Name: Penny Loftéen
Nationality: Swedish
Occupation: Producer, vocalist
Recent Release: Penny's debut single "CRUCIAL" is out via Alex Zethson's Thanatosis imprint.
Recommendations: I would say The Bible, but I don’t think anyone has missed its existence. So I will say Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, the first in history written down, Vampire Folktale.
And one of the most beautiful music pieces ever: "Tango" from The phantom carriage by Matti Bye.

[Read our Alex Zethson interview]

thanatosis produktion · Penny – CRUCIAL

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I played the violin as a kid but started to write my own music around 19 or 20 when I got my first iPhone. I used the inbuilt keyboard in garageband and sang into the handsfree microphone.

Of course I must have had influences, but never consciously. When I was around 14-16 years old I listened a lot to Eminem, Depeche Mode and M.I.A (who must have been the coolest person in the world). I think M.I.A may unconsciously have influenced CRUCIAL.

Music is a language I intuitively understand. School wasn’t my thing, I was hopeless when it came to learning notes, and my memory is trash, except when it comes to musical memory.

I like it when things go fast and flawlessly, fast and easy results! And music is the platform that gives me that.

When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

That's so fascinating, that some see colors when they hear music!

I start to make other melodies in my head that fit the melodies in the music.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

I always felt I had a personal voice. And I never gave much thought to if I will have a breakthrough or not. My challenges have more been in my stubbornness, being a perfectionist and at the same time lazy, and to not compare myself to others.

My journey as an artist has forced me to learn the art of letting go, not taking myself so seriously and start trusting others, start having fun.

Pop that grandiose self image like a pimple, it won’t do you any good!

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

I like freedom, and I easily feel trapped, and in those moments when life is stagnant, feels pointless or actually is really hard because of external circumstances, then you can transform that trapped unbearable feeling into something creative and dramatic!

Instead of blowing up the whole world, make music, listen to music, play music.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

Integrity and what's between the lines are important to me.

The artist needs to have a mind of their own and something to say.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

We need both, I don’t think there is one right answer. As long as there is good music.

But one thing I can't tolerate seeing fade away are melodies.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

When I write musik I use my keyboard and Logic. I like to experiment with sounds and effects, something that's so convenient to do with today's technology.

My go to sounds are a dirty bass and a fragile flute or strings. I like extreme contrasts.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

My routines depend on my life situation, that’s always in change. Right now I’m studying, so either I stay in bed and read my course literature, or I’m at a coffee shop reading my course literature. And if I’m not doing that I’m thinking about how I really should be reading my course literature.

I'm a knight, fighting the procrastination dragon daily. And FYI I’m winning.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

I'm looking for sounds. I can record or download sounds, chopping them up, reversing them, pitching them until I find something that triggers me and then the music just writes itself.

Or I'm just humming a melody, or making a nice melody on the bass or some other instrument, then it's the same there, the music just writes itself.

Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

I don’t think one cancels out the other. I like to write and produce alone. But it’s also hard to do things alone. Collaboration is a good thing to get better at.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

Just because I listen to music or lyrics about death doesn’t mean I understand how it feels to lose someone. But after I lost someone, music can help me to understand that I’m not alone.

Others have nearly drowned in these waters before and made it, and so will you.

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

I don’t know, it's like a Platon or Aristoteles thing.

I heard music has a strong connection with math, but music is also strongly connected to intuition and feelings. It’s a connection between the world of ideas and matter.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

No, I think you're in the same trance. We all have different platforms to express our creativity in.

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

Music is a spiritual thing. I think we will get the true answers to that after death.