INTERVIEW: Hinako Omori

It’s 9:30pm on a Thursday evening and Hinako Omori has just completed a day of rehearsals with Kae Tempest when we begin speaking over the phone. The London-based musician and sound engineer is incredibly bright and generous with her time as she talks me through the inspirations for her upcoming debut album, a journey…, set for release via Houndstooth on 18th March.

With a hectic schedule as a session musician and a solo artist, it’s unsurprising that Omori has crafted a beautiful, tranquil soundscape on her debut record, underscored by patience, empathy and kindness. a journey… is a gift to listeners who need respite from the overwhelming stresses of daily life – whether that was during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic when it was created, or for the present state of “new normal” that often still sends us spiralling.

Differing from her 2019 EP, Auraelia – which was inspired by her experience of intense migraines that were accompanied by auras and other visual distortions – on a journey…, Omori seeks to further understand the physiological effects that music and sound frequencies have on the body. This exploration includes field recordings with binaural heads, tampering with mood-altering frequencies and inspiration from the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku aka “forest-bathing.” Her music seeks to connect with and understand the human condition in intricate and invigorating ways.

We spoke about the many influences that helped to shape Omori’s debut record, the joy of collaborating with other musicians and artists, and her anticipations for her performance on 19th March in the Purcell Room at Southbank Centre, accompanied by the London Contemporary Orchestra. (you can buy tickets here)

 

Let’s start from the beginning…can you tell us who or what first inspired you to start making your own music?

I feel really lucky, because lots of friends who I admire and I spend a lot of time with have their own musical projects, which has been hugely inspiring.

I think one person that I can definitely can pin point is my friend Hannah Peel. She’s wonderful and I’m such a huge fan of hers. We actually met three or four years ago through a mutual friend and we had these lovely coffee meet ups where we would get together and chat about music. At that point, I was mainly session playing and I hadn’t really made any music of my own. Hannah and I were just getting to know each other when she very kindly asked if I would be interested in doing a remix for her Mary Casio album. My heart was saying “yes!” but I wasn’t entirely sure how, or what I could do at that point. But I jumped at the chance and the remix ended up getting played on 6Music and that was the first instance where I thought “this could really be something.” I really enjoyed the process and there were such kind words from from the output of that, which was a big catalyst for me having the confidence to do more of my own thing.

I remember last year you remixed a track for friend of Get In Her Ears BISHI too. I imagine approaching a remix is completely different to creating your own songs, so what’s the process like each time someone asks you to remix a track for them?

That’s a really good question, I guess it’s a different thought process each time as it’s so specific to the artist’s original music. It’s just an honour to be considered to rework someone’s beautiful music. I always want to make sure I can do it justice in some way. I love spending time with stems to dive into specific sound worlds, because they’re all so beautifully different. So I guess it’s taking those things and trying to craft them into something or shine a light on them that is a little different, that’s the main part of the process. It’s a joy to take something that already exists and is beautiful and make something else from that. It’s a challenge, but in a really fun way. Anything with music is never is never anything other than fun.

I’ve been listening to your debut album, a journey…this, and it really resonated with me and helped me to de-stress after a long day. It’s such a gentle, soothing collection of songs, rooted in a deep sense of calm and peace. I know that you’re inspired by the physiological effects of music and sound frequencies, so can you elaborate on these influences and how you incorporated them into your album?

Thank you so much, I think that’s all I can ever ask for when I make a record really.

It was kind of a patchy process. The album came about from some demos and short synthesiser loops that I’d recorded whenever I was learning a new piece of equipment for a show, or if I’d acquired a new synthesiser. The way that I love getting to know a new piece of equipment is to experiment with it. When I’m experimenting, I hit record and save everything, not necessarily knowing what’s going to be used for something in the future, but so I can always refer back to it. It’s like an audio diary in a way, I squirrel them away on a hard drive.

I had an opportunity last year during the pandemic to take part in an online festival called WOMAD At Home, which is an immersive audio experience. A lovely friend of mine Oli Jacobs who I went to University with, who works as a sound engineer, very kindly sent me an email asking if I’d like to be involved, and I was like, “absolutely!” Firstly, because binaural audio is something I’ve been really interested in for a long time. Although I didn’t do a huge amount of binaural recording at University, I was always really fascinated by it. We had a binaural head there and we’d learned the fundamentals of using it, but I hadn’t really been able to put it into practice much. So I was really excited about that.

When I was given the opportunity to make 40 minutes of music for the festival, I initially thought, “what do I do?” I thought maybe I’d go up there and see what came from an improvisation, being inspired by the surroundings, but then I thought maybe it would be nice to see what material I already had, to take something up there and mix both things together.

