Sunday, January 3, 2010


Monday, September 01, 2008 

Minimalism, repetition and Flopsy the Bunny…could it be anyone other than our once-soporific prolific PIKELET? ANDY HAZEL thinks not.

Those familiar with the music of Pikelet (aka Evelyn Morris) will recognise a lingering sense of wonder in her music, an almost haunted feel of a girl left on her own at home to contemplate life and invent friends, a girl who chooses to share her introspections. It’s this inherent intimacy that acts as a draw-card and the feeling that every song is part of a personal concert. However, times have changed for Morris, and so has her muse and music.
“I feel like I’ve left the house.” She explains. “My music might actually be a reflection of complete opposites in my lifestyle. When I was writing the first album I was transient, I was moving house every few months, so maybe I was looking for comfort and homeliness in music. Now, I’m quite settled in a house I really love, so I’m wanting to do the opposite where I’m let loose,” elaborates Morris. “I was exorcising a lot on the first album because I had to confront my mum’s mortality at the time, so I was definitely processing the feeling of being a kid. I think most artists do that with their first album, they do the kid thing and then the second album they go through that teenage thing where they’re like ‘fuck you guys’ and then do more ‘contemporary’ stuff when they get older.”

Having been happily surprised by the reaction to her first album, which took her from curious weeknight oddity to opening for Sufjan Stevens and Beirut, the organic growth of her success gave her a sense of validation about her stories and songs. However, the album, she confesses, is rarely played, “it really feels like it’s in the past. Afterwards I had a very intense period of anxiety, which is really natural because of the phenomenon of being observed - you can’t help but change your behaviour. I just sort of processed it, I thought ‘I’m going to get through this period and remind myself that none of it is important at all’. That’s the main thing you’ve got remember about doing music, it doesn’t actually matter. It’s just something you do that’s entertaining. There’s no need to get hung up on things or worry about what people think or whether anyone is going to listen to it because ultimately it’s only going to ruin your expression.”

In contemplating a ‘teenage’ second album and to accommodate her penchant for challenges Morris formed a band, an addition that anyone who’s witnessed Morris’s virtuoso use of a delay pedal wouldn’t have thought a high priority for her. Still, it does beg the question, what, exactly, does the name Pikelet refer to her or her band?
“Both. I enjoy the challenge of being a solo performer, and that it’s a lot more minimal. I get anti-playing live with four people because sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the sound. I enjoy the space of controlling all the sounds; I’m a bit of a control freak!” she sniggers. “But I think the band is the best thing I could have done at this point; it’s all about having as much freedom as possible so I won’t ever get locked in to having them. If they want to go and do something else, it’s not like [adopts a gruff ‘scary’ voice] ‘No, you are a Pikelet now.’ I want them to pursue what makes them happiest as well. I try and keep it all open.
They’re all really good creative intelligent musicians. It’s actually sometimes really daunting to play with them because experimenting and jamming is not something I’m used to doing with Pikelet, so it’s been really challenging for me. We’ve had some rehearsals where I’ll get close to tears, ‘I don’t know…you guys are really good and I don’t know what to do!’ They’ve been awesome because they’ll turn around and say: ‘we’re going to jam. You join in when you feel like it,’ and that’s a really great thing as something will come out of it and I’ll say ‘that’s cool, let’s use that part,’ it‘s a really collaborative affair. I do come in with ideas but so often in the cold harsh light of day, in front of these three minds, they crumble, which I think is a good filtration process,“ she laughingly admits.

Despite this, it’s clear she’s at a very prolific stage with her songwriting. To take care of these songs that she fears may otherwise disappear, she has compiled handmade CDs to sell at gigs. Her recent nine-song Dictation EP collects recent musings of the solo variety. Inspiration, it seems, is usually expressed more musically that lyrically.
“I love repetition and minimalism so much, but lyrics are the most difficult things ever,” she says exasperatedly. “On this record I really want to try…I feel like it’s a second attempt at the first album in a way in that I want to get across similar ideas but do them in a way that’s different. It’s been interesting, I’ve been really experimenting with lyrics, and I always find I come back to storytelling; I just think it’s a really excellent way of getting across an idea or a feeling or a perspective without blatant explanation. It’s something that I hope everyone can relate to…at least I hope most people had stories read to them when they were kids. I really liked the story about Flopsy The Bunny whose ears went down rather than upwards, I could really relate to that bunny, because of the ears poking downward yeah, but because I could relate to feeling like an outsider. I had two older brothers, I was a total nerd at school and no one else wore glasses in my year. It was really weird,” she says bemused, “I happened to be a year with the most excellently-sighted gene pool. I liked Peter Rabbit too…it’s all about rabbits!” she realises with a laugh.

With a new album in the offing, Morris is sure it’s going to be a half band and half solo, but unsure which labels will release it. ““It will at least be half out on Chapter [Music]. I was thinking about starting my own label, but I’m pretty impatient when it comes to paperwork. I think I’m good at two things and that’s music and talking to people; even working with Chapter I enjoyed talking to whoever and self-managing. I’ve got Sophie from Mistletone managing me now, she’s got excellent ideas and her approach is really refreshing. They [Mistletone] just do whatever they want which is great because whatever they want to do is really good.”

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