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Interview: Purple

“This is Purple speaking. I make a bunch of sad songs once in a while. I guess that’s it,” he joked.

Meeting Purple was one of my best moments at SXSW this year. We just sat in the lobby at the Hilton in Austin, which happens to be the largest and tallest building in the city, and talked about his process. Unlike many of the popular or more notable attractions, he didn’t don a gold change or a shirt that promoted his crew. He was just Purple, a shade of human that every other species should experience at least once in their lives. When you think about music, mood and time and space, they’re all ever-changing concepts that are accepted or denied by one’s perspective. He’s no different from those ideas and he wants you to take from it what you will.

I had the privilege and pleasure to have a conversation with a triple threat, originally from Berlin via Portugal who is known for fusing his 90s dark, hazy vocals with Witch House production.

Tell me what inspired your upcoming record, Silence and Remorse? What inspired that record?

I think for the upcoming album, things became a little more personal than the music before, especially because I started singing with my real voice instead of processing my vocals. It felt like I was, all of a sudden, really talking about myself and my love stories and just my wishes and my dreams and isolations, as well. And sadness. Many, many kinds of things, but mostly related to… not necessarily related to my own story, my own love story, but mainly related to a lover’s.

You mentioned that you make sad songs. Why do you think that’s so?

I think, maybe sad wouldn’t be the perfect adjective; maybe nostalgic. I think it’s just impossible for me since I’m just a very nostalgic kind of soul.

So, maybe more like tone and tempo?

I think the whole content like, the atmosphere I try to recreate. I think it began like, it’s always kind of dark and deep and shady, somehow. But I feel it’s becoming a little more human, and I really like that. So, instead of calling it dark, I just prefer to call it, like I said nostalgic. It’s not like I’m talking about ghosts or phenomena, or something. I’m just talking even about real life without being real sometimes.

And the name Purple: where does that come from?

Before doing the music I’m doing right now, I was doing a bunch of stuff only in electronic music. I was singing once in a while, but not very often. This was back in Berlin in like 2010. I built up an EP for Purple without having the name Purple. There was no reason specifically. I know it’s not related to R&B culture or weed at all. I just know that. But I also like it because, first of all, I like the word. It makes me feel like I’m inside of a David Lynch movie somehow, and I like that. I still have the same feeling every time I read it and I sort of associate it to my name. It was kind of difficult for me to come up with an alias or a just word that will be like your face, somehow. And yes, sometimes I relate a lot to cinematic content. That was one of the reasons, but it’s mainly just because of the feeling I have while I read it. I just like it.

What shade of purple are you?

A very, very dark one.

Dark like deep violet?

Yeah, deep violet. That’s my favorite. There’s one tone that I actually once saw online. On first sight, it looks black but it’s not. It’s just such a dark purple. That’s probably one of my favorite.

So, what’s a day like with you when you’re recording your music? What’s your studio mantra?

To write my music as Purple, I usually write it alone. For the last year, I pretty much stopped everything I was doing just to dedicate my time to the album. I was doing some freelancing and visual arts and stuff. It was like me and me, me in my room; I didn’t have any studio or something. I’ve been improvising a lot. I’ve been moving from one place to the other. Ninety-five percent of the time it’s my room.

Do you feel like it’s that much more personal, like it’s more you?

I think for my music, I cannot really afford to wake up in the morning and feel like, “OK, I have this feeling I want to put into a sound,” but before that, I need to have a coffee, and then, drive to a studio. I cannot do that. I need to be able to make my music at 4 AM, at 6 AM, whenever I want. I think having a studio is brilliant, but it makes sense for my music in a different stage. The early stage of writing a song, it’s really me and me only.

So, it’s the truest form of songwriting and creating?

Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. I think there are many authentic forms of doing it. I never studied music or anything. I still do illustration and visual arts, it parallels. The reason I was doing my music was because I wanted to. I started like exploring a little bit so the whole thing was very raw. I still like to maintain that kind of purity somehow in it. It comes real on the content. It can be super produced or not that produced, but I think you can still feel if something is pure.Depending on the genre, it can be Jazz, it can be Pop, it can be nothing; I just try to be as clear and direct as I can. Just try to put it out there as fast as I can just to make sure it’s not super deformed, or something.

The way you’re talking, it kind of reminds me of when people write down their dreams. As soon as they wake up, they have that image or that feeling and they’re trying to catch it.

I used to remember like all my dreams constantly. Now, not that much. But yeah, kind of like, a little like, dreamy vibe.

When you first heard the name GrungeCake, which is the name of the publication, what came to mind?

I don’t really like cake at all, but I think about something very, very messy and very post-modernist, somehow.

Nice, very nice! I think that’s a really good answer. Are you performing at SXSW?

Yeah, I’ll be doing it on Saturday. I’ll be performing on the WEDIDIT showcase at the House of Vans. So, you should come over.

A photo posted by PURPLE (@itsoundslikepurple) on

Definitely! Is there anything that you want your listeners to know? When they’re listening to your music, could they take something away from you, or would you rather not dictate that?

I don’t want to give you the obvious answer. I’d just rather let people feel how they feel. I don’t think it works like that, to be honest. I just hope they just feel something and they relate to it. I’m not expecting people to feel something in particular. I do try to share a part of me with them, for sure. I try to build a scenario and put them in that scenario so I can share that emotion with people. If I can actually achieve to do that, that would be brilliant, but I don’t know what people feel. We can look at the same object, me and you, and we could feel so many different things. I would be super happy if people actually understand, or not understand, but feel a little bit of the atmosphere. It’s not a particular feeling. I don’t want people to listen to my music and go like, “nostalgic” or “sad”, or something. But it can maybe relate to them in 0.1% of their lives, you know. It’s all about one love.

Miz Kane (Transcriptionist)

For more Purple, just click here.

Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is the North American Press Agent and US Business Manager for Oxlade; Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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