Eleanor Dunlop (Retropxssy), London-based artist and independent in the city’s lively solo artist scene is exploring punk, hip hop, and rap through her sound, serving a lip-sweetened infusion with no shortage of pulp. Inspired by the transparency of Winehouse and Goldfrapp and JoeJas, Retropxssy’s lyrics chart an emotional calendar and describe her personal journey into adulthood. When asked about fame in our current era and the ensuing consequences for artists she notes that it is as “fleeting as ever” …“Once you’ve made the art, it’s yours but you’re sharing it with people so they’re going to interpret it” and in regard to her online presence, Retropxssy believes in creating authentic work that is true to her own individual experience. Work that never shies away from the haters.
August 26th marked the release of her latest EP Road Ahead featuring a slew of tracks produced during lockdown and seasoned with a generous pinch of sass and pepper.
Raised on the electronic club culture home to Bristol, Retropxssy has been absorbed into the London underground music scene since her 2019 studio album debut Getting Better…featuring the fruits of an experimental studio session resulting in Finchley Road, one of her very first hits. When interviewed for WUB, the online magazine for underground music a Retropxssy is described as “someone resilient… who does what they want.”
Tenets to live by.
The pyrotechnics of an early Ramstein concert in Nottingham at age 14 also helped to implant a few seeds of metal into her style. Although a union between metal and hip hop is surprising, the overlapping of genres and lyrical references contribute to the uniqueness of her sound and demonstrate the rise of a more versatile approach to music-making. When asked about the merging of different genres in the underground scene, and the implications for female artists, a very insightful answer was given…
“It’s a way of avoiding having to fit into a prescribed way of being a woman. I think it’s great because it’s kind of blurred the ways you can be underground…you can be underground and still have a lot of people listening to your music.”
Blurred lines that respectfully acknowledge different genres yet succeed in creating something fresh and help to make room for audience members off the mainstream grid.
Road Ahead, the latest addition to Retropxssy’s discography, includes the likes of the languid tune Sleepyhead, a lazy Sunday anthem and the single that was a result of a five-day jam session in a hostel in lieu of the Vogelpop festival in the Netherlands last year. Wild Horse, the bouncy note to self, complete with the trill of some symphonic chords acts as an upbeat inner pep talk. Following a period without any writing, each song in the album was conceived naturally and was instrumental as a coping mechanism during the past year. Handwritten songs for going out or staying in, and successfully confirm the no-fuss syrupy attitude characteristic of Retropxssy. Road Ahead marks the artist’s second studio album.
Compared to the 2019 debut which was a reflection on the artist’s period of recovery Road Ahead documents our prolonged period of collective anxiety from a candid point of view. Referencing the instability of our times and leaving us more hopeful towards the future with its bubbly electronic notes. “Swallow my words or speak on cue” a memorable lyric reminding us of the reality and persistence of modern-day backlash.
Considering the uncommonness of white female rappers in the industry today, some would argue that the field is difficult to navigate for newcomers, and our conversation provoked a question regarding how these delicate issues are approached…
“It is something that I keep in the forefront of what I do, and how I present myself, and especially when starting out, I think that it is an ongoing dialogue that you have with yourself.”
A dialogue that has existed ever since Retropxssy first started rapping as a teenager and that has been aided by a healthy exposure to a variety of people from different backgrounds.
“I try not to imitate and also to be open to conversation and having people come and talk to me about it.”
Echoing a learned sensitivity that is necessary for much more inclusive spaces within the music industry.
Although the road ahead may be uncertain, this weekend will promise a few new tracks to stream…
Just in case you choose to stay in bed.
story / Alexander Mays
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