INTERVIEW

“The thing about George Pringle is‚” ‚”she takes heroism where she can find it. “Well, back in the day I beat the Street Fighter machine at Gatwick airport on Chun-Li. I suppose she was the underdog. She was cool. She was a proper icon to me. Before the Spice Girls and all that Girl Power […]

The thing about George Pringle is‚”

‚”she takes heroism where she can find it.
“Well, back in the day I beat the Street Fighter machine at Gatwick airport on Chun-Li. I suppose she was the underdog. She was cool. She was a proper icon to me. Before the Spice Girls and all that Girl Power jazz, there was an 8bit-animated princess beating up the guys and looking hot. Hadouken is for pussies. It’s all about stealth and taking at ground level. Like in that film Leon. Take your enemies with a knife and not a gun.”

‚”she’s making great music from her bedroom for the simple, unendurable pleasure of it all.
“I’ve been trying to make music for a long time and I suppose the “”George
Pringle”” is my third incarnation. I used to be in a punk band and write grungy, bitchy songs about girls I hated and then, when I was 17, I wrote songs on an acoustic guitar about boys and how much grief they were giving me before abandoning instruments for Garage Band.

I really wanted to start a new musical project that was a compromise between these two personalities. The melancholic girl with all the heartbreak and the catty girl who was taking no prisoners. I also wanted to pay homage to all the different sounds that have been swirling around my head for the past couple of years and none of them really seemed relevant to the guitar anymore. It’s like a self-portrait under construction. I think that writing songs is a very introverted and self-absorbed process any way you look at it. I would say I take a “”journal”” approach to songwriting. My main concerns are reflecting my surroundings and how I react to them and they come in instalments. I wanted to approach songwriting from a journalistic angle. It’s almost like I want to scribble everything down before I forget the feelings and the experiences. Kind of like reporting from the “”front line”” in the discotheque.

I do this from my bedroom. I sit on the floor messing around on my laptop. In a way, the music I make is just cathartic and if people can take something from it, then that’s great. I’m a bit of a geek; I get great pleasure from teaching myself all kinds of software. I have no idea why I have felt compelled to subject people to my minor-scale dramas but I don’t really care, I’m doing this for myself.”

‚”she loves Pop (and poetry).

“I grew up listening to my mum’s old Motown tapes in the car and I loved the whole attitude and the brattiness and confidence of the female singers. Of course Diana Ross and The Supremes go without saying, but also of that era, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Shangri-Las. I love good pop songs. I think everyone does. I love the idea of talking songs. I think my fascination with that approach stemmed from listening to Velvet Underground. My dad had some old tapes in his car, and I took them off to school and listened to them a lot. They really influenced me, in so many ways, from the fact that Nico couldn’t really sing properly, to the walls of sound and guitar parts that didn’t always fit to the power of the story telling. To be able to discover them at fourteen was like being catapulted into this dark adult world that you couldn’t comprehend but you felt as though you knew. I think there’s a certain beauty in trying to understand something that is totally beyond you at a young age. I guess they’re the musical equivalent of sitting a twelve-year-old down and saying: “”Right. Watch Twin Peaks.””

The beat poets are great. I really love Ginsberg and that fluid way of not having to sound like every word has been laboured over. The funny thing is that I haven’t heard of some of the stuff that people say I remind them of and then end up discovering it (like Ginsberg). I read a few sentences and kind of instantly got it. Ginsberg said that he was a “”Stenographer of my mind. I write down what passes through it.”” I’d like to be able to see what I am trying to do as something a little like that in about 50 years time. I love the way it feels like he’s trying to process everything that’s going on around him and it comes out kind of garbled but making perfect sense.”

‚”she doesn’t give a hoot about what you think of her.

“The great thing about music is that at its best, it forces you to completely jump in at the deep end and get taken into that person or bands’ world and indirectly, you begin relating to sentiments in the story-telling. It’s like reading a book. Your life may not resemble anything to do with the character but a situation will occur in the writing and you think: “”That’s me.””

I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not. I am middle class and I am a girl. In some ways I guess I pulled a pretty short straw there in terms of making music and how people are going to perceive me. In another way, I suppose it could be a source of intrigue. I guess it’s just important to allow people to relate to you. An accent is just a vessel for delivery. I think it can be hard sounding “”posh”” because people have a pre-conceived notion of what you’re like but I haven’t really experienced any grief over my accent, thus far.”

‚”she can’t be pigeonholed.
“I guess it could be quite hard to describe what I do. It’s not a blueprint and I struggle to describe it myself. That isn’t just the tracks; it extends to my live show too. Not many people do Karaoke live. I think journalists are just trying to put it in some kind of box so that people can get an image of what I’m doing without having listened to it.

I don’t want people to listen to my music and think it all sounds the same. I like to try different sounds and approaches for each track but still maintain a distinctive style so maybe that’s why people are trying to make a name for it. I really like mixing nostalgic sounding instruments with very sharp electronic noises. I think the first person I became aware of who did that was Bjork and I have always looked up to that acoustic juxtaposition. All that stuff she did with Nellie Hooper involving industrial beats and strings has really influenced me. I think part of me has always wanted to write a film score and part of me has always wanted to make dance tracks. Then there’s this other part that has just wanted to make Nintendo menu music, so I think if you draw a line between
the three you’ll get what I am doing.”

I guess the main thing people get side-tracked by is the vocal delivery
because my accent doesn’t sound like I’m a rapper or an mc but I suppose
fundamentally it’s a very similar approach. My grandfather said that
what I’m doing is a bit like being a “”Diseuse”” which literally means
“”talker””. They were French women who would come on and perform
monologues over jazz.