So I re-discovered all of these synthesiser loops and I tried to piece them together into a full 40 minute piece of work. Really strangely, when I was assembling all the songs together, I realised that a lot of them just seemed to fit quite naturally in terms of the key that one song finished in and the key that another song started in. It just seemed to somehow magically fit together like a puzzle. I took that and then thought about re-recording some of the parts. That’s kind of where the healing frequencies came in.

I’ve been really interested in binaural beats and how we can train our brains to be in a more relaxed state – alpha, beta, theta, delta. For example, delta waves are said to contribute to deep restorative sleep and healing, and theta waves are supposed to help with creativity, intuition and emotional processing. I wanted to create something for the stressful pandemic situation that we were in at the time, to have something that you can just pop on some headphones and just fully relax.

Mainly, the inspiration for this came from a gong bath I went to just before the pandemic when I was on tour in February 2020 in New York. I just really fully lost myself for the whole time. It was such a beautiful experience. Researching into it and how it works with the frequencies and how that takes our bodies into a more relaxed state, I was really keen to try and incorporate that into the music as well. I recorded some synths and de-tuned some of them to create these binaural beats, so when you’re listening to the record with headphones on, hopefully it will create this relaxing state. I guess the idea of it was to make something that would really promote peace.

I definitely think your records promotes peace. I know you were also inspired by the idea of “forest bathing” as well, can you elaborate on the concepts behind this too?

There’s a term “shinrin yoku” in Japanese, which is kind of a study into nature and the forest and how spending time in a forest environment has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels and is really good for our well-being. So with that in mind, I was really keen to capture some field recordings using a binaural dummy head. I took one out and recorded the nature around me and incorporated that into the music. I was mindful of the fact that not everyone might be able to access nature in the same way – as it was kind of hardcore pandemic time when I was creating it – so I was trying to create an environment where you could just pop on headphones and just immerse yourself in nature for a little bit. I think having the binaural head was such a lovely thing as well, because you really do you feel like there’s a 360 audio experience there too.

Listening to the record feels like a natural form of escapism, I think you’ve captured that beautifully. What would you say you are most proud of about your debut record?

I’ve not really been asked that before! Can I change it to what am I most grateful for? I’m really grateful for the experiences that I’ve had in connecting with with the wonderful team that I’ve worked on the album with. So that’s everyone at Real World studios and everyone at Houndstooth I’ve worked with. I think for my own project, it’s the first time I’ve been able to collaborate with so many creatives who I admire so much. It’s been a huge inspiration and a big learning experience for me as well.

It’s also been fascinating to experience what other people take from the music. I think that’s something that I’m really, really grateful and appreciative of. I’ve worked very closely with a wonderful visual artist called Emi Takahashi whose work I connected with online on a website called itsnicethat.com. I reached out to her not really knowing whether or not she would be interested in working together, but she very kindly was up for collaborating. I think from that, just seeing how she interpreted my music without me explaining much about it and how it naturally connected with her, that was really inspiring for me.

I’m just honoured to able to do this and to be able to call it a job, because it doesn’t really feel like a job!

That’s the dream job!

Do you have a favourite track on the album? If so, why?

I have a track that’s very special to me. It’s a collaboration with a friend called Emily R Grosholz. Emily is an amazing poet, philosopher and a lecturer at Pennsylvania University. We were sat next to each other on a plane about four years ago now, and we had such a lovely chat and a really nice connection. I feel really grateful that we’ve kept in touch and been emailing each other ever since we met.

Emily very kindly sent me a book of her poetry and I was floored by her beautiful words. I immediately felt this pull towards one particular poem in her book Great Circles: The Transits of Mathematics and Poetry. It’s called ‘The Richest Garden in your Memory’ and that screamed out at me, I felt this real urge to put music to it. I asked her if she would be happy for me to do that and she very kindly agreed, so I recorded some piano and synths. I didn’t really want to put too much on it, because I think the words are so powerful and I didn’t want to detract from that. I sent her a demo and it just came about quite quickly and very naturally. Emily was really happy with what I sent over.

That sounds like another very organic collaborative process, which is something that really underscores your album.

How would you say your knowledge and skills as a sound engineer have filtered through into your music?

I studied sound engineering at University, but technically I haven’t worked as an engineer since I left. It’s been so helpful for various projects I’ve worked on though. In terms of working in studios as a session musician, or as a session musician when you’re preparing for a set, it’s really useful to have what I learned at university to guide that. In terms of needing to record something from home to send to other people, especially during the pandemic, it’s been really useful to have a remote recording set up. It’s helped me immensely in creating my own album too. Whatever role you work in in music there are so many things or skills that are interchangeable. So what I learned at University has been a huge help for what I do now.

Finally, you’re playing a show at Southbank Centre with the London Contemporary Orchestra on March 19th to celebrate the release of a journey… What are your anticipations for this performance?

