Track of the Day: novelties – ‘Pillow Talk’

‘Pillow Talk’ comes from emerging LA-based pop duo, novelties – aka Sisters Kelly Kawaii and Sophie Kowai – who are both entirely self-taught. Kelly produces the tracks, merging her innovative pop production with Sophie’s poetic lyrics.

We’re totally into the warped gentle vocals of Pillow Talk which glide over the top of the buzzing samples. Dreamy AF. Looking forward to hearing more from these two.

You can find out more about ‘Pillow Talk’ on Instagram and Twitter.

Tash Walker
@maudeandtrevor

Introducing Interview: Saga Back

We caught up with Sweden’s Saga Back in the wake of her debut single release ‘There You Go…Again’ to talk about her writing process, musical influences and how it all began.

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how Saga Back’s music career began?
Thank you! Well, I don’t know if I would call it a “career” yet, but I think it was almost exactly two years ago that I started recording my own songs. It was for an examination project in school and although I didn’t take any music classes I somehow managed to “write, record and perform five original songs” around the topic of the project. So, that was when I started working with Mattias Nyberg (who’s produced ‘There You Go… Again’), but at the time I didn’t take it very seriously. We just recorded three or four of my songs – they were very acoustic and I didn’t even use a metronome, so the beat was completely off in some parts. And then I uploaded them onto Spotify. As for songwriting, that started a bit earlier but the songs I wrote back then luckily will be forever unheard… Except for one song that me and my best friend made when we were ten. We wrote it in Swedish, asked my mom to translate it to English, and then we sang it at our school’s talent show.

Then, few months back I decided I wanted to do something to learn more about the music industry and so I started an internship at a record label in Gothenburg called Kning Disk. I’ve learnt, and I still am learning, so much from my boss, Louise Hammar, who runs the label. That’s also where I met Markus and Jesper from Something Beautiful, the record label that I’m working with now. So, although I wouldn’t call it a career yet, only four months back I never would’ve guessed that so many people would be listening to my song!

We’re loving your latest single ‘There You Go…Again’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
I’m so happy to hear that! It feels surreal that it’s been played on a radio show in London. Wow. I was in a pretty destructive relationship, without really realising how much it hurt me. It’s strange how you can abandon all your beliefs just to make someone else happy. That’s why I wrote the song. Actually, I started writing it as a way of putting into words what he did. That way it was harder for me to ignore my feelings and continue making excuses for letting him do those things. But now the song is more of a reminder to not let anyone make me feel less than I am. I hope that’s what people feel when they listen to it.

Can you tell us a bit about Gothenburg, and what the music scene is like there?
Actually, I live in a smaller town twenty minutes from Gothenburg, but I’d say typical “Gothenburg music” is a lot of indie – Swedish music that you either love or you hate. But we do have Way Out West festival, which is the best weekend of all summer. Does that count even though the majority of the acts aren’t Swedish? I really hope it does.

How do you go about writing your music – can you give us an insight to your process?
Lyrics and music at the same time, always. I’ve tried to write lyrics to an already finished instrumental when someone’s asked me, but so far I’ve had no luck with that. My phone is filled with random words and sentences that I’ve heard or come up with. It could be from a newspaper, a movie or a conversation. Usually, I have an idea of what I want to write about and a phrase that I really like and then it goes from there. I always write about my own experiences in one way or another. It makes it a little scary to put it out for everyone to hear, but I don’t think about that while writing. It’s only when I record the song that I start realising that other people will hear it.

Who or what would you say are your inspiration and influences?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot with Jorja Smith, H.E.R, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa. All women as you can tell. I listen to male artists as well of course, I just find female musicians more inspiring and relatable. And last but not least, Adele. Although I don’t listen to her music every day, that’s the type of music that I always go back to. I love the songwriting, her vocal range and the way she builds her songs. She played in Sweden a couple of years ago and I didn’t manage to get any tickets, which I’m still sad about.

As we’re a new music-focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Maple & Rye! You might have heard of them but I think they deserve a lot more attention.

Finally, what’s 2019 got in store for Saga Back?
To be honest, I don’t really know. I’ll be going to Paris for two months, which I planned way before all of this started, and my goal there is to finish writing enough songs for a first album. There’ll be some more singles, I’ll spend time in the studio recording, and then we’ll see. I don’t wanna jinx anything…

Huge thanks to Saga Back for answering our questions! 

Track Of The Day: VEE 303 – ‘Wounded’

‘Wounded’ is the latest release from Berlin based VEE 303 and it is all about moments. Moments of violence, moments of overwhelming emotion, 225 seconds of so many moments.

In her own words ‘Wounded’ is “about the dynamic of control between two people and how it can be a liberating experience to just let someone take over. It can give you some kind of freedom to not worry about the world for a second and indulge yourself in the moment. It is a reflection on how I experience salvation through pain and the contradictory forces of violence and beauty.”

From stripped back trip-hop to rising orchestral sounds, this songs leaves your ears gladly tripping over the intermittent plucking and pounding beats. Yes please VEE 303.

