Pepa Knight – Music Interview
Carol Bowditch chats to Jinja Safari’s Pepa Knight, who is creating a mature solo sound and capturing the attention of audiences worldwide.
Your debut single ‘Rahh’ was really well received internationally, how do you feel about this warm reception to your newest project?
I wasn’t expecting much support for this project, to be honest. I know we got lucky with Jinja Safari so, in the back of my mind, I was thinking these songs will fly under the radar. It feels especially nice because I have been working so closely to this project nearly every hour of the day for a long time. In JS we had management from the start and a whole team I didn’t even know about, but for this project I have been managing it myself with help from my mates at Rare Finds and a few other manager friends, so it feels more personal in that way.
Your track Clams builds to such a grand wall of sound. Is it difficult creating such full music as a solo artist? Do you collaborate with other musicians to assist layering the music?
I collected a few samples from India that I used in the songs but besides that I didn’t get any help with these recordings. Although sometimes I listen back to individual tracks in these song and wish that I did. I have a habit of recording rough takes and leaving them in the final master, but most of the time you can’t tell when there are 30 – 40 layers.
Comparing Pepa Knight to your work with Jinja Safari, I feel that your solo work is often more relaxed and adult. Would you agree that this project reflects you and your ideas as an evolving musician?
I hope so. I am now 25 and have a baby on the way so I like to think I’m becoming more relaxed and adult. Musically this solo project has been a really positive outlet for me while Jinja Safari is on a break. There are so many positives about being in a collaboration or band but sometimes if you have very specific musical or visual ideas for a project, it can be limited or translated in a way you didn’t intend it to. So sometimes it is healthy to channel those ideas elsewhere.
I read that your debut release under the moniker of Pepa Knight was accidentally deleted and you had to re-record everything over. Is this true? While it must have been heartbreaking, did it lead to important modifications to tracks that might have been missed otherwise?
It’s true. I had the recordings 95% finished when I accidentally deleted the whole folder from my hard drive. I ended up finding some early demo versions of some songs that helped in the re-recording process but it was still very hard to get motivated to do it all again. In the end, I pretty much created exact replicas of the original mp3s I was working from because I already had a clear vision for the structure and arrangement of each song. I did record the tracks way better the second time round though.
The music that you create has a very international feel. Where in the world would you love to create a record and why?
It’s hard to imagine creating a record in a country other than India after being so immersed in it and travelling back and forth for the last few years but I would definitely be keen to go somewhere new. I could imagine going to somewhere like Morocco and setting up a studio close to the beach so I could go surfing between recording sessions.
What do you have planned for the next year?
I hope to release the last volume of songs from the Hypnotized collection and keep working on new material.
Pepa Knight is playing shows in Sydney and Melbourne in August. For details, head over to Facebook.
Interview by Carol Bowditch.