My friend Penelope Trappes played a show there a few weeks ago and it was really magical to hear her music in that setting. I’m just really excited to work with the London Contemporary Orchestra, I’ve been such a big fan of theirs for quite a long time. They have such a unique sound and they can transform something completely. It’s quite a unique format, we rehearse on the day of the show, which is where the collaboration comes about, then we perform it that evening. Being able to perform my music with other such esteemed musicians is an honour.

Pre-order Hinako Omori’s debut album a journey…here

Follow Hinako Omori on bandcampSpotify, InstagramTwitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Annie Lai

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: November 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed more new music gems for you to listen to on our November Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of indie anthems, gritty guitar tunes, alt-pop tracks & immersive electronic sounds. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

 

Problem Patterns – ‘Terfs Out’
Headliners of our gig at The Shacklewell Arms this Friday 3rd December, Northern Irish punks Problem Patterns are total faves with the GIHE, and the immense ‘Terfs Out’ is a sentiment we fully endorse. As the song says, “LGB is nothing if not for the T / So show up with some real solidarity.” I cannot wait to host the band’s first ever London gig and witness their impassioned, frenzied energy live, along with support from pink suits and GUTTS. Get your tickets on DICE now. (Mari Lane)

Agender – ‘No Nostalgia’
The latest release from LA post-punk band Agender. This is the title track from their upcoming album which is set for release in February next year, and it has just the right serving of dysmorphic desire to get your heart beating faster. Enjoy. (Tash Walker)

Momma – ‘Medicine’
A melodic reflection on the intoxicating power of new romance, this single from New York City four-piece Momma is so, so good! Released via Polyvinyl Record Co. & Lucky Number, the track is an aural headrush centered around the passionate emotions that come with an all-consuming crush, full of hazy vocals and infectious guitar riffs. (Kate Crudgington)

VERO – ‘Beg!’
A seething guitar anthem fueled by the anger that’s left behind by a flawed relationship, ‘Beg!’ is the debut single from Stockholm-based trio VERO. Released via PNKSLM and one half of an upcoming 7″ single that’s set for release on 14th January, the track is saturated with brooding bass lines, swirling riffs and stinging vocals. I LOVE it and can’t wait to hear more from the trio next year. (KC)

The Golden Age of TV – ‘What I’ve Been Through’
Leeds art-rockers The Golden Age of TV have shared this loud and vitally important track which, as vocalist Bea Fletcher explains, is “a statement, of sorts, from the perspective of someone who’s experienced sexual violence.” Permeated by raging riffs and Fletcher’s powerful vocals, the track simply asks “for nothing more than to be heard and believed.” (KC)

Sister Ghost – ‘Buried Alive’ 
Derry based duo Shannon Delores O’Neill and Maeve Mulholland – aka Sister Ghost – have just released their brilliantly titled new EP Stay Spooky. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘Buried Alive’ oozes their distinctive swirling, gritty power as soaring impassioned vocals and catchy hooks rage with a seething energy. A perfect slice of sparkling rock ‘n’ roll, exuding a much-needed empowering raucous spirit. Read our recent interview with Shannon here. (ML)

Proper. – ‘Red, White & Blue’
I’m new to Brooklyn punks Proper. but I’m a big fan of this track, which is the first taste of the sound of the band’s upcoming album set for release in 2022. Vocalist & guitarist Erik Garlington explains the context of ‘Red, White, & Blue’ further: “A lot of millennials in my life share the sentiment that being American feels like being in an abusive relationship that you can’t find the courage to leave. I knew I wanted to focus on looking at what makes this country what it is, and how hopeless I feel to stop it.” (KC)

Dutch Mustard – ‘What The People Want’
“‘What The People Want’ is about playing the system, a realisation that you can do anything, give the people what they want, and still stay truthful” explains Dutch Mustard, aka Sarah-Jayne Riedel, about her latest single. Full of lush vocals and rolling rhythms, the track is an infectious slice of alt-rock, lifted from her upcoming EP which is set for release early next year. (KC)

JASMYN – ‘Find The Light’
JASMYN – aka Jasmyn Burke former frontwoman of Weaves – has signed to ANTI- and embarked on her new solo project and released this brilliant single. “This song was loosely written during the Fall of 2020,” she explains. “The world was feeling pretty heavy, and I felt myself wanting to write music that created a mood of happiness and space to grow. It feels like we’re living in this sort of in-between space, where life is altering. I wanted to explore finding comfort and hopefulness through uncomfortable change.” JASMYN achieves this via her relatable lyrics, distinctive riffs and charged beats. (KC)

LibraLibra – ‘Candy Mountain’ (ML)
The latest single from total heroes LibraLibra, ‘Candy Mountain’ showcases their knack for creating immense, swirling soundscapes, propelled by the magnificent, angst-driven power and gritty splendour of front woman Beth Cannon’s impassioned vocals. Another wonderfully genre-defying cacophony from the band. Kate and I were lucky enough to catch LibraLibra live at their single launch the other week – they really are one of the most exciting bands to see; fizzing with a captivating charisma and riotous energy. (ML)