Listen to the new track below, and follow VEE 303 on Instagram for more updates.

Tash Walker
@maudeandtrevor

Introducing Interview: MONOGEM

Refinery 29 named MONOGEM a “trailblaizer of gender fluidity in the entertainment industry”, and we caught up with the ethereal alt-pop artist to discuss this, her latest single  ‘Shade’ and MONOGEM’s origins…

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how MONOGEM came about?
In 2014, I decided to take a detour from my singer-songwriter/Jazz solo project and explore the realm of electronic music. A monogem ring is a supernova remnant which rang true in so many ways for me at the time. The largest monogem ring was found near the Cancer constellation, and being born on 22nd June, this felt like the perfect moniker for me to use to dig into another side of myself. I’m having the time of my life evolving with every release, every interview and show!

We’re loving your latest single ‘Shade’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
Thank you for the love! I’m so happy this track is out in the world. This song is so me, the lyrics are some of the most honest I’ve written so far. I wrote it as a reminder to stop hiding my truths, even if they aren’t pretty. As an artist and a woman, I’ve felt the need to brush whatever I’m feeling under the rug, pull myself together and put a smile on my face for the big show. When I allow myself to be truly present in every moment, happy or sad, a better version of myself comes out to play. And that person showed up the day I wrote this song.

Listening to your newer music it feels like this has a much more complex layered feel to it, would you agree with that? Has there been a change in your writing/creating process?
Definitely. It’s all part of the evolution of this project and it’s so exciting to be at the centre of it. I studied Jazz at Berklee College of Music… for whatever reason I used to cover up that training and simplify my creative writing process. But now, I’m embracing it more than ever, and it feels really, really good.

Your have been described in such a variety of ways from “a soulful blend of the past and the future” to “a trailblazer of gender fluidity in the entertainment industry”… Do you feel that you fall into any of these descriptions?
I’m always honoured when someone takes the time to write about my music and what they take from it. It makes me feel like the art I’m making is being received in the way that I intended… What a beautiful thing.

LA, where you’re based, has a great music scene with so many artists who are emerging – do you feel part of a strong music community over there?
It’s taken time to develop a strong music community here, about 5-6 years for me, but wow do I feel it more than ever now. Especially after my headline show at School Night last night, I’m definitely home.

Amazing! How was the gig and how would you describe your live shows?
I am over the moon about last night’s gig. The live show features an all-female band – Neara Russell (keys/synthbass) and Valerie Franco (drums) – and they are ridiculously talented. I usually sprinkle in some special guests, like last night my long time friend and collaborator, Adam Tressler (guitar), joined us as well as my friend Hailey Niswanger on saxophone. I am so lucky to work with powerful and skilled musicians. The show is dynamic and sensual. I am very proud of where we are at in this very moment and am excited to keep improving.

And more importantly are you planning on coming to the UK anytime soon??
I’m dying to get to the UK!  Hopefully in 2019.

What’s the rest of 2019 got in store for MONOGEM?
More music and more tours!

Finally as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Lately, I’ve been really into Maiah Manser, Doe Paoro and CLARA-NOVA. All LA-based female powerhouses I am lucky to call friends.

A big thank you to MONOGEM for answering our questions! Fingers crossed for that UK tour date in 2019!

‘Shade’ is out now and you can find more from MONOGEM via Soundcloud.

 

GUEST BLOG: Grapefruit

In a new guest blog feature, Angela from Maidstone-based, alternative band Grapefruit writes about what it means to take claim of being women in the music industry.

Sometimes I have mixed feelings about describing Grapefruit as a “female fronted band”. As someone who thinks of gender as a needless and suffocating concept, it can feel like we’re highlighting something irrelevant.

But, we can’t escape the fact that the music we create is intrinsically tied to and is product of our identities. And when that identity is female or femme or non-binary, I do think it’s important to highlight in an industry that continues to be dominated by cis-male identities.

You might not be fazed that our band is female-fronted but some young girl interested in the music magazines in the men’s section of the newsagents might be. Growing up I certainly clung to female-fronted bands; Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine was an idol; my girlfriend and our lead guitarist first picked up a guitar and spent hours learning and mastering it so she could play music like Kate Nash, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux did.

The point is that whilst inspiring female talent certainly exists in the industry, we’re still often the only female-featuring band on the setlist. We still have to assure some sound engineers that we know how to set up our own mic-stands, and have had to shrug it off when they make sex jokes whilst we’re focusing on getting the levels right. We still look at each other confused when we are compared to a bunch of (talented) bands we sound nothing alike except for that rare female voice.

Until it’s not so rare to see a woman in a band at your local pub, we’ll continue to proudly announce our female-ness and to get excited when we get to play alongside other female, femme, and non-binary musicians. It is our responsibility to make ourselves a space and to fill it to the point of overflow; your ownership of your identity and musical mastery is an important “fuck-you” to the “music has gotten too girly” types (thanks for the words of wisdom, Bono).

 

A massive thank you to Grapefruit for this piece. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Introducing Interview: Chinah

Fresh off the back of their latest single ‘Real Thing?’, we caught up with Copenhagen based Chinah in the run up to their London show at Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November.

