WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD

UK grime-metallers Pengshui have been a constant on the festival circuit for the past few years, and now they are gearing up to release their self-titled debut album. While the name is obviously a combination of the Chinese practice of Feng shui and the word peng, the band maintain that “a ghost whispered it to Dave/Illaman our vocalist when he was paid to stay in a haunted house on his 13th birthday.”

Originally rising to prominence with their remix of The Prodigy’s legendary track ‘Light Up The Sky’ in 2018, Pengshui combine elements of punk with dance and grime like Liam Howlett and the late great Keith Flint pioneered in the 90s. While there is obvious inspiration from the veteran dance band, Pengshui do not limit themselves, instead saying they find themselves inspired by “the energy of the entire grime scene and what it means to London and the UK. The energy in the raves, the pattern and creative flow of the bars and production as a whole.” However they are also a punk band and “we love all heavy music, all types of it. From Tool to Meshuggah. HO99OR to Rage Against The Machine. Pantera to Deftones.”

“there are a lot of people experimenting with sounds again at the moment, genres are being defied more and more”

Having that blend in inspiration and sound makes the writing process far easier for the band, as they don’t limit themselves and instead say “Do what feels right and go with that. If your head nods, you’re good. Don’t overthink and enjoy the process, not stress over it.”  Because of this openness to all genres Illaman feels “I don’t even like to class us as a crossover act, to me that limits it. We might start doing stuff at 100bpm, straight hip hop tempo… There are no boundaries here. Bangers are bangers.” Of course they aren’t the only band to experiment with crossing over boundaries, with acts like Astroid Boys and Hacktivist combining grime and metal in recent years, and Pengshui are huge fans of this, reminding us that “there are a lot of people experimenting with sounds again at the moment, genres are being defied more and more.”

The writing technique for this self-titled record has been much more in the style of a dance record, with the band saying “Our first album was done all in bits and pieces and in separate studios. We are from that rave/dance scene so we know how to assemble music over email and voice note.” However they are already planning for the future and wanting to bring more energy to their recordings as “The next album is going to be recorded together, in a room, with that live energy. We have all been playing live for a long time so we have experience in putting together a show.”

“The metal/punk crowd are the kings and queens of the mosh pit”

The live show is the central aspect of what makes Pengshui so successful, causing absolute chaos regardless of genres – at Download Festival or at Boomtown “I just look out and see people that love music and want to enjoy themselves and let go. The metal/punk crowd are the kings and queens of the mosh pit though.” Often classic metal fans are derisive of new evolutions, however Pengshui haven’t suffered from this yet, simply because “once people see us live, they get it.”

It is clear then that everything Pengshui do is taken from their energetic live show, and when asked if we can expect the same level of intensity on the record they replied “More. Much much more.” Pengshui will be one of the most chaotic albums of the year, and this band will continue to rise if they continue to bring the energy.

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