The Klittens – ‘Canned Air’
The first single to be taken from Amsterdam’s The Klittens’ debut EP, ‘Canned Air‘ captures the band’s self-described air of “happy songs and sad sentiments” perfectly. Propelled by shimmering hooks and a raw, scuzzy energy, it builds with a fizzing whirr to an impassioned climax, before winding back down with luscious vocal harmonies, oozing a gentle, stirring emotion. I can’t wait to hear more from this Dutch band; new ones to watch for sure! (ML)

Brimheim – ‘Hey Amanda’
I can’t get enough of this track from Danish musician Brimheim. Taken from her upcoming and excellently titled album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, which is set for release on 28th January, ‘Hey Amanda’ is a celebration of platonic love and an ode her best friend, brimming with nostalgic lyrics, warm guitar sounds and tender vocals. There’s a very cool accompanying video that features members of Baby In Vain too. (KC)

Kills Birds – ‘Married’
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to mention The Great Escape, but LA punks Kills Birds were recently announced as one of the First Fifty artists who will be performing at the Brighton-based festival in 2022! I’m hoping to be back by the seaside screaming about how much I love new music then. (KC)

O Hell – ‘Down’
After years spent touring and recording music in alternative bands around the UK, Projector’s Lucy Sheehan is venturing into fresh sonic territory under their new moniker O Hell. Influenced by a love of eclectic, brooding soundscapes and aspirations for pure self-autonomy, their debut single ‘Down’ is an “exercise in refusing compromise” brimming with Sheehan’s distinctive vocals and jagged electronics. (KC)

Circe – ‘Mess With Your Head’
I’m a moth to a flame when it comes to Circe’s sultry pop creations. Co-produced by Emre Turkmen (formerly Years & Years), this new track is a crushed-heart-banger, a dazzling blend of distinctive vocals, Kate Bush inspired beats and jagged electronics. There’s even a Shakespeare inspired lyric worked into it too – “You gave me your heart / and I gave you a pound of flesh.” (KC)

Dyan Valdes – ‘Fade Away’ (ML)
Having been involved in the music industry for twenty years, Berlin-based Cuban-American artist Dyan Valdés has played in esteemed bands such as The Blood Arm and Die Sterne, and has now released her first solo material. Taken from her upcoming debut solo album, ‘Fade Away’ offers an immersive shimmering soundscape; propelled by layers of synth and driving beats alongside Valdés’ luscious vocals, it’s a poignant, twinkling message of hope at a time when things can feel hopeless. Read our recent interview with Dyan here. (ML)

Flowerkid – ‘I Met The Devil At 4 Years Old’
This track is taken from Sydney-based Flowerkid’s much-anticipated debut EP, Everyone Has A Breaking Point. The EP covers many personal issues and topics from gender dysphoria, mental health and misogyny – seeking true self-expression beyond ever-restricting heteronormative constraints. Cannot argue with that. It’s also a tuneee. (TW)

BISHI – ‘Let My Country Awake’ (The Anchoress Remix)
Multi-instrumentalist, producer and GIHE fave BISHI has shared a collection of remixes for the title track of her recent album Let My Country Awake, and this version by The Anchoress is my favourite. Check out Samantha Togni and Hannah Holland’s remixes of the track too. (KC)

Shamir – ‘Cisgender’
I’m just totally addicted to this song right now. I’ve been a fan of Shamir for years and really admire how they’re constantly developing their sound and not shying away from being their true self. I just think this single ‘Cisgender’ is a beautiful and moving reflection on their non binary identity. I don’t think anything I say about this track will do Shamir justice, so I’ll leave you with the lyrics: “I’m not cisgender / I’m not binary trans / I don’t wanna be a girl / I don’t wanna be a man / I’m just existing on this god forsaken land.” Solidarity and love to you Shamir, always. (ML)

Baauer, Tirzah – ‘Way From Me’
I love Tirzah, there is no denying it. I got to see her perform at the Oval Space a couple of weeks ago, fully immersing myself in their wonderful, mesmerising sounds as part of Pitchfork Festival. She didn’t play this track on the night but it’s a recent collab I’ve come across and I’m vibing it. (TW)

fanclubwallet – ‘That I Won’t Do’
Ottawa-based artist fanclubwallet aka Hannah Judge has shared this wonderful alt-pop tune about recovering and re-emerging back into the world again, a relatable sentiment in these unusual times. “When I wrote this song, I was recovering from a year long illness and re-entering into the socializing world (like so many others post pandemic),” Hannah explains. “The song is about dealing with a new relationship/friendship where you aren’t sure whether the person is good for you or not, and you’re not feeling like yourself. It’s about trying to break bad habits while not wanting to break them at all.” (KC)

