Track Of The Day: Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something – ‘Keytar’

Having previously wowed us with their kaleidoscopic offerings, including EP Someone Else To Blame and the powerful hypnotic energy of singles ‘Helen Is A Reptile’ and ‘Find A Place’, GIHE fave Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something has now shared a brand new single.

Inspired by a frayed childhood and fractured memories, ‘Keytar (I Was Busy)’ oozes the distinctive soaring majesty of Jemma’s vocals and swirling, twinkling hooks, creating a colourful slice of psychedelia, filled with raw emotion and an energised electro twist. Of the track, Jemma expands:

“… my mum died when I had just turned 21 and this song tries to communicate across astral planes and ages, switching aspect between mother and child, present and past feelings, making sense of none of them and trying to hold on to it all.”

‘Keytar (I Was Busy)’ now comes complete with an accompanying trippy video of the band venturing through the Woolwich Tunnel. Of the video, Jemma explains:

Made in collaboration with filmmaker Taylan Mutaf over the course of half a year and edited across continents the video itself serves as a nonsensical time-capsule, Taylan is traditionally a documentary maker so there is an irony that we have made a document to an imaginary time, in a mythical tunnel and shot with deliberate abstraction.”

What’s That Then? , the new album from Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something, is out today (20th September) via Trapped Animal Records and Cargo Records. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Suzi Corker

GIHE Behind The Scenes: Southbank Centre’s Alex & Phoebe

Here at Get In Her Ears, we’ve been committed to promoting female identifying and non binary bands and artists for a while now, so we thought it was about time we also focus on those amazing womxn working hard behind the scenes in the industry!

The first in a new series of features looking at womxn Behind The Scenes, Mari popped over to her favourite space in London, Southbank Centre, to have a chat with Alex Shaw and Phoebe Gardiner, who are both responsible for promoting a lot of the incredible gigs and events that are held there.

Find out about all the hard work they do, and all the fantastic events happening at Southbank Centre below…

Hi Alex & Phoebe, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you each tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got started working at Southbank Centre?

Phoebe: I’ve worked in the creative industries since I graduated, or even before I graduated, and ended up specialising in Communications and PR pretty much because I like talking about stuff I love. I had always wanted to work at Southbank Centre. I love it. I performed here in the Royal Festival Hall a few times when I was younger with a choir I was in, and even conducted some of the Orchestra Of The Age of Enlightenment in the Clore Ballroom as part of a school project. When the job came up I had to go for it. I never thought I’d get it as I didn’t have any specific gigs PR experience, but I must have won them over!
Alex: I’ve always been really interested in the arts, and when I came to London to study I was really able to explore more – I see a lot of theatre, gigs and art in my spare time and honestly don’t think I could work in any other sector. Before working at Southbank Centre, I worked for an agency specialising in Arts PR which gave me the opportunity to really be thrown into working on a vast amount of campaigns, from the London National Trust arts projects to fringe theatre. I learnt a lot about managing press and clients in a short space of time, and realised where my passions lay! I really care about accessibility in the arts and that’s why I decided to apply for the role here at Southbank Centre: I get to work on such great gigs by well known and up-and-coming artists and, as a charity, I’m proud to work for an organisation where accessibility is at the forefront of programming here. It’s also  home to so many great youth projects including Tomorrow’s Warriors, Kinetico Bloco, and ZooNation Youth Company. I love the idea of a piece of coverage achieved by me inspiring someone to discover something new. I think experiencing arts in this big and busy capital is so so important and ties us together.

You both work in press for Southbank Centre, can you explain a little about what your job entails?

P: I’m Press Manager for Gigs & Contemporary Music and – working with Alex – we’re responsible for being on top of all the gigs happening here at Southbank Centre and securing media coverage that spreads the word about the brilliant and diverse music programme at our venues (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, and even on occasion, the Hayward Gallery).
A: As press officer, I share my time and focus between individual gigs, and keeping in touch with external PRs to support all artists coming here as much as possible. Alongside Phoebe, I also look after the day to day logistics of any press elements of a gig, including running the press desk and looking after photographers/filming on the night.
P: We also manage the PR and media campaigns for a tonne of exciting projects across the year, which can be anything from a series supporting emerging artists, to Meltdown – the longest-running artist-curated festival in the world.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

P: I love the days when I’m on my feet, dashing around the site, overseeing filming or a photoshoot, or running a press night. Or navigating backstage with artists, getting them to interviews. I love Meltdown festival; the whole site comes together and it’s thrilling.
A: There’s so many different elements! I love meeting artists and listening to their interviews, but I also enjoy meeting journalists for a catch up and then of course, actually getting to experience the amazing music here.

