Pinty talks tackling life and loss on honest EP Tomorrow’s Where I’m At

It’s a brave decision for anyone to scrap a project half way through and start afresh. But for south London wordsmith Pinty, tearing up a whole EP’s worth of material was the invigoration and catalyst he needed craft his most personal work to date.

The rising Peckham star has just dropped his new release Tomorrow’s Where I’m At – a raw and honest record detailing life, loss and grief in an increasingly gentrified capital across an eclectic backdrop of house, jazz, acid and hip-hop.

Tracks like Found It – a love story set at his local pub The Gowlett – the Annie Mac-endorsed single Comfort Me, and the hard-hitting Another Lost Soul showcase the talents of a fledgling artist destined for the top.

A difficult personal period sparked by the loss of three close friends saw Pinty struggle for creativity as he penned the follow-up to his breakout debut EP City Limits in 2019.

“I had an EP near completion”, Pinty explained to Daily Star. “I was starting to go to therapy in January last year. That was filled with a lot of self-reflection and a lot more understanding about who I am and who I do. A lot of the lyrics directly reflect things that came up in that.

“It’s turning over a new leaf almost. It’s understanding the past and looking forward. That’s what it’s about, really.”

He brought in pal Tomos for production duties and Tomorrow’s Where I’m At started to take shape as Pinty threw himself into writing during lockdown.

The partnership has resulted in a stunning body of work, one that invites us into Pinty’s world and makes us yearn for those collective club experiences once again.

Daily Star’s Rory McKeown caught up with Pinty to talk about Tomorrow’s Where I’m At’s creation, how London’s moulded him, working with Tomos, the EP’s influences, and his next steps.

Hi Pinty. How have the past 12 months been for you?

“It’s been interesting. I think everyone can say that. It’s been quite a long time. I’ve managed have something good come out of it. Now I can present it in its entirety.

“I made the first song last February. I made my studio and it all came together just before lockdown. When it all happened, I was like ‘I know what I’m doing for the next endless time’.

“I built up a really good relationship with my producer Tomos over that time. It worked out pretty well.”

You’ve returned with your new EP Tomorrow’s Where I’m At. Tell me about the writing and recording process for this one. I understand there was a period where you had a difficult time in your personal life, making it hard to write lyrics, which saw you scrap tracks and start afresh.

“I had an EP near completion. I was starting to go to therapy in January last year. That was filled with a lot of self-reflection and a lot more understanding about who I am and who I do. A lot of the lyrics directly reflect things that came up in that.

“It’s turning over a new leaf almost. It’s understanding the past and looking forward. That’s what it’s about, really.”

There’s a raw honesty that comes through with your lyrics. What’s it like as a songwriter getting into the mindset to put it down on to paper?

“With my other material, it was hard putting it out there. My first proper EP City Limits, that was dedicated to my older brother. There were a few lyrics we sampled him in a song and I spoke about that very briefly.

"If you know half of my stuff, you might as well know the other part. The whole process of going through therapy has made me more comfortable with who I am.”

Would you say you’re proud of the material considering the topics?

“Without a doubt. It’s a reflection of where I am in life at the moment. I like the idea of looking back when I’m old and wrinkly and I can see the music that I put out was a direct and raw and reflection of what I was going through in life at the time.

“If it can give other people joy, it’s the icing on the cake. Already people are hitting me up. I’ve had a few messages from people saying ‘some mad s*** was going on in my life and listening to your track has made me feel better’. That’s what I live for, that’s what makes it special.”

From that you teamed up with pal and producer Tomos. What did he bring to your output?

“We went into the studio last February with Found It, which is an ode to my local pub The Gowlett, which was also my first job. In lockdown he sent me about five 15 minute clips of different beats. Every single one of them I was like ‘I want to write to it, this is sick’. I was filled with inspiration. It went from there.”

You mentioned the Gowlett there, which is in south London, where you’re from. How special is it and how has it moulded you?

“It’s moulded a lot about me. A lot of the influences, whether it’s garage music, drum and bass, MCing or graffiti culture, dance music, it’s what I’ve always known.”

Has it changed over the years?

“It’s changed quite considerably, especially my direct area. Some things are the best, some are not for. Evolution is something that’s going to happen. Places evolve and we have to evolve as people. When you deal with something as big as a whole area changing, you as a person can’t really change it. You have to change, adapt and evolve.

"I’m lucky enough to have a house here where I live with my mum. I have a nice roof over my head. I’m blessed in a way.”

South London is huge in terms of its music scene. Cross genre it’s completely diverse. How do you find it as an artist?

“It’s really inspirational. At one point on my road, I had Bradley Zero living opposite me, there was a dancehall DJ who was big in his scene, and a guy doing UK rap. He was a year below me in primary school. That’s just on my road! That’s four people literally only a few doors down.

"My eyes are open to all different kinds of music. You see people from the same areas making all different types of music. It makes you feel like ‘yeah, I can do something’. I don’t have to fit in with this kind of thing or whatever.

