Words By/Robert Frezza
Petticoat, an artist from the San Francisco’s Bay Area, is fascinated with combining 80s New Wave and Hip-Hop and does so in such a magical, effortlessly way. “It was just an effect of the music I grew up listening to and wanting to, in part, emulate,” Petticoat states.
His style blends 80s pop as well, including Madonna, Depeche Mode, INXS, and more. “Currently, I look up to artists who have an all-encompassing role in their projects in terms of performing, producing, mixing, all of that,” says Petticoat. His current single “Fantasy” sums up his influences.
Ladygunn sat down to talk about Petticoat about remixing Soundcloud sensation Slayyyter’s “Mine”, his upcoming EP, and his take on the Bay Area.
You were raised in the Bay Area. What is the music scene like there currently?
The Bay Area is an incredibly special place. Although gentrification is making it harder for musicians to thrive, it’s definitely not stopping new players from entering. There is a tremendous effort to continue the support of the hip-hop scene, from radio DJs to websites dedicated to Bay Area Hip Hop. It’s one of the few places that play local artists on the radio.
Who were your inspirations growing up? Who do you look up to in the music industry currently?
I was very blessed to have such a large and cultured family to grow up in. Having a mom and dad who loved iconic records of the past while having sisters and brothers who looked towards discovering music led me listening to so many artists who made me who I am. Off the top of my head: Madonna, Depeche Mode, INXS, Alice Glass, The Chemical Brothers, Keak Da Sneak, and Incubus. Mostly because it’s what I’m trying to do. People like George Clanton, Toro y Moi, Autre Ne Veut, Blood Orange, and Clarence Clarity.
Do you think you’re helping to break the mold of pop music today?
Before I break anything, I have to find how pop music can carry my own voice, sound, and message. Pop music is the most encapsulating and wide-ranging genre in the world simply due to the fact that it’s “popular music”. What makes pop music so special is that it’s an honest attempt to try and present yourself in the most accessible way possible. Whether it be a sincere sound or personal subject matter, the most successful and forward thinking pop artists are able to stand on top of the genre instead of trying to live inside what already exists.
Your sound encapsulates a mix between Hip-Hop and 80s New Wave. Where did you get the inspiration for this?
I feel like these two genres aren’t as different as people might think. New Wave and Bay Area Hip Hop (hyphy in particular) both use instruments that keep an eye towards futurism such as acid basses, icy top synths, and drum machines. They’re also incredibly infectious by nature and exist in cultures centered around dance and expression. It was never a conscious effort to blend these two genres.
Is this indicative of what your EP will sound like? When can we expect the EP?
The EP takes from these genres, alongside modern pop, noise music, electronic, and a slew of other inspirations to try and make a statement on the flexibility of pop music and instrumentation. The instrumentals also create the sonic settings for the subject matter I’m trying to express. For instance, one of my favorite songs on the EP is about cam modeling. So I took the instrumental and glitched it out, added an almost overbearing amount of instruments, and ran it through some filtering to create the musical expression of a sketchy porn site with pop ups, malware, medicine scams and all.
What I love about the EP is that it’s designed with so many different little nuances to give it a really complete feel to it. I knew exactly what I wanted to say with it. In terms of subject matter, the EP is about what we view as intimacy and relationships in modern times. I jump all over from topics like dating apps, cam modeling, prolonged infatuation through social media, and the interconnectivity of individuals that ultimately has the power to bring us together. The language of the EP is also important to me, because I went into writing it not wanting to use any gender specific pronouns cause music should be inclusive. Some of my recent favorite songs do just that. Like what will love even be or look like in 10 years?
Tell me about your single “Fantasy”.
“Fantasy” is a song centered around the act of presenting through dating applications and websites. The lyrics play into the consequences of shallowness and miscommunication through online profiles. I chose to go with 80s New Wave mixed with dance pop for the instrumental. To me, synth pop was inherently futuristic for its time and era with its synthesizers, experimental voice mixing, and subject matter. It was a perfect match to get across the feeling and message of modern love; like an eye towards the future through a lens of retrospective.
Which do you like more: producing for others or producing your own material? What’s the main difference?
Both have to be approached with different mindsets. When I’m alone, I can focus on the intent of what I’m making. Having an unchallenged vision means I can really push myself and get something out of me that can be different and thought out. Working with other people forces you to address a shared vision, which in turn makes the song accessible to a bigger crowd. I enjoy both, but I’m better when I have the patience and the discipline of working with myself. Simultaneously, nothing can be more fun than collaborating artistry.
How did you end up remixing pop vixen Slayyyter’s “Mine”?
I had a few sessions with Slayyyter over the past year where I invited her over and showed her a few demos. Later, I was given the stems to “Mine” and decided to take the demos I had and combine them into the most perfect Slayyyter song I could provide.
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