And do you have a least favourite part…?

P: It’s tempting to want to shout about everything that is going on here when actually we have to think about the larger strategy and the overall story of the programme.
A: There is SO much going on here that we have to be strategic with our comms and we can’t always spend as much time as we’d like on certain projects. I’d love to clone myself so I could make it along to everything!

I’d imagine you have no difficulty promoting such an iconic space, but how do you normally go about approaching press to cover events at Southbank Centre?

A: It really depends on the show – Southbank Centre programmes such unique events that we’re always having to bring new ideas to the table and target a range of audiences which keeps our approach fresh. The breadth of the offering here means one moment we’re working to secure coverage for a global superstar and the next, a completely unknown name – so we have to think creatively and flexibly. It keeps us on our toes for sure! The advancement of digital is an amazing thing (and crucial to our work), but with so much information out there, we also do a lot to make sure all information about the programme is available and easily accessible for journalists. 

Southbank Centre is my favourite space in London (in the world, really!), and consistently puts on an eclectic range of incredible events. How are events normally curated, and such a range of artists and events selected? Is it quite a rigorous process?

A: Our artistic team is incredibly collaborative and we are lucky to have Bengi Ünsal as Head of Contemporary Music at Southbank Centre and Lexy Morvaridi as Contemporary Music Programmer at the helm. They have such an amazing knowledge of the music scene and do a brilliant job at bringing a diverse range of cutting-edge artists from all genres around the world to our venues. Inclusivity and access is at the heart of everything Southbank Centre does, as is ensuring equality across our programme. 

Some of the best events/gigs I’ve ever been to have taken place at Southbank Centre (including seeing JD Samson and Mykki Blanco at MIA’s Meltdown Festival in 2017, Josh Homme at James Lavelle’s Meltdown in 2014, Laura Marling at Guy Garvey’s Meltdown in 2016, and Peaches at Royal Festival Hall last month!) – what have been your particular highlights since working there?

A: How to choose – there’s so much! My highlight here so far was seeing Moses Sumney perform in Royal Festival Hall last year. I was already a fan, but his voice was unimaginable live and he held the audience in a hypnotic trance for his entire set.

Southbank Centre may not be the first place people think of for more heavy/rocky gigs! But it’s hosted some of the most raucous artists including Iggy Pop, Peaches, Nine Inch Nails and lots more… How are these kind of events managed in such a historic, seated space?

A: That’s a good question. We have such a fantastic events and production team here who are the best in the business: they rise to every challenge and are experienced with dealing with the more high energy, daring gigs like Peaches in Royal Festival Hall last month! The venues themselves – despite being amazing historic buildings – are constantly updated to ensure the set-up is top of the range and able to accommodate musicians from all genres. As you’ve noted, we’ve seen everything from Nine Inch Nails to the hypnotic music of Stranger Things! The refurbishment of Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room in 2018 very much focused on improving access and infrastructure to enhance the experience for audience and performers alike.

Some of the spaces within Southbank Centre have recently been refurbished, can you tell us a bit about what changes have been made, and how this has affected the space?

A: Key for gigs has been the ability to transform the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer into a 1000 capacity space making Southbank Centre one of the only venues providing 2am licensed music on the South Bank. It’s now home to Concrete Lates – our monthly late night event in partnership with Boiler Room. In November, one of the stalwarts of the London jazz scene, and key member of UK jazz renegades Sons of Kemet, Theon Cross, will perform with a large band as Concrete Lates joins forces with EFG London Jazz Festival.

How have you found being womxn in the music/event industry? Are there any obstacles you’ve come across because of your gender?

