Five Favourites: Julia Church

Having recently graduated from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and even working on a one-to-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, South African artist Julia Church is both a talented songwriter and producer.

Crafting electronic production together with real instrumentation, she has now shared her brand new single ‘Tremble’. Manifesting the power of desire, it flows with the subtle power of Church’s emotion-strewn vocals as sweeping melodies and luscious musical layers build to an anthemic slice of sparkling pop with a euphoric, soulful groove. Of the track, Church explains:

It’s about the thrill and intrigue of a budding relationship, being in the moment and completely losing yourself with someone who makes you feel something totally new and exciting.”

 

To add more context to Julia’s work, we asked her to discuss her Five Favourite songs or albums, and how they’ve influenced her. Read all about her choices below:

Little Dragon – ‘Twice’
I think this song is so clever and haunting in the way that it never resolves. There is this palpable tension that builds throughout the song and never stabilises – and I love that. This song made me fall in love with the simple piano/vocal combination, and proves that great songs are often the ones that are the most simple. The lyrics are also bizarrely beautiful and it inspired a song I wrote called ‘Shiloh’, which will be out later this year. 

Bon Iver – ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’
This was the first bit of music that ever made me cry. I watched the video of Bon Iver performing it at the piano and was so taken aback by the way it made me feel. I heard it at a point of my life where I was feeling pretty vulnerable and, up until then, I had never heard something more relatable that just made me feel understood. The song was a classic long before Bon Iver covered it, but there was just something about Justin Vernon’s raw and powerful vocal on this that took me somewhere else and made me want to write songs forever.

James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical (album)
When I look through the discography of this album, I am instantly reminded of little moments in my life that are so intertwined with these songs. To me, this album represents my late teenage years and a strange but fundamental chapter of my life. Every song has such depth and purpose and ‘Cavalier’ and ‘Red Dust’ are probably two of the most nostalgic songs to me ever!

Leon Bridges – ‘Shy’
This song is so simple but genuinely one of the most addictive pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s so well written and to-the-point, plus Leon Bridge sings so damn beautifully and with such soul. He’s a big inspiration to me, especially when it comes to songwriting but this is hands-down my favourite song of his. It’s one that I will probably listen to for the rest of my life and never get tired of. Also the little guitar riff that repeats throughout is so tasteful and groovy.

Jamie Woon – ‘Sharpness’
I swear the first time I heard this I wanted to scream. I can whole-heartedly say that I have never found a groove to be more infectious than that of ‘Sharpness’. Jamie Woon and his band are all such phenomenal musicians and the arrangements of his songs are total genius, but this one is just next level in my opinion. This song has influenced my production and drum programming in particular, it makes me want to be a better producer and I truly admire artists who have that effect on me.

Big thanks to Julia Church for sharing her ‘Five Favourites’ with us. Her new single ‘Tremble’ is out now.

Five Favourites: Grawl!x

Having previously received acclaim for their previous three albums, including last year’s Appendix, Derby-based Grawl!x, aka James Machin, has now shared their bewitching new single, ahead of playing at Indietracks festival later this month.

A collaboration with Umbilica’s Jo Lewis, ‘Epicene’ is a soaring, cinematic soundscape exploring discussions of gender, sexuality, feminism and the role of allies. Flowing with twinkling electronic hooks and spellbinding harmonies, it’ll send shivers down the spine, oozing its poignant, sweeping emotion. Of the track, Machin explains: “… [gender] is an issue I’ve wanted to explore in a musical dialogue for quite some time. It’s quite alarming when you realise how great the gender disparity is and how our culture is divided in binary terms.”

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place, so we caught up with James to talk about their ‘Five Favourites’. Identifying as non-binary, they have recently started performing as ))Maria(( too, and so has chosen five inspiring tracks that reference or subvert gender in some way. Check out their choices below, and watch the new video for ‘Epicene’ at the end of this post.

Anna Meredith – ‘Varmints’
In life, one is rarely afforded the opportunity to have a proper “WHAT
THE F**K AM I LISTENING TOO?!!” moment, but this was definitely one of them. A DJ friend of mine Russell played this at a local bar called Sudz &
Soda, and I was just blown away. It has such a majestic, foreboding
quality. Even when the beat drops, you don’t quite know whether to Dirty
Wine Squat or crumple into a husk of tears. Strictly speaking, I don’t
think it’s about gender but given the lack of vox, it could be! This definitely inspired our song ‘Epicene’. Meredith is an incredible composer
who never fails to make me feel like a backwards country bumpkin’
creatively speaking.

