Retro grew up listening to her mum's homemade mixes usually including artists such as Portishead, Massive Attack and Goldfrapp. Her teenage years were spent in between raves and Tumblr nurtured influences ranging from The Prodigy to Odd Future.
Starting in 2019, Retro released "Finchley Road" an edgy rap based track, then later that year she released "Boo" and explicit genre-bending jazz groove which explore another layer to Retro and her music. After that came her album "Getting Better" including 7 singles which each amassed over 2k plays each on Spotify. In 2020 Retro shared the short but sweet "Forgetting How To Swim" which is now her leading track with 13k streams!
The new track is catchy, honest and signature Retro. ‘Sleepyhead’ shows Retropxssy’s ability to play with popular forms and still keep her signature voice ringing true.
Her music's signature stance is how she expresses freedom, conveyed in Retro's lyrics, she embraces the freedom of the underground, seizing pulsing punk energy from the London scene, moulding it with a gentle touch to make a sound as delicate as it is raw. Her lyrics cut like the cold light of day through the hedonism of a clean garage beat.
Pulling her inspirations from musicians such as Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Tierra Whack, CHLOBOCOP and Nina Archives to name a few - Retro has worked closely with some amazing artists across the UK, as well as in Berlin and The Netherlands.
In an interview below, we chat with Retropxssy about self-motivation, aspirations, music and all things alternative - get to know the girl bending genres and who doesn't hold back!
Where are you from / where did you grow up?
I was born in London but grew up in the South West, I was at my happiest living in Bristol as a teenager. London is my home though, I’ve been back for a while.
What are your favourite things about being a UK artist?
The people I’ve met, my friends. I think the UK sees itself as kinda cool and niche, it can be very cool with people trying out new sounds and mashing up styles. But sometimes that notion of ‘edginess’ can stifle creativity and erode a sense of community and support. It’s not seen as ‘cool’ to promote local artists or people seen as lower down this perceived hierarchy. Peak.
One of the best bits about London is the way you can meet people from different places with different experiences, that open-ness is what I like to focus on.
My favourite thing about the city is how many sick artists perform here (I’m living in my quarantine free simulation right now haha). You can just find out about a show on the day, get on the bus and bam you’re having a sick time.
How would you describe your style of music?
Whatever comes out, a mashup of hip hop, alternative, punk I guess? The producers I work with often have an influence, that’s why I love working with other people cos you get a part of them. Hairymuffinman (who I work with a lot) always brings the jazz/ Pharrell vibes but then mixes it with my style so it’s a musical conversation.
I guess a way to dissect my style is to look at my influences, Odd future, Awful Records, MF Doom, Goldfrapp, Sevdaliza - they have a kind of fearlessness in their music which I am inspired by, I think it makes it hard to define their style because it’s so fluid.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go & why?
I love Berlin, I’m trying to go back as soon as this nightmare allows - we have some friends out there so we go as much as we can to make music and skate.
I want to visit places that inspire the people who inspired me. Atlanta is a big one.
What has been your hardest achievement?
I think putting on my first event - retropxssy’s mixtape party. It was a celebration of my first release. The theme was kind of ‘teletubbies having a tea party in space’. There was even a Teletubby toast station so you could munch and watch the performances! Everyone who performed was sick. It was so happy!
One of the best things about making music is sharing it with other people, that’s what I miss right now - spontaneity. Sometimes, it feels like I kind of slipped into this whole music thing and just was carried by the currents of people around me, they helped me to start swimming. Sometimes I have to remind myself - shit, look how far you’ve come! Keep going!
What's the number one thing you love about yourself?
That I’ve been able to learn from hard times and squeeze out resilience from them.
How do you overcome negative emotions?
Hahahaha, tough one. I guess remembering the phrase: ‘This too shall pass’. Going outside, skating. Dark chocolate.
Everyone's obsessing over your latest track "Sleepyhead", will you tell us a little about the track?
I met the producer (Jeremy-M) by chance - having a cigarette, he was playing beats off his phone. I’ve always loved dance music. When I heard the beat, the melody just came to me. It was one of those I need to make this song moments, so I grabbed the producer’s email.
I see pictures when I like a beat. With Sleepyhead I just saw London in it, which is funny because the producer is Dutch.
The vibe for me was a mix of Lily Allen and the video to Smack my Bitch up by The Prodigy, light and dark, soft and hard. It’s a party song but balanced with the comedown. The edge that I like to stand on but sometimes I’ve slipped down. I like going out but don’t go as wild, I’ve learnt my mental health can’t hack it! I wanted to write a song that reflected that duality.
What's most motivating to you?
Working with Hairymuffinman. Waking up and the sun is out.
Where do you see your music in 2 years?
I’d like to be travelling, performing, working with people and have finessed a way to do this full time. Let’s make it happen haha.