A: I’m lucky enough to work with inspiring women all around me – in management positions within the press team, in the programming team and in the event management team. They all encourage me to aim high and prove there need not be a ceiling. It is noticeable to me though that there is a big inequality present in the music industry still. I’m very aware of my privileged position here in that sense, and that I am very lucky to work for an organisation that is so conscious of equality within their workforce. I do feel it’s so important that initiatives exist like PRS Foundation’s Keychange, and that we all take responsibility for helping others into the industry. Southbank Centre also hosts a regular industry Women In Music breakfast which I think is brilliant – you always leave feeling empowered and part of a growing community of powerful women!

And what advice would you give to other people wanting to get into the events industry?

A: Just to work hard and be willing to put yourself out there. People underestimate the value of being open and friendly too – you never know when you might want to reconnect with someone you’ve met in the past.
P: Network, ask advice, find a mentor, do your research!

As well as hosting events from some of the biggest names in music, Southbank Centre seems to consistently champion newer artists (as with your futuretense showcase), are there any upcoming bands/artists who’ve played there recently that you’d recommend?

A: Southbank Centre is really committed to developing artists and supporting the creative industries. We had the launch of futuretense with BBC Music Introducing earlier this month – a new initiative for audiences to discover their next favourite band for free, every Friday from 6pm – and I was blown away by Nikita Bassi’s performance. She had the most beautiful, powerful voice and her music was a brilliant fusion of cultures. I’d definitely recommend a listen and and booking to see her live now before she breaks.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

A: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! We love working with Get In Her Ears and look forward to following this series.
P: And come on down to Southbank Centre! Over 40% of our programme is free, so we’re always encouraging people to come take a look at what’s going on; you never know what you might discover.

Thanks so much to Alex and Phoebe for answering our questions and being the first of our ‘Behind The Scenes’ feature! Find out more about everything going at Southbank Centre here.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

PLAYLIST: September 2019

Festival season is over, but new-album-release-season has only just begun! We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of new music we’ve heard in the first few weeks of September, so we’ve selected a fraction of the finest tracks for you to delve in to. Take some time to scroll through our track choices and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist link at the bottom of the page…

The Big Moon – ‘Your Light’
With its catchy chorus, buoyant melodies and feel-good lyrics; ‘Your Light’ is the perfect boost for anyone who’s feeling blue about the current state of affairs. The band performed their synchronized cycling in the accompanying music video in the Essex countryside, and they look at ease singing along to their brand new tune. Their new album Walking Like We Do, is set for release on 10th January 2020 via Fiction Records. (Kate Crudgington)

She Drew The Gun – ‘Trouble Every Day’
Having blown our minds earlier this year at Cro Cro Land, The Wirral’s She Drew The Gun have now shared a new re-interpretation of Frank Zappa’s ‘Trouble Every Day’. Propelled by a raw emotion and impassioned grit,  Louisa Roach’s smooth, distinctive vocals blast out the all-too-poignant, poetic lyricism. With a seething energy and politically-driven tension that builds with each note, it’s a sincere, empowering anthem for our troubled times. (Mari Lane)

Ski Lift – ‘Comfortable Here’
The debut single from London’s Ski Lift, ‘Comfortable Here’ offers an angst-driven diatribe railing against the perceived mundanity of adulthood, while simultaneously surrendering to it. With the distinctive, crystalline emotion of Benji Tranter’s vocals alongside the twinkling harmonies of Anna Vincent (Heavy Heart), it’s an utterly infectious alt-pop anthem for our times. (ML)

SASSY 009 – ‘Thrasher’
“​My music has never been a reflection on happiness​” explains SASSY 009, but her sound is far from melancholy. On ‘Thrasher’ she combines enchanting vocals, jagged synth textures and dense beats to create a transient, anti-party anthem. (KC)

Ella – ‘Esmé’
I am sooo into this track! Fusing modern electro and historic jazz into a dream soundscape, Ella is absolutely killing it. There is also an acoustic video version of this track which is definitely worth checking out. (Tash Walker)