I liked the guardian listings definition: “”shoe gaze-pop, poetry and
electronica”” It was nice and simple. I hate all these “”blog-whatever‚”””
definitions. I hate the word “”blog”” more than anything. It’s an ugly
word and reminds me of toilets.”

‚”she likes to sit around making tracks, wearing vintage Givenchy, dripping in pearls.

“I take my own promo pictures. Image is fun. Fuck with it how you please and use it to your advantage if it gets you noticed and gets people to appreciate what you do. I don’t look like that when I’m sitting in my room all stinky, looking like Alice-Cooper with makeup down my face. It’s a myth. So it’s often a case of “”You looked better on Myspace””‚”‚”.actually, I take that back. Really, I do just sit around all day recording beats, wearing vintage Givenchy, dripping in pearls.

People are always going to home in on the fact you aren’t hideous because we live in a repellent society that is founded on looks. Then once they realize you aren’t hideous they’ll pick you apart until you are hideous. At the end of the day anyone worth their salt is going to look further than that and make an educated decision not based on the fact you have crap highlights like Keira Knightly and you talk “”posh”” like her.

I only really object to it when women just seem to be using their bodies. Making yourself a piece of meat isn’t cool at all. I’ve always admired women that cover up a little and work on their wit and talent. Every time I see a picture of someone like Alison Mosshart wearing an overcoat in a studio, I think it’s ten times more sexy than some oiled up silicon bag writhing around in one of those “”FFF”” mags. You know‚”Football, Freaks and Fanny (yeah‚”so Zoo and Nuts then).”

‚”she’s never alone with a Silver Reed typewriter.

“I acquired the typewriter from a friend of mine. He bought it for me. It was a very original present really. I love the sounds they make. Really rhythmic and beautiful. I intend to experiment further. The reason I sampled her on I’m very
scared, Buster. Yes, at last. was because it seemed so appropriate. At the time I was attempting to become a “”Hermit-Writer””. It was a pretty vain and lame exercise but I holed myself up free writing on Silver Reed for about a week before that track materialized. I had been watching old paramount Technicolor and I thought it very appropriate because the title of that song is a line from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. I wanted it to be the spirit of Capote. It sort of worked with the lines about wearing dark glasses and staggering down the street early in the morning with a hangover. I think every girl that burns the candle at both ends a bit can relate to that feeling of pretending you’re a classic beauty in a classic film and you’re this femme fatale trotting down the street, even if you live on Cowley Road or in a cul-de-sac in Milton Keynes. It’s that sense of escapism that I think is really important to what I am trying to achieve.”

…she finds beauty in old school pixels.
“I still play on my old grey Gameboy, my Mini-Megadrive with Streetfighter II and I have a brick game with 27 variations of the game Tetris (my personal favourite) that I found in a market in India. I think that having grown up in the late 80s and early 90s I am too nostalgic to want to play that many new games. I really love the primitive stuff. It’s simple and aesthetically spot on. All that colour and those angular pixilated representations of characters. It was like abstract painting and as a kid, totally transported you into different realms and ways of seeing things. Primitive Atari and Nintendo is actually far more clever artistically than recent developments in graphics. Kids today have it so easy. It makes for lazy viewing. I like the idea of playing Tetris with anyone in the world though! I’m
curious. It gets my palms sweating a bit.”

‚”she’s obsessed, obsessed, with beats and preset loops.
“I am an absolute sucker for them. That’s the nature of what I do. I tend to alter preset loops on Garage Band. I am always distorting and putting them in different bpm than they should be and making them sound a little different. It’s not about deviating from the “”1-2-3-4″” sometimes. It’s not about tampering with the loop all the time. Like in old disco records, it’s what you do on top that counts.

That said, I am very interested in using household articles in beat making. I’ve experimented with hand-claps and smacking things on tables‚”I’m in the process of developing new ways of making beats. It’s all in the learning curve. I saw this thing about Matmos, making rhythms out of hamster cage bars and things, and I thought they were truly brilliant.”

‚”she’s as handy with a camera as she is with Garageband.

I love to take pictures. I got my first proper camera when I was 14 and I still have it. I can’t stop myself taking pictures. It’s high up on the obsessions along with GarageBand and writing. I have just got a Ricoh GR point and shoot digital, which is beautiful. I got really inspired by Eggleston and Shore’s use of colour and the simplicity of it. Izima Kaoru, Diane Arbus and Jeff Wall have also inspired me. I intend to sort out projections so that I can project appropriate photographs and pieces of text over myself as I perform. I’m looking into experimenting with video too as I just learnt basic final cut pro at uni. I think it might be a bit intrusive though. I want to make my live shows magic eventually, when I can get the money together. Eventually I’d like to perform in front of cinema screens with the audience all in fancy dress or project my pictures on the Great Wall of China or something. I don’t know‚” it’s a bit fantastical, but I
really think music should become an entirely different cultural experience where audiences don’t know what to expect and all the old templates are nudged into the sidelines. It’s been done before. I mean, Velvet Underground were all about art and style and ideology being one with the music. The Human League..,.The Kills are doing it too. It just needs to get a bit more extreme.

Bonus track – Tell us the story of the cat on your myspace pic.

That is my brother’s cat, Magda. He moved to India and my parents adopted
it. When I go home we catch up. We are too similar. Sometimes we lock
horns. She’s a dear thing really. I like cats, they’re independent and
they don’t ask you to love them all the time. Yeah I’m talking about dogs

***See the whole of Pavla’s Fred Perry styled shoot of George only in issue 21 of Loud And Quiet.

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