As she releases the video for Go Ahead, Jones sounds off on her solo debut, imaginary metal band, and Kylie Minogue.
"I'd always been writing bit and bobs" explains Pillow Person, the solo debut project from Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones, "but recently it felt like I had things to sing about, so I started singing about them." Today, the Hot Chip drummer drops her oddball video for Go Ahead, a dance-infused pop song you're gonna want to wake up to all summer.
Released by independent London label Moshi Moshi Records — who discovered the likes of Florence and the Machine, Disclosure, and Teleman — the track cleverly layers obsessive beat patterns with quirky arrangements and high-pitched vocals, much like PC Music's futuristic pop. "As a teenager, someone had given me an early compilation from Rephlex [Aphex Twin's first label]" says the London-based artist, "it was the first time I heard pitch-shifting on vocals, it kind of changed my world!"
Directed in collaboration with longtime friend and street artist Dscreet, the video stages a Lynch-esque encounter between a creeping Sarah in white socks and her bobbed hair alter ego power braking in a classic 1979 Holden Caprice car. The release comes complete with a 3D-rendered portrait, created by the Spanish digital artist Claudia Maté, who has previously lent her talent to FKA Twigs, Björk and David Bowie. Texting and Skyping from a tour van somewhere in France, the dynamic drummer tells us about her experience of going solo so far.
How does it feel to go solo after playing in a band for a while?
Like I've just stepped into the sauna while my mates are swimming in the pool. I'm sweating but in a good way!
What does Hot Chip think about your solo venture?
They're nuts cool about it. They really are the best boys and very encouraging. I did a day with Joe [Goddard] in the studio and he helped me make sense of my song. We ate pastéis de nata.
Is the music industry ever a lonely place for a female drummer?
I didn't really notice I was a female drummer for a long time. There have been moments, you know. When you're doing battle of the bands in Newport and someone tells you that your metal band is going to be shit because there's a girl drummer. But then you win and you feel like Rocky, maybe.
How did the track Go Ahead come about?
No joke but I dreamt of this song and I woke up and sang it into my phone. You know those stories of the Beatles doing this, but not into a phone... Well, I never thought something so cheesy would ever happen to me, but it did. Then my friend Charlie March who helped produce the track said I should borrow a DX7 [1980s digital synthesiser] off a friend so I did that too.
There's two of you in the video. Is Pillow Person a little conflicted?
Well, sometimes Pillow Person speaks Spanish. She's called Sarah Suñé and also gets on the mic.
When does she get to come out?
I've just been in this Spanish zone a lot recently! I've been putting together a mix for David Byrnes' label Luaka Bop, a compilation of songs I used to listen to with my nan, who's from Spain, with more current stuff too. It inspired me to work on a Spanish track for Pillow Person.
When did you first touch a musical instrument?
I'm pretty obsessed with the castanets I got as a kid in Spain, when I was about five. I also got some panda earrings in the same shop that melted in my ears.
Can you name an artist you discovered as a child and loved ever since?
I was well into Kylie. That video where she's blowing the bubble bath. Some stuff never leaves you.
Anyone you'd like to collaborate with?
Kane West, best DJ.
Any other projects you're working on at the moment?
We've started our own label called NFNF Records with my mate Anthony Silvester. So far we've released a song from our band Technology + Teamwork but we have some really great people making stuff for us to put out. Super excited!
Where can we see Pillow Person perform?
I'm just planning my first show in London, came up with the idea yesterday whilst driving to France. The Eurotunnel is one of my favorite places to think. Then hopefully will be playing in Mexico.
Where can we see you at all?
Playing Zelda in a house near you, or applying hand cream on the Eurostar.
Pillow Person Go Ahead is released on August 19, 2016 via Moshi Moshi Records
Text Benoit Loiseau
Image courtesy Claudia Mate and Adam Goodsion