Joviale – ‘Struggle Cuddle’
The wonderful Joviale released her debut EP Crisis via Blue Flowers earlier this month, and like all of the tracks that feature on it, ‘Struggle Cuddle’ is wonderfully sweet and poignant. Her headline show has been re-arranged for Folklore in Bethnal Green on the 12th December, with support from Laura Groves and Fauci. Grab your tickets here. (KC)

Keren Ilan – ‘Take Her Down’
I cannot and will not stop talking about Keren Ilan who is one of my favourite artists at the moment. Her EP This Morning, Yesterday dropped a month or so ago and I just love it, already a big fan of the title track, for this month’s playlist I’m choosing ‘Take Her Down’ also from the EP but almost the inverse of This Morning, Yesterday but just as good. (TW)

Jorja Chalmers – ‘Human Again’
Australian multi-instrumentalist Jorja Chalmers has played with Bryan Ferry for the past decade, and now she’s sharing her solo LP Human Again on 20th September via Italians Do It Better. The eponymous single is an intoxicating affair, with Chalmers’ charming vocals floating above cinematic synth textures. Bliss. (KC)

Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’
Chelsea Wolfe released her new album Birth Of Violence earlier this month, and I spent an entire evening fan-girling over its haunting beauty (read my review here). It features this track ‘Deranged For Rock & Roll’, which smolders with moody confidence. “These songs came to me in a whirlwind” explains Wolfe about her new music, and what a turbulent, devastating whirlwind it must have been. It’s a privilege to be able to weather the storm with her. (KC)

Nova Twins – ‘Vortex’
Amy & Georgia have unleashed this belting new single ahead of their sold out show tonight (18th September) at Sebright Arms. Full of their trademark thunderous, distorted bass lines and in-your-face lyrics, ‘Vortex’ will be the live highlight of their set. (KC)

Breakup Haircut – ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’
Taken from their brand new EP What Did You Expect, I Got It Off The Internet?, Breakup Haircut’s ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’ showcases perfectly what this band are all about. Having formed just a few months ago at First Timers Fest, they deliver joyous lo-fi punk with witty lyrics that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Catch them live for us at The Finsbury on 11th October(ML) 

Chartreuse – ‘Three Days’
Chartreuse a four-piece band from the Black Country and this track, ‘Three Days’ was my Track of the Show on Hoxton Radio a couple of weeks back. What a great start with this debut loose-limbed, country kissed soul music. Just lovely. They’ll be playing at EartH in London on 30th October, get down there. (TW)

Mexican Radio – ‘Night Of The Nihilist’
With their third album due out later this month, Berlin-based Mexican Radio pride themselves on their visceral energy and quirky unique, ‘uniformed’ style. Complete with pumping beats and glitchy electro hooks, latest single ‘Night Of The Nihilist’ is an intense, energy-fuelled synth-punk anthem with shades of the likes of LCD Soundsystem. (ML)

GHOST CAR  – ‘Awkward’
‘Awkward’ by Ghost Car is such a strong slice of garage rock, from right here in East London, made up of Clara, Laura, Maria and Maeve. It is their latest single and they tell us to expect a whole load more of that bubblegum badassery from their upcoming album! (TW)

Rapsody – ‘Ibtihaj’
My current obsession. North Carolina artist Rapsody recently released her album Eve, a poignant collection with each song dedicated to a different influential black women. Featuring Wu Tang’s GZA, ‘Ibtihaj’ is probably my favourite track from the album and is named after Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, and was the first American Olympian ever to compete while wearing a hijab. I just love this song’s immersive groove and all it represents! (ML) 

Track Of The Day: Ski Lift – ‘Comfortable Here’

London’s Ski Lift herald their arrival to our ears with their debut single ‘Comfortable Here’. Comprised of Benji Tranter, Anna Vincent (Heavy Heart) and Jovis Lane (Show Boy), Ski Lift’s debut release offers an angst-driven diatribe railing against the perceived mundanity of adulthood, while simultaneously surrendering to it.

Propelled by jangly hooks and a whirring energy, ‘Comfortable Here’ oozes shades of early noughties emo rock, whilst bringing its own decidedly 2019 poignance, voicing a sentiment that no doubt many 20-somethings will be able to relate to – “Maybe I’m in a rut, but it’s comfortable here…”. With the distinctive, crystalline emotion of Tranter’s vocals alongside the twinkling harmonies of Anna Vincent, it’s an utterly infectious alt-pop anthem for our times; filled with the frustration of the futility of life, yet offering a shining glimmer of optimism.

