“What you grow up around shapes you. London is what it is. You’ve got a lot of love, a lot of hate. We’re all just trying to find our way in this mad metropolis,” begins Pinty.
Born and bred in the south of the capital, the rising Peckham star has spent the past year perfecting the art of MCing, calling upon roots legends like Smiley Culture and MC Skibadee, but also harking back to the drum‘n’bass he grew up with. “I’m as London as it can be,” he says. “MCing came from Jamaica and made its way into London – I grew up with reggae, I’ve also always loved the dance music side of things. There aren’t really any other MC’s that are ingrained in house [music]. When I was younger, people used to say, ‘How can you be an MC if you make house music?’”
Exploring UK jazz and soulful house more than the typical roots and jungle influences of his peers, Pinty’s 2021 EP ‘Tomorrow’s Where I’m At’ was also hailed for its unashamed exploration of mental health and gentrification – a goal he set back in 2019. “I think that’s called manifesting,” he playfully chuckles. “I’m on my fourth project now and can finally say I know exactly what I want to make.”
Such statements only come with practice and maturity, he explains. “Especially on collaborations. I used to have to listen to a piece of music as many times as possible in a day; now I trust myself a lot more, and would rather connect with the microphone the first time I hear a song.” That’s exactly what happened when Metronomy’s Joe Mount asked Pinty to get involved in the band’s recent covers release ‘Posse EP Volume 1’, also featuring the likes of Biig Piig, Sorry and Folly Group. Joe recalled how quickly the MC sent back his parts for EP opener ‘Half An Inch’, while Pinty in turn reminisces about how quickly he connected with the track: “They sent me the beat and I had it within two hours.”
Collaborations are all about “creating a mix of worlds,” he decides. Recalling his previous tracks with Emma Jean-Thackray, Maxwell Owin, Tomos and most recently Afriqua on ‘Deep In, Deep Out’, Pinty highlights how important it is to be confident with collaborators. Though unable to name names on his upcoming project, he does, however, disclose that certain figures with “crazy success over many years” were excited by his ideas. The Pinty touch on such collaborations? “Putting a smile on people’s faces,” he grins.
“I used to really care what people would think, but when I finally put myself out there, I moved on to thinking, ‘Fuck it’.”
Such smiles undoubtedly stem from the MC’s drive to explore new musical avenues. He admits that he hadn’t traversed the musical waves of Elton John’s catalogue until the legendary singer praised his EP last year. As soon as Pinty heard Elton’s music, he thought, “‘Right, I want to make a song where I just sing and play the piano’. I get so quickly influenced…”
Also pushing him down new avenues, he explains, is his radio show on underground station Balamii. “Just the other day, I listened to ‘Tonight’s The Night’ by Smashing Pumpkins and wrote a full piece of music to it right after. When I was younger I used to really care what people would think, but when I finally put myself out there, I moved on to thinking, ‘Fuck it’.”
Putting himself out there is something Pinty has been striving for both personally and artistically, meanwhile. ‘Tomorrow’s Where I’m At’ was notable for its openness regarding therapy, and it’s a topic that the Londoner is vocal on. “That album was coming to terms with things that have gone on for the best part of my life,” he explains. “It taught me to be on top of your own struggles. It feels good. I’d urge anyone who can go through that process to do so; it brought me clarity.”
A year later, Pinty’s work still stands as a testament to the importance of destigmatising mental health discussions and the catharsis it brings. He reminisces about the first time he threw lyrical caution to the wind. “I remember sitting at [Peckham pub] The Gowlett when I was 18, asking myself how to express what I was feeling. The song that came from it – ‘Found It’ – was the first time I ever talked about love. Once I played it for the first time, I found that I could talk about anything.”
This openness sits at the centre of his live shows, too. “At a basic level, it’s about connecting with people through my lyrics. I remember someone once saying to me, ‘You don’t understand what this song’s done to me!’ I mean I wrote it, so I probably do,” he laughs. “But he felt something, and that’s what’s important. I think all humans strive for a bit of connection in their lives.”
The experimentation Pinty explores in the studio doesn’t stop there. On his upcoming shows - including a Saturday set supporting Shame and Do Nothing at DIY Alive this week - Pinty will be taking his live sets to the next level, using “loads of delay pedals, transforming the music to fit a band.”
Already a firm favourite of music legends old and new, Pinty’s cup is proving far more than half full. “I’m not stopping. Non-stop Pinty 24/7,” he affirms. “It’s Pinty’s house.”
Pinty plays DIY Alive, which takes place in London on 23rd and 24th April. Head to diyalive.com for details.
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