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Exclusive In-Depth Interview: Pinkque’s first interview as she marks her return to the music industry.

Updated: Apr 8




Embarking on a musical journey in 2011, Pinkque, a prominent producer & DJ from Melbourne, Australia, shares her remarkable evolution over 13 years in an exclusive in-depth interview. From humble beginnings to the upcoming release of her highly anticipated album. Pinkque’s tale is one of perseverance and artistic freedom. After a three-year hiatus, Pinkque bravely opens up about her struggles with bullying, sexism and mental health challenges within the industry. We explore her triumph over adversity, her resilience, and how the hiatus allowed her to rediscover herself and return to her true passion.


 

Can you share with us a bit about your musical journey and the evolution of your style over the 13 years in the music industry?

“Wow, where to begin! My musical journey as a DJ came first in 2011, I had such a passion for how DJ’s can really make or break your night in a nightclub - I was inspired by a local female trance DJ here in Melbourne called DJ Kat - I remember distinctively watching her play and turning to a friend and saying “That’ll be me one day” - not long after I bought myself cdjs (Pioneer CDJ-200’s) and a mixer (Behringer DDM4000) and started teaching myself. Back then it was CD’s, so off I went downloading songs and burning them onto CD’s, I had some help from friends who were DJ’s that guided me and showed me the basics. I would jump on the decks every day and on the weekends I would spend at least 6-8 hours mixing and perfecting my skills. I began DJing with EDM - artists like swedish house mafia, Avicii etc - these sets were never to see the light of day as they were just practicing. Then I moved into progressive and big room trance and that’s when I mustered the courage to put some sets online, it quickly picked up pace and I was offered a radio slot on a belgium based online radio station called TFB Radio (Trance Family Belgium) and that’s where I started moving more towards uplifting trance and I started doing my sets at the start with progressive/big room and then making that journey through to uplifting - which is still how most of my sets go today if I am doing a 3+ hour set. A year or so later (around 2012) I moved to doing a radio show on AH.FM, and also doing live on-air radio here in Melbourne on KISS FM. Shortly after I realised I had to start producing if I wanted to progress further into the scene so I started to dabble in music production and on a chance meeting I was booked to play my first international gig in Prague in 2013 and I crossed paths with Darren Porter. We became instant friends and it wasn’t long after before I packed my suitcase and headed over to Germany where Darren was residing at the time to learn more in-depth, this was close to about 9 or so years ago, shortly after that with the mentorship and guidance of Darren, I set up my own studio at home and I started to release my own productions, if I ever needed advice I knew Darren was always just a phone call away he has always been there for me if i’ve had questions, or have been stuck on something. And that’s how it all began! I would say my style is with no limits, especially with my upcoming album. Coming back into the scene I don’t want to be pigeon holed to one set genre, although I feel I never was as my DJ sets were always diverse from the beginning, and I feel I’ve followed that through to my productions.”


Pinkque at her home learning to DJ. (2011)

Darren Porter & Pinkque perform a B2B set in Adelaide, Australia. (2015)


 

You took a break from the industry for the last three years. What was your reason for leaving and how did this hiatus impact your perspective on music, and what inspired you to return to the scene? 

“Taking a mental health break was imperative, I was really struggling within the scene due to bullying, sexism and being used for my creative abilities in other ventures within the industry which resulted in empty promises and back stabbing which made me constantly feel so deflated and worthless. I could go through an entire list of examples of things I experienced over 10 years with all of the above for days but all of this impacted my perspective of being in the music industry in the past. Unfortunately, I allowed all of the above to really affect me and I was angry at myself for a long time for allowing the negativity to over power all the positivity, love and milestones I did experience in the scene, I am quite a sensitive soul and you really need thick skin which I didn’t have at the time. I used to call it “The devils playground”, it still is very much like that but I have been away from the scene for so long and I have come to terms with how I allowed myself to be treated, have moved on and know how to handle these things if they do occur again. I do want to be clear though, the music industry wasn’t the main reason for my battles with depression but it became an added layer. I have struggled with mental health since the age of 13, and in 2017 I was going through immense personal issues during my life at that time, so the heavy burden was too much to bare in addition to the experiences I dealt with in my 20’s inside the music industry, so taking the time away I needed to, to seek therapy and better my own well being and mental state was crucial. In relation to the industry, during my break I found out a lot about myself and built the strength to pursue my dream of finishing an album despite the negative cloud surrounding the music industry. I think when you are in such a bad state of mind and when negative things are constantly thrown at you, you start to believe it and it brings you down even more. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to do everything for everyone, I found I was stripping my own self to nothing with my own behaviours. I now focus on what I want to do and what makes me feel good and the ability to ignore any negativity that might come my way going forward. The inspiration to come back to the scene was definitely feeling better within myself, encouragement from peers and feeling stronger to take on the industry again with a different perspective and to not let people bring me down or deplete me. I don’t know what will come after my album is released or how it will be perceived and that’s OK. One thing I can say is I am extremely proud to have achieved a goal of mine and knowing I am able to take away any pressures or demands I put on myself and to ignore any negativity.”



