Shure24: Waking Up to Skinny Pelembe
Many artists are dreamers, but SKINNY PELEMBE often relies on nighttime inspiration to fashion his ethereal, electronic-infused sound.
The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in South Africa as Doya Beardmore is never troubled by writer’s block for one simple reason: whenever he runs into trouble, he just goes to bed.
“I try to write through dreams,” is how he explains his unconventional method for penning lyrics. “I’ll make the music first, and then I’ll sleep with it on. I keep a dream journal and a lot of my lyrics are basically taken directly from that. It’s like sitting in a room, watching my own thoughts.”
The best part about tapping into his deep subconscious for inspiration this way? He can literally do it lying down. “Poetic as any of this may sound,” Beardmore says with a laugh, “it’s also lazy! These thoughts are already there, eight hours a day, why not capitalize on them?”
Soft-spoken with a broad South Yorkshire accent after moving to England when he was three years old, he is sitting with a bag of vinyl records at his feet in a burger restaurant near the studios of Soho Radio. Beardmore has just finished his regular show spinning tunes on the independent online station. Signed to Gilles Peterson’s label Brownswood Recordings and championed by among others, garage rock legend Iggy Pop on his BBC Radio 6 Music show, the Doncaster-raised musician is catching the ears of some of the most influential tastemakers in the business.
A vivid, hazy collage of dubby beats, shoegaze textures and polyrhythmic guitar riffs, Skinny Pelembe’s debut album Dreaming Is Dead Now won widespread acclaim upon its release in May 2019. And with a follow-up already in the works, the future looks brighter still for the 29-year-old Shure24 nominee. But wherever it may take him, he’s determined to do things his own way.
Photo credit: Valdimir Pogonariu