Less than eight months after grentperez released his debut EP, ‘Conversations With The Moon’, the Western Sydney-based, Filipino pop artist has returned with a follow-up dubbed the ‘Trail Mix Tape’.
Released in full today (September 30), the four-track release compiles recent singles ‘Wishful Thinking’ (which arrived back in May), ‘Don’t Grow Up Too Fast’ (from June) and ‘Ego’ (from August). The only totally new track, a smoky R&B tune titled ‘Day By Day’, is also being issued as a single.
On the ‘Trail Mix Tape’, grentperez explores a wealth of sonic influences from the soulful pop slant on ‘Wishful Thinking’ and the funky, Lime Cordiale-esque indie on ‘Ego’, to the dreary emo vibes on the acoustic ‘Don’t Grow Up Too Fast’.
It also comes in the midst of grentperez’s first-ever world tour, the local leg of which took him to Melbourne yesterday (September 29) and will see him play in Adelaide tonight. He’ll jet over to Perth tomorrow, before rounding out the local leg in Sydney next week – find tickets for the remaining shows here.
Hours before he took to the stage at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel – and right after he endured a flight sitting next to “the Whitney Houston of crying babies” – NME caught up with grentperez to get the lowdown on the ‘Trail Mix Tape’ and see what his future holds.
What made you want to follow ‘Conversations’ up so quickly?
“I feel like ‘Conversations’ was definitely just a taster of what I’ve got [to offer]. This whole year has been like a realisation of character for me, and I want my audience to grow with me at the same time. So I was like, ‘Screw it, I want more music out. Let’s thrive!’”
As far as the songwriting process goes, what is the method to your madness?
“I think it’s different every time, but it always starts out with a voice memo. The voice memo always kicks off the idea, and then bringing out the melodies and whatnot is the most fun part.”
Speaking of which, I’ve had the chorus of ‘Wishful Thinking’ in my head since it came out. What’s the story behind that banger?
“Much like my ‘Conversations’ stuff, it started with an imaginary scenario. I was thinking about how, if I’d never asked my current partner out, I’d always be thinking about how I should have done it, and the dreams I would’ve had for us. I guess I kind of looked at it through that lens of imagination… Almost like it was a TV show.”
So there’s a hint of melancholy there, but then you dial it right down with ‘Don’t Grow Up Too Fast’. Every great record needs a sad jam, right?
“I agree! That song was written when I caught COVID for the first time, at the end of December last year. I spent the whole time in my room, where the only thing I could do was watch videos and play games, and my mum had to dish me food from downstairs because I wasn’t allowed to leave my room. It reminded me of my childhood and how it was to be 10 or 11 years old, and it made me think of how, like, I’m never going to have those times again. I think it’s pretty evident in the lyrics as well – that whole notion of nostalgia and sadness.”
But then we kick the vibes right back up with ‘Ego’. Where did that breezy, summery kind of feel come from?
“‘Ego’ was a fun one! From the start, I knew I wanted something more upbeat. I kind of wanted it to sound a little more Middle Kids when I started off – like just that chill, lazy indie vocal sound. But then as the song went on, I was like, ‘This calls for something with more energy.’ So I started strumming a little harder and singing a little louder, and it just became this funny track about someone whose ego I was over with.
“I guess the story behind the whole idea is that if I were to ever become this egotistical, arrogant asshole, I wouldn’t like myself at all. I did have a few friends that would talk about money and stuff, and they kind of got irritating, but I wouldn’t say it’s directly about them.”
It’s not a straight-up diss track?
“No, I don’t think I have the balls to do that [laughs].”
Where do you see yourself going from here, sonically?
“I think ‘Trail Mix Tape’ is definitely a taste of what I’m looking forward to – like with ‘Day By Day’, I definitely want to move more into that R&B sound. I love artists like Toro y Moi, who explores a lot of genres in a very psychedelic sense – I would love to do stuff like that. I’d love to do a full-length indie rock EP/album… I definitely see myself moving around quite a bit. And I know that by doing that, I’ll be losing and gaining different fans – but I think that’s part of the whole process of making music, which I really enjoy.”
Earlier this month, too, you released a lo-fi remix of ‘Cherry Wine’ with Sagun. What was that collab like?
“It was fun! My team and I, we had the idea etched into our minds quite a long time ago. I felt like it would be a fun way to tie the YouTube community in with the Spotify community. Because I had that whole ‘Sing U To Sleep’ series, which was basically lo-fi and acoustic, and essentially I’d whisper every song for people to either study or sleep to. And I feel like that’s the same with this lo-fi remix – it gives people a chance to study or sleep while they have it playing in the background. And I get to kind of expand my audience more into that scene, which is always good.”
Do you see yourself doing more remixes in the future?
“Hell yeah! If I could get Flume on a track, I’d lose it. House music is such a guilty pleasure of mine. I would love to have a hardstyle remix of something. There’s one a song that I’ve been digging a lot recently, ‘Rhythm’ by FooR – it’s ‘Rhythm Of The Night’ [by Corona], but it’s this, like, hardstyle/house remix, and it’s so fun.
So we’re looking at an R&B record, an indie-rock album, and then a house project…
“I’m aiming for world domination [laughs].”
I can’t wait for the grentperez hardcore record.
“I actually do enjoy hardcore, so hell yeah, why not!?”
Grentperez’s ‘Trail Mix Tape’ is out now via Fast Friends / AWAL