22 year old PJ, aka Bug Teeth, creates dreamy, emotional ambient pop with shoe gaze influences.
She will be performing at Sound City Ipswich on Saturday 2nd October. Check out what she had to say about the past year and her experience exploring music, particularly as she looks forward to this upcoming gig.
Welcome! Let’s begin with an introduction, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your music?
I’m Poppy Johnson, 22, and very much in love with shoegaze, trip-hop, ambient, and everything in between. I like to think that my music kind of encapsulates all of those. It’s a little hard to define but everyone tells me it’s dreamy and that’s good enough for me!
Has music always been part of your life, and what inspired you to get into it?
I’d been making music for a little while before coming to university but kept it incredibly hidden. I don’t come from a musical family at all and had never had any music lessons (still haven’t!), so I have no idea what I’m doing ever. I’d always make up songs in my head but had no way of putting them down. I discovered GarageBand when I was about 14, and as that was around the time I first became obsessed with Brian Eno, I started making ambient music and then singing over the top. I fell in love with synth and glitchy beats and reverse reverb and soon had a huge backlog of demos that no-one heard apart from me. When I got to Norwich for uni I released my song Serotonin on Bandcamp, completely on a whim, as I was just leaving for the pub and was low on funds. I’m still completely shocked that people actually listened to it and that it took off so quickly. Music was never part of the plan but now I can’t imagine my life without it.
Where did the name Bug Teeth come from?
I’ve been asked this question a lot and have yet to come up with a proper answer! Honestly, I was just trying to find something that fit and that hadn’t been used before. Bug Teeth was kind of at the end of the list, but it stuck and I’ve become very attached. My mum was actually called Bug as a nickname when she was around my age, so I like that it runs in the family!
How has the past year been for you – what have you done to keep busy?
It’s been a wild year. I finished my degree, moved, worked at Tesco for a bit, quit that, got a job writing for a magazine, moved again, started getting ready for my imminent MA, all whilst making little songs and trying to stay sane.
How is it being back on stage, and what have you missed most about live gigs?
I’ve missed everything. I’m a very anxious performer and it takes a lot for me to get up on stage, even more so after all this time off. It’s simultaneously the best and worst thing ever, and I wouldn’t change a thing! The first Bug Teeth headline back, on July 31st, was pretty insane. I’m trying to get used to a room full of people again.
How did your involvement with Sound City Ipswich come about?
I loved the line-up back in 2019 and was gutted to miss it due to playing a gig on the same weekend. I was always going to come to this year’s SCI, and applied to play without thinking much of it. I didn’t think I’d get chosen at all (to be completely honest, I’d forgotten I’d applied in the first place), and I’m so excited to play! It’s amazing getting to play with your favourite bands.
What can you tell us about the performance?
Big electronic vibes. Probably more groovy than pre-lockdown Bug Teeth gigs. Think dream-pop and a splash of 90s house!
To those who love live music, what would you suggest they can do to support the industry?
Go to gigs! Support local and independent venues. We need this to keep going and thriving!
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I may or not be about to start cooking up in the studio. It’s been a long ole time since I’ve released anything and I’m hoping to surprise people.
Lastly, just because… who would you love to duet with and why?
I’d bring Trish Keenan (of Broadcast) back from the dead.
Huge thanks to Bug Teeth for her time in answering our questions! For more information visit soundcityipswich.co.uk/bug-teeth.
Sound City Ipswich runs on the 1st and 2nd October. For more information on the event visit soundcityipswich.co.uk.