South East London born and raised, Shygirl (or Blane Muise to the government) is a 25-year-old musician and DJ. She’s not too different to mere mortals, - she’s been avidly collecting precious stones and crystals since she was 10 years old, and her day in 3 words – ‘Uber Uber everywhere.’
But Shygirl is best known for her spygirl antics – she is a Jekyll and Hyde. With her trusty fan in hand, she is allusive. But she isn’t cocky or in-your-face, she’s the intentional dark horse because as she puts it, ‘I like to be underestimated.’
A self-proclaimed mashup of garage, grime and general ´club vibes', Shygirl’s sound has definitely provided many of London’s (and my own) club moments. But if PDA is anything to go by - what is a club night and what is a genre ? Shygirl is not defined by any normative label - she is shy, she is rude, she is bossy, she is herself an ‘acquired taste’ and works by no one else's standard.
Her music is the hard-core energy fuelled rollercoaster that leaves you reeling with joy and rage – you want to let loose but her relatable lyrics trigger you to bitch. It’s a wonderfully bitter experience where Shygirl’s ‘pep talks’ become the power anthems we all need to ‘gas ourselves up’. Here, she shares an exclusive editorial shot with friends in her ‘playtime’ and explains the scenarios behind her music - and me being her ‘good time gal’ got to listen to a sneaky bit of her debut EP, Cruel Practice.
Who is Shygirl?
Aspects of my personality but she definitely has a life of her own.
And is Shygirl really shy? Or does she just not like small talk?
She’s not down for small talk, time is precious.
What genre would you say you fit into, or do you even fit anywhere?
It’s more of an amalgamation of genres born in the club but not tied completely to it.
Who are your long-time musical influences?
Moloko, Faithless, Massive Attack are the old school ones but also a lot of grime and UK drill.
Who are you currently obsessed with?
Currently obsessed with this guy Loski and his song mummy’s kitchen, I play it every day.
So, when did Shygirl's magical journey/ spiral start?
I think maybe two years ago the beginnings of Shy started to appear when I started to try some stuff with Sega Bodega but really came through with the first single, ‘Want More’.
And how do you go about making your music – do you do everything yourself?
I write everything and work with producers, this project has mainly been with Sega Bodega as we’ve got such a good flow going with everything it just happened naturally. I also worked with Dinamarca on one of the tracks on this EP.
What do you prefer - DJing or creating your own music?
I don’t prefer one over the other really, they’re both different moods that complement each other, I think the music I make is heavily influenced by the scene I DJ and party in.
So, how does your DJ set at PDA differ to your own music?
PDA, they’re family - my DJ sets are in general more a mix of trance, techno, hardstyle and old 90’s club classics with grime and UK drill - it’s more just an expression of my current tastes.
Is styling a big part of Shygirl - you seem like you're dedicated to the performance?
I definitely see performance as another avenue to be creative and explore the characteristics of Shygirl more. It’s something I’m still discovering almost alongside the people that come to watch me play.
What’s been your wickedest experience performing? And your most tragic experience?
Funnest experience was performing live in Bordeaux with Coucou Chloe, most tragic was probably straight after when we DJ’d back to back and everyone was a mess from the live sets and it was basically a riot. Still fab though.
Basically a marvellous spiral then. You're part of the collective Nuxxe with Coucou Chloe. Tell me more - who are the others and what do you all do?
Nuxxe (pronounced nuxx - e) is the label I co-created alongside Sega Bodega and Coucou Chloe, something we made to give our music more direction and it just made sense with how we complimented each other. It’s easier for our music to be received how we’d like when we’re in control of things creatively. We all kind of do everything - it feels nice to have something we can share and it’s grown already having OKlou involved now.
What's it like being your own boss do you actually have it in you to boss yourself around?
Bossy is definitely a word that’s followed me around since I was a kid but I think we all work together pretty well and equally boss each other about. It’s nice being able to work on something you love with your best mates, I feel lucky to be able to do that but also we work really hard and wouldn’t be able to continue if we didn’t put the time in. Annoying you can’t pull a sickie when u work for yourself.
Your EP Cruel Practice will be released to the world on the 25th May. If a Shygirl virgin was to listen right now - what's the vibe of it in 3 words?
If you’re losing your Shygirl V card, I’d say once you pop you can’t stop.
What’s your fav track - best describes you/ your current situation in life?
My favourite track from the EP right now is probably ‘O’ the lead single - I was in a situation with someone where I felt like I’d lost control and lost a sense of myself. I started writing and telling that person how little they knew me and what I wanted, only I know what I want. It’s really just me talking to myself - writing these songs are just like pep talks to myself to gas me up.
Your track ‘Rude’ got me curious - 'you sound kinda rude', 'you're just so damn rude.' Who got you this twisted that you made a song about them?
It was a few people really, thinking about times when people close have been hurtful without giving a second thought on how their behaviour can affect those around them. Finding peace in the fact that I don’t think they meant to and also just saying goodbye to that energy.
So what’s the rudest thing to you? And who was last rude to you?
The rudest thing someone can do to me is waste my time. I actually can’t remember the last time someone was rude to me which probably means I’ve been the one being rude.
Now moving onto more pressing matters, why do you love dogs and what’s your favourite breed?
My dog obsession is kind of a recent thing and it’s kind of specific. I love this breed of Italian mastiff called Cane Corso, this crazy powerful dog that looks like a panther almost. I just think they’re really beautiful and there’s something interesting about these domesticated dogs that constrain natural strength and power.
If you had to choose an accessory - dog collar or wig?
Definitely wig, I love the versatility to suit my look to my mood.
If you had to choose a city - Berlin or Glasgow?
I’d say Glasgow, I love both but Glasgow Is my easy mood always.
If you had to choose an area - South or East London?
East London, I’m from South but East is the home I chose.
If you had to choose a seafood - oysters or king prawns?
Oysters, they’re an acquired taste like me.
Courtesy of SHYGIRL
interview HELENE KLEIH
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