Introducing Interview: Eilis Frawley

Already known to us as one half of duo Party Fears, Berlin based artist Eilis Frawley has now got our attention with a stirring new solo release.

Combining poignant spoken word lyricism with throbbing beats and twinkling ethereal electro soundscapes, ‘illusions’ reflects on the pressures of modern day life and the effects it can have on our mental health.

We caught up with Eilis to find out more…

Hi Eilis, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
Hey! I’m a drummer, playing in Party Fears and I Drew Blank, and more recently as a solo performer working with spoken word, drums and samples. 

We already know you as one half of art-pop duo Party Fears, but what inspired you to start this solo project, and how did it come about?
I had been thinking about it for a number of years but I can’t sing (or play a more ‘solo’ friendly instrument), and was unsure of what medium I could create something in. Last year I applied for a job in a circus (truth!) and they asked me to send a video of me playing/using electronics (tbh I probably wasn’t qualified for the job), which was the birth of the ‘Intellectual Men’ video I put out last year; much to my surprise it got a lot of attention, and I started to think maybe the world is big enough for exactly that, a solo drummer with spoken word. 

Your stirring new single ‘illusions’ is out now – can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m fascinated by the various masks people wear to function in society. We show ourselves so differently on social media, towards people we love and towards strangers. We’re living in a time of extreme busy-ness and I think it takes a real toll on peoples mental health, so wanted to touch on that. 

Your music is pretty unique and I wouldn’t ever try to pigeon hole it into one genre, but who or what would you consider to be your main inspirations for this new project?
I’ve been fan girl-ing Tune-yards for years, I love the layers she uses and how unapologetic she is in her style. Holy Fuck and Battles are also huge inspirations for pad/synth/soundscapes.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
The music scene in Berlin is large and diverse. We’re extremely lucky to get so many bands coming through on tour. Any night of the week there’s a possibility to see a show. I try to go to a gig every week – sometimes it doesn’t happen, but other weeks I go to three! 

And what can we expect from your solo live show?
You can expect it to be loud, and hopefully reflective. I hope people can relate to my stories of feminism, growing up, living abroad, mental health and the general feeling of being an ‘outsider’. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
So many! I made a tour playlist full of new releases (mostly) by upcoming artists. Have a listen here. For Berlin Bands: People Club, SchnickSchnack, Aporia, Jaguwar, Shybits, Gym Tonic.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I hands down don’t understand the industry. There seems to be a lot going on and there are plenty of blogs/promoters/playlists, but be dammed if I understand anything about algorithms. At the moment I’m trying to just work with people who are decent and genuinely interested in my music. If the industry is a deep sea, everyone is trying to be in the reef!

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for you and your solo work?
I have plans to go back into the recording studio at the end of November, and another single to come out by the end of the year. In December/January I will be soaking up the sun in Australia, spending some time with my family and also playing a few shows.

Massive thanks to Eilis for answering our questions! 

‘illusions’ is out now, via Reckless Yes. Buy on Bandcamp. And catch Eilis live on tour:

30th October – Earth, London
31st October – Hatch, Sheffield
1st November – The Old Abbey, Manchester
2nd November – The Gallery, Leicester (w/ Amateur Pop)

Photo Credit: Nina Hynes

LISTEN: People Club – ‘Kil Scott’

Laid back, hazy beats and smooth vocals permeate ‘Kil Scott’, the latest single from Berlin five-piece People Club. The track shares the same title as the band’s upcoming EP, which is set for release on 15th November.

Accompanied by an animated video which was shot and directed by Morioh Sonder, ‘Kil Scott’ is a sultry tune that explores the perspective of an uneasy gold-digger who is waiting for her decrepit husband to die. The band’s seductive soundscape provides the perfect backdrop for this tale of inner conflict.

It’s a fitting track for an EP that’s based around the destruction of a fictional character – Scott – who embodies all of the values that the band themselves dislike. Singing about issues like sexism, racism, homophobia, the band’s distinctive aesthetic blends lyrical social commentary with a classic soul ensemble with a generous helping of lavish effects and synthesizers.

People Club are set to play at The Islington on 28th November, so if you like the sound of ‘Kil Scott’, grab a ticket here. Listen to their new track below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

People Club Live Dates 2019
4th October – Workmans Club, DUBLIN
21st November – Club Acud, BERLIN
28th November – The Islington, LONDON

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: Mexican Radio

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.