Princess Nokia – ‘Tomboy’
What a banger!! I asked my pal Ruth Hindle (who did the artwork for
‘Epicene’ as it happens) what the kids were listening too. She said she
didn’t know, but gave a lovely list of grime & trap tracks she likes. I
love this track so much. Princess Nokia just seems like such a strong role model.
Apart from embracing that age old gender stereotype with thoughtful
lyrics; she does it such aplomb and fun, it’s impossible to resist.
Although, dancing to this, a person of my age tends to
silence my desire to yell “my little titties & my fat belly” at the top
of my lungs. Awkward!!

Michelle Gurevich – ‘I’ll Be Your Woman’
ANOTHER friend of mine turned me onto this. Come to think of it, all my
friends tend to have pretty great taste! Gave me some proper Lynchian
chills. This song is just sooooo sultry, and the imagery masterfully plays with
gender assumptions, albeit in a slightly off-kilter kinda way. Her voice
is super androgynous too and, being non-binary I just love the both-ness of
it all. Top job Chinawoman!!

Charli XCX – ‘Boys’
Considering how crazy popular she is, it’s probably somewhat unnecessary
for me to help out, but I just love this song so much! Despite being everywhere, I missed it when it first came out then found the video on YouTube and had to rewatch it several dozen times. Once I got over how fun and lovely and
saucy it is, I then realised how clever and sparse the composition was with the 8bit business at work. Really amazing production. BANGER!!! And, although in the context of this list, it doesn’t so obviously subvert gender (the title clearly defines that), the idea of kinda objectifying men is done really well, and switches things around a bit.

SOPHIE – ‘Infatuation’
Speaking of amazing production, here is someone who again is properly
taking electronic music to a new level. By virtue of her current status,
I think she is helping change folks’ perceptions about gender. I could
have picked any off the record but this track is my favourite, mainly because
of the opening chords. Quite melancholy – what I’m a sucker for. It takes
you on a proper sonic traverse somewhere horrifically pretty. YAYAY!!!

Massive thanks to James for discussing their Five Favourites with us!

‘Epicene’ is out 19th July via Reckless Yes. Watch the new video here:

 

Queens Of Punk: Poly Styrene & Jordan, The British Library, 04.07.19

Last night I was lucky enough to go along to a very special night celebrating Queens Of Punk at The British Library. Hosted by self proclaimed ‘Professor Of Punk’, Vivien Goldman, the panel discussed the release of two books about two of the most legendary ‘queens of punk’: Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story

Prior to talking to the authors, Goldman (also having recently released her own book Revenge Of The She Punks) delivers a poignant and stirring introduction, describing both Jordan and Poly Styrene as “prophetic” in the topics they addressed through their work, asserting that the most important aspect of punk was that women finally found a voice. Considering artists such as Jordan and Poly Styrene, as well as bands such as The Slits and The Raincoats, this would certainly seem true – the 1970s seeing these women coming to the fore and finally being heard. 

And now, nearly 50 years later, when we’ve witnessed almost a regression in politics and equal rights, the spirit of punk – and in particular these strong female voices – is needed now more than it has been for decades. 

To be honest, I hadn’t really been aware of Jordan’s prominence in the world of punk before tonight, and so her discussion with Goldman was both enlightening and inspiring. Describing how she wanted to create herself as a work of art, the way she dressed becoming a part of who she was, she explains that being self aware was a major part of being ‘punk’; it was about being aware of you are and “not giving a damn” what other people thought – a community for people who didn’t fit the mould. And, hearing her talk about her vibrant fashion choices (and work in in Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s ground-breaking boutique, SEX, then Seditionaries and, later, World’s End), and position as a woman in the industry at the time, it becomes clear just how courageous and innovative she has been. 

Discussing the writing of the book, Jordan’s co-writer Cathi Unsworth (Sounds, Bizarre, The Guardian), describes their writing process as like making a dress; together they cut and pieced together Jordan’s memories to fit a narrative. However, Unsworth asserts that this wasn’t difficult, as Jordan is just like a person she’d invent to be a heroine of a novel, her life being filled with fearless adventure and outrageous events. Whatever the process of writing, it seems to have worked; Goldman describing Defying Gravity as like a “window into the [punk] culture”. 

