An interview from quarantine with Rosey PM
Words: Eloise Feilden
Photos: Lily Corrigan
Having started off in Manchester before heading over the hills to make some waves in the music scene around these parts, Rosey PM is a key member of innovative local music collective Blancmange Lounge…
Following the release of her latest single ‘Soft Focus’ in February, I got talking to Rosey about her self-proclaimed “pyjama jazz” sound, upcoming releases, and how she’s holding up during this strange time of national quarantine.
Sadly, when it came to organising this interview we weren’t able to meet in person, as the artist was sensibly keeping herself isolated from the rest of the world. Although neither of us seemed completely clear on the current rules regarding self-isolation.
“I don’t really get it,” she tells me. “We’ve been out for a walk today. Is that allowed? It feels like something people who are isolating definitely don’t do.”
We move away from the gloomy topic for the moment, and I ask the artist about her new single ‘Soft Focus’, which was released on all streaming platforms on the 12th of February.
“People seem to be digging it, yeah. My family all love it which is always a good sign. It’s a nicely relaxed, chilled out song to make people feel happy, hopefully. In these strange times.”
She goes on explain how she and Jack Athey (Jackie Moonbather) wrote the song together last summer in fairly off-the-cuff fashion.
“We were at his house, just messing about making a song, and we recorded it in one take. We left it for a while and then I listened to it again and I was like, ‘I really like this song’. In the first take I was breathing a lot so we had to snip all that out and then just polish it up a bit. And then thought we might as well let it free.”
Rosey is a member of Sheffield music collective Blancmange Lounge, and after totally butchering the name (I think most people understand how to correctly say the word Blancmange; I am unfortunately not one of them), I found out a little more about what they do and how it all came together. At the centre of the collective, along with Rosey, are Katie Pham, Jack Athey and Oliver Harrap. A number of different bands and projects have come out of Blancmange Lounge, who produce and record all of their own music across Manchester and Sheffield.
While discussing the group I ask if she feels like working within Blancmange Lounge alongside all of these other artists makes her feel more supported. “So much,” is the response. “I’ll usually write a few songs and then sit on them for ages and decide that I hate them all or that they’re stupid. The longer I take to play them to that lot the more nervous I get, but as soon as I do, they all just instantly get a groove and I think: Oh yes, this is what it’s supposed to sound like. It’s like they catch me every time, and I feel very supported and very lucky because I probably wouldn’t do it myself. I’m too frantic. I need guidance.”
We move on to her process for writing songs and coming up with new music, which she describes as coming in urges, or sometimes not coming at all.
“I’m really not that technically good at guitar. I’ll sit down maybe if I feel like having a go at writing something and hope to god that I can find a new shape for my hand to create a chord that I’ve not already used like a million times. But it’s worked out alright so far. So I’ll usually start with playing some tunes, some chords, and the words just fall out and I’ll shape ‘em up.”
Rosey describes her pyjama-jazz sound as “easygoing sleepover music”, like something for your dad’s mates to listen to in the car. I ask her about how she first got into singing and making music, discovering that it was a case of young love which lit the fuse. “My first boyfriend, he was very lovely, he played guitar and we used to be that couple that would go and sing at parties and annoy everyone. People would tell us to shut up and stop singing Duffy, but I am thankful for that, you know, because even though it was pretty corny it got me singing. Then I finally put some big girl pants on and realised that I could actually do my own stuff. It was nice when I started doing that for myself.”
Having grown up in Richmond, North Yorkshire, Rosey moved to Manchester for uni before recently coming over to Sheffield to continue with music. I ask her what initially attracted her to the Steel City.
“I’ve got a lot of pals here,” she says, “and I heard the rent was cheaper, which is very true. And I love it. It’s a nice mix between country and city. Not as scary as Manchester.”
Although we’ve mostly avoided the topic until now, the conversation naturally moves to the current crisis, and we discuss how it’s going to affect her music now that she won’t be able to perform gigs for what could be quite a while.
“I feel like everything’s gonna be in disarray for some time. I actually double-booked myself one night recently so ended up playing three gigs in two days not long before everything happened, so I feel like I’m quenched of gigs for a while now anyway.”
“I guess now everyone’s just helping each other out by sharing loads of stuff online and putting music out to people at this time. You can still buy stuff on Bandcamp if you’re not going to a gig. It’s also a good opportunity for people to make more music when they’re on lockdown. My housemate and I went to collect loads of recording stuff yesterday from Delicious Clam, so we’re gonna set up a little studio and have a play. I feel lucky in that respect because I can keep on making music even if we can’t leave the house.”
When we spoke, Rosey had been self-isolating for a few days already, so I asked her if she had any tips on quarantine self-care.
“Plenty of stretching: on any rug you may come across just drop and do a little stretch. Allow the freakouts, because I keep having them. But try and steer yourself through those freakouts. And eat about seventy meals a day which is what I seem to do… I’m gonna roll out of this quarantine.”
Luckily, just before all of this started, Rosey PM and her band got the opportunity to record a new track at Eve Recording Studios in Bredbury, which will be out very soon. On top of that, we’ll be getting some more music to keep us entertained at home courtesy on an online collab with Jackie Moonbather (see below).
Before we say goodbye, I ask Rosey about how she would describe her dream gig, and the conversation quickly switches into a chat about her deep and enduring love for Robbie Williams.
“My brain immediately went to some sort of lagoon: playing aside a lovely lagoon, in a small forest, to only one person, who is Robbie Williams. That’s my dream gig.”
And why such an intense love for Robbie, may I ask?
“Oh man, it’s just become a thing now. I used to listen to him a lot when I was growing up, and you listen to a bit of Robbie at an afters and you realise, actually, this guy’s got something going on here. And then people just started buying me Robbie Williams themed stuff. I’ve got a Rock DJ tattoo now, which looks like it says Cock BJ, as my mum pointed out.”
“Delicious Clam do a night at New Year’s called Clams In Their Eyes, which is just like a Stars In Their Eyes episode, and I entered as Robbie Williams and I won it! It’s my greatest achievement in life so far.”