INTERVIEW: Beckie Margaret

Since the release of her debut single ‘Cars & Catacombs’ via Cool Thing Records in 2017, Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret has been working hard crafting cinematic, reflective soundscapes about her experiences as a young woman. With her latest single ‘Divine Feminine’ she’s reaching new heights in terms of artistic confidence, and strengthening our belief that she’s one of the most naturally gifted songwriters we’ve had the pleasure of listening to. We had a quick catch up with Beckie to talk about her latest single, her upcoming debut album, her memories of the Sofar Sounds & GIHE gig she played just before the first lockdown in March, and whether there might be a seasonal single on the horizon…

Hello Beckie, how have you been coping and staying creative during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s definitely been difficult to stay creative during Covid. I’ve really had to remind myself to unlock that child-like mind set so I can then sit down and write or create. I definitely have to work in short, quick bursts now though, otherwise the stresses of the world seep into my work.

You’ve just released your new single ‘Divine Feminine’. Talk us through what inspired you to write it.
The main thing that inspired ‘Divine Feminine’ was the observation of people that drain your energy and keep you from reaching your highest self. I think in your 20’s you realise that not everyone has your best interests at heart, so it’s a semi diss track I suppose. I like to think it reflects the aggression of this year in many ways.

You’ve been busy recording your debut album this year. Talk us through some of the highlights of the process, and what your anticipations are for the record once it’s complete.
I’m very much a studio girl so making an album was very special, especially at SS2 with Rees Broomfield who is absolutely incredible and completely understood my creative vision. Having Rees as well as my band to help with hybrid tracking on some of the more organic tunes really made the whole experience perfect. I already can’t wait to record another, everyday was a highlight to be honest.

You played live for GIHE & Sofar Sounds in March about a week before the first lockdown was put into place. What are your main memories from this night?
That was my first Sofar Sounds, so for it to be a GIHE event too was lovely. A really tender night full of honest acts and a respectful audience. As well as the hosting being amazing by Kate and Tash/ I’m glad it was the last gig I played before lockdown, it for sure kept me going thinking about how wholesome the evening was.

Any artists or bands you can recommend we listen to at the moment?
Arlo Parks’ writing is amazing, I’ve been listening to her a lot. I have had slowthai on repeat as well.

Finally, Christmas is coming up…have you ever been tempted to work your magic on a festive classic?
I literally say this every year, I WILL write a Christmas song! I’m so up for it. I would so channel a Coldplay Christmas song vibe, on my list of things to do…

Thanks to Beckie for chatting to us!
Follow her on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credit: Antonio Milevcic

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Get In Her Ears w/ ZAND 15.10.20

Tash & Kate were back in the Hoxton Radio studio this week with loads of new tunes from women & non-binary artists. They also caught up with “ugly pop” artist ZAND to talk about their recent single ‘Slut Money’, their feature in British Vogue’s ‘I Feel Pride’ campaign, and their upcoming EP…

Listen back:

Tracklist
The Selecter – On My Radio
Isabelle Brown – In Your Head
Laura Fell – Cold
CIRCE – Ruined Your Sons
Babeheaven – Craziest Things
Nuala Honan – Day To Day
Rosie Shaw – Temporary Love
Opal Onyx – Lover’s Toil
Pao Pestana – Quiero Verte
Morgan – Alien
Celaviedmai – Reckless
Tamar Aphek – Show Me Your Pretty Side
Serena Isioma – King
Witch Prophet – TESFAY
ZAND – Slut Money
**ZAND Interview**
Rachael Lavelle – Perpetual Party
Sans Soucis – Air
Seagoth – Dreamworld
ARXX – Call Me Crazy
Moglii ft. LissA – Skoda
JEEN – Idols
Swallow Cave – Cold Moon
Tolu Makay – Don’t Let Go
Bugeye – When The Lights Go Out
Winifred Atweel – The Black and White Rag

INTERVIEW: Amaroun

We were first introduced to the sultry beats of London-based artist Amaroun in 2017, and we’ve been following her ever since. Her personal, instinctive song-writing and her blurring of musical genres has kept us intrigued with each new release. Tash Walker caught up with Amaroun to ask about her latest single, how she’s coping during the current lockdown, and her cathartic song-writing process…

Hello Amaroun, it’s been awhile since we last caught up. How have you been?
I’ve actually been great considering the times we are in. Music is the ultimate escape and it’s been keeping me balanced and grateful just like it always does in hard times.

We’ve been fans of yours here at GIHE for a while now, and we’re loving your new sound! Can you tell us more about the music you’ve started releasing?
I’ve always written music that just follows my instincts and isn’t about over thinking, so I’m taking that attitude with my releases. This new sound is a new found confidence I have in trusting my own decisions, and putting loving what I do at the heart of the creative process.

You’re releasing a track a month this year. Three months in, how’s that going?
I love it! If I had it my way I’d release weekly. I love to capture the feelings of any given moment. Like a musical photograph. It’s an absolute buzz for me to make music and share it as the moment unfolds. It’s deeply cathartic.

We love your track ‘Perish’. Its stripped back style reminds me a bit of Tirzah. What would you say has been influencing this slightly different direction?
Along with trusting the sounds that a pouring out of me is a process of pure experimentation and feeling a vibe.

Your music is very personal, would you say the writing process is almost cathartic?
It it total catharsis. I write for fun, for therapy, for the people I love and it’s actually habitual now.

Can you tell us a bit more about the themes that we can hear in your music and what you draw from your own experiences?
My writing draws from my experiences of growing up in a fiercely religious environment where being queer was not acceptable, and explores the challenges I faced and continue to in establishing what it means to be an out queer black British Jamaican woman. I come from a long lineage of courageous women that have found ways to share their story and I feel very passionate about sharing mine.

Your releases so far have been picked up and played by Radio 1, 6 Music, and you’ve been to a countless number of festivals! How’s that been? Quite the whirlwind?
It’s exactly what brings me joy so it’s been great. I did have a break from the whirlwind over the past couple of years. I went through a process of hibernation and development to get where I am now, the team around me has changed, I have changed and so has the sound. I’m really glad to be back to releasing music, I played a my first sell out gig of the year back in February, and I can’t wait to perform some more once we are out of isolation.

Do you have any particular highlights so far?
My highlight will always be Glastonbury. The energy there is electric. Cant wait for it to make a come back in 2021, and I need to get back there!

We saw the raw version of your latest release ‘Rosey’ on your IGTV (which was beautiful). How did that moment come about?
I met one of my good friends Adam Cleaver (Dyvr) to do a collaboration and catch up. Boris Le Chaixe joined us, who I worked on ‘Rosey’ with. We ended up at Peckham Levels, it used to be a car park, the acoustics are unreal. My girlfriend found the perfect spot and started filming. Adam and I covered ‘Losing You’ by Solange, and Boris and I just felt the vibe and had to let ‘Rosey’ flow out too. The whole thing was really relaxed and natural, I love when things just fall in to place like that.

We’re really looking forward to hearing what’s to come, music is our survival at the moment. How you are feeling about the lockdown situation right now?
It feels music is more important now than ever. Music connects us, it’s how we communicate, it’s how we unite. People all across the music industry are being so heavily impacted, but it’s amazing to see how people are getting around these with live streams and sharing the music they’ve already made. It’s a really tough time for the industry, but seeing how people have responded as reminded me what I love about the spirit of musicians.

For me, it’s really fueled my writing. I’ve channeled all my anxieties and fears into creating, and with extra time on my hands I feel like I’ve been really productive. Being or feeling isolated in one form or another has often pushed me on to a path where I do my best writing. All this being said, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the global crisis. I really hope we can come together and overcome this tough time.

Thanks to Amaroun for answering our questions. Follow her on Spotify & Instagram for more updates.