Asserting how “punk encapsulated everybody”, Jordan credits the gay clubs of Brighton and the role of the gay community in helping her feel comfortable in who she was, before discussing her work with Derek Jarman (he cast her as the ferocious Amyl Nitrate in his 1978 film Jubilee) – who she describes as oozing the essence of punk, as he didn’t care what anyone thought – and Adam Ant. Of the later, she recalls a night at The Roundhouse where Adam and The Ants were playing alongside X Ray Spex… 

And so to Celeste Bell and Zoë Howe (Typical Girls? The Story of the Slits; Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams & Rumours) who worked together on Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story. Having initially met Zoë when she was writing her book about children of ‘rockstars’ –‘How’s Your Dad?’ Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent – Celeste decided to write a book about her mother on realising she had a large archive of material from Poly Styrene’s life, that had mostly been in the hands of her old manager prior to her death. Including artwork, diary entries, and hundreds of unrecorded lyrics, as well as letters that Celeste has since written to her mother, Howe explains that they put the memories and archive together like “one big conversation”, trying to reflect Poly’s character as much as possible. 

As well as the book, Howe and Bell have also recently been working on a documentary about Poly Styrene: Poly Styrene – I Am A Cliché. Directed by Paul Sng, the film includes never-seen-before footage of Poly throughout her life, as well as interviews with other people in the industry including Kathleen Hanna and Thurston Moore, about the great influence she had on them. We’re lucky enough to be treated to an exclusive showing of the trailer, and it looks like it’s going to be a wonderful watch! 

Resuming the discussion about the book, Celeste opens up about her mother’s struggle with having Bipolar Disorder, and other people’s perception of her as being ‘psychic’. Celeste explains that her mother was very intuitive and would soak up any energy that was around her, which would often aid her creative process – her feelings being transformed into poetry – but could be psychologically difficult to deal with. 

Celeste continues to explain that her mother had had mixed feelings about her following in her footsteps and making music; although she encouraged her daughter to learn to play instruments, she was concerned about Celeste being a woman in a sexist industry, having being affected by her own experiences. Throughout her career, for example, Poly Styrene had always been described by journalists and others in the industry as “not conventionally beautiful”, which often had a negative impact on her state of mind; as Celeste explains, her mother would get extremely frustrated by the industry’s focus on her looks rather than the work she was creating, and – in any case – she was “fucking beautiful!” no matter what anyone else said. 

Recalling another instance of the industry’s ingrained sexism, Howe describes how a certain review of an X Ray Spex show seemed to pit Poly and saxophonist Lora Logic against each other, making out that Logic was the star of the show. Celeste describes how much this upset her mother, resulting in Lora being sacked from the band. This is a prime example of how the industry has, and continues to, pit females against each other, purely because of their gender, judging them on appearance, playing on insecurities, rather than focusing on the music being created. Lora and Poly, however, reunited years later, when they were both part of the Hare Krishna movement, and even performed together at Glastonbury.

It’s not only inspiring to hear about all the incredible steps Poly Styrene took as, not only a woman, but a woman of colour, in the world of punk, but particularly moving to hear Celeste talk about her mother and their relationship. Although rose-tinted spectacles are firmly off, it’s wonderful to hear her talk about Poly Styrene not only as the innovative figure for women in music that she remains to this day, but as a mother and a person.

Hearing about both Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, and all the pivotal steps that these women before us have taken in a quest to be heard, leaves me feeling inspired and motivated. As Goldman said at the beginning of the evening, now is certainly the time to revive the punk spirit, to unite and overcome adversity: we need strong figures like Poly and Jordan now more than ever. 

Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story are both out now via Omnibus Press. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarasara

One Little Indian Records signee Sarasara is set to release her second album Orgone on the 5th of July which she co-produced with Liam Howe of label-mates Sneaker Pimps (Nülifer Yanya, FKA Twigs, Tom Vek, Lana Del Rey) and it looks set to be a versatile, experimental delight.

