When I ring Annie – otherwise known as musician Grand Pax – she is in a motionless car at nighttime, in rural Australia, staring at some passing kangaroos. She’s been travelling around for a month with her girlfriend, and tonight they’re staying in a farm. The WiFi there is basically unusable, which is why she’s driven a bit down the road, where we can speak to each other more easily. There are kangaroos everywhere, she says, and “they look just like humans in the forest. It’s fucking scary, man.”
The more I chat to Annie, the more weirdly familiar she seems. We’re a similar age (she just turned 27), we went to the same uni (Goldsmiths, she studied music) and we come from around the same area (north London). Even her voice, crackling over the phone line from the dark car, sounds like people I grew up with. She has that casual, open conversational tone, a slight accent. She tells me how she misses the lifestyle back here (“nothing like a beer and a cigarette”) and we talk about how insular the city can feel (“I tend to stay in Kentish Town, I tend to stay hanging out with my friends.”)
Her new track and video, “Bunk”, which we’re premiering above, also emanates that distinct London energy. Directed by Netti Hurley, it’s filmed in a bunch of locations in the city – Hackney, a fairground in Mile End, a swimming pool in Camden’s Dartmouth Park – and shows her spending time in these places, often alone, often at night. The whole thing gives off this feeling of needing time with yourself, to think about stuff, but wanting to escape your head too. Walking around a place like London – with its grey buildings, anonymous flashing lights, endless avenues and tunnels – feels like a good place to do that.
“Bunk” is Annie’s first release since her debut EP, which came out earlier this year on Blue Flowers (the same label as Puma Blue, Nilüfer Yanya, Westerman etc). Like the music you might have heard so far, the song is a spacey slice of electro-pop, her voice soft and sweet-sounding, her lyrics introspective, often earnest. “It’s essentially about self-destruction, but also the part of you that questions that, even while you’re doing it,” she tells me now. “How you make bad decisions, but how there’s that other part of you that’s narrating it.”
What sort of bad decisions? She pauses for a second, before continuing: “All the things that come with being a young adult. Being reckless with your body, being reckless with you life, with your relationships… that kind of thing. Sometimes I ponder shit and think everything’s so important, and other times I just think… life is pointless.”
She’ll be flying back to London in a few days, on a flight that will last 26 hours in total. She tells me she can’t wait to have a cigarette when she lands (“I can’t afford to smoke here!”), and how she's been feeling like she’s on a different planet over there (“It’s weird out here, man. It’s gorgeous. It’s beautiful. But it feels very different to London”). As for the next few hours, after our chat, she’s going to drive back to the farm and chill, squeezing out some last few moments of peace and tranquility. “We’ve been writing and reading, stuff like that,” she says. “It’s totally different to what I usually do…”
And with that, we say our goodbyes, she puts the phone down, puts her foot down on the peddle, (probably) looks once more to the blinking kangaroos and speeds off into the dark.
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