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Music is a way of life for Pengshui vocalist Illaman: “My grandparents used to throw parties and I spent a large majority of my childhood at their place. I could always feel the bass rumbling and the sound of people enjoying the music.”

Music might even have saved his life: “Without going into too much detail, it has been a tough ride and music in some shape or form has given me a reason to carry on and now I also have Pengshui. I feel at home here, I feel like I can be myself 100% and go as mad as I want onstage and let it all out.” He wants the fans to feel this catharsis too: “I want them to take away energy, a lot of energy.”

Pengshui’s tracks fuse grime and punk to capture these highs and lows, drawing inspiration from “life, death, love, hate, happiness, sadness, pain and joy…. We are all going through life trying to figure shit out. It is hard, life is hard. We face struggles every day and when you turn the radio or TV on there isn’t much positive going on so music has always been a great way to bring people together and that’s what we need right now.” For Illaman, it’s important to encourage people to live their lives, saying the band stand for, “Saying what you mean and doing what you feel. Standing up for your beliefs. We also want to let people know it is okay to be yourself. Do what makes you happy. Do it and love it!”

These ideas are also true to their experience of the music industry, where they often see people trying to succeed with the wrong attitude: “I think a lot of people think they deserve success after they’ve put out a few songs these days. You continually learn and grow and you should allow that to inspire and influence your creative process, I think. Stop expecting shit to happen and just enjoy the journey. You’ll end up where you’re meant to be.” It’s one of the reasons he’s much more comfortable away from the “very copy and paste” commercial arena: “There is a really great underground scene of bands and artists doing a lot of cool independent stuff at the moment. People are doing it DIY and have a lot more control over their output. They can directly engage with the fans, which is great.”

Pengshui have plenty in the pipeline, from their debut album – “Final masters arrived today!” – to an upcoming UK tour, which they’re well prepared for after a great set at Download this year: “It was pretty bloody epic! We opened the Avalanche stage after winning the Kerrang Radio Fresh Blood competition and yeah, going from an empty tent to like 3000 people in 10 minutes was nuts.” With an experience of everything from tiny venues to big festival stages, the band have never been more confident about their performances: “We know what is needed to get shit done!”

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