Once upon a time, Giggs earned his name due to his penchant for high-pitched giggling that contrasted with the deep timbre of his flow. But he isn’t the only Peckham-born artist whose name derives from a character trait: enter Michael Colvill, aka Pinty, the 23-year-old MC whose moniker dates back to his school days at Peckham Academy and his habit of drinking a pint of milk every day.
“The first radio station I listened to was Kool FM, which was mostly drum ’n’ bass,” he tells us. “The lyrical ability of artists like Skibadee was mind-blowing. I was working with people like Archy (King Krule) when I was 15 and he was making hip hop beats for us, and I always wanted to be a garage MC like my older brother.”
Eight years on, he’s part of a loose crew of artists that includes Krule, Jamie Isaac, Ben Hauke and Sub Luna City, peddling a signature sound that sits somewhere between house, garage, rap and d‘n’b. “I don’t consider myself a garage MC or a rapper, I don’t sit in UK hip hop,” he admits. “Traditional rapping over house music hasn’t been done too much, apart from the cheesy hip-house days. What we’re doing right now is true to what I know and the street culture around us.”
In 2016 Pinty released ‘Midnight Moods’, an amalgamation of the sounds he’s been experimenting with over the years. Tracks like ‘Moonlit Duty’ have clear UKG influences, while others such as ‘Planetarian’ see the emcee showcase his skills as a lyricist. The EP led to a live performance on Tim and Barry’s Just Jam, as well as his regular show on Peckham’s community radio station Balamii, co-hosted with Cosmo Pyke, highlighting his skills as an emcee and selector.
Given his ability to traverse the lines of jazz, house, garage and rap, Pinty’s forthcoming release ‘City Limits’ has found the ideal home on Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section label. The EP is due for release in March, but it also marks the strides Pinty has made since he first arrived on Peckham’s music scene. He also made the cover of local magazine Peckham Peculiar and is keen to raise awareness of the threat gentrification poses to the area’s culturally rich and vibrant eco-system.
“At the moment I’m focusing on stories about the lost people of Peckham; those who have found their lives torn apart by the changes to the area,” he tells us. “Last year we had a street party on my road and it was nice to see natives and newcomers come together and eat jollof rice and curry goat while listening to house music. There isn’t enough community mixing happening here, which is part of the problem.”
‘Tropical Bleu’ subtly acknowledges these ‘lost people’ and waxes lyrical about street life the area. “Before the Overground came, Peckham was quite cut off from the rest of the world, so everything coming out of here felt local,” he tells us. “It’s only in the past few years people from elsewhere are beginning to witness the soundscape that exists here.”
‘City Limits’ EP is out on March 8 on Rhythm Section
Jesse Bernard is Trench mag's contributing editor, follow him on Twitter