We’re delving deep into the musical psyche of Perk Pietrek this week. The Singaporean DJ and producer continues to hone his intricate style of trap and electronic beats, having first caught the attention of Quality Goods Records boss UZ some years ago.
With the dust still settling on the release of his latest EP Flowers, Perk Pietrek speaks to us at length about his creative process and inspirations as an artist, and how he sees his career developing as we head towards the start of a new year.
Can you tell us a little bit about how this year has been for you and your career?
I feel like the team and I have put in some great work this year and I’m really proud of how everything has come into place over the past couple of months.
Early this year I put out music with STMPD and shortly after Barong Family and these are releases we’ve been really happy and excited about because they are records that helped mark the progression of my sound. It’s also been about 3 years since the release of my single ‘Busy Gyal’ with Far East Movement’s label and we’ve been getting a lot of sync love with that song over the years. This year is extra special because we got into a vinyl compilation for Seth Rogen’s Houseplant project and we’re also getting 2 movie syncs (on ‘Tone-Deaf’ and ‘Blowing Up Right Now’) – which is a first for us.
With my own label Super Snacks, we just launched our radio show, Super Friends which airs on Brunei’s radio (shouts to KYSB) right now. I’m not a trained radio DJ or anything but you can hear my voice on that show every month now, so that’s pretty rad. We also just wrapped up our third compilation of the +65 Remix EP. It’s an EP where we remix music by Singaporean artists and this year we featured a group of really talented Singaporean producers, so I’m really happy to be part of that curation and work with musicians out here in Singapore.
On the writing end, there’s a lot that I’ve been working on. A huge bulk of it is geared towards 2020 so I’m starting to put the pieces together with the team and plan out the music.
Of course then there’s the Flowers EP with Quality Goods Records that’s out now. I’m extremely humbled and inspired by the response we’ve been getting to date, so I’m really looking forward to what’s next.
When did you first start working on the Flowers EP?
I’d say probably close to 1-2 years ago. The start of it definitely took way longer than what I expected as I was very fussy with how it sounded like and what the vibe of the project should be. But when I was halfway done with it, the writing actually got a lot easier.
Some projects don’t take that long but this one did mainly because there were a lot of revisions and re-writing. It was really important that I get it as close to what I envisioned it to be.
As a complete listen, what did you want fans to take from it?
Flowers is all about contrast to me. And when contrast is done right in music, it gets pretty damn beautiful. I’m not saying that I’ve nailed this on the spot but I honestly hope I did. That’s actually what the concept of this EP is all about; how beauty and danger co-exists in unique ways. I hope people that listened to this EP is surprising, in a good way!
Was there any particular part of making the EP that stands out in your memory? Were there any struggles that you had to overcome with it?
For a lot of the music that I write, when it’s a fun and interesting idea, I tend to get really deep into it and lose track of my surroundings. Kind of like when you’re playing in a band and just enjoying whatever that comes out of it. Until the end of the session then you’d snap out of it and realised that you’ve no idea what happened but it just felt great.
That’s kinda what I’m always after when writing music and some days you get it and some months you just don’t. There were definitely many fond memories of the creation of Flowers, like when I came up with the bassline for ‘Bloodflower’ or creating the first draft of ‘Willow.’ And then many writing struggles in between that I slowly figured my way out of.
In some way, I’m learning that embracing the struggle is what creates the fondest memories when it comes to these things.
If you could dedicate the EP to someone, who would it be and why?
Definitely to the human beings (thank you to my loved ones, friends & fans) that have been behind me, supporting every tiny step I take. It’s important to recognise the good people that have been around so, thank you so much!
We love the creative diversity within the collection and you always forge a unique vision as a producer. Who or what has particularly inspired you recently?
One thing for sure is that there are a lot of amazing music by amazing artists out there right now, so my list could be really long. I’m always looking out for very forward-thinking stuff when it comes to electronic music so a huge bulk of the Quality Goods catalog have been really inspiring for me. There’s this really talented producer from India called Baajewala that recently put out an EP on Quality Goods as well and I love the whole sound he is building.
There’s a huge class of young producers that are amazing as well and in particular one from out here in Singapore that I’m keeping an eye on is this kid called Viticz. He had shown me some demos in the studio recently and I was blown away.
You’ve been working with Quality Goods and the legendary UZ for some time now. How have they helped your artistic development?
Absolutely 100%. UZ and myself go sometime back over the past 3-4 years ever since I first sent him some demos. So he and the Quality Goods team have been of major help to me.
I think he really help nudged my sound towards a more mature stage because I was initially just writing heavy music without much direction but conversations with him helped me put more thought into what I was doing and what I wanted to do.
The supports that happened over the past couple of years from guys like Skrillex, RL Grime, Marshmello and many more came through because of my remix of UZ’s ‘Stockholm White.’ So a lot of these wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the opportunity to do that, and I recognise what Quality Goods have done for me even before Flowers. Now that the EP is out with Quality Goods, I think it’s the perfect home for it and I’m pretty excited to work on more music with them in the near future.
Looking ahead to 2020, what can we expect from Perk Pietrek? Shows, collaborations, remixes?
There’s a lot that’s in the works right now. One of the main things for me in 2020 is to do shows abroad for our fans out there so we’re currently working on that.
There’s a couple of other music projects that I’m involved in, one being a secret project that I’ve been working on over the past couple of months and we’re looking to reveal it sometime next year. We’re almost done with an entire album worth of material so there’s a lot of new music. My music duo project Pandasaurs (with fellow Singaporean DJ/Producer Lincey) is also in the writing season as well, so we’re trying to get together an EP worth of music for next year.
I’m still writing a lot of music for the Perk Pietrek project, most of these takes time and I usually let them seat in for a bit before deciding they are any good to be put out. There’s also a small list of collaborations with some really dope artists (which I won’t reveal who they are now to keep things interesting). 2020 is definitely looking to be extra hectic so I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!