Sung mostly in French and dealing with themes of suicidal thoughts, existentialism and meditation, Sarasara moved from Paris to Margate at the beginning of 2018 to write her new record, which features collaborative tracks with Peter Doherty of The Libertines. We caught up with Sarasara ahead of her headline show at St Pancras Old Church on Thursday 4th July (tickets here) to talk about her “Five Favourite” albums – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below…

1. Malik Djoudi – Cinema
I’ve discovered Malik’s music recently when he played with me in New York at France Rocks festival, the very first show of my Orgone tour. I fell in love instantly, his live show was so good and his songs so catchy. Me and my team are currently touring in Asia and Europe and we’ve been listening to him like crazy people. His definitely part of our tour playlist.

2. ASAP ROCKY – Testing
I love a bit of American rap & hip hop sometimes. I think this one is a bit of a UFO, I look forward to it every-time I listen to Testing, the album, I love the vibe, it takes you back to America. I would love to work on a rap project at some point, I have absolutely no idea how, but I love the idea of a new challenge, it’s exciting.

3. Tricky – False Idols
I’ve always been a fan of Massive Attack, Tricky solo projects included, and it is an absolute honour to have had my production sound compared to his, but it was never my plan when I started to write music. Lately, I’ve been thinking there’s probably something for me to learn from this because it keeps coming up, and I’ve been digging into his old albums again. False Idols and Adrian Thaws are two masterpiece albums for me. ‘Parenthesis’ is one of my favorite songs ever.

4. Garbage – Garbage
I’ve been listening to Garbage since I was a teenager. I discovered them when I was maybe 12, 13 years old, via Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Shirley Manson was playing a gig at the Bronze, which is the music venue where the Scooby gang goes every night. It made me want to dig into their music. Then I discovered Garbage and Garbage 2.0 which are two brilliant albums. At that time for me, Shirley Manson was really impressive and I was seeing her as a role model, a powerful front woman, a rebel. She was singing boldly, screaming stuff like “Make the beat go harder”, wearing crazy outfits in crazy music videos. That’s what I was feeling like at that time, rebel and raw. I remember I got kicked out of school for several days because I arrived there one day with bright pink hair, nose piercing and massive boots, I just wanted to look like her but teachers thought it was “a bit much” . Anyway, I heard the song ‘Milk’ several times randomly while on tour, so I’m listening to the album G again.

5. MONOLOC – Drought
I’ve got a thing for dark techno. I’ve been following Sascha since his debut on Chris Liebing Recordings. I love his way of incorporating techno music and his aesthetics. I can feel soul in his productions, there’s the dark and raw side, but there’s also always a touch of gentleness somehow. I love the combination of both. I think he definitely stands out from the crowd. I am really honoured and proud that he remixed my single ‘Blood Brothers’, first extract of my upcoming album Orgone, the result is stunning. I can’t wait for it to be released.

Thanks to Sarasara for sharing her choices with us. Follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Playlist: 50 Years Of Pride

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which triggered the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the US and beyond. On the 28th June 1969, the bar’s patrons clashed with police officers in a raid that was not uncommon during that era. However, this time they’d had enough, this time the patrons fought back. Two people in particular made a significant impact that night but the history books often forget – two transgender women of colour named: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

This night lit a match underneath the modern LGBTQ+ movement we see living on worldwide in Pride celebrations, protests and marches today.

So much has happened in the last 50 years both in favour and against the LGBTQ+ communities; in my lifetime alone I’ve seen the World Health Organisation declassify same-sex attraction as a mental illness, I’ve seen Section 28 being repealed, and equal marriage being passed into law but I’ve also seen a significant increase in the levels of isolation and loneliness within the LGBTQ+ communities, and the number of homophobic, and especially transphobic, hate crimes more than doubling in the last 5 years.

50 years on from the Stonewall Riots we have seen progress, but we are not at the finish line yet! As trans activist Charlie Craggs said “trans women of colour need you to fight for them the way they fought for you 50 years ago, there is still more to be done, the battle is not over.”

Which is why at Pride this year as I march in the parade, I will be marching to celebrate everything we have achieved and I will be protesting for everything that is to come because our mantra is: we’re here, we’re queer and yes sometimes we’re afraid, but we are never ashamed because we are proud of who we are!

– Tash Walker

To mark this momentous anniversary, Tash, Mari and Kate have put together some tunes to celebrate LGBTQ+ liberation, as we continue to push for progress. Read about our chosen tracks and have a listen below! 

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Taken from their self-titled album released in 2008, the same year I attended London Pride for the first time, this is without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life.
Tash Walker

Le Tigre – ‘Keep On Livin’
Pioneers of queer culture, Le Tigre’s ‘Keep On Livin’ remains a motivational anthem to anyone going through a hard time. Inspired by the feelings surrounding both ‘coming out’ as a survivor of sexual abuse, and coming out as gay, lesbian, bi or trans, it’s a pure cathartic release of emotion.
Mari Lane

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it is important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality.
TW

Lady Gaga – ‘Born This Way’
A dance-floor filling anthem that celebrates self-acceptance.
Kate Crudgington

RuPaul – ‘Sissy That Walk’
Pioneering drag queen RuPaul’s message of self love and motivation is encapsulated in this uplifting anthem, as she sings one of her classic mottos: “Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.”
ML

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track summed up 2018 for me, a year that gave with free abundance in good music, in particular Planningtorock’s album Powerhouse. Any album that uses the language Non-Binary Femme in the title of the song is unarguably paving the way for not only a greater/better understanding of what these words and this sort of language means, but also for it to become a fully accepted part of everyday conversation.
TW

Princess Nokia – ‘Tom Boy’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Princess Nokia writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and body positivity, refusing to fit into stereotypical gender norms.
ML 

Mykki Blanco (feat. Princess Nokia) – ‘Wish You Would’
This is a song from an artist who I feel needs no introduction, a queer pioneer who is doing amazing things for LGBTQ+ rights as well as being open about their positive HIV status. Mykki Blanco is an incredible artist and I love his music.
TW

Syd – ‘All About Me’
One of my favourite tracks from Syd who is openly LGBTQ+ and you may know from the excellent collective The Internet.
TW

Shura – ‘2shy’
I just love this track from London artist Shura, who has been consistently challenging stereotypes since she came out as a lesbian a couple of years ago and helping to “queer the mainstream”. Bring on the blurring of gender and sexuality in pop!
TW

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
A pioneer for transgender rights in the late 60s, Jackie Shane lived her life as a woman in the spotlight, during a time when compassion and acceptance were not always reciprocated towards those who identified as trans.
KC

Cyndi Lauper – ‘True Colours’
An uplifting anthem often associated with the LGBTQ+ community, ‘True Colours’ openly asserts for us to love ourselves for who we are. Lauper has often dedicated the song to a friend of hers who died from HIV/AIDs, and has since co-founded the ‘True Colours’ fund – a non-profit that educates people on LGBTQ issues and helps to end homelessness for LGBTQ youth.
ML

King Princess – ‘1950’
Something that I am really proud of here in the UK is the latest generation of LGBTQ+ people, who continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity, so different from when I was growing up. ‘1950’ by King Princess is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.
TW

Anna Calvi – ‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy’
Anna Calvi describes this track as being “beyond definition”, because queerness is beyond definition. Her whole Hunter album celebrates what it is to be queer in a wonderfully honest, binary-destroying way. Summing it up, she explains: “I want to go beyond gender. I don’t want to have to chose between the male and female in me.”
ML

Bang Bang Romeo – ‘Shame On You’
Fronted by loud and proud lesbian Stars, Bang Bang Romeo completely blew us away with their immense soulful power and compelling charisma when playing Cro Cro Land earlier this year.
ML

Dream Nails – ‘Deep Heat’
A hex on Donald Trump and the patriarchy in general, our fave DIY punks Dream Nails know how to boost up their community in times of need.
KC

The Menstrual Cramps – ‘The Smash’
Combining activism with musical prowess, and fully embracing queerness, The Menstrual Cramps provide a captivating, empowering force that we all need now more than ever.
ML

T-Bitch – ‘Dressing Up’
Southend riot grrrl punks T-Bitch celebrate all things trans, queer & glam!
KC

T-Bitch EP by T-Bitch

Queen Zee – ‘Boy’
One of the most relevant (and joyful) bands around at the moment. I’d put them on every playlist if it was up to me!
KC

Ezra Furman – ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’
Openly bisexual and androgynous artist Ezra Furman’s latest album Transangelic Exodus really knocked my for six in its spine-tingling beauty and raw emotion. This track is particularly stirring, its concept serving as a metaphor for queer liberation and the defiance of the underdog.
ML

