Welcome to Beats by Beat, our mix series for electronic music lovers. Head here if you missed the previous Beats by Beat mix, produced by bass-playing king and delicate house wanderer, Horatio Luna.
Most famous for managing to pull off vocals over techno, electronic duo Cameron Lee and Shannon Mavrik, aka Penelope Two-Five (P25), always manage to do things distinctively different than any other techno producers. Their raw and industrial sound with cosmic synths and breakbeats have earned them well-deserved praise across the nation.
In their younger days while jamming in Brisbane, Mavrik proposed the addition of a melodic voice, and Lee, classically trained since 12, was instantly onboard. Even over heavier and darker sounds, they make it work. Their sound is so much more than energetic headbanging tracks – they have a talent for making even the most digital of sounds become a live performance.
Being stuck in isolation has been a secret blessing for the two, who have found the doomsday-like environment an opportunity to grow and develop. Their upcoming release Alkali is evident they’re delivering something different than their previous work, with a sound they believe hasn’t been done before in Australia, and perhaps abroad.
Before the album’s launch on Friday May 15, Beat Magazine have teamed up with Penelope Two-Five as they deliver a big set for our Beats by Beat series. Within the set, you’ll find exclusive drops of some of their new tracks alongside some tasty selection from other Brissy talents, such as StacEmp, X Club, Charles Murdoch and Black Mannequin.
We had a chat with the duo to find out a bit more about this new piece of work and how Penelope Two-Five came about.
How did you both get started and tell us a bit about your sound and the idea behind introducing vocals to your heavier house music?
Lee: We met through a mutual friend and started sending each other tracks that we had produced, which naturally led to us jamming together and bonding over our mutual appreciation of electronic music. One night we were jamming and Shan said that it would be cool to have someone try and lay down some vocals over our tracks, to which I piped up and said that I had been classically trained since I was 12. So we gave it a shot and it seemed to work, even over the heavier, more techno-based tracks.
Tell us a bit about your last releases and about this one – what’s new about it, what’s the inspiration behind it and what do you hope will come from it?
Lee: Our releases have always been large bodies of work which I think better translates what we are trying to achieve. Our upcoming release, Alkali, shows our growth and development over these past few years, hopefully giving our listeners a different experience to our past releases. It would be great if this album provides us with the opportunity to perform more shows locally and nationally, to spread what we feel is something that hasn’t necessarily been done before, especially in Australia.
What are you both doing at the moment in self-isolation, how is it going for you and are you working on things for the future?
Mavrik: Self-isolation is giving me the chance to hunker down and concentrate on my own creative outlets and widen my knowledge base in a way that I could only do with a forced timeout. Presently, we aren’t working on anything together (though we are both hard at work on our own projects) as we both feel Alkali needs to settle and marinate before we move on. We had a number of shows planned before coronavirus came into effect, so hopefully everything settles down sooner rather than later and we can get out there and share our live performance again.
Lee: Iso has given me a chance to finish another project and start one other, which is awesome. There’s always little P25 loops that spring up though so I save them for a later date. The future for us is hopefully still the same! More music and more shows.
Check out the mix below:
Find out more about Penelope Two-Five via their Facebook page.
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