 

From electrifying performances in Argentina to receiving support from trance legends like Armin Van Buuren, Pinkque reflects on the milestones that has shaped her 13 year long career. Every sold-out show in Argentina stands as a testament to her impact on the trance community.



Pinkque breaks down during her performance in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the height of her struggles with depression. (2017)

Reflecting on your experiences, are there particular moments or milestones in your career that you hold dear?

“Absolutely! Definitely performing in Argentina where I performed I think 6 or 7 times leading up to my hiatus. All of those shows except 1 were sold out which for a small artist like me, when I look back, is just incredible. I cannot thank the Argentinians enough for their support and especially the promoters, Ariel and Lean from TOT Producciones who believed in me and pushed me from the first show. But I think every small step is a milestone from learning to DJ, to having radio shows, to learning to produce, to releasing my first track, being asked to remix for MaRLo and having Armin Van Buuren and other artists support my music at festivals and ASOT Radio plays. Also, being invited to perform somewhere around the world or in my home country over the span of 13 years were great moments. There’s many many milestones - but the particular moments are for sure Argentina and the people there who made doing what I love to do so very special.”


 

Pinkque unveils the intricacies of her upcoming album, a project six years in the making. The interview takes readers through the various phases of its creation, from battling severe depression to infusing the album with a full experience of her struggles through music. The collaboration with past mentor Darren Porter in the final push adds an extra layer of musical brilliance.


Your upcoming album has been quietly in the works for six years with the final push over the last 6 months. Can you walk us through the various phases of its creation and how it evolved over time?

“I wanted to do an album for creative release from when I was suffering with severe depression, unfortunately when I was in the darkest of the depression I really struggled to produce music with writers block, self doubt and just wanting to sleep all the time so I didn’t have to think or feel, which is why it’s taken me so long. I knew I wanted the album to be a journey through my struggles - so as I worked on myself mentally the sound and the direction of the album changed to more hopeful and uplifting as opposed to the darkness and heaviness at the beginning. And then the ideas sprouted on how everything would work and mould together and it went from there.”


The final push for your album involved flying to the UK from Australia and working with renowned trance producer Darren Porter which was your mentor a decade ago. How did asking Darren to co-produce come about, and how did it contribute to the album's final form?

“I’m so grateful that Darren took this project on, we’ve had a great working relationship over the years and we’ve been able to build a strong and trusting friendship. The great thing about working with Darren is we share the same musical tastes and we are very similar in those aspects, I can also just be my true self. I really needed that guidance to push the album over the line, and I also knew with Darrens personal experience with depression, which he has been quite open about on social media, I felt that he would fully understand where I wanted to go with this album and understand the way that I have felt and so I knew he’d understand the entire project and with knowing all that, asking him was very easy. Darren has an extensive library of patches and sounds that I just don’t have, especially in the orchestral department and I knew working with Darren that his expertise, which is far greater than mine, would be able to make this album so much more than I had the ability to do just on my own, which I acknowledge fully. Experiencing writers block throughout the years, when I arrived in the UK in 2023 to work with Darren in his studio he was able to understand where I was going with the tracks, a lot of them raw projects and putting both our heads together, we were able to highlight ideas in a way I don’t think anybody could. An album is a lot to take on for one person, and working side by side with Darren gave me that ability to have 2 heads crossing it over the line, I couldn’t of finished this without him. I don’t think there is any shame what-so-ever with working with another producer, I fully encourage it for anyone and to be open about it - the experience is unforgettable and you always continue to grow and learn more, especially next to a fellow producer.”


Darren Porter & Pinkque in the UK celebrating the completion of the album. (2023)

Are there specific tracks on the upcoming album that hold personal significance or carry a unique story behind them?

“All the tracks have personal significance and stories behind them. I have thought hard about the track names and I find it’s quite predominant on what the meanings are and what sounds implemented in the tracks represent to tell the story. They all hold a unique story of my journey of overcoming depression and I hope I’ve done enough justice to tracks for the listener to really understand and be immersed in the entire story from start to finish.”


Taking a mental health break is a courageous step. How did this time away influence your approach to music, creativity, and your overall well-being?

“Thank you, it is extremely hard to let go of something that you loved but no longer served you happiness during that time. It really felt like a break up, I cried a lot. Like I said before, taking the break was imperative to being able to work on myself without any negativity or stresses that come with the industry. I now focus on all the good things the industry brought which involved meeting so many lovely people that enjoyed what I was doing and to be able to forget about everything else. There was a point I hardly worked on the album for quite some time during my break. But it allowed me to come back with a fresh mind, fresh outlook and the ability to put my well being first above any one else’s needs.”


Are there specific lessons or insights from your break that you've carried into the creation of this upcoming album?

“Patience, the removal of self doubt and insecurities is probably the most important lesson I learned from my break that I carried into the project.”


How do you balance the demands of the music industry with maintaining your mental health and well-being? 

“I’ve only just returned but I’ve already taken on quite a bit with coming back into the industry, I think knowing when to take a day to yourself - knowing when it’s time to stop working that day if you can feel yourself getting drained and not feel any guilt about doing so.”

“Stay humble and remember all the hands that helped you and pushed you in your career. Always be thankful and don’t forget about those people, that is so important to stay grounded.” — Pinkque

Choosing Reason II Rise Music for her album release, Pinkque discusses the factors behind this decision and her role in the label. Her involvement behind the scenes at Reason II Rise shows not only her commitment to the industry but also her dedication to helping the label and fellow artists grow.


 

Your upcoming release is on Reason II Rise Music. What drew you to this label, and how has the team behind the label been in bringing your vision to life? 

“Originally I was going to self release, because I was tired of the same processes of labels, not saying all labels are bad but I just wanted to do my own thing - self releasing gave me the ability to have some control and do what I wanted to do with it, and quite frankly I don’t think a label would have signed my album as albums really aren’t a popular thing in the trance community from a small artist. Darren Porter, who also runs Reason II Rise, offered me a wonderful opportunity with a fair agreement for the album and offered me a job as well being the Artist Liaison Representative and Creative Content & Marketing Manager for the label. Shortly after agreeing to sign my album to the label, I took this role on and now I have the creative freedom to do what I originally was going to do if I was to self release and on top I also get to help the label grow and assist other artists to grow which I genuinely have always loved to do as I used to run events here in Australia a number of years ago with the vision to give other artists opportunities. I think the vision Darren has with Reason II Rise resonated with my beliefs, so accepting to sign the album and to take on the role at R2R made sense. The entire team have been amazing and very supportive of the upcoming album.”


Can you share any anecdotes or memorable moments from working with the Reason II Rise Music team? 

“Haha! Every day is memorable, what I love about working with the R2R team is the ability to joke and banter and then having to switch to be serious. Everyone can take a joke and have a laugh but we all can also switch into work mode quickly and get things done. I think what makes it memorable for me is that we are trying to help artists grow and I love that. The friendships we have formed between Darren, Tim, James and myself and also with the artists have all been positive and it’s been an honour to work with down to earth, very hard working & fun people.”


With over a decade in the industry, Pinkque shares insights into the challenges and shifts, from changing music styles to the transformation of venues. Her observations on the evolving landscape, especially in Australia, offer a glimpse into the dynamic world of trance music.



With over a decade in the industry, how do you perceive the changes and challenges the music industry has undergone during your career?

There’s many challenges within the music industry especially behind the scenes where if you’re on the other side you don’t see. But on the forefront the popularity of different styles and genre change quickly it is very hard to keep up. A lot of shifts on what people like to listen too, the shift from nightclubs to large festivals (especially in Australia) is siginificant, looking in now I feel the nightclub scene for trance is very quiet here - I could be wrong (or the fact that I don’t go out) but I hardly see club shows anymore which does make it difficult for smaller artists. In saying that though, the event promoters in Australia do incredible arena shows & festivals, so I don’t blame people saving up their money to go to the big ones. Speaking to friends it seems like this is the case in many places around the world and not just here in Australia. I also think people have become a lot more open minded about music as well because of the social media take over, it’s beginning to feel quite diverse and open which I love.


How has your perspective on success and fulfillment within the industry evolved over the years?

There’s always something to strive for, I think that was a problem of mine in the past. Always reaching for perfection, tiring myself out and thinking that nothing is ever good enough. I would forget to focus on the present and what achievements I made that day or focus too much on the negativity being thrown in my direction behind closed doors. My mind set has drastically changed. Now, coming back into the scene I know not to get my expectations up too much about something, I know just to put my head down and focus on what I want to do no matter what anyone else says because that is what makes me happy, knowing that perfection just doesn’t exist and to stop being so hard on myself. Having people that enjoy my music is all that I want to achieve, nothing else matters. As my mother used to sing the song - “Que sera sera whatever will be, will be - the future’s not ours to see, que sera sera”, whatever will be, will be and I am so good with that.”


As anticipation builds for her album release, Pinkque expresses her hopes for listeners to resonate with her album. Beyond the album, she remains open to the future, focused on creating new music and continuing her role at Reason II Rise Music.


There’s an eager anticipation for your album. What do you hope people take away from this collection of tracks? 

“I hope people get a feel for what I was going through, the journey I undertook and I hope it may help someone in the same position I was in to get through just one more day, and then another and another. I hope it gives them the strength to reach out for help and I hope they are moved by the music even if you’ve never experienced depression before. But most of all I really hope it resonates with listeners.”


Are there artists or musical influences that continue to inspire and shape your work?

“Of course! Darren Porter is probably my most predominant influence for trance, but I really like MaRLo as well, not just for his music but his journey through the industry which I respect a lot and his positive outlook has always been inspiring. I enjoy all types of music - I love cinematic / film scores like Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, Tommee Profit, John Williams etc to artists like Adele, Fleurie, SVRCINA, Labyrinth - the list can go on.” 


Beyond the album release, what are your future plans in terms of performances, collaborations, or other creative endeavors?

“I don’t really have any future plans after the album, I want to take it as it comes. Just slowly work on new music and continuing my role at Reason II Rise Music. I know there will be a lot coming from those ends. I am contemplating starting a monthly radio show again but we will see, no pressure.”


In concluding the interview, Pinkque unveils the poignant title of her upcoming album, her scheduled releases & her advice to aspiring artists mirrors the wisdom she received from MaRLo: "Just do you."


Can you reveal the name of your upcoming album?

“For those who have followed my journey for quite some time know that I have described my battles with depression as a beautiful struggle - so it is only fitting to name the album ‘Beautiful Struggle’.”


Any advice for aspiring artists navigating their own creative journeys or facing challenges in the industry?

“The best advice I got given was from MaRLo, I always carry his words to this day and pass it on to anyone I see who is struggling which is basically “Just do you”. He told me that it’s sometimes hard to see perspective and get very caught up in things that in the big scheme of things don’t matter as much as it may feel it does. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, don’t worry what other people are saying or thinking - just focus on yourself and do what you love and that it will give you a lot more freedom to do what you like to do. One day you’ll look up, look around and realise that you’re moving forward and closer to your goals. It took me a long time to understand truely where he was coming from but it feels so much better to be in this mind set and having that dark cloud removed. So, I’d also like to give a little shout to Marlo and say thank you. But for something that comes from me is to stay humble and remember all the hands that helped you and pushed you in your career, to always be thankful and not to forget about those people, that is so important to stay grounded and to not let negativity trump all the positivity. Also more importantly, if you are struggling within the industry, please reach out to somebody, please speak out. That really goes for anybody, artist or not.”


Lastly, when is your album due for release?

“I have 4 singles from the album coming out in January, February and early March and then the full album will drop on 22nd March 2024.”



It's clear that Pinkque’s return to the scene is nothing short of a triumphant revival. With resilience born from personal struggles, she has crafted an album that not only reflects her own journey through darkness but also serves as a beacon of strength for others. 










This first interview since her hiatus unveils the layers of Pinkque's artistic evolution, promising a future where her boundless creativity and newfound perspective illuminate the trance community. Welcome back, Pinkque — may your story inspire and resonate with music enthusiasts and dreamers alike.




The single ‘Ghost of You’ taken from Pinkque’s upcoming album is out now. STREAM/BUY HERE

OUT NOW on Reason II Rise: Realms









 

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