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Tirzah Press shot

Meet our BOTW: Tirzah

Under The Skin OST composer Mica(chu) Levi and her bffl Tirzah have been making beats since secondary school. It’s no surprise, then, how tight they sound on the latter’s brilliant ‘No Romance’ EP, released last week. Still very much a side-project for Tirzah (musicians do have day-jobs, you know), her truly unique, often peculiar music is all gloopy, straight-talking RnB, skewed a bit, tightened up, skewed again, then totally transformed by Levi’s glitchy, multi-textured production.

Ask the musician about the future and she seems a little uncertain: ‘We have two or three shows abroad, then I’m not sure’, she reveals. ‘Testing stuff out. We’ll still just be doing tracks here and there anyways.’ In the first part of her BOTW feature (check back tomorrow for a playlist, and Friday for a moodboard), the Londoner also discussed her upbringing, preferred crooners, and life at Greco-Roman.

Planet Notion: Describe a typical day in the life of Tirzah.
Tirzah: It’s all about going to work really, and getting home and catching the Eastenders repeat at 10:30.

PN: Your music always seems pretty breezy. Is that your intention?
T: Not intentional at all, just the way it’s come about I suppose. I’m not really a performer so a lot of the time I’m just mumbling. Most of the time it probably just comes across as looking a bit awkward too. We try not to be too precious about the approach.

PN: Why did you first start making music?
T: Mica and I wanted to make the most of the new music tech room at school so we would be in there for hours just basically messing around and getting into recording. And we ended up doing a few tracks.

PN: When was that?
T: We were 14 at the time, I think.

PN: Who were your first vocal inspirations?
T: Barry White… Al Green.

PN: You did fashion at Uni. Are you still involved in that world?
T: Yeah I did Textiles for fashion. I’m doing print design now for a company in South London.

PN: How do the fashion and music industries compare?
T: Can’t say I know too much about either; I’ve never really felt like I’ve been fully immersed in them. Maybe it depends on how you approach them and what you decide to take from the experiences yourself.

PN: What’s ‘No Romance’ all about?
T: It’s another shopping list track.

PN: How does this EP differ from last year’s ‘I’m Not Dancing’?
T: I guess the tracks were sort of put together as a whole unit rather than feeling more individual as songs. They came together because of how they sounded rather than it being a fully conscious decision.

PN: The video for ‘Malfunction’ is pretty cool. What’s the idea there?
T: Yeah, the video existed before the music. Mica had filmed one of our conversations for no particular reason a while before, so we ended up using the video and making the song to the video instead of the other way around. It was actually quite hard. We were in a certain frame of mind having just intensely watched a few hours of Ryan Trecartin videos.

PN: So, how do you and Mica go about writing together?
T: We like having a play around with tracks when we meet so it’s just really easy and nice to see what comes out of each little session. And quite often pretty funny.

PN: What did you make of Mica’s score for ‘Under The Skin’?
T: So brilliant and beautiful. I was just really captivated throughout the whole film. You come out feeling pretty shell-shocked, excited and a bit terrified.

PN: What’s life like at Greco-Roman?
T: They’re a really nice bunch of people, very open-minded and unpressured. And we’re obviously grateful they wanted to put out another EP with us.

PN: What kind of new music are you into right now?
T: It’s not new, but I’ve been listening to Bill Cosby and I’m enjoying instrumentals in general a lot.

PN: Stuff from London?
T: Felicita, A.G Cook, Brother May, Sula Bay.

- Huw Oliver

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