Experimental and genre-bending music is slowly but surely becoming the norm. Artists like musical sculptor Bichopalo, EDM rebel Sullivan King, and electronic RnB and hip hop genius Fifty Grand are emerging from the underground and pulling more and more fans and fellow musicians into their experimental soundscapes. And from this era of no-holds-barred experimentation and unorthodox instrumentation comes PENGSHUi, a three-piece London-based EDM-driven blend of punk, metal, hardcore, grime, and hip hop.
It’s certainly not the first time for these genres to be blended together by more than competent musicians. Big names like Run-DMC, Rage Against the Machine, 311, Linkin Park, The Black Keys, Mos Def, and arguably even Mahavishnu Orchestra have historically paved the genre-blended road that PENGSHUi is now traversing at full speed. Indeed, although PENGSHUi was formed quite recently in 2018, their spiritual roots can be traced back to the ‘80s, when their vein of aggressive electronic hip hop metal was first violently dragged into the mainstream limelight. Yet even with a host of legends before them, PENGSHUi is undoubtedly creating something fresh and new.
This comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with the band’s bassist, Chris “Fatty” Hargreaves. More popularly known as the brains and brawn behind the seven-piece dubstep RnB outfit Submotion Orchestra, Fatty is an electronic beast with no qualms about diving into the rivers of several seemingly unrelated genres. To this end, one of Fatty’s main tools is the Line 6 POD HD500X multi-effects pedal which he considers to be the ‘motherboard’ of his collection of effects. Armed with a diverse pedalboard, his sustained distortions, EDM-inspired loops, and old school house-driven riffs are the backbone of PENGSHUi.
In fact, it was Fatty who first had the idea of founding the band. His love of high intensity EDM, grime, punk, and all-around heavy music is a shared passion with Prav, also known a DJ Pravvy Prav, who plays drums for PENGSHUi. Having played together as mainstays and sessionists for other bands, Fatty was the first to approach Prav for a new collaboration. Pravvy Prav himself is as diverse as musicians come, and has hit the drums and turned tables for EDM artists like Flux Pavilion and Goldie, defunct dubstep hiphop punk group Foreign Beggars, and even RnB queen Jorja Smith. There’s no better man than Prav to provide the solid foundation to PENGSHUi’s special blend of controlled chaos.
And then there’s Illaman, the self-professed hardest working MC in the game. As a pioneer of London rap, Illaman is the biggest name in the trio. Hailing from hybrid rap label Potent Funk, Illaman’s list of collaborators includes stellar beatmaker Norm Oddity, Goldie, MC DRS, and more recently British metal singer/songwriter Jamie Lenman. Even without this resume, Illaman’s sheer energy and lyricism makes him the perfect candidate to be the frontman of this violent audio experiment.
In short, if you’re an EDM purist who absolutely hates genre combinations, then you absolutely have to listen to PENGSHUi. Very few musicians in the game can so elegantly blend grime, EDM, and hip hop with virtuoso energy and still retain an unmistakable air of old school ‘80s punk.