The title of Peggy Gou’s celebrated 2016 EP ‘Seek for Maktoop’, takes its name from the Arabic word maktoob, derived from the concept of destiny. Gou, born in South Korea, has already glimpsed any number of potential destinies; designer, model, pianist, writer, editor and stylist. However, as time passes and trends fade, a constant, electronic pulse has proved irresistible to the DJ and producer since childhood.
To say the past few years have been busy for Peggy Gou would perhaps be an understatement in a scene loaded with overstatements. Prolific in the studio, and in turn, behind the decks, 2016 saw the release of no less than four EPs across three labels. Her two-part ‘Art Of War’ series on Rekids, for which Gou also designed the distinctive artwork and selected challenging, inventive remixes by both Galcher Lustwerk and Terekke, was interspersed with a contribution to the coveted ‘Phonica White series of twelve inches. Gou could once regularly be found digging in the legendary London record store, and the result, ‘Day Without Yesterday’ / ‘Six O Six’, was a pair of offbeat club anthems that led neatly into the aforementioned ‘Seek for Maktoop’, a record on another altogether different, no less atmospheric house tip, celebrated on Resident Advisor for its “sparkling groove”.
This combination of playful curiosity and open musical experimentation – not to forget her signature, MPC led rhythm – have already contributed to Gou’s rise. Her eclectic record bag has resulted in personal invitations to play alongside much respected and knowledgeable tastemakers such as Jackmaster and The Black Madonna across clubs including De School, Sub Club and Panorama Bar, with appearances to follow at scene-leading festivals such as Les Nuits Sonores, Dekmantel and Sunfall. Both her club sets and a growing vault of online mixes speak fondly to an open ended musical philosophy, complimenting a style that can veer seamlessly and creatively between pumping techno, playful house and more abstract compositions.
Of course, Peggy Gou isn’t the only DJ to lay claim to such a diverse range of influences, from J Dilla to Patrick Cowley, the Yellow Magic Orchestra through to DJ Sotofett. But few filter such inspirations from such a unique angle, energised by dance music’s rich and diverse history, herself staking a personal claim with refreshing curiosity and undeniable style.
In 2018 Peggy returned to the studio, kicking things off with a brand new EP “Once”, released via Ninja Tune on 2nd March. Drawing high praise from the likes of NPR, Pitchfork, Billboard, The Guardian, Vogue and FADER. Peggy also landed on the cover of Mixmag, graced stages at Coachella, Fuji Rock, Dekmantel and Field Day, and was invited to join BBC Radio 1’s Residency. The EP also spawned the anthemic ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’, which has been a staple on dancefloors around the world, its magnetic appeal ensuring a constant presence among the end-of-year Best Of lists and the award of “Independent Track of the Year” at the 2018 AIM Awards. To round off the year, Peggy invited electronic music luminaries Jamal Moss, I:Cube and Jay Daniel to rework Itgehane, with thrilling and diverse results.
2019 sees Peggy embark on the next phase of her meteoric rise, asserting her status as a truly independent artist by launching her own Gudu Records label. With a name intended to honour both her Korean heritage and devoted fanbase, it’s double meaning as a pun for “Peggy Gou does” highlights both the playfulness of Gou’s approach to her creative pursuits and the work ethic that has helped her become one of music’s most exciting talents of recent years. This outlook applies equally to the fashion line she launched in March 2019, Kirin (named after the Korean word for Peggy’s self-described ‘spirit animal’, the giraffe). The first Gudu release, Peggy’s own Moment EP, led by the single ‘Starry Night’, duly became an enormous hit, and led to a collaboration with Apple Music for an ambitious official music video directed by Jonas Lindstroem. Starry Night has gone on to becoming one of the biggest tracks of 2019, #1 on Beatport, a constant presence on radio and one of the year’s biggest selling 12”s at key record stores including Juno and Phonica. Summer 2019 saw Peggy follow in the footsteps of Carl Craig, DJ Koze, Nina Kraviz and Four Tet, by being invited by !K7 to curate & mix the latest installment of the label’s storied DJ-Kicks compilation. Contributing one of her earliest productions, ‘Hungboo’, alongside music from Carl Craig, Aphex Twin, Kyle Hall and Pearson Sound, Peggy’s entry is a perfect encapsulation of her wide music tastes and DJing talent. With Gudu and Kirin both launched to widespread excitement, and more creative projects in development, what has been described by Mixmag as ‘Gou Mania’ shows no signs of slowing down as we approach a new decade.
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