Listen to ‘Comfortable Here’:

 

Catch Ski Lift live at their single launch on Friday 20th September at Sister Midnight Records, Deptford.

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

ALBUM: Freja Frances – ‘The Funeral’

The debut album from singer-songwriter Freja Frances features an emo-pop inspired collection of piano-led songs dealing with experiences of depression and an unhealthy relationship. 

Opener, ‘Catching Fire’ begins with soft piano, minimal atmospherics, and the line “You can’t help me pinpoint exactly when I lost my mind”. The song is beautifully melodic, and builds around the striking imagery of fire, capturing the emotion and passion of a doomed relationship and the consumption of depression.

The story continues with title track ‘The Funeral’, exploring the loss of a lover through suicide. Again, the dark theme is expressed using ethereal atmospherics and gentle melodies. ‘Machine’ follows, dealing with memories and grief, adding the textures of piano, synths and electric guitar. Then there are wonderful fairytale metaphors used in ‘Juliet’ and ‘The Wolf’; the latter about two people who are struggling with mental illness and social stigma – “The wolf is after you and he wants your heart.”

Later, ‘Stay Awake’ tackles insomnia and spiralling thoughts, as it is gently delivered with twinkling piano chords and Freya’s captivating voice cooing “counting the days since I lost my mind.” The atmospherics and vocal harmonies build around the chorus, bringing a different atmosphere each time, until redemption is found in letting go of past experiences; a theme also explored in ‘Implosion’ and ‘Start Again’, closing the album on a gentle note, with the promise of more hopeful times.

For me, this album is resonant, lyrical and melodic. Though it deals with melancholy themes, it is sorrowful but not miserable. It draws on the interior experiences of depression, dreams, madness and lost love, crafting beauty from sadness. One that will stay with you.

The Funeral is out now via ShimmerSun Music.

 

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

INTERVIEW: Boudica Festival

With a female-focused line up, Boudica Festival (named after the warrior queen thought to have stood her final battle against the Romans just north of Coventry) is a unique event that gives a platform to, and celebrates, the wealth and diversity of womxn and non-binary talent in the music industry both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Womxn and non binary artists have always been underrepresented in all aspects of the music industry. Low womxn representation is an industry wide problem, with a growing awareness seeing many festivals being called out for their male dominated lineups. Boudica Festival, however, seeks to change this opinion by showcasing womxn and non-binary musicians from across a wide spectrum of musical genres across three stages, including a local artists stage, showcasing the best up and coming talent in Coventry. Alongside the live music there will be DJ and music coding workshops for budding musicians as well as stalls filled with arts and crafts from local artists. A long term aim, as well as having a stellar female line-up, is to form an all womxn events crew, using the expertise of womxn sound engineers, lighting technicians and stage managers.  As well as providing a platform, Boudica Festival wants to highlight the opportunities available to womxn within the music industry other than performing.

Taking place on 19th October in Coventry, we obviously strongly agree with all that Boudica Festival stands for, especially with some of our favourite bands playing there this year! So, we caught up with the team to find out more…

Hi Boudica Festival, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?

Ellie Ball: Boudica Festival is an annual celebration of women and non-binary people in music both on and off the stage. The festival features specially curated live music over three stages celebrating inspirational female and non-binary performers from a variety of genres, alongside music workshops and stalls from local artists. In addition to showcasing female talent, we have also built an entirely female & non-binary events crew. Meaning everything from the sound to the marketing has been provided by womxn.
Sarah Morgan: For the past couple of years the festival has been supported by PRS Foundation. This year through their Talent Development Partnership Programme. 

2019 will be Boudica Festival’s third year – congrats! Can you tell us a bit about how it all started out?

EB: The festival was born out of a shared frustration towards the state of the music industry, particularly in the live sector. Our first edition took place back in 2017 in a sort of warehouse type space in Coventry City Centre. It was great! We had a selection of local and up-and-coming performers play. Last year we moved to our new home, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum which has offered up the exciting opportunity to programme more artists across different stages. 