“You see things in a different way. My whole process of what I’ve gone through in a year has definitely been quite eye-opening. It wasn’t always fun growing up in south London when I used to get robbed and whatnot and hearing all types of horrible things happen. Looking back, when I’ve been in places outside of London, it’s just so different. You start to appreciate some of the stuff you did have, like all different cultures and backgrounds, all right there. That’s quite a special thing when you get out of here. It’s like ‘damn, maybe I was the lucky one’. I didn’t feel like it when I was little. In some aspects, it wasn’t always the safest place. When I got older, especially music-wise, it was a good thing.”

Musically, were you consuming anything for inspiration? You’ve really nailed the dubby house vibe throughout.

“Did you say dubby house? I like that! That’s a new one. It just so happened I started listening to Crystal Castles, Gorillaz…I was actually quite ignorant to these type of people when I was 15. 10 years later listening to this music has been eye-opening. I was like ‘oh my days, this stuff is sick’.

“I’ve started to listen to a lot of country music recently. They can tell stories like no-one else. It’s amazing to hear. In three minutes you can tell a whole story about someone and have a whole idea in your head about them.

"The simplest things can be the best in terms of how they structure songs and tell a story. It can be funny, sad, it can be all these different things. That’s been eye-opening.”

As an artist, is it important you do explore these different facets of music?

“The world is such a big place. I can’t understand how anyone can be set in one mindset. Especially with music, it’s such a universal thing. If something’s emotive, it’s emotive. If something hits a chord with you, whoever you are. If it hits something inside of you, it’s a personal thing. That can be done with so many different types of music. There’s so much out there.

"As I’ve got older, it’s kind of looking at things with fresh eyes almost. I’m feeling OK with that. It might not have suited my personality at one point but f*** it, I love it now. It’s great.

“My most recent one was listening to A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash. As a story, it’s funny and sad. I played it on repeat 20 times. I was like ‘this is sick!’ This is a masterpiece!’. I played it a too many times when I went out with friends for a couple of drinks and ended up back at the house. ‘Listen to this, it is sick!’.

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Are you already thinking ahead to your next material? Do you know what direction you’re going to go with it?

“I’m doing a lot of collaboration. I’m going quite left field with it. I’m pushing boundaries. I’m making a mixtape with a load of different artists. It’s going to be really interesting. Tonight I’m going to Whitstable in Kent to stay in my mum’s caravan for a week just to get out of London and write a load of new material.

“I’ve only just put out this EP and that was a really big piece of work. It took a lot of time and patience. It doesn’t stop. On to the next one.”

Speaking of collaboration, you also collaborated with another emerging talent in Emma-Jean Thackeray on Comfort Me. What was it like working with her? What did she bring to the table?

“She’s dope. She’s really something special. She was so sweet and lovely to work with. She’s a wonderful human being and really talented musician. She wrote that trumpet line in half a day and it solidified that track. We were like ‘oh my days, this all makes sense now’. You know when things are so effortless?”

The trumpet line is a real stand out from that track. It takes it in a different direction.

“Yeah. That was quite a different track to anything I’ve put out. I wasn’t worried to put it out but it’s something quite different. The reaction has been amazing. If I had any doubts before that, they were way out of the window.”

When you do have doubts sometimes, do you think ‘I’m just going to go with it and see what happens’?

“I think you have to. As an artist you can’t be worried about what other people think to a certain extent. If I’m happy with it, then I’m happy with it. I would never want to try and make something with the idea of someone else to like it.

"Having said that, I have two or three friends that when I make a song, I send it straight to them. These are people that I really value their opinion.”

You played the Jazz Cafe on Friday. What was it like to be performing again?

“Man, just to be in front people again was beautiful. It’s been a lonely time for everyone. I’m quite a sociable being as a it is. I like being with people and seeing different energies. Everyone was sitting down so we tailored out set to make it a lot more of a performance. I didn’t have the worry of trying to make people dance or move.

“When I used to play gigs and parties, there are always a couple of people that would be on the wall, looking at you. Especially if it’s not your headline gig. All my ideas before was like to look at them and to make them dance. If everyone else is enjoying it, that’s cool, but I’m going to single this person out. That’s the person to get to move.

“This one was a headline gig and everyone’s here to see me. It was nice. It was a beautiful thing.

“My next one is at Peckham Audio and that’s going to be a completely different affair, without a doubt. That’s going to be a sweaty room in Peckham.”

You’ve also been supported by the likes of Annie Mac, NME, Pitchfork. What’s it like having that backing as an emerging talent?

“Ah man, it’s brilliant. It means the world. When I got shouted out by Elton John on his Apple Radio show, that was quite something. I want to say surreal but it felt good. I thought ‘you know what, I can imagine Elton liking this!’.

"He actually did know my name and was like ‘this is a really sexy tune by Pinty’. I was like ‘yes Elton, thank you!’. It was brilliant. It means a lot. What we wanted to get from this EP in terms of support, I’m just humbled and thankful, and people have liked it.”

What’s next for you? You’ve mentioned the material you’re working on but do you have a vision of where you want to go?

“It’s only the start right now. I’ve been doing it for a long time but this year has solidified what I want to do and the direction I want to go to. It’s full speed ahead. I’m excited to keep on doing it. I feel like I’m in a real good place right now and just want to keep on cracking on.”

Pinty’s EP Tomorrow’s Where I’m At is out now via Winged Feet

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