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Interview with Mr Pigeons: Exploring the Experimental and Ancestral Sounds of a Multi-Talented Artist

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As a producer, performer, and poet, Mr Pigeons is a multi-talented artist based between Rotterdam and Berlin.

Known for his spiritual and introspective music that is best described as experimental elements and abstract lyrics, Mr Pigeons has been featured on various platforms including CTM Festival Berlin, Bubblegum Club, BaseBass Berlin, CrackFlow, ThePitLdn, Roundhouse Music, BlankBar, Nap Ministry, and United We Stream x Arte.

Mr Pigeons first became interested in music due to a speech impediment that he found could be eased through singing and rapping. This sparked a passion for writing his own verses and eventually producing music, despite having little musical knowledge at the start. Over time, he found his rhythm and has since built up a strong body of work.

In this interview, Beats, Rhymes & Lists sat down with Mr Pigeons to talk to the multi-talented artist about his journey into music, his unique approach to his craft, and his upcoming release 5:55.

How did you first get into music and what inspired you to start creating your own material?

What inspired me to get into music was my speech impediment. I had a very bad stutter from a young age, every time I’d rap or sing along to something the issue seemed to subside.

So I’d always write a verse or 2 along the years. During my first year of Uni in London I had a friend that made beats, he had like mad equipment, 808 drum machines; samplers and all sorts of synthesisers.

After class we used to chop it up and I’d watch the homie make beats. This inspired me to pick up producing and start making stuff of my own, it took a while for me to find my rhythm because I had almost zero musical knowledge, however I made it work along the years. Everything just gelled together eventually. 

Your music is described as being spiritual, introspective, and ancestral, with experimental elements and abstract lyrics. Can you tell us more about the themes you explore in your music and what you hope listeners take away from those themes?

My music is described as spiritual and ancestral because I believe the core of it comes from my background. I’m Shona, my tribe is from Zimbabwe, a Bantu peoples known for their creativity and for being artisans. History would be passed through orally and through praise poetry. And my family were known to be the spiritual leaders of the tribe and hand to the king.

When I hear rap I feel it’s directly connected to this lineage. When I write I feel my ancestors communicate through me, this belief gives me integrity as I create music and it opens a deep connection to my ancestors, it gives meaning and it allows me to seek the deepest depths of who I am.

You’ve performed at a range of platforms and events, including CTM Festival Berlin, Bubblegum Club, and BaseBass Berlin. Can you share more about your experience performing in these different settings and what you enjoy about performing live?

CTM Berlin is an experimental noise festival. I took part in a program called Hacklab. Every year they select 15 musicians to take part and how it works is that you spend a week creating a performance based on the theme of the festival.

The theme I worked on was connection. It was a great experience working with noise musicians, I’m always looking to explore and try new things musically. It was really like learning how to curate a musical theatre show, it made me look at performance so differently, to give the audience a multisensory experience. And I had a chance to perform in front of an audience bigger than what I’m used to, I felt like I made my ancestors proud by representing them.

United We Stream x ARTE was another crazy experience, this was early COVID-19 times, the project was created to help support Berlin Club Culture during the pandemic. There was zero audience but the show was broadcasted on a channel I’d been watching since I was kid, it’s these small victories that matter to me. I killed it! Bubblegum Club is a South African based youth culture magazine that picked up on my latest release ‘Blue Heron’ and gave me a feature. I love it when my music resonates with African youth, that’s the goal. Connect and inspire!

Your music is characterised by mantra-like hooks and nonlinear flows. Can you tell us more about your creative process and how you approach writing and producing your music?

My chorus structure in my music can be repetitive, almost as if I’m chanting. The more I repeat something the more feeling that’s created, the more colours are added to the soundscape. It does in turn sound like a mantra-like. A beauty in simplicity. I like to see my music as a prayer and occasionally meditation.

My flows are non-linear because I feel the pockets I find in the rhythm of a song are unique to me and I do whatever feels right, I follow the music how I understand it, I believe it’s different for everyone. Writing is a very therapeutic process for me, it’s a spiritual practice for me; almost as If i’m getting a snapshot of the condition of my soul. This is more or less my source material. 

You’re currently working on your upcoming release, 5:55. Can you share more about what we can expect from that project and what you hope to achieve with it?

555 is really exciting conceptually. I’ll be writing it from the perspective of 5 different versions of myself. It’ll be based on multiverse theory. 5 different genres/styles. I love numerology and 555 represents transition, freedom and adventure. These are the energies I’m looking to exude as I create this project. The writing process is more or less done, I’ll start recording from the start of 2023.

As a multi-faceted artist, you also work as a producer and performer. How do these different roles inform and influence each other in your art and what do you enjoy about exploring different facets of your creativity?

I love fashion, I have a MA Fashion Design from the University For The Creative Arts London. My music unfortunately isn’t my bread winner at the moment. I have a brand called ‘Parsley Studios’ and all the pieces are produced in Zimbabwe. It’s very important for me to build and start these projects in my home country. I work as a freelance fashion stylist as well, you can see some of my editorial work in Kaltblut Magazine.

I love to paint and I love contemporary dance. I want to express myself in this life, whichever medium I have to use. I have the mind and heart of an Artist to make it short, everything I do is connected. It’s like a beautiful ecosystem, each medium will always inform the other. As If I get to see myself expressed in all these different dimensions. My type of adventure. 

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