philine | 5 Minutes With

Hailing from The Netherlands, singer/songwriter philine welcomes us into her vibrant imagination with her latest single ‘green,’ as she details her first experience with psychedelics. Recalling her transformative encounter, her honest lyrics detail how it resulted in an almost therapeutic and cathartic time for the artist. 

These emotions are reflected in ‘green’ sonically, as philine delivers a soft, folky tune that feels like medicine for the soul. Her honey-soaked vocals float delicately over warm instrumentation, where without the use of any unnecessary embellishments, she allows her organic style to shine bright. The chilled-out track encourages listeners to step back, look around them and identify the people and things in our lives that connect us on deeper, meaningful levels. 

Noctis spoke with philine about the new single, her personal songwriting skills and her upcoming EP. 

Congratulations on the release of your new single ‘green.’ The track touches on themes of perspective and transformation, inspired by a psychedelic trip you had. Can you tell us more about that experience and your desire to capture it in this single?

Thank you! Yes of course, let me take you back to it. A little over two years ago, my girlfriend and I went camping in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the south of the Netherlands. I thought it was the perfect moment to try taking some mushrooms for the first time. My girlfriend was already more experienced and she told me I could set an intention beforehand if I wanted to, and I said I wanted to connect with nature. The trip itself was actually very calm and mellow, but the way it changed my perspective on the world felt huge. It felt like everything, nature, humans, love, was from the same source. I realized that there was so much beauty around me, I just hadn’t noticed it before. It also made me realize that it didn’t make any sense for me to judge anyone for their beliefs, as our way of perceiving this world is so different. I really wanted to write a song that could capture the calm and peaceful feeling I had during this moment of clarity, I wanted it to take me back to this moment. So a few months later, I went to the studio with Loek van der Grinten and Melle Boogaert, told them the story, and that’s when we wrote “green”.

Your music is often described as a journey into your imagination. Could you share a bit about your creative process and how you translate your thoughts and feelings into music?

I realized lately that the way I experience life is very much already in stories. I’m always categorizing my experiences, they all feel like pages and chapters of my life. But I’m also a very chaotic person, and writing songs really helps me make sense of everything. I write a lot in my journal, and I write all my songs in the studio with my producer Loek, and sometimes we invite an extra songwriter or a guitarist. Usually the session starts with me either having a little open hearted conversation about what’s going on inside my head, and we go from there, or I play a song that matches the vibe I feel that day, and we go from there. If that’s the case, then I really let the music decide where it’s gonna take me lyrically. I just start singing gibberish, and then when I hear specific words coming out, I can discover what song needs to come out.

Your music is deeply personal and honest. Do you ever struggle with being so open in your lyrics or is it a freeing experience to put all your thoughts and emotions out into the world?

Most of the time it feels very freeing. I can be a little awkward and sometimes even shy in real life, but when we’re in the studio I have no issues opening up at all. It really is my way of speaking my mind and getting everything inside of my head out on paper, and when it feels a bit scary to write about something, I know it’s gonna be ever more rewarding. The only times that I find it more challenging to be really honest, is when I write about somebody around me who I know is gonna hear it too. I have no problem spilling my guts, but I don’t want to put the people around me in bad lighting, or hurt someone’s feelings. But then again, it’s just my perspective on situations, and honesty is very important to me. So these are the only times where it can be a little more challenging and when I rewrite stuff a little more, because then I feel my words carry a certain type of responsibility.

Your music has a unique ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level. What do you believe is the key to creating music that resonates with others?

I think you’ve got to write it for yourself in the first place. You’ve got to love it, you’ve got to tell your story and you’ve got to be honest. You can’t write with the purpose of resonating with others, I think it’s going to be most credible if in the first place it’s just written for yourself.

If “green” could be the opening song to any TV series or movie, what would it be and why?

Wow, that’s a difficult one. I’d say anything that feels good. I picture it in a scene where somebody just falls in love with life itself. Or during some kind of epiphany.  

“green” is off of your upcoming EP, the side-effects of living in a fantasy. Can you give us an idea of what to expect from this?

The EP will contain 6 songs, and I think they’re all a peek inside my brain. I sometimes tend to live more inside my head than in actual reality, and these songs are literally the inside of my brain. Struggling with chaos, existential questions, my relationship with love (some might say obsession), and trying to figure out how to live a purposeful life with the way I’m wired are themes throughout this EP. I always have so many questions, and this EP sums up quite a lot of them. 

Based in the Netherlands, are there any local artists that have inspired your sound, or you’d encourage others to check out?

I’m a big fan of The Indien, her vocals are insane and I love their sound. I also really love the music of Sarah Julia, their songwriting is just brilliant. Would definitely recommend them both!

What are three things on your bucket list for 2024?

I’d love to finish my next EP/Album, I’d love to go on tour and I would love to go on a trip by myself. 

Do you have any plans to perform or tour in the UK?

Not yet! But I would love to.

Follow philine on Instagram

Words: Alexander Williams
Photography: Satellite June