Franco-Belgian singer/songwriter, and producer Penelope Antena presents James & June, her third-full length album in collaboration Youngbloods records and Parisian imprint Parapente Music, set for release on September 19th, 2023.
Accessing the joy of newfound love, Penelope explores romance, intimacy, and the safety of partnership across eleven piano-driven compositions. James & June stands as Penelope’s most personal work to date, calling on her shapeshifting, multidimensional production stylings to mold a collection of soulful hymns and warm electroacoustic musings.
Penelope’s previous solo releases, Antelope (KowTow Records, 2019) and Beamorose (Youngbloods, 2021), displayed her artistry beyond the shadow of her creative legacy, underlining her unique interest in experimentation and propelling her family’s musical tradition into a modern era. The granddaughter of pianist and jazz-rock pioneer Marc Moulin (Placebo, Telex) and daughter of electro-samba icon Isabelle Powaga (Antena), Penelope’s musicianship was deeply influenced by loved ones as they encouraged her to practice her craft and stand out from her peers.
1. The letter G in French is pronounced J and the letter J is pronounced G.
2. Trees use fungi to communicate with each other underground. When we take shrooms, we experience a feeling of communing with nature.
3. Our digestive system has as many neurons as a dog’s brain.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Life experience is my biggest inspiration. Everything emotional, happy, sad, is worth turning into a song. My latest album was inspired by the feeling of deep connection I felt falling in love with someone I see myself spending infinite time with. Life is always the best source of inspiration. Sadly I’ve mostly written on heartaches and separation. It feels wonderful finally writing about true love.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Both my parents are musicians so I grew up with a lot of instruments and musicians all around all the time. I started very early on, playing with synths and watching my mom write songs. I wrote and produced my first solo album later in life (at 30) when I moved into a house in the middle of the woods, where time stopped (I used to live in busy Brussels) and I finally got the space to reflect and create.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Blue – Joni Mitchell
Telephone – Noname
Songs in the key of life – Stevie Wonder
The color in anything – James Blake
London Conversation – John Martyn
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
The festival PEOPLE is what I think of first when I think of Berlin. Specifically, a folk/electronic collaborative music festival that takes place at the Michel Berger Hotel in the heart of Berlin, where artists spend a week writing songs together and then perform in front of an audience.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
The Michel Berger Hotel might be my favorite place in town. I moved to Brest a few months ago and close to my house there’s an old Hotel with a music venue in the basement. It’s a staple in our community and I was privileged enough to shoot a live session on a grand piano there. Reminds me of the MBH.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I’m not sure I want to live in a world where there is no music. Although if I had to change paths at some point in my life, I would love to work with children. I’m an Antena – I love transmitting .
7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?
Noname’s new album Sundial is incredible. It’s on repeat at home. She’s one of my fav artists.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
The person I’d love to collaborate with is Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. His way of approaching music production is so interesting and honest. Plus his studio he built in an old public swimming pool looks insane ! I’d love to see it someday.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I played in the old Brussel’s City Hall last year on a steinway piano. It was my first ever solo piano concert and it was sold out.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology plays a huge part in my creative process. Or at least it used to. I center my creative process around piano these days. But I still love my electronic gear and I love to use the daw as a creative tool. Antelope, my first album, I wrote solely using technology, especially sampling and manipulating sound through pedals and machines. By the time I was writing my second, I discovered I enjoyed musicianship and playing instruments to write more constructed songs. Now on my third and latest release, I’m mature enough to where I can use technology as a tool to sublimate songs that could also work as acoustic piano/voice versions.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your music?
We’re a family of 4 sisters and brothers. We all love and support each other in everything we do.