Prima Queen – ‘Chew Your Cheeks’
Released via Nice Swan Recordings and produced by The Big Moon, this fab single from London-based duo Prima Queen – aka best friends Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden – explores the swirl of emotions that come when you have an unhealthy infatuation with someone unobtainable. The pair explore their ailing fascination via soft vocals and sultry guitar twangs, giving the track its buoyant, relatable charm. (KC)

Why Bonnie – ‘Galveston’
The latest single from the Texas quintet, ‘Galveston’ is a much-needed slice of sunshine for these chilly, dark days. Oozing a heartfelt twinkling grace and warming, shimmering emotion, it offers a wistful, nostalgic reflection – harking back to memories of childhood visits to the island city of Galveston. Flowing with lilting melodies alongside the soothing allure of Blair Howerton’s vocals, it’s an irresistibly uplifting slice of sparkling indie-pop. (ML)

Aisha Badru – ‘Rooted’
The latest single from Aisha Badru, ‘Rooted’ offers a comforting, dreamy warmth. Flowing with a shimmering grace, a sweeping majestic splendour ripples throughout this beautifully stirring ballad as its poignant lyricism swirls throughout. A simply exquisite, evocative creation that’ll soothe the ears with its resplendent, uplifting allure. The Way Back Home, the upcoming EP from Aisha Badru, is set for release on 3rd December. (ML)

Jackie Ward – ‘Chlorine’
West London-based non-binary artist Jackie Ward makes music inspired by an eclectic range of influences, including Car Seat Headrest to Frank Ocean to Xiu Xiu. This track ‘Chlorine’ is full of their soft vocals and dreamy guitar sounds, exploring their own identity and experience of coming out. Jackie is due to release their debut album later this year. (KC)

KIN – ‘The Runaways’
Consisting of Grace, Adam and Ritu, GIHE faves KIN have previously played live for us and continue to charm our ears with their glistening alt-pop. Reflecting on the mixed feelings of leaving a settled life and starting afresh somewhere new, ‘The Runaways’ showcases the distinctive celestial allure of Grace’s vocals alongside chiming hooks and a shimmering energy. ‘The Runaways’ is accompanied by a really beautiful self-directed video which you can watch here. (ML)

MIRI – ‘Trends’
East London artist and friend of GIHE MIRI has previously charmed our ears with poignant offerings such as ‘Electric Vibes’ and has now shared a powerful new single. A reflection on coming together and uniting in the face of adversity, using our imagination and creativity to fight political corruption, ‘Trends’ is propelled by MIRI’s distinctive soulful vocals that flow with a raw, gritty energy and catchy, empowering spirit. Prior to its release on mainstream platforms, ‘Trends’ was shared exclusively on the pay-as-you-go platform Sonstream. MIRI has been outspoken in her support for the “fair play” platform, which offers independent artists an ethical alternative to the miniscule royalties as little as £0.007 or £0.0028 per stream offered by platforms like Tidal and Spotify. (ML)

Belot – ‘Harmless Fun’
This track is bursting full of pop-bopping beats and maybe even a cowbell… what more could you want to get your toes tapping in those chilly winter evenings? (TW)

 

PLAYLIST: October 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed more new music gems for you to listen to on our October Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of indie anthems, gritty guitar tunes, alt-pop tracks & immersive electronic sounds. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Boy Harsher – ‘Tower’
It’s almost Halloween (aka Goth Christmas) so this shadowy electronic tune is a great way to kick off our October Playlist. Boy Harsher are fully leaning in to their cinematic tendencies on ‘Tower’ which is taken from their upcoming album The Runner. Set for release on 21st January, the record will be a “musical counterpart” to an accompanying short film written, produced & directed by the talented duo. (Kate Crudgington)

Brimheim – ‘poison fizzing on a tongue’
The recent single from Danish alt-pop artist Brimheim, ‘poison fizzing on a tongue’ oozes a glitchy, ethereal splendour. With its soaring, other-wordly allure, it reminds me of the dark majesty of Massive Attack, which is no bad thing! Brimheim releases her debut album Can’t Help Myself Into A Different Shape in January next year. (Mari Lane)

deep tan – ‘Tamu’s Yiffing Refuge’
Following the recent release of their stirring, and utterly unique EP creeping speedwells, East London trio deep tan return with a special one-off single, taken from the label Speedy Wunderground’s new compilation. As strangely kinky as the name would suggest, ‘tamu’s yiffing refuge’ is an explicit tale of furry hedonism. Maintaining all the immersive, seductive allure that we’ve come to know and love from the band, this latest offering oozes an added dark, psychedelic haze and frenzied post-punk drive reminiscent of the likes of legends The Slits. A truly mystical, compelling soundscape that’ll peculiarly entice you into its swirling, fur-filled cacophony. (ML)

New Pagans – ‘Find Fault With Me’
I am thrilled that Belfast’s New Pagans are BACK with this brilliant new single after the release of their debut album, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All earlier this year. Vocalist Lyndsey McDougall says this track is about “checking in with each other and recognising when someone around you needs support.” (KC)

