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October 2020

Grand Pax: "I want to shoot out tunes like a nerf gun"

Multi-instrumentalist Londoner Grand Pax has ambition by the bucket load. 
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Published: 10:59 am, September 27, 2018Words: Jamie Muir.
Grand Pax: "I want to shoot out tunes like a nerf gun"

“It’s the collateral poetry of the shit,” explains Grand Pax, chatting away on an August afternoon and delving into how and why writing is so important to her.

More than simply a nice hook here and there, Grand Pax’s music is the definition of cathartic - an expression of raw feeling that captures the moment where inhibited reaction morphs into something that can be observed by those around it. Which is exactly what it’s all about, right?

“I mean, now I want to shoot out tunes like a nerf gun,” points Annie Pax, the voice, vision and creative force behind it all. Watch out; they’re flying out now.

Creating the sort of ethereal soundscapes that’d have a whole nation swooped into its view, Grand Pax is a different type of artist. An amalgamation of times gone by blended into 2018 with an effortless ease, it’s the sort of creative mark that makes Grand Pax an artist to keep an eye on - especially if her self-titled debut EP is anything to go by.

“The way I see it,” lays out Annie, “it all has to have a home and a context to naturally progress. I was writing for ages and was desperate to put it out, and I was very excited to share the tracks, and I’m glad that they’re out. Once it’s out there it exists forever; anything can happen.”

"If I can write a tune out of something awful, then I’m not completely worthless"

Never has a final line been so true. Annie’s songwriting has always been pivotal to her identity; she started performing at a young age, watching films and documentaries on what it was to be a musician.

“I spent a lot of my early years being drawn to people who seemed to have more than one element to their music. The most prolific of musicians were always the ones I was most interested in listening to. I’ll sound like a twat, but I like people who talk, people who write. 

“Don’t get me wrong though, I love a good cheesy pop song - love a banger, mate!”

There’s a carefree approach to Annie Pax; an unstoppable freedom to explore exactly what she wants to do. The sort of spirit that naturally makes sense after crafting her debut EP in her Kentish Town flat in London, music becoming something of a go-between to those who turn the darkest moments of life into something undeniably powerful. 

“It’s crazy when you think about the most noted artists and where they come from and where they started - creating something out of an awful upbringing or surrounding. I was watching Walk The Line the other day and Johnny Cash’s story, and the way they depict his life is so dark, but he fucking made it into poetry. It’s mad. Writing for me is that process, it’s quite a magical thing.”

Turning the dark into light, Annie Pax is exactly what you’d want a creative force to be in 2018 - one that thrives in being prolific (it’s why hip-hop and folk music are such key touchpoints for her, a sign of their rolling nature) and one that’s not ashamed to be truly open. 

Across her self-titled debut, Grand Pax tastes and rolls across textured groundings - with a stripped-raw sense of experimental ambition ringing throughout and the clearest heir to the trip-hop crown in almost two decades, reinterpreting it for 2018 in an unsettling bliss. With only four tracks out, Grand Pax already has the potential to become one of the most individual and creative artists of recent times - the perfect soundtrack to plug in after a tough day and lose yourself to. After all, it’s exactly what Annie throws herself into. 

“Everyone has their perspective on the world and situations happening within it,” she contemplates. "It’s a weird feeling, really. Say you’ve had a difficult month and loads of shit has happened, whether that’s arguments or the world going to shit - and then you go and spend eight hours working on something, and it’s a true piece of art. That piece of art encapsulates and makes everything seem worth it.

“If I can write a tune out of something awful, then I’m not completely worthless.”

"All I’ve known is writing songs, that’s all I’ve done for such a long time"

From the hypnotic pulls of ‘Destroyer’ to the skin-shuffling chimes of ‘Phase’ and high-reaching ‘Comet’ - one EP has already shown a vast breadth of talent and a sound that captures modern life in a nutshell in UK cities. The sound of rain trickling and bouncing off sharp pavements, the pitter-patter of that rain hitting windows and that feeling of goosebumps rising as you open the door onto an Autumnal evening, there’s something distinctively British to what Grand Pax does.

Forming songs together with Leeds producer Josh Crocker (whose own Gotts Street Park production group has already made a stir with work on Kali Uchis debut album), Annie has over ten tracks down and set for what comes next, a sign of sizzling ambition and a desire now to crack on now that music is out in the world. It’s not being afraid of the darkness, of the grey skies lurking above, but embracing it as a necessary and pivotal flavour of life. Without the depths, can there be a height?

“All I’ve known is writing songs, that’s all I’ve done for such a long time,” Annie explains. “I’m still figuring it out; you do along the way. If this all takes me nowhere then so be it, but if it takes me somewhere, then that would be fucking great. Maybe we’ll talk in a year and see where things are…”

Knowing how vital the sounds coming out of Grand Pax is already, the sound of modern metropolitans is bound to just keep getting bigger and bigger. “I’ve got the Nerf full loaded,” Annie laughs - and you better believe it. 

Taken from the October issue of Dork. Grand Pax’s EP 'Phase' is out now.

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