When Pennywild saw Grimes perform at FYF, she was inspired to drop out of musical theater school and begin a three month DJ course. She’s now been deejaying since 2015, and producing since 2017.
“I was a bit naive to the entire thing – which is probably why I felt so comfortable diving head first into an industry I was brand new to,” she says. “Following that blind faith, I made the move from NYC to L.A. in 2016, and scoured the internet looking for gigs. It wasn’t until I met the movers and shakers over at various L.A. collectives (Space Yacht, Mixmag, Brownies & Lemonade, iHeartComix, etc) that I actually started getting hired for gigs and sussing out my own place in the electronic music space.”
Pennywild is also an accomplished dancer and choreographer, and has never allowed herself to get boxed in. She’s performed on London’s West End in West Side Story, while her debut EP landed this past fall on Dome of Doom. Meanwhile, while she’s inspired by house disco, techno, Jersey/Bmore club and hip-hop, she says that her sound is best described by the tools that she uses.
“All of my passions melded and manifested in the Penny Pad, which is a MIDI controller that I created with beat scene guru Coby Ashpis, powered by your feet,” she says. “It lives on the ground, allowing dance steps to ‘become’ the music. My EP MIDI In Motion consists of structured choreography steps performed on said MIDI controller that were layered and harmonized into the melodies and beats you hear on the record. Working with this technology allowed the music to flow out of my body, rather than my fingers. It’s guttural, and dance-based. In my early career, (I used to have a residency in the basement of Webster Hall), I would set choreography to my tracks and dance in front of my DJ booth.”
As we move into 2021, Pennywild has directed and choreographed the visual for Zedd’s “Inside Out.” Having toured with Youngblud, she’s now preparing to drop another EP.
“I started working on this project shortly after the first one, and have gotten the opportunity (and the gift of time!) to iron out all of the ‘kinks’,” she says. “I felt much more equipped to handle this release and it’s production after all of the rookie mistakes that come along with doing something for the first time. Additionally, I’ve been commissioned by other artists for a handful of visual projects that I’m feeling particularly energized by. Creating my own work can be really cathartic, but it’s nice to also have a creative outlet for other artists. It allows me to take more risks since there is a layer of protection there – ‘It’s not a PENNYWILD thing, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be X,Y,Z’.”
Pennywild’s Midi in Motion EP is out now.