Death Valley Girls – ‘It’s All Really Kind Of Amazing’
A stand alone single from LA dystopian punk band Death Valley Girls, ‘It’s All Really Kind Of Amazing‘ offers a swift glimpse of positivity. As the raw, impassioned splendour of Bonnie Bloomgarden’s vocals soar throughout, it seems to be slightly less doom-laden in tone than previous offerings, but is no less stirring. Oozing a shimmering, trippy allure and swirling, vibrant energy reminiscent of The Kinks’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘it immerses the listener in its glistening euphoric haze, reminding us to relish those rare moments of beauty that can keep us going through challenging times. A mystically captivating retreat for the ears and mind. (ML)

Laura Lee & The Jettes – ‘Craigslist Boy’
I have drummer Eilis Frawley to thank for introducing me to this BANGER from German-based band Laura Lee & The Jettes. Eilis provides the beats for this playful anthem about vocalist Laura Lee’s experience of being pursued romantically by random men on the German version of eBay. Its relatability will make you laugh and eye roll in equal measure. Check out the accompanying video here. (KC)

Wet Leg – ‘Wet Dream’
Like everyone else with ears, I am OBSESSED with Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg. I caught them at their debut London show at Omeara last week and it was a JOY to listen to their infectious indie anthems. They also walked on stage to ‘Concerning Hobbits’ from The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, which is an iconic move in itself. (KC)

Queen Cult – ‘Show & Tell’
The latest single from Cheshire band Queen Cult, ‘Show & Tell’ builds with a gritty, swirling energy to an empowered call to arms. I just can’t get enough of its relentless, searing force. (ML)

Nghtfall – ‘Evil Eye’
Following the heartfelt release of ‘I’ll Be Fine’ earlier this year, Toronto based non-binary artist Bradley Milosevic-Hill aka Nghtfall has recently shared ‘Evil Eye’. A sweeping slice of catchy anthemic pop, it oozes swirling feelings of anticipation and desire, creating a twinkling, emotion-strewn ballad. (ML)

girlhouse – ‘boundary issues’
I love this latest track from indie artist girlhouse, taken from her recent EP which is aptly titled, the second EP, quite simply lovely stuff. (Tash Walker)

HAVVK – ‘Halfway Out’
Taken from total faves HAVVK’s epic new album Levelling, stirring single ‘Halfway Out’ oozes an ethereal splendour as the haunting, celestial power of Julie’s vocals immerses the listener instantly. The whole album intertwines this captivating, twinkling majesty with a grunge-tinged grit throughout, and I can’t stop listening to it. I had the pleasure of chatting to front person Julie about the album and more last week – have a read of the interview here. (ML)

Sprints – ‘Modern Job’
I first heard Dublin’s Sprints on The Irish Jam radio show and I’m super grateful to them for the introduction. ‘Modern Job’, which is also the title track on the band’s upcoming EP (due on 11th March) is a scathing “critique of modern existence” and “an exploration of growing up queer” according to vocalist Karla Chubb. I can’t wait to hear the record in full. (KC)

Nova Twins – ‘Antagonist’
GIHE faves Nova Twins have shared this MASSIVE anthem about believing in yourself, full of their trademark lethal riffs and powerhouse vocals. (KC)

Tiger Mimic – ‘Silence Of The Night’
Propelled by an eerie energy, ‘Silence Of The Night’ reflects on the grim reality that women have to navigate on a daily basis. As the rich, sleek vocals of front woman Jess soar with a soulful power, it builds with a stirring tension to an impassioned statement of intent. A poignant call for justice and accountability at a time when we so desperately need it. You can catch the band live at The Victoria in Dalston on 9th December. (ML)

Sister Lucy – ‘Big Kid’
The second single from her upcoming EP Big Girl Pants, Sister Lucy aka Abi Sinclair’s single ‘Big Kid’ is a lush, grunge-tinged reflection on growth and womanhood. She’ll be playing a gig at The Shacklewell Arms on the 10th November to celebrate the EP’s release. (KC)

Elodie Gervaise – ‘Free Babe’
I am so into this song! All its mixed beats, intricate synths and electronics, it’s such a visually evocative track, you can just imagine the light show watching this being performed live. French-Australian artist, Elodie Gervaise’s new EP, Syzygy – which just feels oh so good to say – is out now. (TW)

Errunhrd – ‘Ruminate (Meditate)’
Niagra Falls based artist Errunhrd has penned this buoyant new track which shifts away from her previously more melancholic sounds. ‘Ruminate (Meditate)’ is taken from her debut album You Can Be You, I Can Be Me, which is set for release on 19th November. (KC)