It’s fantastic that you’re hosting a festival specifically for women and non binary bands and artists – what triggered you to do this?

Michelle Bailey-LeLong: I got involved with Boudica as I was tired of being “the band with the women in it” or going to gigs where there weren’t any female and non-binary artists on the bill. Boudica Festival is our battle cry against that kind of programming. It’s an old problem which has yet to be fixed, so we want to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
Sarah Scouller: We have had enough of the music industry being male dominated, being the only woman at a gig, going to all dayers and seeing no women on stage. We decided to create a music festival that showcases the best up and coming female and non-binary artists across a wide range of genres. If we can host an entire festival of female artists, what’s stopping the rest of the music festivals from upping their female representation on their lineup?
SM: I run a music venue and programme events in the city and had experienced sexism whereby guys had asked to speak to my ‘manager’. I was really keen to show that there are no restrictions with what womxn can do within the industry.

And how do you feel about the general lack of female headliners at a lot of big festivals at the moment?

MB: It’s frustrating, but it fuels are mission to prove that female musicians deserve the recognition. Primavera did a 50/50 lineup this year and I spent one night seeing 5 female acts back to back, it was one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had! It’s a great example that if one of Europe’s biggest music festivals can close the gender gap then why can’t the rest? It’s proof that it can be and should be done.
SS: While it is good that womxn representation at festivals is currently a hot topic, I haven’t seen much evidence of this being rectified this year at the top UK festivals. The response from some of the festival organisers was that there are simply not enough womxn musicians out there to book couldn’t be further from the truth. The amount of womxn talent out there right now is HUGE. We are in really exciting times for music, I hope we will see this reflected in lineups soon.

Over the last couple of years, you’ve hosted some amazing bands and artists including Queen Zee, Let’s Eat Grandma, Nova Twins and Nightflowers, but has there been a particular set that’s stood out for you as a personal highlight over the years?

MB: Each act brings something so unique to the festival its really hard to say. Nova Twins smashed their set and I somehow ended up dancing on stage with them, so I obviously loved that! One of my favourite memories is the Savages DJ set where everyone was pulling out their best moves at the end of the night. Great way to end the festival!
SS: So true, the energy in that space when Nova Twins closed the festival was incredible, the whole room was moving and it was a beautiful moment seeing gals in the crowd being invited on stage to party and having the BEST time!
EB: For me, it would have to be a toss up between Hejira in 2017 and Mich Cota in 2018. Both brought really special and moving performances.
SM: Yep, every year brings something different to the festival so it’s really quite hard to decide which act stood out amongst the others. However, it’s always really great to see local artists perform alongside more established acts.

And this year you’ve got some GIHE faves playing – Ghum, Los Bitchos, Tusks… Curating such awesome line ups must be a lot of work – how do you normally go about it? Is it all based on bands/artists that have got in touch with you, or do you approach them?

SS: We have a big dream list of all the bands and artists we’d love to play. The amazing thing is that the list keeps on growing, as more and more womxn are being inspired to start bands! We all have our own musical tastes as well, which helps as we want to keep the festival diverse in musical styles, so we will meet up and share acts we are into, and if we all dig it we invite them to play! However, we are totally welcoming to acts approaching us too! 

And for any upcoming bands/artists looking to apply for festivals next year, do you have any tips?

MB: I love bands/artists who have shit loads of attitude, stand up for something and who aren’t afraid to try different things. Last year Mich Cota did amazing dancing which involved a rickety step ladder and fabric, and it was amazing and beautiful!
SS: Boudica festival is about showcasing as wide a variety of acts as possible, so we are very much looking for all types of music!
SM: Be really proactive and make sure your social media is kept bang up to date. Good music videos really help programmers to understand what a live performance might feel like.

This year you’re also launching your Music Video Competition, which invites filmmakers/musicians to submit music videos that they have worked on which celebrates womxn in front of and behind the camera – can you explain a bit more about this idea?

