The German artist Perel, aka Annegret Fiedler, is an electronic producer, vocalist and DJ who describes her sound as a mixture of Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Depeche Mode, “with a touch of cosmic ’90s and 2000s rave elements.” Both Perel’s production and DJ sets are known for being unique and eclectic, which she describes as “not about the genre but the vibe.”
Perel released her debut album “Hermetic” on the legendary dance-punk label DFA in 2018 and just put out her new single “Real” on Kompakt Records. In advance of her recent show at the Pink Garter in Jackson as part of the Natural Selection x Stay Wild Festival, Perel joined us in the KHOL studios.
The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. This conversation was recorded live on Thursday, Jan. 27.
JACK CATLIN/KHOL: You stand out from the crowd by singing over your DJ sets and also by having such a diverse taste in music, but it all comes together seamlessly during your performances. What goes into your selections [and] your approach when prepping for a performance?
ANNEGRET FIEDLER/PEREL: That’s a good question. I think definitely my mood and that kind of mood is obviously very influenced by the people I’m hanging with, the locations, even seasons–everything, touring. You see a lot of other people playing with you [on tour] and then you are fascinated, and that all comes together in my kind of selection. But since I’m also singing when I play, like I include my own music, I also have like, let’s say, a couple of new tracks that I would like to perform or have a new single coming out. So, I just build something around that kind of vibe so it fits in and seems like a whole little journey.
KHOL: On the flip side of that, I watched an interview with you describing your creative process in the studio and [you said] that the two things that are most crucial to you when making tracks are sound and melody. That it doesn’t really matter whichever one you start with, as long as you play around and follow your instincts, you’ll come up with something truly your own. Can you elaborate on that for us and touch on the importance of individuality when creating art?
PEREL: In the beginning, I was just trying to create something that sounds like a full song or track, but it was not necessarily that would come out naturally, like it’s not really authentic. But that’s also normal. You just have to just really find your voice. Then I found out like, I’m really into melodies, and it brought me back to the beginning of when I actually learned piano that I had those moments where it just put the notes aside and was just following my instincts and would just play around, improvise technically. And I did that later with synthesizers. And I really love melodies. And sure, I also have tracks that don’t have really great melodies or like it’s just a tiny little melody, but it is a melody somehow or an arpeggiator sequence. My first album also had really weird frequency interludes but that’s art. Just do first what your instinct tells you. And then still, you can sort out and decide what becomes your record or whatnot.
KHOL: So, your sound has been described as ’80s synth-pop, electronic, kind of film scores like Giorgio Moroder or Kraftwerk. How do you, in your own words, describe your sound? Because I feel like everyone’s always trying to describe it for you.
PEREL: That’s normal. Everyone tries to put things in a box. I can’t really say how I sound because I don’t even try because it’s destroying something. It’s like having your little baby. And then you create, like you’re giving birth to something, and then just that baby, let’s say your music, is developing its own little life. It goes out in the world, meets a couple of people and you don’t really have an impact on that, what kind of experience this little baby or your music has. You know, how could I describe my music? I think there are different styles, definitely. But I think, in the end, it’s just Perel. There’s a little bit of cosmic disco. There are definitely also techno elements in there and some punk elements, as we spoke [about]. I combine it all into something that sounds like me, I guess, and I can’t really explain it. One day, I hope people say, ‘That’s a Perel sound,’ you know?
Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Perel.