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 experimental IDM master, Showerhead.
Pretty Girl, aka Emilia Predebon, has been mastering the art of music production since she was just nine years old when Garage Band was her ultimate best friend. Now 22, it’s no surprise that Predebon has an incredible talent for music creation, considering she’s been addicted to it for 12 years.
Most famous for her independently released tracks ‘Message’ and ‘Rely (Vodka Lime and Sad Mix)’, Pretty Girl takes the majority of her inspiration from nostalgic and melancholic artists such as Kllo and Maribou State. A diehard fan of the party, Pretty Girl’s love for energetic dance music is evident in her sounds, with flavours of inspiration from darker artists including Octo Octa, Memphis LK and Roza Torenzi.
Chicago house rhythms are Predebon’s undeniable jam, which she uses as the skeleton of her productions. The meat, she says, mostly includes high-frequency sounds with atmospheric synthesisers – the more emotional, the better.
Predebon apologized when we jumped on Zoom to discuss her Beat mix because her uploaded background was an image of Yarra Bend Park.
“Don’t mind that,” she said, explaining that she kept it there to take her friends back to the place where they frequented for raves – which as of now, is a moment of the past.
She then replaced her background with a classic scene at Revolver Upstairs and told me how she used it whenever she was attending virtual parties. Despite harsh lockdowns making all parties illegal, not just the park ones, Predebon reminded me that nothing will take the party life out of Melbourne.
Like many others, Pretty Girl has been struggling through isolation. With the entire Australian music industry becoming practically decimated, she’s had to ask herself many times if it’s worth continuing down this path.
“I feel like being a musician, so much is about performing, and you’re constantly being reassured that you’re on the right track when you’re playing to other people. During isolation, it’s been a struggle to find the motivation because you can’t leave the house and perform, so you’re can’t tell if you’re moving forward,” she said.
It hasn’t helped that there’s a general morbid conversation going around about the future livelihood of the music scene.
“So many people are saying that certain clubs and festivals will never run again, and I’ve thought, ‘What’s the point? Should I go back to uni? Get a job?’ It’s been quite stressful because there is this really pessimistic view of the culture of the Melbourne scene,” Predebon said.
But Pretty Girl didn’t dwell on the inconveniences of isolation – instead, like many other artists, she chose to use her time wisely.
“I’m not 100 per cent unmotivated, but I did have to have a good think about my approach to music. Instead of focusing on just making heaps of different music, I realised I was hitting roadblocks where I felt my skills weren’t enough for me to produce what I wanted,” she said.
Predebon found herself making the same music over and over again and was starting to question whether she had the right skills to go another step further. But instead of dwelling, she decided to sit down and write a full curriculum about what she wanted to learn.
“It definitely helped,” she said. “I got over my fear of not knowing anything, and instead I just thought, well why don’t I learn how to do it, and then after that I’ll know what to do?”
She knows she withdrew from her science degree for a reason. She dreams of the day she can leave her job and focus on music fulltime. Balancing work and a fear of the unknown hasn’t stopped her from losing hope in what’s yet to come, firmly believing that the universe laid down a specific path and this is her calling in life.
“I love music so much. I know it sounds cliché, but it makes me feel complete. When I listen to music or go on YouTube and listen to a Boiler Room set, I feel like I’m connecting with something of so much more importance than the silly, sad things going on in my life. Sometimes I’ll put my headphones on and just cry listening to my favourite music because I feel that it makes me feel whole,” she said.
For this mix, she’s put together a wintery selection with fast, icy broken rhythms and shimmering synths. It’s energetic, sitting between 129 and 133 bpm, comprising lots of ethereal dancefloor bangs that she says, “are almost painful to listen to in our club-less environment. Therefore, I would listen to this mix whilst having a solo dance party in my room, driving fast between lots of tall trees, or to get me out of a coronavirus-induced slump.”
Check out Pretty Girl’s exclusive Beats by Beat mix below.
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