Name: Blythe Pepino
City you call home: I live in Stroud and London at the moment.
City you were raised in: All over the shop, mainly Southwold and Hereford
Relationship Status? Pretty good thank you.
Please tell us more about what you do for a living: I am a performer, songwriter, singer (for the band Vaults) and teacher.
Tell us about your creative process and the inspiration for the new album: The album was mostly written by Ben so you are better off asking him that question.
Favorite track off the new album? Lifespan.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A singer or ballet dancer or just travel around like a nomad. I was told to be a PA.
Could you give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to be a music artist or go into the music business? Do as much work on yourself as you can before you enter the ‘industry.’ Know how best you work, the main principles that you would like to govern your life, your boundaries and needs. Money is a game tied to time, creating the art is the real journey inside yourself in each moment—you’ll need the skills and motivation to separate the two in your life to achieve anything artistic whilst making money.
Why and how did you originally get involved with the current refugee crisis? I went to help put up shelters in Calais and fundraised cash, I protested a few times and then created a home grown arts political project called Now We Make Tomorrow with my friends. I got involved because this is one of the worst refugee situation since WW2 and it is due in part to the actions of my country—a country whose wealth and status I personally benefit from and so this is my way of feeding back in an unfair system. I don’t believe I am any different to those people, I am not afraid of them. I am afraid of our lack of humanity in the face of their suffering.
Please tell us about your new charity, Now We Make Tomorrow: Now We Make Tomorrow is an attempt to hold up all the great and creative and loving energy I see in the English men and women around me at a time when the media and the world seem intent on focussing on fear and segregation. Our idea was born around the time the Calais camp began to erupt and overflow and we hoped it would take off as a petition of sorts to encourage the UK to be more sympathetic and generous to those seeking a safe residence in UK. We asked artists and humans who are creative to make something in solidarity—the practice of ‘making’ being a greater gift and more in-depth process than simply signing an electronic petition on Change.org. But the project, although successful in its own way through every contributor who has submitted their fine works so far, has failed to reach a wider audience. At the same time, the situation in the world has become progressively more fearful, violent and segregated. Considering Trump’s hit with the presidency in America, Britain spending millions on a useless wall to keep out asylum seekers, Russian vs The West headlines and the rise of racist groups all across Europe—and then Brexit, of course—it seems the propaganda on both sides of the theological sphere that has aimed to create a new serious world war, is winning. And all the time the environment is being plundered by our ravishing capitalist systems. It’s hard to stay positive. And that’s why we at NWMT will continue to build (in our spare time) and document what the great volunteer and charity groups are doing in this particular refugee crisis, what innovative ideas people are creating to counter the massive problems—that there is hope everywhere to be harnessed for the best future for our children. To help, you can donate here.
You’ve said you are in a polyamorous relationship. Can you tell us exactly what that entails and how it works for you and your partner? It is nigh on impossible for me to describe in a couple of paragraphs. One of the most important differences from traditional monogamy is that I ascribe notions of fidelity or faithfulness to honesty and learning, rather than to sexual or emotional exclusivity. So it is not a morality issue for me to have ‘many loves’—as long as all are consenting. These may be emotional and/or primarily sexual (where is that line?). I try not to categorize as that tends to bring up status problems and is actually unnecessary—except for Aunty Jean who wants to know who to buy cards for at Christmas! Good relationships depend on good communication, knowing yourself and your individual needs well, but also what you are unsure of and worried about—and of course all these things change. The ‘relationship’ doesn’t take precedence over the people in the relationship and we try to stay agent by embracing change when it is necessary in mine or my partners lives. Everyone needs a balance of things in life and I don’t rely on tradition to tell me what that balance is—but rather what my guts say. So there is no moral obligation to stay together forever. I personally see the morphing of a relationship as positively as I see the death of a person whose body makes minerals and space for more life to grow. It can be worrying as things change, we humans are scared to lose out and we are scared to be lonely. But life goes on and nothing stays the same—pain comes from holding onto an idea of reality that was wanted once but doesn’t really exist in the present.