Hi Chinah, welcome to Get In Her Ears! We’re loving your latest single ‘Real Thing?’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
‘Real Thing?’ is a song about choosing to be lazy with your integrity because you long for intensity, and explores the feeling of experiencing a sense of “dominance within the submission”.

Your newer music has a much more evocative feel to it, each song creating its own individual atmosphere, with an almost hypnotic element… Is that something that you are consciously trying to create?
We try to make each song unique whilst still having something in its essence in common with the other songs on the album. The philosophy perhaps. But for everything beyond that, we like to allow ourselves to experiment and try different things out. We’re having fun with it. So yeah, the shifting moods and the different mixes of genres on the album are sort of an expected result of us staying curious and insisting on not limiting ourselves in terms of genre.

Previously you’ve spoken about seeing music in terms of contrast and dynamics, which is a refreshingly realistic way to describe the artist and the listener’s interaction with music, rather than by the constraints of labels. Could you expand on that a bit?
This last year we’ve been experimenting a lot with mixing genres, both within the length of a song and on the album as a whole. Likewise, we knew from the start of working with Anyone, the album, that we wanted it to be somewhat unpredictable. We prefer not placing ourselves into just one genre that has too narrow of a ruleset. In a sense, not defining our music too precisely prevents us from constraining our creativity, in that we might not try to “live up” to a made-up idea of what our music is or isn’t.

You’re about to embark on a tour of Denmark, but before you do you’re going to be stopping over here first at the Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November! Are you looking forward to playing London again?
Definitely! It’s been a year since we played in London, so coming back now with new music feels just right. We’ve played in London a few times before, and we always felt a very supportive atmosphere at our concerts and beyond. Hopefully the Londoners will dig the new music as well

Anyone, the upcoming album from Chinah, is out this Friday 9th November. Vinyl pre-order here. And you can check out Chinah live at Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November – tix available on DICE.

Introducing Interview: Martha Hill

Fresh off the back of her second single ‘Wallflower’ being released, we threw some questions to Martha Hill, and were happily introduced to her excellent playlist ‘Women Are Mint‘, which we have firmly on repeat!

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artist?
Thanks for having me! I just kind of stumbled into it. First as a hobby, but then it became a lifestyle – I was travelling around quite a bit and busking was how I got by.

You are originally from Scotland but left at 17 to travel across Europe busking. That must have been quite an eye-opening experience at 17?!
It was great to mission about and do loads of different things. I also got to play in different countries with a wide variety of musicians like Italian jazz flutists or old Spanish drummers – it definitely shaped me and the way I approach music.

And you are now living in Newcastle, what were your reasons for moving there? What’s the music scene like there?
My cousins are from there; my cousin Wilf (Dansi) is a musician, and I’d grown up having wee jams with them. They seemed to have this lifestyle that was a million miles away from what I knew, so I moved to be closer to them. The Newcastle music scene is incredible! It’s proper underground – you hear about Manchester’s scene a lot, or even Leeds, but rarely Newcastle’s. I feel like we all look out for each other a lot and support each other. Check out my Spotify playlist ‘Women Are Mint‘. It showcases female musicians based in the North East.

We’re loving your latest single ‘Wallflower’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about what inspired this?
My inspiration for this track came when a friend jokingly called me a wallflower (I’m not the quietest on a night out). I remember thinking that just because I’m loud, it doesn’t mean I’m unobservant, and sparked off a want to explore the different characters people wear. ‘Wallflower’ is a tongue-in-cheek song about the introvert hidden within every extrovert, exploring the different characters that each of us invent for ourselves. It also touches on subjects such as conformity and social anxiety.

 

Your first single ‘Spiders’ was received really well getting played on BBC 6 Music – that must have been pretty great?
Yeah it was surreal! Massive thanks to Tom Robinson for playing it.

How has your year been on the festival front?
Amazing. I had a really great show on Solfest mainstage, also at Camper Calling and Big Feastival. I always love wee Lindisfarne Festival – just a bunch of geordies in a field! I used to play trombone in a few festival bands, and my girlfriend runs a stall called the Canny Bonny Boudoir, so festivals are home turf for me haha.

You’re about to embark on a tour all over the UK including the Hope & Anchor in Islington on 2nd November? Are you looking forward to playing London again and how would you describe your live shows?
Yeah I love playing live. I’m a live musician before a recording artist definitely. I particularly love playing in smaller, more intimate venues where I can engage with the audience on a personal level.

What’s 2019 got in store for Martha Hill?
I recently got granted some funding from PRS Foundations Women Make Music, so I’m going to use that to get back into the studio. Definitely more live shows! Who knows really. I’m gonna keep creating music and seeing where it takes me.

Finally as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Dansi are well worth a listen to. Also I know Me Lost Me is about to release her debut album and she’s incredible! As I said – check out my Spotify playlist ‘Women Are Mint‘ – a lot of hidden gems in there.

Huge thanks to Martha for answering our questions!

Check out Martha Hill live at the Hope & Anchor on Friday 2nd November!