Grace Petrie – ‘Black Tie’
Addressing the damaging effects of enforced gender norms, this is an empowering and uplifting offering, addressing a younger self with reassuring lyrics such as “I swear there’ll come a day when you won’t worry what they say, on the labels, on the doors, you will figure out what’s yours.”
ML

Janelle Monae – ‘Pynk’
A brash celebration of creation. Self love. Sexuality. And p-ssy power!  Need I say more.
TW

Frank Ocean – ‘Chanel’
Such a great song. As you may or may not know, Frank Ocean came out back in 2012 to mixed but mainly positive responses.
TW

Queen – ‘Love Of My Life’
Just a heartbreaking love song written by the legendary Freddie Mercury. Once, when asked about his sexuality, Mercury replied with “I’m gay as a daffodil, my dear!”. A brave statement to make back in 1974.
ML 

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy’
This track was released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat.
TW

Anthony & The Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning, a simply exquisite creation.
ML

Have a listen to, and follow, our 50 Years Of Pride playlist, here:

 

Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut

Introducing Interview: Chloé Caroline

Having written and recorded over seventy five songs in Nashville and Los Angeles over the past year, Californian native Chloé Caroline has now shared a catchy new single. Filled with her flawless, impassioned vocals and biting lyrical commentary, ‘Messy’ showcases Chloé’s “New Southern California Sound” perfectly.

We caught up with Chloé to find out all about it…

Hi Chloé, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey there, thank you! I’m an LA born and raised singer-songwriter and my music reflects that Southern California sound. I sometimes play live with a band, and most often as a duo with an incredible guitar player who sings harmonies with me.

How did you initially start creating music?
I have been writing by myself since I was eleven. When I moved to Nashville at eighteen for university, I began collaborating with all sorts of writers/producers/musicians of all ages and levels. I spent seven years based there, splitting my time between there and LA, writing hundreds of songs and figuring out what sound was most authentic to me. 

Your single ‘Messy’ is out – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the track?
‘Messy’ is about finding acceptance for the ups and downs in life and is a reminder to celebrate just being alive despite the BS. I wanted to tell two stories, one focusing on the very relatable comparison to social media following this girl Jane who hates her job. The other is following Ricky, a former college star who gets addicted to opiates. Both stories are super conversational and rather blunt because I wanted it to be relatable. They are both fictitious characters, but we all know a Jane and we all know a Ricky of sorts. We might be them. I wanted a song that brought some positive light, but in a way that wasn’t cheesy or preachy – just honest. The track has that combo of organic old school feel and electronic pop that thematically kind of represents not only my roots, but also our warped perception of reality and false perfection. 

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Taylor Swift and Jewel, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Those are pretty awesome artists to be compared to! I’d say a huge part of my influence comes from the ’60s and ’70s like Stevie Nicks, Carole King, Prince…etc. But I’m also influenced by artists from the early noughties when I was growing up; power female artists like Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch were massive inspirations, with those great honest lyrics and pop melodies. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Between LA and Nashville, there is SO much music it’s ridiculous. I love seeing new artists especially in really intimate venues. I also love seeing artists that are nothing like me, it’s always a great learning experience. 

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
They are really personal, I love talking to crowd and telling the stories behind my songs. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! I’m a huge fan of Andreas Moe, such a chill vibe. 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
There’s definitely a lot of noise and it’s not easy to break through the mould especially with social media’s algorithms, advertisements, etc. But, if you can find a select group of people that are true fans and cater to them/talk to them/remain authentic, it may be small and slow at first but it’ll be far more long lasting than trying to “buy” people on board. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
Music, music, and more new music. I want to give my fans consistency with my releases, music they can count on on a regular basis and the good news is, the music is ready! I also think it’ll be a lot more global of a year – I hope to travel to create more music and also play shows. 

Huge thanks to Chloé for answering our questions! 

‘Messy’ is out now via AWAL.

FIVE FAVOURITES: CRONICLE

Swedish artist CRONICLE may have cut her teeth playing in punk-pop band Tantrum to Blind, but now she’s exploring her song-writing talent through the medium of brooding electronica. CRONICLE (aka Melanie Mohlkert) has shared three singles to date, with her most recent offering ‘Bruises’ focusing on the aftermath of a relationship.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with CRONICLE to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to her track ‘Bruises’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be
Taking Back Sunday is the band I still call my favourite band of all time. It’s kind of funny actually, because the first time I heard one of their songs I was like “What the hell is this noise?” but I was 13 years old and my (really cool) cousin who’s just one year older than me was super into them, so I was intrigued.

