Feature: Pitou

Reeperbahn Festival Special: Pitou

Pitou Reeperbahn Festival 2022 Special; Fotocredit: Rayan Nohra

Wir starten mit unserer Reeperbahn Festival Special Reihe und stellen dir heute Pitou vor. Sie ist Teil des Dutch Music Export und wird an zwei Tagen ihre neuen Songs präsentieren. Das Festival findet vom 21.09. bis 24.09. statt und die Dutch Music Export Reihe ist schon lange Bestandteil des Festivals. Es ist auch immer eine gute Gelegenheit neue und aufstrebende Acts aus den Niederlanden zu entdecken. Pitou war schon mit ihrer Familie viel unterwegs. Kamerun und Indien waren nur zwei der exotischen Stationen. Dass sie davon einiges an Erinnerungen, Prägungen und Inspiration für ihre Musik mitgenommen hat, ist eigentlich selbstredend. Trotzdem versucht sie in ihrer Musik die traditionelle europäische Musik einfließen zu lassen.

Die Songs sind spärlich, minimalistisch und sehr holistisch arrangiert. Auch die neuen Songs der Niederländerin klingen mal wieder himmlisch anrührend. Davon wird sie bei ihren beiden Gigs auf jeden Fall jede Menge präsentieren. Es ist ja ohnehin eher wie ein Schaufenster zu verstehen, damit sie neue Booker, Agenturen und auch unsereins beeindrucken kann. Da wir aber schon im Vorfeld so angetan sind, stellen wir dir Pitou als einen von einigen mehr Tipps des Reeperbahn Festivals 2022 im Interview vor:

Pitou live beim Reeperbahn Festival 2022:

DO, 22.09.2022 / 14:30 UHR
Nobistor 14, 22767 Hamburg

FR, 23.09.2022 / 21:10 UHR
Reeperbahn 5, 20359 Hamburg

Pitou, you’re playing at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in less than 4 weeks. How big is the anticipation to present your songs to the audience in the two concerts? 

Pitou: „Quite big – performing for people, playing together with my band is one of my favorite things in the world. A showcase festival brings an extra element of excitement because it is mostly new people that you get to meet and introduce to the music.“

Does a club festival suit you because of your rather reserved sound in contrast to an open air festival? 

Pitou: „I like both, but I do think playing in clubs often makes it easier for an audience to pay attention and get into a collective mood, which is what can make a live performance so special.“

Will you also play new songs? What can we expect from it? 

Pitou: „Yes, I will play many songs off my debut album – Big Tear – which will be released early next year. The songs lean a bit more on story-telling, and are less guitar-focused. This translates to the live-shows as well; where I used to always sing and play guitar simultaneously, these songs allow me to just sing and perform. It gives me a feeling of freedom on stage. The new band, with keys, bass, drums and saxophone, also lifts the music to a whole other level. Their musicality and performances give me an enormous endorphin boost each time we share the stage.“

Your arrangements are rather sparse and not at all pompous. Does that also correspond more to your nature or would you also like to break out of your emotional world a little more and accompany it with music?

Pitou: „My inner world is often quite all-over-the-place and there’s a lot of things going on at once. I think I’ve always created music that is more soothing or sparse because that is what I felt a need for. But it is something I’m currently exploring. I actually think some of my new music does ‘break out’ more, for example in the first single Big Tear. Not always starting from the guitar when writing new music helped a lot, and it’s exciting to play more with dynamics on stage as well. But I will always need both. Angel, the second single, is a lot more serene. However, that song to me is very raw in its lyrics. It might not break out in a musical way, but it does to me in story-telling and honesty.“

European music and the music on other continents like Africa or Asia are very different. To what extent have you tried to absorb all the influences and is there sometimes the „fear“ of sounding too European? 

Pitou: „The process of being influenced and how these influences inform the music is a very subconscious process. I’ve never thought ‘now I’ll make these songs a little more so-and-so’. This analyzing and naming of genres is something that happens afterwards, when the music needs to be translated into words for things such as press releases and news articles.  I’ve never thought about or feared ‘sounding too European’. The combination of the world music that was always listened to at home, and the classical music that I was drawn to, now makes a lot of sense to me. To mix the polyphonous rich chords and the sense of drama of the classical world – this celestial feeling – with the rhythm and ‘humanness’ of folk music from all around the world combines into a perfect blend of experience. The desire to be awestruck and introduced to something ‘higher’, whilst at the same time also feeling a sense of deep recognition and understanding.“

In 2018, four years ago, you played your first international tour. If you look at yourself in retrospect: where is Pitou today and what experiences from back then are you still drawing on today? 

Pitou: „Because of these last couple of years it feels both a lot shorter, and a lot longer than four years ago, as probably many people will recognize. I do feel I am at a very different place. In 2018 I put a lot more pressure on myself. During that period I had a lot of wonderful experiences, but looking back, I’m often only remembering the stress and pressure, and the constantly looking ahead, that overshadowed them. This still proves a challenge, but I am having a lot more fun, which feels very good and necessary. There’s also more space for this, now that I have my management team and am learning to hand over more tasks.  Another experience that stayed with me occurred just before corona, in 2019. I felt a little too stuck, and decided to do something that would challenge me; resulting into a series of performances that were completely improvised, based on lyrics of other artists that they’d written but never used, called ‘Lost Lines’. The feeling of excitement this challenge gave me is something I am now actively looking for in my new music and in the performances with my band as well.“


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