Blonde Maze – ‘One House’
The latest single from New York artist Blonde Maze, ‘One House’ revolves around the comfort of finding a home in someone, especially after a long time of feeling misplaced. Oozing a blissful, soulful splendour, it flows with an utterly dreamy allure as Amanda’s soothing vocals ripple alongside twinkling electro hooks. Lately, as I’ve been going through a bit of a tough time, I’ve had this pretty much on a loop, and its sweeping euphoric energy helps to calm my mind instantly. Thank you Blonde Maze for another perfectly cathartic creation. And I’m SO excited that Blonde Maze’s debut album Something Familiar is set for release next week, 3rd November – haven’t looked forward to an album this much for a long time! (ML)

Mai – ‘Control’
An evocative electronic gem that urges listeners to surrender to the inevitability of change, I love Essex-based musician & vocalist Mai’s has debut single ‘Control’. Released via Cool Thing Records, the track is a collaboration between Mai aka Rosie Gulliver of Petty Phase, and songwriter and producer Liam Watkins from A Cause In Distress. (KC)

BISHI ft. Nikesh Shukla – ‘Language Is an Ocean’
Multi-instrumentalist and GIHE fave BISHI released her third album Let My Country Awake earlier this month, which this single is taken from. The record explores dual identities and urges listeners to lean into compassion and empathy in a chaotic and disconnected world. (KC)

Desire Marea – ‘You Think I’m Horny’ (Planningtorock’s ‘Planningtobehorny’ Version)
Tash & I are still on a high after seeing Planningtorock at Scala earlier this month, so when their remix of Desire Marea’s track ‘You Think I’m Horny’ dropped into my inbox I knew it was going straight on to our playlist! A great collaboration from two fantastic, unique artists. (KC)

AZADI.mp3 – ‘NAZAR’
I’ve been listening to the We Are Lady Parts playlist on Spotify recently and the algorithms led me to AZADI.mp3 – aka Juliette Motamed who plays drummer Ayesha in the hit Channel 4 show. She has a great set of electronic tunes that I’ve been listening to ever since. (KC)

Atna – ‘Smile’
“Why why why why why” …give me bizarre warped repetitive vocals from German avant-pop duo Atna ANY DAY. (TW)

Little Simz – ‘Speed’
Little Simz has done it again, latest album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (in my case it’s always) is a total, immense masterpiece. ‘Speed’ is my favourite track on the album, in the same vein as previous faves ‘Boss’ and ‘Offence’, it’s propelled by a gritty, driving energy and Simz’s spot on lyricism, with a touch of orchestral grandeur. The perfect motivational anthem I’ve needed lately to get me through the day. (ML)

Kay Young ft. JNR WILLIAMS – ‘I’ve Got You’
‘I’ve Got You’ by London based artist, rapper and producer Kay Young featuring JNR Williams is such a feel good song! It’s taken from her EP This Here Feels Good, released via Play It Again Sam. (TW)

Duval Timothy ft. Lil Silva & Melanie Faye – ‘Fall Again’
I am totally obsessed and in love with this song. Rhythmic piano to start, before it slowly layers and builds with hazy, gentle vocals sweeping over the top. Such a dreamy sonic soundscape that feels so good in my ears. (TW)

Anna Vincent – ‘Naxos’
Having previously charmed us fronting indie-pop outfit Heavy Heart, and as a touring member of Happyness, after two decades making music London based Anna Vincent has now launched her first solo venture. With her debut album, Under The Glass (out today on Max Bloom of Yuck’s new label Ultimate Blends), she has recently been charming our ears with a number of shimmering singles, like the beautifully heartfelt ‘Naxos’. Exuding a spellbinding majestic grace alongside the stirring heartfelt emotion of Anna’s exquisite sparkling vocals, each track offers a truly blissful, captivating soundscape. (ML)

CMAT -‘No More Virgos’
Born from her desire to “marry her love of 80’s Italo disco with her hatred of Virgos,” Irish pop sensation CMAT’s playful new tune is a wry nod to her compulsive romantic decisions. “My mental health is banking on my chastity / and you’re bad for me” she jests over buoyant melodies, gently resisting the urge to circle back and repeat the same pattern of behaviour in her previous relationships. I’m so excited to hear CMAT’s debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, which is set for release via AWAL Recordings on 25th February 2022 (KC)

 

PLAYLIST: Pride 2021

As many of our regular readers will know, at Get In Her Ears we strive to support LGBTQIA+ artists all year round via our website, radio show and our live music nights. This Pride Month, we continue to celebrate and share the work of these artists, and take some time to reflect on the history & impact of LGBTQIA+ artists in music and in wider creative spheres too.

Our co-founder Tash Walker, who is also the Co-Chair of the charity Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline & co-producer of the award-winning The Log Books podcast, wrote this powerful intro to our Pride Playlist last year. We’re sharing her words again to let our LGBTQIA+ readers and allies know: we see you, we support you and we love you – this month, and every month. If you need support during Pride Month or at any time, you can always reach out to Switchboard LGBT+ via their website or by calling 0330 330 0630.

