Music Interview: Tatum – Unholy, Or Problems With Perspectives

September 9, 2020

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Tatum’s debut EP Bloodsport reinforces her lyrical narrative of a love-turned-toxic. The five-track EP, produced by Paul Gala, is a medley of love songs about the anguish of being in love with someone who is wholly destructive on every level and the inevitable pain that comes with love.

The single Unholy features Cape Town rapper PHFAT, whose hard-hitting verse adds weight to the narrative, which puts the collective facade of piety up against the individual capacity for evil, leaving the listener asking themselves what evil might actually look like.

“Influence” is a loaded, often misunderstood concept. An artist may sound similar to another but have no knowledge of them, or be a super-fan of someone whose output is completely different to their own. Who or what was the artist, album, song, era or scene that initially mapped out the road to you becoming a musician?

Jared Leto from Thirty Second To Mars in his song From Yesterday in 2005.


Has that changed over the years? If so, how and why, and what are you currently exploring?

It has evolved. I’ve come to also love alternative pop and that’s what I’m exploring now.


Name one song you wish you’d written (or, if you’re not a writer, one you’d like to be known as the definitive interpreter of). What makes that song so important?

Cherry by Lana del Rey, because it has an old school feeling to it and I secretly wish I was born in the Eighties.


In production and arrangement terms, what are facets of your music and the music you love most by others that you feel are crucially important in terms of creating the mood you’re after or supporting the message of your song?

My music has a lot of classical elements to it, which makes it more dreamy. I want my music to take people into their own worlds for a moment.


Which aspects of your music do you prioritise? For you, would you rather have that your lyrics, your melodies, or your vocals or instrumental work are the are the most memorable parts of your songs?

I feel that lyrics are important because, when people relate to words or have had similar experiences, music can be a great reassurance and validation.


What’s your favourite piece of gear?

My microphone!


What is the story behind Unholy – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?

Unholy featuring PHFAT, produced by Paul Galanakis and written by Mia van Wyk. It’s about a friend who was raised in an abusive household. People judged her for misbehaving even when they knew how bad her circumstances were. It’s the people with the “holier than thou” attitude who are actually often the most unholy of us all…

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