Artist Feature: Penelope Isles

Planetary Group took some time to get to know Lily and Jack from Penelope Isles….


Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?

Jack: Our latest release is a video for our song “Iced Gems”. We originally recorded the song in a little cottage in Cornwall, in the Southwest of England.

And it was our first real venture into a more electronic sounding track. There’s more keyboards and weird like samples and stuff that we used on there rather than a guitar approach. 

Lily: There’s even a carrot bite! If you can spot the carrot bite.

Jack: Yeah – it’s buried in there with it. Those are different noises that were… that’s a bit different to our usual approach. And then we made a video for it recently – which you can find on YouTube – where we built a raft from like barrels and wood, and we put a settee on it and a table. And we just let Lily out into the sea and floated her off and we never saw her again. 

Lily: And then we also filled our friend Simon’s old American Explorer camper van with hundreds of flowers and loads of our friends helped out. And it was a really fun week of, yeah, just “Iced Gems” craziness. We even had a group chat… 

Jack: Check out on YouTube. Yeah.


PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.

Lily: I first started playing music when I was seven and I started playing saxophone, which used to be my first instrument until I poorly neglected it. And now I’m incredibly average. But yeah, I think I started off more in a classical and jazz route up until I was about 15 and then Jack needed me to form a band and taught me how to play Pixies songs on the bass. And that then it sort of set sail from there. Really? 

Jack: Well I started playing the, um… no, it was the didgeridoo when I was three years old. And then it kind of developed from there. I actually started playing a bit of saxophone and then picked up a guitar. And then just kind of got into like, kind of emo, like rock and roll for a bit. And then I discovered Radiohead. Um…

Lily: I think that’s a lot of people. They were emos and then they discovered Radiohead. And now they’re like indie musicians. 

Jack: Yeah. I used to have a beast of a fringe back in the day.

But yeah. And then I formed a band and I needed a bass player. So [Lily and I], we’re six years apart. We’re siblings. And originally we didn’t get on when we were little, like it wasn’t, we weren’t friends. And then when we got older…

Lily: He stopped bullying me cause he needed me! 

Jack: For the bass. And then, yeah, we, we formed a bond and then we’ve been making music ever since and now doing it for reals.


PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!

  1. An album you grew up listening to:

Jack: An album we both grew up listening to on like family holidays and road trips was The Magic Numbers’ first record called The Magic Numbers. It was a big part of our youth and kind of like,planted the musical seeds in our brains.

I was, from an early age, massively inspired by those guys. And we’ve since met them and toured with them.

Lily: And now we’re dear friends!

Jack: It’s quite a pinch yourself weird moment that we’re actually pals with those guys. They’re amazing. We actually named our new record after one of their songs: Which Way to Happy.

  1. The album that influences you the most as an artist:

Jack: Um, I would say an album that influences me most as an artist and probably Lily as well is In Rainbows by Radiohead. Um, yeah. Best record out there, in my opinion.

Lily: [Mine is] The Best of Barry Manilow.

  1. The album you currently have on repeat:

Lily: I’m sorry but Best of Barry Manilow. I’m sorry, but it’s a great album! Nah um, currently I have on repeat, this band from New York called Youbet. Um, Y-O-U-B-E-T. The record’s called Compare & Despair and it’s a stroke of genius. Um, and it’s made by Nick Llobet who I really, really want to meet one day. Yeah, everyone should listen to it. It’s great. It’s really fun. 

Jack: I’ve been listening to Curtains by John Frusciante, getting back into John Frusciante’s solo stuff recently. And also The Empyrean, which is his third record, I think that’s amazing.


PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?

Lily: Well, hopefully good things! I think like for me, like when I am really into a band, I love it when it makes me… like I always love putting Bon Iver on when I’m sad. And I hope that, you know, we can do that for people.

Jack: Personal connection, I guess. 

Lily: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. I just want people to like, be able to relate. 

Jack: Just make of it what they want kind of thing. Have a personal relationship with it would be nice. That’s what we love about our records that we love, something that can make you feel something.

Um, yeah. And if they want to buy it as well, that’d be sweet. 


PG: What’s next up for you?

Jack: We’ve got a tour in November and December booked. Those are UK dates and then we’re currently kind of in and out of the studio at the moment as well, making some more music. Kind of just knuckling down, getting all the promo and videos ready for our album. 

Lily: We’re in music video mode at the moment. 

Jack: Album’s out November 5th, so just preparing ourselves for that rehearsing quite a lot. 

Lily: Jack’s taking extra care of his sunflowers, which he’s been growing himself!

Thanks to Lily and Jack for speaking with us! Their album Which Way to Happy is out November 5th. Watch the video for “Iced Gems” below: