Locally Grown: pennybirdrabbit

By Dave Wedge

“I’m not really sure what my personal style is yet. I guess you could say I’m still working it out.”

When you listen to the new pennybirdrabbit EP, treehouse, what you’re hearing is an artist gently carving out her own niche, exploring her inner depths and carefully crafting her own style. It’s a decidedly different side to the young L.A.-bred singer, who was suddenly thrust onto the international dance music scene as the gorgeous voice on the 2010 Skrillex smash, “All I Ask of You.”

“I was sitting at my loft one night with my neighbor and got a call from Sonny (Moore a.k.a. Skrillex) asking if I wanted to be on his EP. I said, ‘duh,’ and then walked over to his place and the rest is sort of history,” Penny says. “I feel really blessed to have been a part of that EP. I had no idea at the time what it meant. I just thought it was super-awesome that I was making music with someone I care so much about.”

pennyrabbitbird shower

It’s that sort of refreshing honesty and musical innocence that drives the meandering, downtempo electronica that permeates the treehouse EP. It’s an eclectic work, topped by “Daylight” and it’s beautiful hook that’ll stick in your head for days. The title track is similarly marked by angelic melodies that clash with digital splashes, lulling synths and softly gurgling drum patterns.

There are some darker moments and chugging electronics, as well, that evoke Björk or Bat for Lashes. But wherever she goes, musically, it’s all tied together by the beautiful vulnerability in her lyrics and her undeniably sweet voice.

“I’m not really sure what my personal style is yet. I guess you could say I’m still working it out,” she says. “I’m just trying to make things that I like. The treehouse EP wrote itself really, I was just being sad in my loft writing love songs. It all came from a real place. Sort of a collective thought about a specific time in my life.”

“It all has to be real, or else it’s garbage. I just put the moments of my life I don’t want to let go of, or forget, to music.”

She grew up in southern California and learned to sing and play piano from her mother – along with her brother. Meeting Skrillex in the L.A. underground set her on her current path.

“I was a bit directionless and new to L.A., living out of my car, writing songs at a borrowed piano, before I met Sonny,” she says. “I didn’t really know what electronic music was, or what kind of music it was that I wanted to create behind the songs I was writing until I saw what he was making. And being a part of the world he created sort of pushed me to create one of my own.”

Now signed to Big Beat Records – home to the likes of Skrillex, Chromeo and Martin Solveig – she’s working on a follow-up EP and a full-length. Her latest single, “runhomejack,” is a far cry from the banging techno, house and nu-disco of her labelmates, and is instead more like a glitchy lullaby. She also has a new collaboration with 12th Planet on the way.

“I’m just trying to keep busy and not get into too much trouble,” she says.

With so much going on, she’s certainly got plenty to keep her busy. And judging by treehouse, she’s well on her way to finding her own voice.