We caught up with Dyan from the band to find out more…

Hi Dyan, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hello Get In Her Ears! We of Mexican Radio are a synth punk trio out of Berlin. We wear uniforms at all times, limit ourselves to our setup of synths, vocals and drums (no stringed instruments), and pride ourselves on our high-energy music and performances. We celebrate our weirdness and want to connect with others who do the same.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Nathaniel (lead vocals/synths/effects) and I moved over to Germany from California with our old band The Blood Arm in 2011. Hannes (drums/vocals), originally from Berlin, was playing with his band The Mokkers and we all met through the rock scene here in around 2016. Nathaniel and Hannes are obsessed with The Fall. They formed a German-language Fall cover band (Der Sturz, German for “The Fall”) and roped me into playing keys with them. It was mostly just for fun, but we played a few wild shows. The guitarist and bass player of Der Sturz had other projects on the go, so after a couple of months they decided to move on. Hannes, Nathaniel and I looked at each other and asked, “can we keep going?”. We had learned so much from playing The Fall’s unique brand of intensely repetitive music with powerful vocals and bizarre lyrics, we wondered what would happen if we took that inspiration and tried making something of our own. And so, out of the ashes of Der Sturz, Mexican Radio was born.

Your new single ‘Night of the Nihilist’ is out – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the track?
The song was inspired by the Russian nihilist movement from the 1860s and makes reference to the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. The narrator of the song also takes influence from the nihilist character Bazarov from Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons. The song is about rejecting everything, wreaking righteous havoc and still managing to have a good time in the process. Out of all our songs, this one is the most closely tied to techno music. Berlin is world-renowned for its club scene, and this is the closest we’ll probably get to it. Anyone who has been to a club here has seen a special kind of reckless abandon that can only come when people completely let themselves go in an environment with almost no limitations – so referencing this musical style when singing about hedonism, chaos and destroying everything seems to make sense. There’s also a conspiratorial vibe to the song – it’s almost like a manifesto written behind closed doors by people who are eager to unleash their “holy hate” on the world outside as soon as the sun comes up, once they’ve finished dancing the night away.

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of The Fall and Chicks On Speed, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Well, since we started as a German-language Fall cover band, I would consider us to be fairly high-level Fall obsessives. Mark E. Smith and crew have definitely been a big influence on us – in fact, we went on a band field trip to what ended up being the last ever Fall show in Berlin, and Hannes and Nathaniel ran on stage to kiss Mark E. Smith on either side of his face, I suppose in an attempt to absorb some of his magic. I was meant to photograph the incident, but in my excitement the picture ended up being very blurry (which the boys have not let me forget since!), but I think there is some video of it online somewhere. Other than that, we take a lot of inspiration from Neue Deutsche Welle bands and bands from Berlin in particular. When Nathaniel and I first moved here nine years ago, I was eager to follow in the footsteps of other musicians who have come here to find inspiration – David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, etc. However, in the last few years, I’ve been discovering more and more of Berlin’s homegrown musical history. Bands like Malaria!, Ideal and of course Einstürzende Neubauten came out of 1980s West Berlin, and have been hugely influential for us as a band. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Berlin is primarily known as a techno city, but there are actually a lot of very exciting punk and rock bands playing around town. The city has a tradition of fostering innovative music – punk and rock venues like SO36, Kirche von Unten, and Schokoladen give space to all kinds of emerging talent. The city’s countercultural DIY aesthetic encourages everyone to work together and get involved in each others’ projects – the goal is not commercial, but rather to create something interesting and inspiring.We’re also very eager consumers of new music – so much so that we host a monthly radio show on KCRW Berlin called The Mexican Radio Radio Show, on which we play our favourite bands, old and new, and feature interviews with musicians we think are cool. We go to a lot of shows to find new bands and to interview people on tour – we’ve had Ian Svenonius, Surfbort, Alex Kapranos/Franz Ferdinand, IDLES, Ezra Furman and many other cool musicians on the show so far, with future episodes featuring Amyl and the Sniffers, Death Valley Girls, John Dwyer/Thee Oh Sees, Stereo Total and more exciting guests!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Our shows are like a psychotic radio broadcast from another planet – I am the hostess of the show, and I try to run a tight ship that relentlessly charges through until we hit the last notes. We wear uniforms at all times (the stage uniform is a red jumpsuit with a white lightning bolt emblazoned on it, and we have separate uniforms for offstage). We are a gang, and want to inspire the audience to join us.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Nathaniel just sent me the new Dry Cleaning EP Sweet Princess this morning, and I loved it. There is a very cool modern Anne Clark vibe to them, and they wrote the only post-punk song about Meghan Markle that I am aware of, which makes them great in my book!

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 and no. Obviously the internet allows everyone to put their music out there, it’s just a question as to whether anyone will listen to it. Streaming platforms are getting more and more sophisticated about connecting listeners with new music they might like, so hopefully that will allow the little guys to get a bit more exposure than they may have in the past. Ultimately though, you just have to play a lot of shows and go to a lot of shows if you want people to hear your music and meet people who might be able to help you get a foot in the door. It’s all about hard work, diplomacy, stealth and charm!

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Mexican Radio?
Our album Destruction / Reconstruction comes out on 20th September, so we’ll be working hard to promote that with press and as many shows as we can play. We’d like to play outside of Germany and make it over the UK either this year or the beginning of next year, and in addition to producing The Mexican Radio Radio Show, we plan to start writing the next record. Our first album Mexican Radio (2018) was our white album, Destruction / Reconstruction is our red album, so now it’s time to write the black one to complete the trilogy.

Massive thanks to Dyan from Mexican Radio for answering our questions! 

Destruction / Reconstruction, the upcoming album from Mexican Radio, is out 20th September via R.I.P. Ben Lee Records. 

FIVE FAVOURITES: Gurr

After the recent release of their new EP She Says, German duo Gurr have been busy touring and making plans for the rest of 2019. The new songs are a poignant observation on the world’s indifference to the opinions of others. We caught up with bandmates Laura Lee & Andreya Casablanca to talk about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced their own songwriting. Check out their choices below, and take note of their upcoming tour dates at the end of this post!

LAURA

1. Oasis – What’s the Story Morning Glory
It’s not only my favorite album, I think it’s also the best second album of all time. To top a debut album with a second album like this – including songs like Champagne ‘Supernova’ – just deserves all my respect.

2. Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
It really amazed me how few people know about this band: Very crafty sounds, amazing recordings, seems like they have great artistic integrity as a band… I really wish they were more famous and also don’t at the same time.

3. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
After my Oasis obsession, Deerhunter and especially Halcyon Digest were the first band to really pick me up again and get me excited about current music. So thanks for that!

4. Carole King – Tapestry
I found out about Carole King way too late in my life. Also BECAUSE SHE NEVER MAKES THESE KINDS OF BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIMES LISTS and I really don’t understand why.

5. The Sound – Jeopardy
Maybe I would say this is the greatest album of all time (to me). It’s just pure perfection to me, the compilation of songs, the order, … everything!

ANDREYA

1. Le Tigre – Feminist Sweepstakes
This is the first album that I heard a more experimental approach to music with adding synth and random stuff. I was so into Le Tigre and their aesthetic, I listened to this album from top to end in my teenage bedroom at night.

2. Sonic Youth – Goo
I used to go to the record store and just try to learn indie music history by listening through records – this record was a little hard for me to grasp but it opened a weird world of eerie vibes and “anything goes” and it totally made me feel like I am special back then haha.

3. Be your own Pet – Be your own Pet
I rarely listen to BYOP anymore but I DEVOURED this album and it basically shaped so much of my songwriting as a teen- that it can just be weird and repetitive chord progressions, loud and noisy, confusing lyrics and high energy. Jemina Pearl and Karen O were definitely my icons back then.

4. Avril Lavigne – Let Go
This album is brilliant. So many good pop songs that I can still sing along to today even though I don’t want to?

5. Supergrass – I should Coco
I actually don’t know why I loved and love this album so much but I listened to it a lot and especially enjoyed the squeeky voices- “She’s so loose” made me jam on open dissonant chords for DAYS. Love it.

