A British producer and songwriter who lives in Medellín, Colombia, pilgriim has led a nomadic life that his songs seek to document. Particularly inspired by the rich culture and expansive landscapes of South America, pilgriim traveled around the continent before moving to Colombia to work in video journalism and documentary film production, recording his travels in photo and video. These photos and videos now inspire his visual aesthetic as a musician.
‘Flux’ is pilgriim’s debut single, which features guest vocals from British-born Nigerian poet Joshua Idehen and takes an experimental approach to hip-hop. With echoes of the LA beat scene but with an emphasis on lyrics and traditional song structure, ‘Flux’ is leftfield but immediately accessible. Joshua Idehen’s unmistakeable cadence adds to the song’s global style, his poetic flow nodding to artists such as L.A. Salami, George The Poet and Saul Williams. The chorus by singer Ned Younger (Young Shields) keeps the track’s London roots intact, while the song’s video coming soon locates it in the Latin American context pilgriim now inhabits.
We caught up with pilgriim to learn more about how “Flux” came about, musical influences and more.
Aditya – Hello, we’re glad to have you for this interview. How was the first half of this year for you?
Pilgriim – Thanks a lot for having me. First half of this year was rain (lots of rain), heartbreak, covid, writing new songs, eating too much papaya. In summary :)
Aditya – Your latest single ‘Flux’ along with Joshua Idehen & Young Shields sounds stellar! The beat is intelligently produced, what’s the creative process behind this tune?
Pilgriim – Thanks so much. It actually started with a sample, which I used as inspiration to write the synth parts. I wrote the lyrics when I was going through a particularly weird and difficult time. The vocalists Joshua and Ned (Young Shields) then smashed it out of the park with their recordings, their vocals make the track what it is.
Aditya – The artwork looks surreal with the intricate details, what’s ideation of that?
Pilgriim – ‘Flux’ is the first track off an EP called Pictures of the Gone World, the artwork is a nod to the title of the EP. But the skull opening up into butterflies is also about letting go of the past, and about the positive transformation of difficult emotions, themes that run through ‘Flux’.
Aditya – Could we know what the music video would look like?
Pilgriim – The music video for Flux, which I directed, is out on August 18th. It was filmed near to where I live in Medellín, Colombia, in a neighbourhood called Comuna 13. The video has a documentary aesthetic, it was filmed with people we met in the neighbourhood rather than with actors. It’s mainly filmed on an FPV drone, we tried to make the swooping movements of the drone complement the lyrics of the chorus. The video follows a skateboarder’s journey into a surreal world of filtered purple, it’s about a young man grappling with his inner demons.
Aditya – You’re a video-journalist as well, could you share more information on that persona of yourself?
Pilgriim – Music was my first love but photography and videography are a close second. Both my parents were visual artists. I spent years as a freelance video producer covering Latin American stories for news media before launching pilgriim, and I continue to live in Colombia. My aim is to bring a Latin American documentary/street photography visual aesthetic to my music project.
Aditya – Who are your influences and why?
Pilgriim – I got into music via 90s hip hop and sampling culture, and that really opened me up to a diverse range of musical influences from different eras. From an early age I was listening to everything from rocksteady and spiritual jazz, to highlife and soul, to garage and drum and bass. Hip hop was a constant. When I came to Colombia I got into cumbia and salsa and vallenato, so much great music was made in this country.
Aditya – What’s your studio setup like? Any specific gear/pugin you cannot work without?
Pilgriim – When I lived in London, my studio was overflowing with vinyl. Since I’ve been based out here in Colombia I’ve had to curb my vinyl obsession and maintain a smaller footprint as I never really knew how long I’d be here. So it’s been mainly a laptop, a piano, a basic recording setup and a few bits of outboard gear. However, at some point I’d like to build out a modular rig. I’m always playing around with different plugins, I find myself using RC-20 and the Fab Filter plugins quite a bit.
Aditya – Do you think crypto and blockchain technology is the future, and why?
Pilgriim – I’m not a crypto evangelist but I’ve been following it for quite a while and I’ve always been excited about its potential, especially now in the music space with all the possibilities that are emerging for independent artists with web 3.0. I’m hoping to mint my first NFT as pilgriim soon, and I’m interested in using NFTs to generate income for grassroots organizations in the places – like Comuna 13 – that have inspired the visuals for my releases.
Aditya – What’s in your 2022 pipeline?
Pilgriim – I’ll be releasing the tracks off my first EP and a remix I did for another artist. There’s also a remix of Flux that I’m super excited about coming out next month – more on that soon!
Aditya – Lastly, Grime or Drill? And why?
Pilgriim – I’ve got a soft spot for grime because it reminds me of growing up in London. But drill has been on a massive ascendance and there’s some amazing stuff coming out in that space. I’m interested in the diversity of genres and in artists who blur the boundaries between them, so I wouldn’t really say one genre is better than another.