PHOEBE ΔXΔ is a fresh new artist currently based in London. Inspired heavily by Kate Bush, Phoebe writes songs that have an 80’s influenced sound. Having the chance to talk to her was a delight as she articulates a mature self-awareness, not only of her music, but of people and their diverse experiences. We spoke to Phoebe about her new release,’Bed’.
What was your inspiration for your new release,’Bed’?
‘Bed’ is essentially, getting into the nitty-gritty of it, is about a love triangle. The idea behind the ‘Bed’ Is the idea of replenishment and renewal, the place of rest. Somewhere you cry, somewhere you sleep, somewhere you may not sleep. It is everything really that makes a teenager. I wrote this song a few years ago when I was 16-years-old and it became the device for repeating the same cycle, over and over again. The idea of waking up in the same bed, waking up with the same mindset and still not being in an understanding place of where you are with someone. So that’s what it means and it’s also me essentially complaining about being in that situation constantly. The feeling of being manipulated or used, but still attempting to be reborn every time. I suppose that’s what i’m trying to put out in this song. The idea of someone getting in your head and it ruminating, keeping you up at night. That’s where it came from.
You’ve just sold out a headline show, how has it felt to suddenly get the recognition?
It’s crazy to be honest, I always knew I wanted to end up on the stage. The fact that i’ve sold out a venue that I really admire, that artists i’ve always looked up to have played, is amazing. It is just something that I’m really looking forward to. It’s amazing to know that people actually want to come and see me, because for me, when at the moment, i’m just in my house all day. So the fact that they actually want to see me play is amazing. It is so nice to be recognised, for things that are so personal to me, and a while ago I didn’t think I’d ever get to share that with the world. It is nice to be able to bring them to life on stage and deliver them in person. It’s just awesome that people want to see that.
What has been your favourite show to play?
The Dublin Castle, I did a project there with some friends and it was the first time I felt comfortable on stage. I played a few songs, actually ’Bed’ being one of them as it was so long ago. I remember feeling this rush through me and thinking wow, I could definitely get addicted to this. It was just a new energy that completely came over me. That venue will always be special to me because of that. The energy and the audience, my friends being there, the feeling of it all, is really special.
‘Hurts a little less’ is being put on playlists and played on the radio so frequently now, in your own words, what does 2021 look like for you?
2021 is kind of strange because I feel like we didn’t really ever finish 2020. It feels like 2020 finished in March last year and then the rest was swept away essentially. I’m looking forward to this year, I’ve come into it with a positive mindset and the fact that my music is out now changes things. I have shows coming up, it is so much more exciting. I think on the whole i’m feeling really positive about it, I’ll just keep doing what i’m doing and yeah, i’m definitely looking forward to a lot of things coming up.
Has growing up in London helped you to shape your style within music?
I grew up with a lot of culture surrounding me. I’m half Greek Cypriot, so we constantly had cultural music playing and I’m part of a big family. My mum played music in our house all the time. Then going to an East-London school I was exposed to different types of music and people from different backgrounds, and different interests. I do think that’s influenced the way that I write and the kinds of genres I’m interested in. I will say one thing, I don’t like to be put into a box because I have so many different influences from different angles. I think growing up exploring London, whilst being connected to culture gives me this ability to tap into a universal message, which I don’t think I could have got anywhere else. London is diverse so It’s definitely influenced how I write and my overall music.
Josh Franceschi ( You Me At Six) shouted you out on the radio recently, are there any artists you’d like to give a mention to?
I don’t know if these people really need a shout out, but I quite like an artist called Sylvan Esso, at the moment really interesting music which is always good to listen to. Also Low Hummer, ‘Sometimes I Wish ( I Was A Different Person)’ is an amazing song, it reminds me of really 80’s pop music. It’s that vibe that I love.
How did your education help you creatively?
I felt a little bit outcast within secondary school, I always hung out in the music department. Me and my friend used to play nirvana covers in the backroom, which annoyed the others. I think that going to that school made me realise that I needed an outlet. That’s where my love of music came in, the more I wrote my feelings, I was able to translate them in a way that other people can understand. Then I ended up going to a music college, which is where i would say the live side of music really took off for me. I started to learn about musically directing and I think that going to music college is what made me fully flourish into where I’m going now. It definitely helps to be around creative people, it pushes me in a way that makes me want to do better.
Who influences your sound as a songwriter?
I would say that a lot of the music I grew up listening to was really 80’s , I loved Kate Bush , I feel like she was so ahead of her time. She really inspired me to think outside the box and to be forward thinking and liberal within my music. I feel like her music is still so relevant, and it always will be, due to it being ahead of her time. All the electronic sounds and the experimental rhythms, just the writing style, the storytelling. Jack Antonoff is a massive influence for me, just how he’s able to co-write with so many different artists and still bring out who they are. He brings out stories in the way of his production.I think it is so important to tap into different energies, he is someone that opened my eyes in songwriting and production 100%.
Being a woman in the music industry can sometimes feel ‘cold’, can you share your experience?
I’m very new so I’m sure there is a lot I haven’t seen. I would say that my introduction was a bit strange because I was at Latitude and played an open-mic and then the next day my emails were full of managers . I was lucky to meet amazing managers and have a wonderful team who are always supportive of me. When I look at other peoples experiences, I know it can be hard for women. Having their voices heard in the music industry and being molded to fit into things they don’t want to be. So i’m lucky I have a lot of control over what I put out and who I am, but I know others aren’t as lucky. I look up to other artists who have been pushed into by the mold. Whether that’s through media or record companies. Today especially, it is really important that people have a voice, because there is a lot that needs to be shared and a lot of female producers that need to be pushed into the limelight. I think it is so important that young women see that as a real possibility for them. I didn’t know that is something I’d be able to do, I would look through CD booklets and just see men in the production sections. There is a definite need for females and young people now. I think people’s experience in the industry is what scares people off. The more ownership women are able to take over their work and their art the better it will get.
Just for context, for anyone reading, Can you explain the open-mic experience you had at Latitude Festival?
I went to Latitude expecting to go to my first festival with friends. We were all excited, we’d all saved up and went. It was great. I didn’t expect any of this to happen, but i’m quite picky so before I went i’d scheduled out all the artists I wanted to see. Who was clashing , who I was choosing between, so I went in knowing where I wanted to be. My taste is a bit different to my friends, I wanted to to find the new artists and find the underground pop that was about. There were a lot of bands I wanted to suss out. I ended up just going for a walk on my own, pottering around. I saw the BBC Introducing area, knowing I’ve always followed them and I love what they do for artists, the platform they give and the support, so I walked over. There were sofas everywhere, so I plonked down and there was this girl on stage, playing the guitar and then I noticed that there was a woman walking around with a clip-board, her name is Kelly. I was like this is an open-mic! She’s getting people to sign up, so i just went over, signed up, played a few songs…was asked to play a few more. Kelly then asked if I’d like to come back on the sunday and play on the BBC Introducing Stage, and so obviously my answer was,”Yeah that’s great!” Then the night before I’d gone to the Latitude rave in the forest, screaming Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs, and then the next day I went and played a few songs for the BBC. Someone filmed me, and put them out on their instagram stories. The next day I went home, had a much needed shower and discovered all the emails. After that I started meeting management and from there it all took off.
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