CULTED SOUNDS: YUNÉ PINKU TALKS FAI FIGHTER & HER IMPRINT ON THE DANCE MUSIC SCENE
Clear the stage and make way for Yuné Pinku, the 19-year-old Malaysian-Irish producer and songwriter, making a name for herself and women in the electronic dance scene.
The red-hot artist has been uniting 90s sounds with UKG, rave sentiments, and introspective lyricism. Her music is an ode to dance floors, tantalizing listeners with hypnotic melodies from a wry-eyed, voyeuristic lens.
Tell us a little bit about your backstory. How did you go about creating such a distinctive sound?
Well, I grew up mainly around South London , where Grime and DnB were pretty popular, but also had a lot of Irish culture around me when I was growing up so Irish music was something I was always around. I was always a bit of a heavy music-head (it’s so stereotypical but when I was 13 I found pink floyd and I thought everything had changed). I started making music about 5 years ago, mainly just soundscapes but roughly about 3 years ago I started making the kind of music I make now.
You recently released your new single ‘Fai Fighter’. The music video seems to explore water and fluidity – can you talk us through some of your inspirations behind the visuals?
It’s quite a surrealist video, where all the spaces are kind of undefined. The song itself is largely about embracing the chaos of vulnerability or pure femininity, but with a reclaimed power. The water scenes, to me, are like being overpowered or ‘drowning’ in you’re own fragility. And I also feel like there’s something intrinsically linked between women and water, in so much folklore you see interpretations of these kind of slightly evil women who live around water; sirens, banshees, silkies etc.
Also the fits in the video were crazy! How did they connect to this narrative?
The stylist for this video (Suzie Walsh) did some amazing stuff for this video, a lot of it was just made by hand! We spoke about outfits that sort of sit in a middle ground between ancient and future—largely, because both tenses inspired this song— so the obscure shapes lend to the future but the materials, like bandage or potato sack material definitely lend to older times.
Your stage name is super unique, what was the inspiration behind it?
Yunè was just an old nickname from when I was a lass! And I’ve tried to come up with more interesting stories behind ‘Pinku’ but it is literally just after ‘Pingu’, the penguin show.
A majority of your music was released during the pandemic and from what I’ve heard, you were a tad frustrated. Did it help your creative process? Can we hear some of these emotions in your music?
I actually felt the pandemic really helped me! I was never able to spend so much time figuring out sonically what I was and finally had the chance to, under very bizarre circumstances. I did have a lot of teenage angst going on though, just missing out on my ‘prime time’, though looking back I’m pretty grateful because my life’s definitely improved a lot on the other side of the pandemic.
I heard you worked on ‘What You Like’ over email with Logic1000, what was the process like and did you run into any difficulties producing this way?
I think for me it felt more normal. I’d made songs with people I’d never met prior to that, all done through email again. And it meant I could just do my part at my usual desk in my house, so there’s a level of comfortability and time that you can only get from working at home/on your own. I think at that stage because I was so overwhelmed by how big the music world is I wouldn’t have dealt with in-person sessions very well, particularly post-pandemic (I got a bit weird)
As a woman in the electronic dance scene, what imprint are you looking to leave on other female listeners and creators?
Hopefully, just forging on the fact that girls can make electronic music and it doesn’t have to be ‘Girlsmaking electronic music’, and I actively try and veer away from stuff where it’s like ‘POC musician’ or ‘Female musician’, because I personally don’t like this categorical thing. I don’t really want the stuff I make to be catered or affected by the fact that I am a person of colour or that I am a woman. I do find, like in many worlds, if you act like a guy in electronic you can tease your way through, but I really want there to be a space that isn’t hyper sexual or following the heard of garage bro’s. Like it would be awesome if you could just be hyper feminine and still be taken seriously, like if Paris Hilton was making garage and it wasn’t ‘Paris Hilton is making garage’.
Who did you look up to as you began your career in music?
I just love music, the list is endless and pretty broad. I mainly looked up to indie rock musicians like The Cranberries, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Jeff Buckley etc. but also some electronic musician who have been big inspirations to me like Eartheater, Ladytron, T.a.t.u and the prodigy. I think I’m kind of bizarre mashed up version of all of it.
Congratulations on your first guest mix with Joy Orbison! How did that collaboration come to be?
We started working together when I had just started releasing music. We did a couple of sessions and one day he asked if I’d be down to do a guest mix! He’s been a great help to me all throughout. What a G.
You hopped on a Charlie XCX remix this summer. What was your initial reaction when you saw such a big name attached?
Scared, haha. I was kind of thought it was a joke, because I was like the actual Charli? But that was super fun, I’d kind of got quite fascinated by pop music around then actually, just the way it’s built and the amount of stuff that goes in it. Very fun to work on!
You’ve grown quite quickly, amassing a subset of fans who are die hard. Why do you think fans gravitate to your music so well?
I’m really bad at realising there are actually people who listen to my music haha. I guess it’s because it sits between a few different sounds, and whenever I’ve heard artists do that (and you like those sounds) it kind of feels like being sonically brain scratched. But I think I kind of combine songwriting styles that you’d see more in indie music than electronic with pretty on the nose electronic beats. I think there’s a huge audience for electronic hybrids now.
Lastly, What are five tracks you can’t stop bumping right now?
- It’s no good by Depeche Mode,
- Bisou Magique by Melody’s Echo Chamber
- Castles by DJ_Dave
- Key To My City by Sorry
- Don’t Move by Phantogram
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