MB: The film and music industry are very similar and have the same struggles. As part of our film programme this year we wanted to showcase the talent of female/non binary artists in both these two male dominated industries and the music video is the bridge of the two. Music videos notoriously sexualise and objectify women who are in them, and with the rise of female music video directors we’re seeing a more authentic creative representation of female acts. Music videos are a great opportunity for filmmakers and musicians to collaborate, to have fun and to have your say. We’ve had amazing entries from all around the world and look forward to screening the top 5 during the festival.

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?

EB: It’s hard to say whether it’s better or worse than it used to be! There’s many more avenues for bands to go down in terms of getting noticed, be that online, live, through sync deals. However this has in turn levelled the playing field to a point where there’s almost an oversaturation of talent to compete with! I think it’s become a lot more about image than in previous years, it almost feels like artists need to have a really strong ‘brand’ in order to make it.
MB: Social media has definitely changed the game of the music industry. It’s a big part in how we programme. If you have a good online presence then it’s a great calling card.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any particular new bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?

SS: All of the acts playing this year’s lineup! We have curated a festival of artists and bands we think are the next hot things! I would say am most excited to see the witchy post-punk gals GHUM and the garage rock/cumbia vibes of Los Bitchos, but we hope with the range of artists playing this year there is something for everyone!

Massive thanks to all at Boudica Festival for answering our questions! Get your tickets for Boudica Festival here.

Photo Credit: Adele Mary Reed

ALBUM: The Paranoyds – ‘Carnage Bargain’

Fuelled by 1970s punk and cult horror movies, Southern California garage punk quartet The Paranoyds take on the male-dominated music scene with their debut long-play Carnage Bargain; a raucous blend of dead-pan observations on modern culture and wild, left-of-centre musical influences, because “what isn’t there to be paranoid about?”

The band – consisting of Staz Lindes on bass, Lexi Funston on guitar, Laila Hashemi on keyboards, and David Ruiz on drums – released their debut After You in 2016, followed by 2017’s Eat Their Own EP; establishing themselves as purveyors of do-it-yourself, self-dependent punk rock. With their debut album, The Paranoyds have brought back a few re-recorded classics from those aforementioned releases, like ‘Ratboy’, ‘Heather Doubtfire’, and ‘Bear’, but have also brought along a whole bunch of different for their Carnage Bargain.

The opening hits you in the face with The Paranoyds’ battle cry, a piercing two-note guitar intro of alternating half-tones, leading to ‘Face First’. The opening track draws influence from the 1978 horror flick ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’ and John Carpenter’s 1988 sci-fi dystopia ‘They Live’, but instead of humanity being duplicated by extraterrestrial lifeforms, predatory behaviour results from growing obsession enabled by technology: “It’s easy now / I’ve been watching you for some time.”

Attacking consumerism with title track ‘Carnage Bargain’, The Paranoyds layer Lindes’ throbbing basslines, Funston’s scuzzy guitar riffs, the punchy drum assault of Ruiz, and the aberrant keys of Hashemi over scathing lyrical observations, delivered in a rambling vocal style reminiscent of Courtney Barnett. “The grass isn’t green / It’s muddy with gasoline / There’s filth in the swimming pool / They’ve thrown away all the tools.”

Speaking of Barnett, ‘Courtney’ is another snarky stream of consciousness, further showcasing The Paranoyds’ overlapping vocal abilities – particularly from Lindes and  Funston. Whereas thrashing lead single, ‘Girlfriend Degree’ rejects the status quo with catchy surf-rock pop that empowers! “I’m not a shadow of myself / Looking good for somebody else.” 

Carnage Bargain continues to fishtail with genre-mashing tracks like ‘Egg Salad’, ‘Hungry Sam’, and ‘Laundry’; each one getting progressively weirder than the last. This can be attributed to Hashemi’s spooky key tones, which exude the campiness of 60s cult horror soundtracks. Indeed,  Hashemi’s solo on the resurrected ‘After You’ EP track, ‘Rat Boy’, is the perfect way to close this psych-punk fever-dream.

Just like their Los Angeles forerunners, X, The Paranoyds are often off-kilter in their delivery, and all the better for it. So, close your curtains, turn off the lights, and put needle to wax… Carnage Bargain is raw paranoid punk that you won’t be able to escape from. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Carnage Bargain is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records.

 

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne