Introducing Interview: Lena Hessels

Having previously been featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday NL, Dutch artist Lena Hessels is now set to release her new EP, then when will it, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘fast lights‘ shimmers with an exquisite twinkling allure. As a majestic, haunting atmosphere is created, Hessels’ celestial vocals soar with an emotion-rich splendour.

To celebrate the release of ‘fast lights’, we caught up with Lena to find out more about what inspires her, live music and what the future holds… Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the luscious ‘fast lights’!

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Get In Her Ears! Thanks for having me! I’m Lena Hessels, I’m 21 and I make abstract pop music. Oh, and I’m from Holland.

How did you initially start creating music?
Well, my dad is a guitarist in a band called The Ex, and the house I grew up in was a place where a lot of befriended musicians would stay if they were on tour in Holland. So, growing up I was surrounded by a lot of different music and people. My mom always tells me that I was singing before I could speak, and I believe her! I was always singing, all the fucking time. I loved it, still do! I was very fascinated by all these older people I saw who were playing shows. I knew then that that was what I wanted, so every chance I got I performed songs for people! Then, when I was about six I got a little mp3 recorder from my parents. I started recording all these very long story songs on that. I actually found a couple of them last year on my mom’s old computer, and one of them was also the inspiration for my previous single ‘crown’. Pretty cool, I think. But the first song I actually recorded with instruments and stuff was when I was eight – it was called ‘Dubbel Drop’ (dubbel licorice): my favourite Dutch candy. A couple years later I discovered Taylor Swift – a true pop-star! Pop music was something I discovered then and felt that was what I wanted. I started playing guitar and got obsessed with writing songs. Now we’re here!

Your new single ‘fast lights’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Lyrically this song is about having a fun weekend with your friends at a festival. Throughout the song, the festival comes to an end and as you reach the outro, you’re in the car driving home and reflecting on the weekend – your life, growing up and how that all works. I think I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s not a sad song in any way, more like a moment of thought.

You’ve been compared to the likes of FKA Twigs and James Blake, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love both FKA Twigs and James Blake very much! For me it all started with Taylor Swift, so she’ll always be an inspiration. Her music is great, also her career and how she works the industry is super interesting to me. I also really look up to ROSALIA and Sevdaliza. I love artists who experiment and mix different styles of music and really make their sound their own.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I am based in Amsterdam right now. There is a very rich indie band scene here, which is a lot of fun! I feel like everybody is very supportive of each other’s music here, which is really cool. I really enjoy going to gigs, it’s one of my favourite things to do; it’s so inspiring and interesting to see people perform. And we do have some nice venues here, and touring is slowly starting up again, so there are a lot of cool gigs to look forward to. I haven’t really found the pop/electronic music scene yet here in Amsterdam, that is something I hope to find soon!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I hope to give a high energy show. Together with Cris Mollee, I’ve made this sick light installation. When I perform I’m alone on stage, so I really wanted something to complement the music and myself. I think it works really well. I have only played a couple of shows, but I really hope to play more. My main goal right now is to go on tour – performing is one of my favourite things to do! It makes me feel so happy and full, I hope people watching the show also feel that.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
First there is Personal Trainer – they are a great band! The front person lives above me, haha. So definitely check them out! And Raven Artson is really cool – I saw him preform a couple of weeks ago, that was great!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yes, I feel that since covid the music industry is even more saturated than before. There is just so much music out there. But if you make good music people will find you even if it takes some time, I know that. To get noticed in a different country is even more abstract because you don’t know the environment as well as in your own country. I would love to get played in the UK and play shows there! So, I’m really happy with this interview.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Lena Hessels?
There is a lot more music coming! This year I’m releasing three EPs in total – I’m really looking forward to it! I am probably going to be working on a lot more music. I really hope to grow as an artist and performer, and I want to learn and get better at my craft. My biggest goal for this year is definitely to play a lot of shows, and I really hope to play my first UK shows – so if you have any gigs for me, let me know, I’ll be there!

Massive thanks to Lena Hessels for answering our questions!

The second in a series of three EPs that Hessels plans to release, then when will it is due out on 13th July, and is produced by Tender Blom (guitarist of Pip Blom).

Introducing Interview: Meduse MagiQ

Meduse MagiQ is an innovative arts collective and music label based in Amsterdam. It serves as a community focused on sound that supports locals bands and artists to explore music through collaboration, art, performance and exhibition.

We spoke to its founders to find out more…

Welcome to Get In Her Ears!  Can you tell us a bit about Meduse MagiQ and how it all started?
Meduse MagiQ is a sound and art collective driven by our love for music. We are a record label, a radio station and a recording studio that are located in the centre of Amsterdam in a building with a theatre, a venue and a vegetarian restaurant called ‘Plantage Dok’. We share our headquarters with 50 creatives consisting of artists, ngo’s, food waste collectives, tattoo artists and experimental composers. We started the Meduse MagiQ collective a couple of years ago when we decided it was time for a community that was about sound and only sound. We wanted to support our local bands, artists and our creative network and bring back the focus to art and music. I can see at Meduse MagiQ you are focused on giving musicians their own voice and space to explore music through collaboration, art, performance and exhibition.

What have you been most proud of so far at Meduse MagiQ?
We are dreamers. The most proud we are of daring to dream and the materialization of those dreams. All projects, collaboration and tours came from an open and curious mind. Blue Crime driving 9500km trough Canada, Spill Gold going trough Switzerland and filming in the snowy mountains, making new records in China, the Moon Festival, our research in the Sahara desert and our summer festival in a small french Village in the south are all examples and started with a simple conversation in our studio. We never say no to the possibility of a sonic adventure.

So you’re both in bands – Blue Crime and Spill Gold – can you tell me about about them?
Our bands and musical collectives are a creative group of people where everyone is equally important, whatever it is that they do in the band. We go for unity. Spill Gold is a psychedelic three-piece that unwinds vivid, spiralling stories with their eerie yet persistent songs and brings listeners into a trance-like state. They saw the sirens– and just like that, as they were sitting in the rain, daydreaming on a foggy mountain trip with Japhy Ryder, witnessed the rising of an unusual new moon. A revelation that would not be contained, an unrelenting vision that demanded to be shared. Blue Crime’s stars have a gloomy shine, inspired by myths and dreams and parallel universes. Earth felt too low; space is the place. They started out as a glowworm in a dark atom shelter, and emerged as eerie moonpop, growing grittier in time. Call it moonpsych, noisefolk, call it earthquakes with guitars and vocal eclipses. Or just feel it, and call it nothing at all. Be it love or hate, dark or light… Blue Crime shows no mercy for the sober and cold-hearted.

What are your thoughts about female representation in the music industry? 
We love females in the music industry. We love guys in the music industry too. We love genderless. It is true that at the moment the balance between men and women is rather disturbed, like in many parts of society and the world. This is why we like to support women creators and we choose to program them. We don’t think it is important to explicitly focus on gender. A musician is a musician,  whether they are man, woman, both or none. We do think it is important to bring back balance. We should all support each other and create equal chances and conditions. It’s everyone’s job to protect diversity in the music industry. The more diversity there is the more interesting it gets. Music is about free expression and that means that every musician is free to be whatever they are. We think it’s important to focus on the artists’ music instead of their appearance or gender.

If someone wanted to get involved with Meduse MagiQ, would they be able to? If so, how?
Yes they would. Come visit our headquarters. Everyone is welcome to write us if they want to get involved in any way. Mail or letter, sonically or images, feel free to connect. You can find all information on www.medusemagiq.com

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Ada Gadass is our newest project. It consists of a continuous sound wave inspired by the Desert. Spill Gold just has an EP out on our label, called Mercury that they will tour in Canada and Blue Crime is off to China to record ‘Xinshi’, their new art project with a Chinese poet and tour. Soon we’ll start our new program called ‘Melting Universe’ which consists of 5 dialogues between female experimental composers such as Jessica Moss and Baby Alien Collective.

Huge thanks to Meduse MagiQ for answering our questions! 

Spill Gold play MOTH Club on May 27th – tix here