Gurr Tour Dates 2019
14.06.2019 – GER Mannheim – Maifield Derby
18.06.2019 – USA Brooklyn – Rough Trade (in-store showcase, duo performance)
19.06.2019 – USA New York City – Rockwood Hall w/ Surfbort
21.06.2019 – GER Scheeßel – Hurricane Festival
22.06.2019 – GER Neuhausen ob Eck, DE – Southside Festival
30.06.2019 – GER Paderborn, DE – Wintergrün Festival
13.07.2019 – HU Banki-to Bank – Bankito Festival
26.07.2019 – GER Eltville am Rhein – Heimspiel Knyphausen
27.07.2019 – UK Oxfordshire, UK – Truck Festival
02.08.2019 – AT Lustenau – Szene Open Air Lustenau
03.08.2019 – CH Olten – Olten Open Air
09.08.2019 – GER Rees – Haldern Pop Festival
10.08.2019 – GER Konigs Wusterhausen – Bergfunk
31.08.2019 – GER Stade – Müssen Alle Mit
11.10.2019 – UK London – The Lexington
13.10.2019 – GER Düsseldorf – New Fall Festival

Thanks to Laura & Andreya for sharing their favourite with us. Follow Gurr on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Video Premiere: Varley – ‘Proof’

Formed on the way home after a night of bowling, Berlin-based Varley have amassed more than 1.6 million plays, with their debut single ‘Roamer’ peaking at #23 in the Spotify Viral Charts. Following the equally captivating ‘Lonely Were The Days’, and having enchanted us with their live performance at one of our Notting Hill Arts Club showcases, the trio have now returned with a sparkling new offering.

‘Proof’ flows with chiming waves of synth and bright, infectious beats, providing a sweeping backdrop to Claire-Ann Varley’s luscious rich vocals, with shades of Aussie songwriter Julia Stone. A truly dreamy slice of ethereal indie-pop, it oozes a twinkling uplifting splendour that’ll stick in your ears on first listen.

Of the track, Claire-Ann explains:

“‘Proof’ was written just as Summer 2018 was coming to an end and tells the story of two people, who both know that whatever they have together is coming to an end but they are not quite ready to let it go. It follows them on their last adventure, their last road trip and their last few minutes together. It’s actually a positive song because even though they aren’t going to be together anymore, they still care about each other and want their last moments to count.

Filmed while the band were on a trip to New York, watch the nostalgia-tinged new video for ‘Proof’, for the first time, here:

‘Proof’ is out now via Seahorse Music. Listen on Spotify. Catch Varley live at the following dates:

23rd May – Auster Club, Berlin
24th May – Freundlich + Kompetent, Hamburg

Mari Lane
@marimindles

WATCH: Gurr – ‘She Says’

A hazy ode to being on the road and ricocheting between emotions; Gurr have shared visuals to accompany their new track ‘She Says’. Taken from their new EP of the same name which is set for release on 5th April, the Berlin duo blend dream-pop and psych sensibilities on their new tune.

They’ll be releasing four videos from the EP, and ‘She Says’ is the first from the collection. Speaking about the footage, Laura Lee explains: “We collected all this footage during our our summer of festivals last year. It was a bit of a schizophrenic time as we were always going back and forth between these positive festival vibes to the quietness and reality of home. That is what we were going for in the video”

She Says was recorded with New York producer Mathew Molner (Sunflower Bean, Friends) and Berlin based producer Tobi Kuhn at the UFO studios in Berlin. The band will play at SXSW in March this year and will be touring in Germany in April too. Watch the video for ‘She Says’ below and follow Gurr on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Hope – ‘Drop Your Knives’

Praised by Idles and set to headline London’s Sebright Arms on 20th October: Berlin four-piece Hope have shared new track ‘Drop Your Knives’. It’s a visceral exploration of refusal, anger, desire and love – and the track is accompanied by a stark set of visuals, directed by Riccardo Bernardi.

Taken from their self-titled 2018 EP (released via Haldern Pop), ‘Drop Your Knives’ contrasts dark emotions with stomping, upbeat electronics and percussion. The blurred monochrome visuals – interspersed with faded stripes of red – reflect the band’s artistic direction, as singer Christine Börsch-Supan explains: “The black aesthetic is not the same “black” of Wave or Gothic bands, but the unpretentious black of Talk Talk. A black which lets you forget the Jazz, the academics, and the provinces that we come from.”

With their optimistic name and dark but detailed outlook: we can see why Hope are catching the attention of audiences and artists alike. Watch the video for ‘Drop Your Knives’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Riccardo Bernardi

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut