Spotlight On... Pearling

Ahead of releasing her debut EP, we shine a spotlight on Glasgow 'fairy pop' producer Pearling

Feature by Tallah Brash | 25 May 2023
  • Pearling

Glasgow producer Pearling first captured our imagination at the start of the year upon the release of her atmospheric, glitchy, sub-three-minute track Swan Tooth. It was a great introduction to an artist who is probably easiest to describe as ‘hyperpop’, although Pearling has coined her own phrase for her sound – 'fairy pop'. More ambient and experimental in form, Swan Tooth really was akin to being suspended in a dream, more 'fairy' than 'hyper'.

Last week, Keira – the third single from her forthcoming, aptly-titled debut EP Celestial, Deep Sea Diver – arrived, with the full EP available to stream in all the usual places from Friday 26 May. There’s a beautiful and effortless warmth emanating from this playful record, perfect for these warmer days. Ahead of its full release, we catch up with Pearling to find out more.

Your music has a real ethereal, spiritual feel to it – who or what inspires your music-making?
I'm super inspired by finding light and beauty in everything. I love beautiful music that makes me feel things really deeply and I've always wanted to create art that feels otherworldly. One of my main inspirations is a band from the 90s called Cranes – they are basically the reason I started producing music because I was like, I have to make something this deeply whimsical and beautiful. I'm pretty obsessed!

You describe your music as ‘fairy pop’ – can you tell us a bit more about what that means and how you ended up coining that phrase?
It's funny because that phrase came from a comment I got on one of my TikToks. I was performing my music in a forest with all my electronic gear around me and it was a kind of weird juxtaposition of the nature and the technology around me... someone was like "this is so fairy pop" – I love that. It's a perfect way to describe my music because I just wanna make twinkly, sparkly music you'd hear in a fairy circle but also at a rave at 3am. TikTok kids have the best terms for things too, everything's "fairycore" or "goblincore", it's amazing.

Your debut EP Celestia, Deep Sea Diver is out on 26 May. Can you tell us more about the record? 
The record is basically all the little worlds I've been making with my music so far condensed into an EP. I love music with super detailed lore and I definitely did this with Celestia... in short though, 'Celestia' is a deep sea diver from the future who collects trinkets on her adventures and has found my EP in the depths of the ocean... it's deep.

I also did a lot of research into pearl diving (hence my artist name) and it's really cool because Arabic pearl divers would actually sing in these sort of hypnotising chants called 'Fijiri' on the boats to ward off mythical sirens and sea monsters. It's really emotional too because they sing about love and yearning for their families back home. There's a lot to it but it's really beautiful to listen to – I listened to a lot of that stuff making this EP, a lot of my vocal production and percussive textures are inspired by this.

I understand that you were also inspired by Scottish folklore, what has drawn you to that?
I always read a lot of Celtic stories and folklore when I was a kid, my mum was very deeply into fairies (I had a handmade fairy door in every corner of my room haha). For this EP I was super inspired by my heritage and drew inspiration from Scottish water mythology like Selkies and Kelpies, which specifically inspired the track Water Baby. I love the characters and storytelling in a lot of Scottish folklore specifically. The stories are always so emotional, a little bit like me! I tried to really tie these themes together in my music because I just love emotional storytelling in art. For Celestia... I explore a lot of oceanic themes. It's a fun contrast too because my production can be quite clunky and abrasive at times, compared to the sort of oceanic dreamy synths sprinkled around.

Once the EP comes out, what does the rest of the year look like for Pearling?
I've got a few shows lined up, on 31 May I'm supporting Pram at The Old Hairdresser's and on 1 June I'm supporting Haru Nemuri at The Hug & Pint. I also have a trance-inspired song coming out as part of a compilation on DJ Fluffie's new label SLEEPIE RECORDS. I'll be playing the launch on 10 June at Stereo. In summer I'm playing some festivals down South this year too, which I'm super excited about and I may have some plans brewing to play in Germany as well later in the year...

Other than live shows though, I'm just spending the rest of the year producing more and collaborating more with friends. I'm super excited for what the year has to bring!

Celestia, Deep Sea Diver is released on 26 May
Pearling plays The Old Hairdresser's, Glasgow, 31 May; The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 1 Jun; Stereo, Glasgow, 10 Jun