The Lush Soundscapes of Annie Bui and Her Upcoming Studio Ghibli-Inspired Album

The Lush Soundscapes of Annie Bui and Her Upcoming Studio Ghibli-Inspired Album

By Zarah Cheng

I’m sure all of us have experienced this in some way or another, but music does truly speak to us in a way that nothing else can. Music is filled with the emotions that we cannot understand on our own. It permeates through the walls that we have built around us. Certain songs and melodies trigger core memories within us and allow us to relive past moments in our lives. 

These are sentiments that Melbourne-based music producer Annie Bui comprehends better than most – she herself is creating music that is taking her listeners on journeys of their own. Working under the moniker Pastels, Bui is known for her lush soundscapes and nostalgic vibes. Her background in music composition also lends itself to her unmistakable sound, shining through both in her own instrumental music, as well as the production that she collaborates on with vocalists, including LA-based artist, Jessica Domingo

With an upcoming EP titled To: Miyazaki, which as the name suggests, is heavily inspired by Studio Ghibli films, we caught up with Annie to chat more about how this project came about, what her songwriting process is like, as well as some of her favorite albums. Read on to explore the full interview.


LANG: How do you approach songwriting? What is your process like?

Annie Bui: Every writing session is different and I don’t have a specific method. It depends on my mood that day. I normally create best when I have a vision or a story to tell. Generally, I always begin on my keys, whether it’s to create a chord progression or melody, and I build around that. Sometimes I create a beat first then add instrumentation later.

L: Your new EP is titled, To: Miyazaki, and is heavily inspired by Studio Ghibli films. Can you tell us a bit more about how this project came about and also why Ghibli films are so special to you?

AB: I had this project in mind a little while ago. Coming from a music composition background, scoring for a film is my big goal. The Ghibli films are so special to me because of the unique beautiful visuals and storyline that make me feel nostalgic, happy, and melancholic. Not to mention the incredible scores by Joe Hisaishi. His music definitely plays a huge part in my inspiration. I remember learning his pieces on the piano while I was still in school.

L: With To: Miyazaki being an instrumental project, what are some of the biggest differences for you as a songwriter in creating songs with and without lyrics?

AB: I would say one of the biggest differences is musical space. When I produce music for singers, I often intend to make the music less busy for singers to topline. With instrumental music, I love to fill out space by adding catchy melodic lines. I want the melodies in my tracks to tell the story.


L: Music and style are usually heavily intertwined. How would you describe your relationship to both, and how they help you express yourself?

AB: I agree. Music is almost an extension of my thoughts and my style is an extension of my taste in music and my mood. I like to use colors and nostalgia and will express that through my style. Just being in a comfortable and colorful set will inspire me to be creative. What is funny is that this inspiration originally came from music, full circle.

L: Which album has inspired you the most as an artist?

AB: This is too hard of a question. I listen to a variety of genres and I feel that my music style is still evolving. There are so many albums that have inspired me and that still continue to! I’ll list a few below:

D’Angelo - Voodoo
Choose Your Weapon - Hiatus Kaiyote
Superbloom - Kiefer
Mr. Lucky Goes Latin - Henry Mancini


L: What do you hope people feel or experience when they listen to your music?

AB: Encouraged, nostalgic, relaxed.

L: Describe what a weekend in LA looks like for you.

AB: I love spending my mornings with coffee, breakfast and a workout. Whether I’m with friends or on my own, I tend to walk around the city with my camera, explore new eating spots, or just work and create in the studio. These things keep me on my feet and inspired.

L: What makes someone LANG / beautiful (lang is beautiful in Cantonese)?

AB: Being kind and confident. 






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