Interview: Sink Ya Teeth

Having blown us away with their completely captivating live performance at The Finsbury, Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth are fast becoming one of our favourite bands. With the addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks of previous singles ‘If You See Me’ and ‘Glass’, they’ve received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6 Music, Pitchfork and The Guardian, and now they’ve shared a new video for latest funk-fused track ‘Pushin’.

Of the video, Maria Uzor explains: “Pushin’s about kinda losing yourself in something; that feeling of euphoria without questioning fully if it’s actually doing you any good… We wanted to explore that idea of an almost child-like devotion in the video.”

We caught up with Maria and Gemma from Sink Ya Teeth to find out all about the upcoming release of their debut album, their biggest influences, and the importance of playing your best at every gig…

Hi Sink Ya Teeth, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
We’re a two-piece from Norwich, and we make music you can dance to.

How did you initially get together and start creating music?
We were in another band together and that fell apart when the bassist decided to go travelling. The drummer was pretty busy too with loads of other projects, so Gemma and I decided to get something together with just the two us. We basically formed the band to make band practices less complicated to organise!

We’re loving your new single ‘Pushin’ – can you tell us a bit about it?
Sure! It’s off our debut album, which is coming out June 1st. Gem emailed me this tune she was working on last Summer and I really liked it for its sparseness and how it lifted at the end. I had some lyrics knocking around which seemed to fit perfectly; and ‘Pushin’ was born! It explores blind faith and how we can sometimes surrender to things, for good or for bad.

And we’ve heard talks about a debut album coming out soon… are you able to reveal any details about that?
Yes! We’re so excited! We wrote and recorded the majority of it last summer. We got some funding from Arts Council England to develop our recording and production skills, so we were able to focus on writing and recording. It’s a 10 song self-titled, self-produced, self recorded, self designed (Maria designed the artwork), basically self everything album, which will be available on CD and Vinyl and will be released on June 1st through Hey Buffalo Records!

You’ve been compared to the likes of LCD Soundsystem and ESG, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Maria – I’m influenced by a lot of music and often for different reasons. And my influences can change from week to week. Like if I’m listening to Zimbabwean music, that’s likely to influence the way I layer rhythms or write a bassline. If I’m listening to The Smiths, I might find myself approaching the lyrics in a certain manner. A week of Zapp & Roger and it’s all about the 4/4 chunk and the slickness. There are those artists whom I admire to such a degree that to glean any inspiration from them would produce only a pale imitation and that would just be so awful. I am inspired by their personal truth though, so I guess that’s an influence of sorts; people like Bowie, Grace Jones, Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux.
Gemma – It’s hard to pinpoint influences sometimes as often there will be something that comes out in the music that sounds like a song you listened to years ago but were unaware that it was influencing you at the time of writing! ESG has been a long time fave of mine – the bass, the drums, the vibes. But more often than not these days, it’s artists with an electronic element. Currently I’m re-discovering New Order and learning about the bands that influenced them at the time too, like Africa Bambaataa. There’s sooo much more I’ve not discovered yet, so much good stuff outthere, old and new *rubs hands together*.

You’ve previously supported Chk Chk Chk and Mary Epworth on tour, but has there been a particular live show of yours that stands out as a career highlight so far?
Maria – Opening for Chk Chk Chk was such a blast! And we got to play venues like The Electric Ballroom too, which was amazing. Another moment that stood out for me was in February when we opened for Moon Duo at XOYO. When we were forming Sink Ya Teeth, Moon Duo were one of the bands we talked about being inspired by, so to then support them two years later was a beautiful and surreal moment.
Gemma – There’s been loads, and all for different reasons, but I think I’m gonna go with supporting Chk Chk Chk at Leeds Brudenell Social Club. The whole night had such a great vibe, I really liked the venue, the audience were so friendly, and its always a pleasure to watch Chk Chk Chk, so that gig had it all really! Another one I loved was playing with Eton Crop in one of Norwich’s undercrofts last year. It was one of those small, intimate, punk gigs. Brilliant.

And how is your local music scene – do you get out to see live music much?
Maria – God, haven’t been to a gig in months! Too bloody busy! We need a manager!
Gemma – What Maria says! But there are several good venues in Norwich, and a thriving music scene, both for local bands and visiting bands. Norwich Arts Centre is a good place to check out local bands supporting larger national bands. And the Owl Sanctuary. There are also several promoters that help with local acts, so there are plenty of
opportunities to play when you’re just starting out.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Maria – Birds of Hell is a great Norwich-based artist. He’s got a bit of the Sleaford Mods about him. Loves a good rant but theres a real tenderness there too. I really like what Goat Girl are doing too. Looking forward to their album in April.
Gemma – I can recommend some Norwich bands to check out – GRACELAND (dreamy vocals, post-punk basslines), Birds of Hell (what Maria said), Mega Emotion (synth-guitar pop), Ben C Winn (for fans of Ian Dury), Broads (electronic duo), Peach Club (riot grrrl)…

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I’d like to think that if your music is good enough then you will get noticed, but you’ve got to work really really hard with it too. For no money, in all of your spare time. And that’s still no guarantee you’ll get noticed. That’s never been any different though. It’s definitely more difficult to get noticed when you don’t have a label or a team around you. It’s that chicken and egg situation. We got noticed at a gig in Norwich. Someone in the audience (now a good friend!) saw us, loved us, tweeted about us, and he happened to have friends in the industry who checked us out cos of it. So kids, you should always play your best at every gig because you just never know who is watching!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Sink Ya Teeth?
We have some UK wide spring dates in Bristol, Brighton, London and Birmingham (supporting A Certain Ratio. Legends!), A Manchester all dayer at the O2 Ritz in May with The Membranes, Lovely Eggs and LIINES, album launches in Norwich and London, IndieTracks festival. And the album release, of course, on 1st June! Hopefully we’ll get to write some more songs over the summer in-between rehearsing for a tour in October that we’re currently planning.

Sink Ya Teeth, the eponymous debut album, is out 1st June. Catch Sink Ya Teeth live:

24th March – Fiddlers Club, Bristol
25th March – The Haunt, Brighton
21st April – The Garage, London
5th May – O2 Ritz, Manchester
31st May – Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich
7th June – The Social, London
30th June – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
29th July – Indietracks Festival, Derby

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