Rose Gray is feeling a little, well, post-Glasto, if you catch our drift. She got back from the festival the day before we chat, and the signs of a five-day party in Somerset are all there as she Zooms in from her flat in Walthamstow, East London: slightly croaky voice, Ginger Spice red hair tucked under a Palace beanie, comfy clothes only.
“Every day I just fell more and more in love with it,” she says of her first ever Glastonbury experience, beaming through the fest-fog. “I literally felt like I could stay for another week.”
We’d expect nothing less from an artist who’s crossing Big Popstar Energy with the sounds of the underground. Merging her passion for nightlife with her lifelong love of early ’90s icons like Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite (“I dyed my hair red because of her!”), the 25-year-old’s music sits somewhere between peak ’00s pop and the kind of stuff you might hear at an underground rave.
Which makes total sense. Aside from Lady Miss Kier and Kylie Minogue, Gray’s biggest inspiration is her friendship group, a close gang of underground club kids for whom partying is top of the agenda – always.
“I have this one friend who, honestly, I believe she’s like the gatekeeper to like the queer underground scene, she hosts these amazing parties. I feel really lucky that she’s my friend because I’ve learned so much from her about what’s happening in London, what people are musically listening to and loving. I feel quite informed, and I feel like I’ve captured stuff that is happening – not necessarily in commercial clubs, but the underground fun parties and stuff – in my music.”
Take her second EP, Synchronicity, which is basically a four-track soundtrack to a big night out. There’s Britpop banger Cupid for the Uber to the club; the title track for when you have a spiritual awakening on the dancefloor; Last Song, for, well, the last song of the night; and Swim, which is “definitely the sun coming up and realising that maybe it’s time for for bed!”
Following 2021’s seven-track debut EP Dancing, Drinking, Talking, Thinking, Gray’s sound has been distilled on this new release, imbuing a heavier electronic influence and deeper themes into her anthemic brand of hedonism.
“For me, it feels like there’s a world that I’m creating with this EP,” she says. “My last EP, I loved it, it was very much my character. I’m very eclectic – I wake up one day and want to be a skater girl, then I want to be Kylie. But with this mixtape I wanted to refine it. And I think I’ve done that.”
We’re inclined to agree. Released earlier this week, you can listen to Synchronicity in all its glory while you get ready to get ready for a big one tonight. In the meantime, get your 100% fill of Rose Gray below.
10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was actually born in a paddling pool in my parents’ flat in Muswell Hill, London. Then I moved six months later to Walthamstow, and that’s where I was raised. I decided to move out [of my parents’], but still live in Walthamstow.
20% If you’re cooking food to impress someone, what will you make?
It’s quite a joke with me and my friends: I do a really good piece of fish with creamy mash and maybe some gorgeous greens. That is my dish that I know will impress.
30% You rule the world for a day. What’s going down?
Everyone gets to live their childhood dream for the day. No social media for 24 hours. World meditation for sunset.
40% If you could travel back in time to see an iconic music act perform, who would it be and in what era of their career?
When I saw Paul McCartney at Glastonbury, we were all laughing because he did this thing where he was like“everyone scream!” and I did this crazy scream. My mates were like: “Rose, you really sound like the girls that would have been front row at the Beatles” So probably the Beatles. Or Melanie from the ’60s. She’s my favourite artist, so I’d love to see her at Woodstock.
50% How did you celebrate your last birthday?
My birthday is on New Year’s Eve and I was in a really beautiful farmhouse in Wales with some friends. When it turned midnight, we took loads of instruments from the house and went through the village playing for the villagers. We listened back to videos and it was terrible.
60% What’s the best pet you’ve ever had?
Has to be my cat, Misty Blue. He’s my child. He’s two-and-a-half and I got him just before lockdown, so he’s glued to me.
70% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
When I left college to pursue music, a teacher said to me: “Rose, don’t be afraid if you come full circle and have to start all over again.” I remember thinking: “Why are you even saying that to me? It’s obviously going to work.” I’d always sung and my family are creative, so I just thought that I would become a singer. But I quite quickly was faced with the music industry, how tough it was and how young I was. I needed to define myself and I didn’t really know who I was at 17. I signed the deal really young and then fell out of that. I had to work loads of jobs and find who I was. There were moments when I felt really, really lost. But on reflection, I had to do that. And I’m really thankful because I got to just live. So my teacher at college was right about that.
80% What’s the strangest DM you’ve received?
Some guy messaged me saying: “Please can you reply because me and my friends have all got a bet that we need to get someone that’s verified to send us a heart back. If we do, we get £10 pounds.” So I sent him a heart back and he won the competition. He definitely went for someone who’s verified with not many followers!
90% How did you spend your first paycheck from making music?
Honestly: living, existing, renting. And I bought a pair of really lovely boots, which I’d wanted for ages.
100% Name something you love, something you like, and something you hate.
I like cold water swimming, I love William Orbit’s synths and I hate missing the sunset.