Pass The Aux Cord To Pnkblnkt If You See Him On Campus

    Meet the coolest 18-year-old producer

    by · June 13, 2016

    Photo courtesy of pnkblnkt

    These days, most discoveries happen on the internet. You either stumble upon something rare in the dark or someone you know and trust guides you into the light. I didn’t find pnkblnkt all by myself per se, but I sort of feel like his music found me at the right time.

    Last week, I came across pnkblnkt’s work via Twitter when he dropped COZY, an album that he has been meticulously putting together for a little over a year now. As the follow-up to last year’s Warm EP, COZY serves as a proper introduction to what the 18-year-old producer can bring to the table. Pnkblnkt makes electronic music that smoothly steers in the lanes of slow-building R&B, with distorted elements that make the beats hit even harder.

    Age aside, what sets pnkblnkt apart among many other things is the name he has chosen for himself. It’s not something that you can easily forget, and the anonymity factor intrigues the curiosity of listeners. Who exactly is this guy making beats underneath a pastel pink garment? Of course, that’s not what really matters, though. The music speaks for itself, but I still wanted to know more about this mysterious character.

    I recently had the privilege of dialing up pnkblnkt’s line to conduct an interview. During our discussion, I learned how he created his carefully curated identity as well as how he manages to make music while staying on top of homework assignments. (He’s currently an undergraduate student working toward a major in marketing.) He also has a slight southern drawl, which can be attributed to his midwestern surroundings.

    Read our entire conversation and get in a COZY state of mind, below.

    To start off, could you tell me about how you got into production and making music?
    My freshman year of high school, I started off at a big public school, but it didn’t really work out for me so I decided to transfer to a smaller Catholic school. I knew maybe two people there before I went. I made one of my first friends when I saw an album he had in his iTunes on his computer, and I was like, “Hey, you like that music?” He said yeah, and I was like, “Oh I like that music too.” We kind of became friends through that, and he’s still one of my best friends.
    We were both really into music and decided to start a club together which is called the LPCDMP3 Club. It was basically a book club for music, where me and him would decide on an album and we’d tell everybody to listen to it, and we’d get together for an hour and talk about it. He had downloaded Logic and gave it to me, and we just said, “How about we sample this song from the album we review and see if we can make, like, a better song out of it?” And so we tried that, and then it was horrible. But we both had fun doing it, and it was a little contest between us. And it kept going, and then between a bunch of different names and working on sounds and everything is kind of how I ended up with COZY.
    How did you come up with the whole pnkblnkt identity?
    I was hanging out with another friend, it was really late at night. His sister had a blanket down there, and it was pink. And I just had it and I was using it that night, and as a joke, he started calling me that. And then I started thinking about it, and I thought, “What’s more purely good than a pink blanket?” To me, it seems like there’s really nothing negative about it. Pink’s the prettiest color, and a blanket, it’s a good thing, I think, and if I’m making music that I thought was beautiful and good, then I would want something to represent it. And it’s also a way for me to stay anonymous, but have an image to portray my music.
    Would you say that you are more introverted and that’s why you want to protect your identity? I feel like it’s a trend for a lot of producers right now to try to be really mysterious. Or, are you just trying not to put yourself all over the internet by having your real name everywhere?
    Yeah, I must say, I like to keep to myself. Ever since I started making music and taking it seriously, I wanted the focus to be on the music instead of on the person behind it. When someone mentions Justin Bieber, you always think, “Okay, he has all this stuff going on in the news” instead of, “Oh, he recently collaborated with so-and-so on his new album,” and the music behind it. I didn’t want to end up being someone who makes a headline just because I do something, whereas I’d rather people keep their attention on the music.

