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EXCLUSIVE Mix and Interview: Penguin Prison

Chris Glover aka Penguin Prison is a New York musician with a background that boasts both a hip hop project with Q-Tip, and singing in a Gospel choir with Alicia Keys. In the past, he’s found himself swapping between different projects, but finally Chris seems to have chosen to settle down and release a record under the guise ‘Penguin Prison’. In conjunction with an EXCLUSIVE mix for PlanetNotion, we sat Penguin Prison down for a chat.

PlanetNotion: Firstly give us the lowdown on your name, what’s the idea behind it?

Chris Glover: I think the name, while obviously ridiculous, has a good ring to it. I’d been trying to decide on a name for a long time and had a list of about 300 band name ideas until I finally decided to pick one at random,  I pointed at the list and landed on Penguin Prison and went with it.

PN: Are you a band or solo artist? We couldn’t tell…

CG: I’m a solo artist that works with different people. When I’m making songs and also I play live with a band.  So I am a solo artist who tries to be as far from a “solo” artist as I can be.

PN: Your sound seems an eclectic blend of both industrial house and indie lyrics, how would you say that blend of sounds came together?

CG: In terms of lyrics, I always try to make them funny and sarcastic because I can’t really ever make just straightforward lyrics. The music I think is a mixture of being influenced by more modern electronic and dance music and older pop and disco.

PN: Who influenced what you’re doing? The city around you? An unknown legend? A shape? Let us in…

CG: I have been influenced a lot by people around me, friends of mine that are making music. I looked at what friends were doing (Holy Ghost!, White Williams, Girl Talk) and it influenced what direction I went in while at the same time I obviously have my own spin on things.

PN: Your style seems to change from track to track. Was that an intention?

CG: I never want to make an album where every song sounds the same, but for me this album is the most cohesive group of songs I have ever made.  In the past my songs would be even more different.  I used to have a hardcore rap song next to an African gospel song next to a folk ballad so the Penguin Prison album fits together more than anything else previously.

PN: Which do you prefer the remixing, or writing originals?

CG: I like remixing but there are limitations as to what you can do, obviously because you are starting with something already there that you have to work around.  When you are writing an original song the canvas is completely empty at first so you can fill it with anything at all.

PN: Synths have recently made a comeback like never before. How do you think that came about?

CG: They have always been around really! Guitars are still the best but there are only so many sounds you can make with them.  There are almost an unlimited amount of sounds you can make from the many synthesizers that exist.

PN: You’ve got a new record coming out very soon. Tell us a little about it. What can we expect to hear?

CG: I wanted to make an album where every song is good, every song is different and it all fits together.  There are two songs about money which are my favorite songs on the album.

PN: How do you find it taking these songs out to a live environment?

CG: I love playing live. I think playing live is even better than making an album, probably.  The best shows are when people are acting wild and jumping on the stage.

So if that’s whetted your appetite for a bit more of Penguin Prison, we got Chris to put together an exclusive mix of some of his favourite tunes for your listening pleasure. It’ll take you straight into the weekend…

Download: Penguin Prison’s Mix For PlanetNotion

1. Penguin Prison – Fair Warning (Penguin Prison Club Mix)
2. Casual Encounters & ODahl – I Don’t Know
3. Toomy Disco – Age Of The Jaguar
4. Change – Hold Tight (Late Nite Tuff Guy Edit)
5. Cole Medina – Cole’s Just Crazy
6. Fantastic Four – I Got To Have Your Love (Dicky Trisco Edit)

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