London native Grand Pax has been dipping her toe into the music scene for a while, but it’s only been more recently that she’s taken the plunge to share her dreamy and subdued sound with the world. Her upcoming EP, ‘PWR,’ which will be released June 26, is a sentimental and colourful collection of songs, offering up a patchwork of blissful moments. These tracks are something Pax hopes people will keep coming back to, sharing in a conversation with Clash, “I want it to be something that like a year or two from now, or whatever, it's in your playlist because it's a good thing and your life. I want it to be a good thing.”
Memories are a recurring theme in Pax’s music, but it’s nostalgia that’s at the core of her lyrics. Her laid back, bedroom-pop tunes are infused with zesty synths against ethereal soundscapes as Pax reminisces on her adolescence and relationships.
“I always say I suffer from nostalgia,” Pax says. “I feel like I'm always thinking too much in a moment — I'm never fully outside of my head. So if the music's nostalgic, it's just because my narrative, my perspective, is coming immediately from that feeling.” Her latest EP is filled with tender moments of introspection against gentle synths and 80’s-inspired basslines that act as feel-good memory capsules for Pax to look back on. There’s newfound freedom in Pax’s voice that’s emerged since putting out her debut EP, ‘Phase’ back in 2018, which came from breaking up with a girlfriend and no longer felt guilty and tied to anyone or anything.
“I felt when I came out of that sadness, I felt impervious to everything,” she reflects. “I fully embraced the good things in my life, which is my friends and making music.”
It’s this narrative of cathartic, honeyed moments that make Pax’s music easy to gravitate to, as she paints a picture of carefree adolescence and ever-changing relationships that acts as a coming-of-age soundtrack, sharing, “You know how when you see a film and they deliberately grade the colour depending on the mood? That’s how I see the music.”
What makes Pax’s music stand out, besides fluid basslines and airy vocals, is her gift as a lyricist. After learning guitar from her older brother when she was eight or nine, and before she even thought the idea of being a musician was plausible, she wrote lyrics. Writing scat, teaching herself drums, and learning piano was more intriguing than being a singer — the idea didn’t even occur she was 20 years old, listening to Billie Holiday, that she decided singing could be fun and a valid option.
“I always feel like there are these people who are born with these voices, incredible voices,” she shares. “But I wasn’t like that. I worked on it for a really long time. I think I was always more of a writer than anything else, because my ability to sing and play, they took a while to get down; to get right.”
Soft-spoken and speaking in poetic streams of consciousness, there’s an ever-so-slight nervousness in Pax’s voice. Putting her music, filled with personal anecdotes, online is scary, but it’s become easier over the years after studying music at Goldsmiths and playing solo shows as part of her course. “People would just talk to me and encouraged me so much, and I started to think that it was something.”
It’s this anxiety makes Pax is coy about releasing an album before she’s fully found her footing as an artist. “At the beginning, it's just a really daunting feeling, the whole idea of doing an album because it's such a significant event.” Instead, Pax opted for a three-song EP rather than committing to a collection of ten or twelve tracks.
“[Just] putting out an album before anyone knows about you, I just don't think people would necessarily want to commit to that kind of project,” she says frankly. “...I think you need to start the conversation first and then try to gain people's trust and get people to be interested.”
When asked if she’ll release an album as her next project, Pax says she’s going to see where the songs take her, but wants to incorporate more harmonies and "dive deep" into the music. Even though she might still be up-and-coming in the industry, Pax wants to make a lasting impression with her music. With a name that means “grand peace,” Grand Pax is destined for great things, and we’ll be cheering her on from the sidelines.
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Grand Pax will release 'PWR' EP on June 26th.
Words: Caroline Edwards
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