    Photo courtesy of pnkblnkt

    Let’s talk about COZY. I really enjoy listening to the album all the way through, and my favorite track right now is “ufo.” I think it’s so beautiful and I love Jack Larsen’s vocals on it.
    Me too. I was really happy when he sent that over.
    How did you guys get connected? Were you already acquainted or did you meet on the web?
    We met through Twitter, just in like a Twitter DM group chat. I’d heard his music before and then someone sent me a couple unreleased songs, and I don’t know if I was supposed to have them, but I listened to them and I was blown away. I was working on my album, and I knew I wanted to collaborate at some point, but then after I made the beat for “ufo,” I knew I wanted a vocalist on it. I just kind of sat on it and really tried to think of who would sound good on it, and he actually messaged me. We were talking about something else and then I thought, “He would sound good.” So I sent it over to him, and he said he’d be happy to do it, and I was really excited to hear what he was going to do. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
    Was Kevin Abstract another Twitter connection as well?
    Mm-hmm. I had heard him after [MTV 1987] came out, and I made the song in history class. The same guy who got me started playing music was sitting next to me, and I looked over at him and I was like, “I think I want to get Kevin Abstract on this.” So I looked into him and then contacted his management, and we worked out a deal, and he ended up on the song. I think that was last summer in May, so that was a while ago. I think that song was finished maybe in January.
    I like to have everything done before I announce it. I’m very adamant about not having any delays or any leaks or anything like that. Because I think from my level, if you just have anything that’s oh you announce it and then it gets delayed, it seems to me like you don’t really care about your art and don’t take it seriously. Whereas on my scale, you need to just be in charge of everything. It takes work, but I think it’s really worth it to have everything ready to go so you don’t run into any issues. And I think that’s why some of the success with COZY has been, because I’ve planned that out and done everything release-wise. Like, I had the entire album, mastered, everything, all the visuals done, before I even announced a single.
    How long had you been working on the album?
    I started probably last April or May, so about a year. I originally wanted to release it at the end of last summer, but it got a little delayed and my ideas for it got a little bit bigger, and I knew it would take a little more time. I never wanted to rush it or anything so I decided to put the work in and really try to perfect it, and make sure I had exactly what I wanted instead of trying to meet some deadline I made for myself in my mind.
    Are you completely independent or are you on a label yet?
    No label, everything comes from me. All the merch I release, that’s been through me. I went to the library and printed the posters myself. My girlfriend hand-stitched the lettering on the shirts.

    Photo courtesy of pnkblnkt

    How do you have time to do this? I know you’re in college…
    I don’t sleep [laughs]. That’s pretty much it. I make a to-do list for myself and always try to stick to it. I was told you can sleep when you’re dead, so I want to make the most out of life while you have it.
    Where are you currently based?
    Midwest. I was born overseas. I traveled around a lot as a kid because of my dad’s job and then ended up here.
    How do you like it out there?
    I want to be on the coast so bad. L.A. is the goal. That’s where I want to end up. Where I’m at is probably the worst place for music and art. It’s very sports-centered, which doesn’t really play into my favor, but that’s why I put so much attention into the online promotion and stuff like that.
    What are you hoping to accomplish a year from now?
    I think going on tour would be awesome. That just seems like so much fun. Really, I’d say my goal is to just make the best music I can make and try to give someone else the feeling that I get when I listen to my favorite music. There’s nothing better than hearing a good song. So I think if I can share that with someone else, that’s a big goal of mine. Just creating an all-around package that’s cohesive and top-level on all ends, from visuals to music and all aspects.
    Who are some of your favorite artists? I read on Pigeons & Planes that you’re inspired by Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, and Clams Casino.
    Those are definitely big. Pretty much any artist who goes against the norm, I think. Shlohmo is huge for me—I probably think he’s my biggest inspiration. Even though I don’t really hear too much of his music in mine, I just think he really captures emotion well through instrumental music, which I haven’t heard too much in other music. I think being able to put emotion in music like that is a talent that I want to have one day.
    I’ve recently been listening to Lapalux a lot... Music that I think is kind of chaotic, but it’s still beautiful to me in kind of like a weird way. Not conventionally beautiful. You hear a normal piano ballad and you’re like, “Oh, of course, that’s beautiful,” but kind of just beauty where it shouldn’t be. That’s the most interesting music to me.
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    Last updated: 2016-06-13T11:54:29-04:00
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