Then diving into their music opened up a whole new world for me. I was already a big fan of bands like Nirvana, The Offspring, Millencolin and Good Charlotte, but these guys were just something else. Their angsty and raw vocals with intense, emotional lyrics that literally have no filter at all, backed with sick guitar riffs and energetic drums just made me FEEL so much. It was like an amplifier to your heart and soul at that age and to be honest, it still is. I love this band so much. I feel like their way of phrasing what you want to say in lyrics, their guitar riffs and emotion will always be one of the core pedestals in me as a songwriter. Being able to show how you can be hurt and vulnerable with your music but at the same time saying “f*ck you” is definitely something they taught me about, and I’m forever grateful for that.

2. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days
This album is f*cking incredible. I actually can’t remember when I came across it first, I think it might have been that I fell in love with Ellie’s song ‘Figure 8’ and after that, checked out the whole album and damn, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It definitely was my first proper introduction to the electronic pop world and those kind of soundscapes. I think there are parts of this album that are pretty similar to the whole emo alternative rock elements I’m so in love with. To be honest ‘Figure 8’ would make a sick emo rock song, but here the electric guitars are kind of replaced with heavy synthesisers instead. I think that’s what I fell for. I also love, love, love the vocal production, how her voice is often used as an instrument. Then there are these rough organic sounding instrumentals, mixed with amazing electronic sounds. Ellie has generally really inspired me and been a big role model as the badass female solo artist that she is. I’m not a huge fan of the direction she’s taken musically over the last few years, but she’ll always have place in my heart.

3. K.Flay – Life As A Dog
I think it was in 2014, when my band had split up and I started getting really into electronic music that some friends of mine sent me a link to K.Flay’s tunes. They had just been doing Warped Tour in the US and got to know her because she was playing the festival too. They were like “Mel you’re gonna LOVE this chick” and oh my, they were right. I was hooked by the first synth that hit my ears in ‘Make Me Fade’ and K.Flay’s amazing whisky voice, smart, full of attitude lyrics and awesome beats. There’s also some electric guitars and bass, cutting through the production here and there and it’s simply a mix of everything I love.

The fact that she’s this awesome smart rapper just makes her pretty much royalty to me. Her Majesty K.Flay – the Queen of everything. I was at her first ever London show when she supported Lights and nobody really knew who she was. I had brought some friends with me who really dug her too after my passionate introduction and we were in the back of the room, jumping and singing along to her set. Her manager caught our little private party in the crowd and had to come up and ask how we knew about her. Then the craziest thing of this story here is that I actually got to support her when she had her first headline show in London and that was my first ever Cronicle show!

4. Twenty One Pilots – Blurry Face
I remember seeing ads on YouTube for their music videos and I thought to myself that there was just something really cool and real about them. After checking out the album I was a fan for life. I feel like I’ve always been really drawn to artists who are genuine and speak the truth in their music and these guys definitely do that. They also know how to write BANGERS. This is my “pick me up” album. It’s the one that I turn on loud as f*ck in the morning to get me going, to get my mood right for the day. I also love driving (read speeding) and skating to it. They are incredible musicians, performers and Tyler’s lyrics are just something else.

I will forever regret that I missed Reading Festival a couple of years ago when they played it. I was sat home behind my laptop watching their set online and even just through the 13” screen their show was absolutely mind-blowing. I also really respect how much hard work they’ve put into their career in terms of playing shows, touring so much of the world before they “made it”. They’re the real deal and I’m stoked to see how huge they are today, it gives hope to someone like me.

5. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
What can I say, how can you not love this album? Lana is an incredible songwriter and she really knows how to drag you into her world and turn you into an addict. This album is the soundtrack to my summers spent broken hearted and lost. It made them more beautiful somehow. I’m so captivated by her voice and lyrics and again, the production is a mix of organic instruments and electronic elements – my favourite thing. Lana is sharing sadness and pain in a proud way and there’s just something so empowering about that. I feel proud to be a woman with a broken heart not afraid to share my deepest pain because of her.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her favourites with us!Follow CRONICLE on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut