLARS.
Check it out below!
Where in the creative world do you look for inspiration? You mention “diving into the production world blind,” was there anywhere outside the production world that may have influenced your process?
There's so much out there - at our fingertips - it's hard to know what to soak up. I tend to become inspired by personal experiences, or experiences of other artists expressed in an honest way. That's where my songs begin - at something real. Then it's a case of taking it to the box where I draw on stuff I've heard my favourite producers do or something I've seen done in a session that I've been like 'yup - thats slick!'. I am fascinated my religion too - and people, culture, society. Humans are pretty extraordinary animals! I like to take a nugget of research and place it neatly into my music.
Do you find it easier to draw on experiences of pain and perseverance than other sources?
I definitely draw on difficult experiences in a whole load of my music. I've always found it easier to 'sing the blues' - in the most emotive sense of the term. Heartache makes for some amazing music but I don't actively seek pain. Life is tough and difficult experiences face us everyday whether we've got the most comfortable life or otherwise - they're unavoidable. I cope with those experiences by making music and so I am naturally very telling.
What’s the deepest, darkest thought that you have drawn from creatively? Has it become an end product?
I have this heavy, over-bearing subject that I have always found incredibly difficult to put into song. I realized how much it impacted me after years of struggling to express it. I know that expression can serve as a form of closure but I need a sense of closure externally before putting pen to paper - and in this situation I am far from closure. What scares me is that I might never get closure on the matter which means I'll never be able to express how I feel. How fucked is that? If I do I know it'll make a corker of a song - or perhaps even an EP? An album?
What do you do personally to balance yourself so you don’t get stuck down these dark pathways?
Its's hard to balance myself and I work on that every time I write. Sometimes you just gotta get up from the piano and go take a breather.
Listening to some of your music from the past few years, even though it was more singer-songwriter styled, it definitely starts to lean towards the electronic production you are doing now. Does it feel like a 180-degree shift or has it been a natural progression?
What the public doesn't see is the natural progression of an artist's work - I think if an artist is developing in the right way then that development can happen very rapidly. And that’s what happened with my music. I just, sort of, fell into a production style which circulated around these singer-songwriter type tunes. I love to tell a personal story - but I love playing with sound. I naturally fused the two.
What do you think David Jones brought to the table that helped you the most?
Dave is great. Such a calm presence in the studio. He also knows his stuff when it comes to analogue gear - we had some real fun at Strongroom Studios! I hold him responsible for my lust for expensive gear.
What are your thoughts on collaboration with creative projects? Who would you love to collaborate with the most?
I love to collaborate but part of me thinks that that’s because I love people. I am a communicator so naturally I love having people around me. I understand that sometimes a song is mine and mine alone and it's too delicate to allow someone to come in and make their mark on it. And I think most of the artists that I want to collaborate with most are probably very private writers too - such as Keaton Henson who, as far as I'm aware, is generally a very private man.
What is it like as a female producer in the UK?
I regularly get asked 'who produces your music?'. I think that's down to people not expecting me to do any of it myself. Female artists are too frequently seen as voices and bodies and nothing beyond that. I'm not a male artist but I have a feeling they very rarely get asked this question because it's presumed, as a male, you have the 'full package'.
Where do you think the issues are coming from, and how do you think we can work to solve any issues?
I get that this has come from there being very few women taking up roles as engineers, producers, mastering technicians etc and so it's just a societal presumption - but come on! We're not incapable! What's great is that this is changing - I'm seeing more and more women taking up roles that are currently very male dominated. Encouraging young women to train for these roles is key. I remember peering into a music technology class full of boys during my sixth form induction and thinking 'ok - I'm obviously not right for that class'. But I wanted to take music technology and expand myself as a musician - but I had no one behind me encouraging me to go for it! I tell young women as often as I can to GO FOR IT.
If you haven’t yet, you need to check out Pillars’ new EP, Honest People. She rocks her new electronic direction with a deep mood and haunting vocals. It is definitely worth a listen!