A Conversation With PRINS

June 17, 2020

Blending elements of pop and electronic music, Christchurch artist PRINS has an infectious style that is quickly cementing her as a standout act.

We caught up with PRINS to chat about her journey into music, tour experiences and future plans.

Check out the conversation below.

Tell me a little about yourself? Who you are and what you do?

I’m Alannah Prins, hence PRINS, I know it’s very unoriginal for an artist. I’m from Auckland but I came to Christchurch after I left high school, which was around 2013 to go to NASDA performing art school. I went there for about two years and never went back haha. I joined a really amateur old school pub band for around a year and a half. After that, I got picked up by Tim, who is my guitarist now after I played an acoustic competition at The Foundry in UC. He saw me play and we got in contact. I left that band and started working with him for a couple of years now which has been pretty cool. He told me that he wrote music and I told him I wanted to start writing and producing my own music. A year and a half later here we are.

It’s been an interesting journey. I never thought music would have been such a big part of my career that’s for sure. 

Tell me a little bit more about that transition into PRINS as the artist?

The very first song I released was August 2018. I was so excited about it; my whole focus was that I just wanted to release a song. I wanted to have something out there and that would be a massive success for me. I released a song and then we started writing a few others. I don’t know it just seemed to escalate from there. Now I’m trying to pursue it full time. 

Tell me a bit more about your recent release Magnetic? 

Magnetic came together after I went up to Auckland for a writing session. Tim and I took it back down to Christchurch and added a bunch of layers, re-recorded vocals and just kept tweaking it for months and months until it was right. 

This whole sound for me feels like a new phase for PRINS. I came to the conclusion that I was going to do a music video for it and try and do a big release. It was in the pipeline for a long time, so I was really excited to finally release it. The timing of it has been a bit interesting. The song came out the day before we went into lockdown. You tee up everything weeks and weeks in advance, and it got to the point at the start of lockdown that I couldn’t do anything about it. Which meant it didn’t have the impact that I wanted it to, which is quite frustrating. It is what it is and I’m super happy with the song, I’m excited to release the rest of the EP. 

And the video was pretty amazing, was that NZ on Air funded?

Yea it was! I was very lucky and got my first round of NZ On Air funding for the song. It was probably the most expensive song I’ve had in terms of production and promotion. 

It’s quite dramatic and a pretty theatrical piece. 

It was filmed in Christchurch, and I guess from my background in musical theatre that’s had some sort of effect on the video. I’m very interested and have a big involvement in fashion and the arts in general, so to portray that in the video kind of felt right. I wanted it to be a little bit quirky and a little bit theatrical. I wanted it to be different, and to be fun. I involved a lot of people for it as well. Its filmed in three parts, there’s the big dining scene with all the people involved in the Isaac Royal theatre. Then there’s the classic milk scene, which is what the artwork is about. I filmed the milk one last year actually, close to New Years at around 1 am. I had a lot of fun doing it though. 

The dinner scene was very thought out and it took a whole day and night to shoot which was crazy.

You played at the Edge New Year’s Eve Festival with Dillastrate at Hagley Park in Christchurch to a pretty massive crowd, what was that like?

It was amazing! It was the first kind of line-up festival that I’ve ever been on, so to go from a couple of hundred people to 22,000 was incredible and a real step up. I thought I was going to be more nervous than I was. We were quite prepared and had played a lot of the songs before on a crazy tour we had previously done. So, we had played the show quite a few times which had made me feel better, but the whole thing was pretty unreal. Best time ever it made me so happy. 

Tell me a little bit more about the tour you had?

It was last year in about March or April. I had been chatting to a music mentor/friend of mine in Auckland who had gone and done a couple of tours themselves with a punk/rock band. They toured the Philippines twice before as well as a couple of places in Europe. He told me all the reasons why it would be a good idea, and I did it because I had never toured electronic music before. It was a cheap enough place to do a tour with somebody who already has some connections there. I also wanted to test the show somewhere that if it went badly or there were any issues, then it wouldn’t have a huge impact on my career. I feel like in New Zealand if you were to put on a bad show you would be written off. I just wanted to make sure that when I was ready to start playing proper shows here that I had pushed every boundary under the sun to where if something had gone wrong that I’d be able to deal with it.

In the Philippines, we had in-ears for every show, but we couldn’t use them once because we didn’t have enough plugging outfits. You’re dealing with some not amazing venues and the equipment and stuff is just not great. We did a total of eight shows and had to change our equipment every night. Trying to deal with technology with someone who doesn’t even speak English was quite challenging. Don’t get me wrong it was such an amazing time and an incredible experience, I’d do it all over again. I never went in it to go and make money, I was fortunate enough where I exchanged all of my ticket sales for accommodation, ground transport and food for the band. So, all we had to pay for was flights and any spending money. It was a really strange experience, but it was so much fun and I’m really glad I did it. I made lots of new friends over there and I still talk to them all the time. 

Tell me about some of your future plans and the EP that’s in the works? 

I’m releasing the second single of that, ‘Stay Away’. I had to push back the release dates; I would have had the second single out by now if it wasn’t for the Coronavirus. Due to that and due to the uncertainty of everything I just wasn’t too sure. There’s a lot of people online and a lot of people releasing music as well, so I thought it would be better to give it some more time and space. 

I’ve been working with a Drum & Bass duo from Auckland called Lee Matthews as well. I went up and did a writing session with them in February when I was up for the Sun Setters festival in Takapuna. So, I teed up the writing session with them which went very well actually. I hadn’t booked my flights to return to Christchurch, it went so well that they asked me to stay a little longer and we did two collabs. So, I’ll have a second single coming out with them as well, it’s just a matter of when. But the first collaboration should be out soon, and I’m so excited about it because it’s such a different sound and genre for me. I love drum and bass, I’m not going to write it myself but to be involved in a project like this is really cool. 

You can check out PRINS latest ‘Stay Away’ below.

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