Interview: Girl Ray

Following 2017’s Earl Grey, GIHE faves Girl Ray are set to release their new album, Girl, later this month. And we couldn’t be happier with the news.

Whilst we’ve been big fans of Girl Ray’s dreamily jangly offerings for a long while now, their new album seems to signal a slight change in a poppier direction, and we’re loving what we’ve heard of it so far.

We caught up with Poppy Hankin from the band to find out more…

Hi Girl Ray, welcome to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing at the moment?
Doing really well thanks! About to eat lunch.

You’re about to release your new album – Girl – on 22nd November, which is super exciting! Can you tell us a bit about it? How does it differ from your beautiful last album Earl Grey?
Of course! Girl is us trying our very best to do pop. Although Earl Grey will always be a special album to us, touring it so much definitely made us crave a change in sound for the next album. We’d been listening to a lot of mainstream pop before recording, and I think the universal appeal of it was something that interested us and made us want to have a crack at writing a pop album of our own. 

What is your songwriting process normally like? Does one of your tend to take the lead, or is it quite a collaborative process?
I usually do most of the writing at home in my room. Although, for this album we collaborated on writing ‘Keep It Tight’ and ‘Let It Go’ together which was really fun! This time round I was using Logic to write, playing around with midi keyboards and different synth sounds and beats to find something that stuck. After I’ve recorded a demo, then Sophie and Iris will work out their drum and bass parts.

And is there anyone or anything in particular who inspires your writing?
For this album, I think I was looking more to producers for inspiration rather than writers. I’d try and listen out for different production techniques and replicate them through our own filter. With ‘Keep It Tight’ we were inspired by Max Martin’s ’00s pop, with ‘Show Me More’ I was listening to a lot of Mark Ronson written/produced tracks and took inspiration from his more polished approach to funk, and with ‘Let It Go’ we were trying to go minimal like Drake.

I’ve been lucky enough to catch you live a couple of times, most recently at Indietracks Festival last summer (I actually proposed to my husband straight after your set – ‘Stupid Things’ is one of ‘our’ songs!), but do you have a particular gig or show that you’ve played that stands out as a particular highlight of your career so far?
That’s so incredibly sweet, congratulations! Hmmm… I think playing Scala was my (and all of our) favourite gig. It had sold out and all of our favourite people were in the audience as it was a hometown show. I was so tense before the show, but as soon as I got on stage I just became really elated. It sounds so intensely cheesy but you could feel that the room was filled with love and positive energy. That was really special. Plus, we got loads of our friends and family on for the last song to play ‘Earl Grey (Stuck In A Groove)’ which is the needlessly long title track of our first album. That was fun.

You were recently named as a PRS New Momentum Artist, which is fantastic news! Can you explain a bit about what this means?
It means that PRS have given us a hugely generous grant to help us with touring costs. There are so many costs that come with touring that you don’t really think about, and this grant means that we don’t have to stress about money for a little while. It’s really sorted us out! 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to start out and get noticed?
I think that, thanks to social media and new music platforms, it’s easier than ever to get picked up as a new band. If you’re making interesting music and the right person stumbles upon it, then you’re sorted. Well, maybe it’s not that simple… But I’m feeling positive!!

As we’re a new music focused platform, are there any new bands or artists that you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend we check out?
I saw Free Love play at Visions a few months ago and thought that they were incredible. Their music is dancey and clubby and generally very cool. Plus their live set was INSANE.

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what else does the rest of 2019 have in store for Girl Ray?
We’re about to set off on tour with Metronomy, which we’re really excited about. We’ve been fans of theirs forever. Other than that, we’re releasing the album on the 22nd November and doing bits and bobs around that!

Massive thanks to Poppy for answering our questions! 

Girl, the new album from Girl Ray, is out 22nd November via Moshi Moshi. Catch Girl Ray live on tour with Metronomy:

6th November – Southampton, O2 Guildhall
8th November – London, Roundhouse
9th November – Manchester Academy
14th November – Bristol, O2 Academy
15th November – Nottingham, Rock City

 

Photo Credit: Laura McCluskey

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