LA-based Pillows is staking a claim as a serious one to watch with a string of productions signed to Atlantic, Warner, Spinnin’ and most recently, New State Music.
With her custom-made onesie and pillow mask, the multi-talented Pillows hides behind the façade to keep the focus on her abilities as a singer-songwriter, producer and DJ. This formula is working out mighty fine it turns out, as she now counts The Chainsmokers, R3HAB and Oliver Helden as fans of her dreamy, deep house sounds.
Off the back of her latest rework of the Hall & Oates classic ‘I Can’t Go For That’, we caught up with Pillows to talk about the hurdles still being faced by female artists, shooting her latest music video in the Joshua Tree desert, and about which fellow chiccas she’s flying the flag for.
Hey Pillows! Thanks for chatting to us and awesome for you to join us. Let’s set the scene; where are you in the world right now and what did you have for breakfast?
Haha love this question! I’m in LA right now and I always have cereals for breakfast. My fav is the Chex cinnamon one.
Congrats on the release of your latest single ‘I Can’t Go For That’ with James Mercy. How did you and James come to work together?
Thanks so much! I worked with him in the past on several records and I always loved his sound. I love his sound design and I think he has an amazing ear. I was very excited to have another record with him.
Pillows, We love the video shot in the Joshua Tree desert in California. What was that like? Can you share any tales / anecdotes from the shoot?
It was totally crazy! We drove to the desert thinking that we were gonna have a smooth, super chilled shoot, and it ended up being super hectic. First of all, it was snowing when we started shooting and it was super windy so it was really difficult to shoot in those conditions.
We had a lot of scenes planned that we were not able to do due to the weather so we had to come up with some new ones on the spot. I’m so happy that the video ended up looking fire after all.
Listen to Pillows x James Mercy ‘I Can’t Go For That’ on YouTube
How do you go about selecting which tracks to rework with your dreamy deep house stamp? They are so varied from Kanye’s Gold Digger to TLC’s No Scrubs.
I kinda just go by what my favorite old-school songs are. No Scrubs is my absolute favorite R&B track, and I Can’t Go For That is also one of my very favorite “ever-green” ones. I try to cover my Island songs; the songs that I would take with me if I was gonna be stuck on a deserted island with only 10 tracks to listen to.
From a production point of view, how do you approach reworking such classic tracks?
I always try to make them sound super different than the original, to give them a fresh approach and make sure that they don’t compete with the original production. However, it’s pretty hard to compete with a proven hit lol.
Prior to Pillows, you were a successful singer in your homeland, Hungary under your Ameria alias with two #1 hits. What made you switch to dance music considering you were having so much success?
I wanted to have a different look, something that would set me apart from the rest of the girls in the electronic music scene. I also noticed that I look like sh*t after a couple hours of DJing, so I thought it’s best for everyone if I hide my face with a Pillow helmet!
Listen to Pillows – ‘No Scrubs’ on Spotify
We understand you developed the Pillows identity to desexualise yourself after you were told by a music exec that you were too sexy (we think that’s crazy by the way). Are you happy with how things paned out or do you wish you never had to make such dramatic changes to your look / identity?
I mean, it’s a lil’ more complicated than that. It’s not like they said that I’m too sexy or anything direct like that, it’s just that they were always more interested in my looks than my music which sucked. I wanted to eliminate that and made sure that it’s all about the music. The Pillows brand seemed like a good idea for that.
Do you think the above is the main challenge female dance music artists face or is there a wider picture here – e.g. a lack of opportunity to sign to record labels, less female DJ bookings by promoters etc?
I think it’s a mixture of a lot of things. I felt like I had to work harder to get the same opportunities as some of the guys did, and felt like people did not take me as seriously, so I always made sure that when I finally got a chance to prove myself, I did my very best to prove that I am worthy of them and made sure to get those opportunities again.
I was never offended when guys crept up behind me in the DJ booth to see if my CDJs are really on or if I was just playing some pre-recorded set. I thought it was funny and when I did well, they were even more impressed that a girl would throw down a set like that.
I cannot hate on people doing that because I saw some girls play pre-recorded sets with my own eyes, so I understand why they are so sus haha.
Speaking of DJing, you’ve held residencies at Omnia in San Diego and played at EDC Las Vegas. What does a Pillows DJ set sound like?
I think it’s a mix between commercial EDM/electro house and trap with a lot of hip hop remixes plus 10% old school edits.
Can you tell us what track you’re going to rework next or should we expect original Pillows production?
My next one is Senorita by Justin Timberlake and after that is Breathe by Mary J Blige. There are some originals coming as well too!
What other female DJs / producers are you tipping at the moment?
My ultimate fav is Alison Wonderland. I have so much respect for her and her music. I think her style is dope as hell and her music selection and sets are amazing! Love her.
Lastly, what 3 tracks does Pillows have on rotation tight now?
Many thanks for your time and we wish you nothing but success on your musical journey!
See more of the best in new music and EDM music news by Soundrive Music >HERE<
Pillows x James Mercy ‘I Can’t Go For That’ is out now via New State Music – Download >HERE<
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