At the moment this looks like me and Tom living in a house in Stroud, getting on with our work and having a day to day contact with each other but also with other partners who come and go and stay and hang out. Tom has a girlfriend he loves very much in Bristol called Sian who in turn has a couple of other partners. Tom sees another girl called Georgina and I think there may be a new love on the scene—if not a great friend—exciting! He and I see two other couples on the odd weekend we can all arrange it—these people are also fantastic friends. I ‘broke up’ with a girl called Alice a few months ago and we are transforming ‘what was’ into a positive ‘what’s new.’ I also see a lovely couple on my own in London and for me that is quite enough whilst knowing I could go wild on a night out if a path opened that way! Tom and I are so over the jealousy thing now. As long as he and I feel connected—which takes regular time and conversation and touching—we are cool. Equally, we know one day one of us may no longer wish to keep up the relationship in the way it is now. We will cross that bridge when we come to it—hopefully with a level of mutual understanding, trust and grace. Either way, I will always love him for taking this journey with me and accepting me for who I am in each moment.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to try a polyamorous relationship but doesn’t know how to approach it with their partner? Firstly, the fact you are thinking about this is good. What ever the outcome of engaging with it, this is an opportunity to learn about yourself and your relationships and for everyone around you to be strengthened. This should be respected as worthy of a good deal of consideration—just as you would the need for a change of job or living situation. The way we relate to others is the very fabric of how we understand our existence, so be prepared to get philosophical.
Next, read some books and interrogate your motives—be brutally honest with yourself about why you want this and what your principles are. If the two sets of answers don’t match, this needs more thinking about. It isn’t fun to live life feeling like you don’t live up to your own principles.
Open up to your beautiful partner and bring them into the conversation like you would a respected friend. Remember, they are first and foremost your friend and they should want the best for you and you for them, in balance. Show them you care about them by the fact you are opening up to them and asking their opinion—their connection with you depends on this honesty. Take care but don’t expect them to freak out. If they do, however, you shouldn’t freak out—support them without guilt, knowing this should be something you can talk about without it being the end of the world.
Do you have any advice or rules on making a polyamorous relationship work? What work for me may not work for you, but learn to trust and follow what feels good.
What is your favorite city to visit on tour? Any recommendations you can give us in the area? Berlin for sure. The clubbing and nightlife is beyond good—still! Go anywhere in Berlin and you will find great things.
Which city are you dying to have a show in and why? Tokyo—I would love, love, love to go to Japan. It’s so far away and I’ve never managed to save up for a flight there but am intrigued by Japanese culture.
What’s the best city in the world for nightlife? Berlin.
If you could pack up and move anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? Germany because I would like to learn more about the vocal technique I do called The Lictenberger method and also because I think Germany is leading the way in terms of humanity and the environment. I like Angela Merkel a lot and just agree with many of the principles they seem to live by—so sensible!
Tell us about your about your personal style. How does it differ between shows, music videos, everyday life, and being on a tour bus? I am a big lover of comfy things when at home, working on my computer and singing and practicing or writing. I only really get dressed up when I go out to dinner or to club or to play a gig. Then I seem to have amassed quite a large amount of costume and fashionable clothes, though I say that I am not into fashion. I think I say that because I just don’t like feeling I have to be a certain way—and fashion should be about expression, but so often there are silly rules you feel you must adhere to. Sometimes I like severe all black and white looks with a bright lipstick. I enjoy straight lines, Japanese style cuts and androgynous vibes. Monki is bosh but I mostly shop at Traid It second hand stores. Wide rim hat, suit jacket and fitted trousers is always a winner! When it comes to dresses, I like big powerful lines and colours. Occasionally, like on a date, I will dress fairly elegantly—my mother was a very elegant, graceful woman and she hands me down lots of her incredible clothes. That might include small heels, two toned outfits and a fitted dress/skirt blouse combo/wide legged pantaloons.
Can you share any health, wellness, or beauty tips while on the road on tour? Tell us your secrets! Big bottle of water with half a lemon in it is super cleansing and combats all that sitting still in vans. When any opportunities occur on the road, get used to grabbing them for stretching or the lethargy creeps in—ignoring the bad habits of a group! When in doubt go for a walk. Meditation and yoga is my morning routine. Oh, and hiding my big moisturizers in the instrument cases at airports!
What’s your favorite hair color you’ve ever done and what’s your next hair color? Mint green! Got it done in LA once and oh my, I loved that so much but it faded within days. Not sure about next—I think being natural would be the most radical hair change I could make considering my whole adult life I’ve been dying my poor hair rainbow colours!
Don’t forget to download the debut album from Vaults, out now!