Photography by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

Gemma Cockrell
Gemma Cockrell

Music journalist based in Nottingham. If I’m not listening to music, I’m watching Formula 1.

With new EP ‘I Don’t Want To Grow Up Boring’ on the horizon, Pinkpirate chats growing up in Bognor Regis, the inspirations behind the project, and their songwriting process

20-year-old Bognor Regis musician and producer Caitlin Brown, better known as pinkpirate, has crafted an experimental and unique sound whilst disconnected from the influences and pressures that come along being part of a larger music scene.

As they gear up to release their new EP ‘i don’t want to grow up boring’ at the end of this month, I caught up with them to chat about the origins of their career, what we should expect from the EP, their song-writing process, and their musical inspirations.

Gemma: What inspired the name pinkpirate?

Caitlin: I was around 15 or 16 and I wanted to start sharing my music online, but I didn’t feel like my birth name was particularly suited to the music I was making at the time. I wanted to go for something a bit anonymous, so I chose two words often seen as stereotypically feminine and masculine and put them together to try and keep a bit of mystery, especially as it seemed a bit daunting and embarrassing to be sharing music online in the first place.

Gemma: When and why did you start making music?

Caitlin: I started writing music from around the age of 8 onwards because I was getting bored of covering other people’s songs. I really started getting into recording and producing when I was around 14 because we got to use Logic Pro at school, then I would come home and record on my old iPhone through my headphone mic. I think being able to write my own music and lyrics from a young age really helped me learn a lot about myself, even if it was a load of rubbish.

Gemma: How has growing up in Bognor Regis influenced your music?

Caitlin: It has definitely been a lot less pressure than if I was living somewhere like London or Brighton, so it still feels like I am just making music for the fun of it. I don’t know many other local musicians, which sort of makes me feel like I can create whatever I want without the fear of being judged by other people who create music.

Gemma: What’s the story behind your most recent single ‘Can We Talk About The Past Instead?’

Caitlin: I started writing ‘Can We Talk About The Past Instead?’ because one of my friends that I was in a band with really wanted to scream on one of my songs. I got them to send me lots of files of her screaming, layered them, pitched them and then just wrote the song around it. At the time I was having this huge crisis about being 19, in my last teenage year, feeling like life was going way too fast and I have always had a fear of growing older. I hope my friend wasn’t joking about wanting to scream on a song because now it’s out for everyone to hear whether she likes it or not.

Listen to ‘Can We Talk About The Past Instead’ here:

Gemma: You said the track was inspired by artists like Charli XCX. Who else has inspired your music?

Caitlin: The top three will always be The Japanese House, James Blake and Bon Iver, their production always reminds me to pull my socks up and not be boring, everything about their music in general just makes me feel really creative. People like David Byrne and Loyle Carner have also been big ones in a different way, I think just seeing other neurodivergent people be so successful with their music has really helped me to feel better about myself and my music and made me feel more confident that I can do whatever I want creatively.

Gemma: The track will appear on your upcoming EP ‘i don’t want to grow up boring’. How did the project come about?

Caitlin: I remember I went into a writing session after I had just written and produced ‘CWTATPI’ as a bit of a joke and the person I was writing with really liked it. It felt like it marked a bit of a new era and sparked the making of more electronic music that I had always wanted to make. At the time, I expected this upcoming EP to include a lot more acoustic stuff similar to the first EP, but it has ended up being pretty different but something I am really proud of.

Gemma: What was it like to co-produce the EP with Bullion?

Caitlin: It was really fun to do, it was always really productive. I think we got all vocals for the EP done in one session in around 4 hours because we basically just sat and worked as soon as I got to the studio. I took all the songs in, recorded and produced in my bedroom and then he worked his magic on all of them and understood the vision for them almost straight away. There’s also a really good café just round the corner from the studio, which was always a highlight.

Gemma: What is your song-writing process?

Caitlin: Most of my songs will start off with me messing around with a new plug-in on Logic or a new piece of equipment and then I realise I have accidentally made something I like. I usually have a small section of a song for a bit that I will either finish straight away or leave for ages. If I get really stuck on something I will usually just layer vocals on the parts that I do have, out of boredom, and sometimes end up with like 50 vocal tracks. A lot of the lyrics that I write just come out unintentionally, I usually play the track on loop just singing nonsense over the top, which eventually turns to words, which I will eventually look back at and realise what I’m talking about even if I didn’t at the time.

“A lot of the lyrics that I write just come out unintentionally

Gemma: You write a lot about intimate topics, such as relationships. Do you find this comes naturally to you?

Caitlin: Sometimes I do write about certain intimate topics intentionally, especially if it is something I don’t like talking about with other people because it’s a way to just get it off my chest. I don’t necessarily find it easy because once I’ve put it into words it feels like that feeling is ‘real’ and if I know the song is going to be released eventually it can be daunting but writing a bit metaphorically helps that fear sometimes.

Gemma: Do you have a favourite track from the EP, or one that you are most excited for fans to hear?

Caitlin: I think ‘Can We Talk About The Past Instead?’ and ‘I Still Feel Down’ are joint winners for me. I am really excited for ‘I Still Feel Down’ to be out because it is one that I am really proud of and it’s also a bit different in terms of lyrics because I wrote it from some different perspectives, it’s also just a bit of a tune. I’m really happy that ‘CWTATPI’ is finally out, I’m really proud of it and I really love the production that we did on it.

Gemma: What have you got planned once the EP is released?

Caitlin: We still need to figure out a lot of the live stuff, especially for this EP because it is so electronic, which I am really excited to finally play because I’m used to just playing me and a guitar. I’ve already written a lot of the next lot of music as well, so there will still be lots of newer new stuff too, overall, I think a lot of exciting things are coming soon.