"Olly started making his first tracks in Garageband at the age of ten. His beats have improved a bit since then!"
Oozing a light, easy-going vibe, PELA saved the release of third track, ‘Reverie’, for the summer. The South London electronic duo channel influence from artists such as James Blake and Jamie XX, having performed with the likes of Imogen Heap and Youth Fathers through their involvement with London Contemporary Voices. FUZZY caught up with PELA to discuss Jon Hopkins, South London’s finest cafés, and Michaela Coel’s groundbreaking new series, I May Destroy You.
FUZZY: ‘Reverie’ was released on the 10th of July, following ‘South Of’ and ‘You Got Me’. Congrats! Could you tell me a little bit about this track?
We began writing ‘Reverie’ pretty late into a session, after a few drinks. It was one of those where we got a real buzz straight away, and fortunately, when we listened back a few days later we both still loved it! This was back in September last year, so we wanted to wait until this summer for release as, to us, it places you in that sense of summer freedom. The writing and recording part took a while, and it was a bit of a labour of love. Of the tracks we've released so far, this one feels the most true to PELA.
FUZZY: This will be your third track release. Does being a musical duo live up to expectations?
So far so good. It's been exciting releasing music together as we both bring different things to the table. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other is so valuable and we celebrate any small victories we have! We do all our own artwork and visuals, so it can amount to quite a lot of work. Being able to share this takes the pressure off a bit.
FUZZY: You’re from South London, which is the home of many musicians. How do you find the music scene? Do you have any plans for gigs in the works for 2021?
We feel really lucky to live in the vibrancy of the South. Van Gogh Café is one of our favourite spots and its where we've written and produced a lot of our music. A lot of the music that we love at the moment comes out of South London: Joy Anonymous, MEI, Bad Honey and the rest of the From Concentrate lot. As soon as we can we will be getting some gigs lined up and we're very excited about this! We were booked to play Nozstock this year so we're already looking forward to that in 2021.
FUZZY: When did you first get into music? Do you both come from musical families?
Neither of us come from musical families! Hannah started singing from a very early age and writing lyrics and poetry too and started dancing and singing around the age of three. Olly also started playing the piano at an early age and making his first tracks in Garageband at the age of ten. His beats have improved a bit since then!
FUZZY: Through your involvement with the Roundhouse Choir and London Contemporary Voices, you’ve been able to perform with artists such as M.I.A, Young Fathers, Basement Jaxx, and Imogen Heap. How did you find it to perform with so many musical giants?
Performing with Young Fathers was one of the absolute best things. I will love their music and energy forever and they are absolutely solid guys too. For both of us, performing with these incredible artists at these huge venues was firstly great practice but also a great motivator. To have experience of that level of artistry and performance has spurred us to work towards the same. We are so grateful to The Roundhouse for the experiences we have had, and to LCV for the opportunities we've both had through that beautiful community.
FUZZY: You’ve listed musical influences such as James Blake, Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Little Dragon. Do you have any other influences?
I think all music we listen to influences us and the range of music we listen to is so vast. Olly started as a classical pianist and throughout her teenage years; Hannah was either trying to channel Hayley Williams, Etta James or Elizabeth Fraser, to name a few.
FUZZY: Any current favourites? What have you been streaming during lockdown?
So many...we're obsessed with Arlo Parks (as a lot of people are right now). She is pure magic. We’re really excited about Lianne La Havas' new stuff and we’re loving Big Piig, H.E.R and NAO. Joy Anonymous is a regular on our playlists as is Fred Again and also loving Lucy Lu. We also have Hayley Williams' new album on repeat. Olly is really into Jon Hopkins (we both are, but he is a fanboy). We make playlists on our Spotify of what we're currently loving, so have a look at those too!
FUZZY: Finally: when you’re not making music, what hobbies do the pair of you have?
Vegan food, looking after plants and reading a lot. We've been avidly watching Pose and I May Destroy You too - both are just absolutely unreal.
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
17th July 2020.