Tash: “It’s more important than ever to remember why Pride started. Remember the lengths the LGBTQIA+ communities have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies need to stand strong and united with each other, but especially the black and transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

Covid-19 and its multiple lockdowns have had an unimaginable impact on all of us, especially folks from marginalised communities – magnifying any existing situation people may be in from domestic violence to transphobia, biphobia, homophobia but especially loneliness and isolation. Something members of the LGBTQIA+ communities have been battling heavily against for a while now.

What Pride means to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ communities will be different, but as a queer person I stand and I protest for every single one of those people’s rights. For LGBTQIA+ rights, for anti-racism, for black people, for people of colour, for transgender and gender non-conforming people and every intersectionality in-between. We have to learn from our history and we have to work together where we support the human rights of each and every one of us. People should be free to live without fear of judgement or discrimination. People should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, socio-economic class, disability or religion.

If your pride flag doesn’t include black and brown stripes, it’s outdated. If your pride flag doesn’t include the transgender flag, it’s outdated. So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone, but most importantly, black lives matter, trans lives matter, black trans lives matter.”

Read about our track choices for our Pride 2021 playlist below and scroll down to the end of the post to listen to it on Spotify.

Ma Rainey – ‘Prove It On Me Blues’
This 1928 song by Ma Rainey, who is unarguably the mother of blues, is possibly one of the first references to queer lesbian culture. Ma Rainey, a queer woman sings, “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.” An essential to any LGBT+ playlist. (Tash Walker)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on our GIHE radio show, included her on many a playlist and we’re certainly not stopping now. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (TW)

Big Freedia – ‘Judas’ (Lady Gaga Cover)
I’m absolutely loving Big Freedia’s cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Judas’ which features on Gaga’s Born This Way Reimagined album, celebrating the 10th anniversary of her second record. Gaga has also enlisted the help of Kylie Minogue and Orville Peck to embellish her evergreen sentiments about self love, having the freedom to love anyone you want and to express that love however you want to. (Kate Crudgington)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Declare Independence’ (Björk Cover)
This is such a beautiful cover by Colombian-Canadian artist Lido Pimienta, released as part of Spotify’s Pride campaign. I was lucky enough to interview her last year about her amazing album Miss Colombia, and on this new offering her defiant spirit and powerful voice shine through just as brightly. Pimienta released this track as a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ communities, and also for Colombian and Palestinian people struggling for freedom and dignity in their homelands. (KC)

Catherine Moan – ‘Fools’ (Depeche Mode Cover)
This is a fun, polished cover of a Depeche Mode b-side from Philadelphia-based electro-pop artist Catherine Moan. Her buoyant electronics and infectious rhythms give this slice of 80s alternative music nostalgia a welcome sultry twist. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
Robyn is an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights. I think it’s important to recognise the role that allies play within LGBTQ+ history and the movement’s continued fight for equality. Being an ally is about educating yourself, it’s about listening, being visible, challenging inequality and helping to educate others. Being an ally isn’t just about LGBTQ+, it applies to any under-represented, marginalised section of society worldwide. As Stonewall says “If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to be part of the solution.” (TW)

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. (TW)

SOPHIE – ‘Immaterial’
This track is taken from SOPHIE’s debut album and I love it. A pioneer of experimental music, often the producer behind so many other amazing tracks, remixes and artists. Described as disorientating latex pop which I think sums up my first experience of seeing SOPHIE live – intense at its best. (TW)

Mykki Blanco – ‘Free Ride’
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 also such an incredible artist and their music is just oh so gooooood. (TW)

Desire Marea – ‘Tavern Kween’
This amazing track by Durban, South Africa-based artist Desire Marea was inspired by Desire’s aunts who went against social norms to find their own forms of freedom in the usually male-occupied taverns in their hometown of Amandawe. Desire explains: “It’s an ode to them, an ode for defiance and feminine manifestations everywhere, an ode to people who come alive at night, to people who enjoy being free and also an ode to people who are fierce about claiming their freedom.” The accompanying video is also sublime. (KC)

Witch Prophet – ‘Makda’
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the majestic sounds of Ethio queer hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet. ‘Makda’ is a celebration of the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and, as Witch Prophet explains, “the power of Black women and mothers” which she highlights in the track’s beautiful accompanying video. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Non Binary Femme’
This track is take from one of my favourite albums of all time, Planningtorock’s Powerhouse. Unarguably paving the way for not only a better understanding of what those words mean, but also leading in acceptance for transgender and gender non-conforming people, Planningtorock and their music has unquestionably helped me on my own gender identity journey and I’m sure many others. (TW)

Ragdoll, Husk – ‘Throwback’
A collaboration between trans, non-binary artist and GIHE fave Husk and non-binary drag queen Ragdoll, ‘Throwback’ offers a wittily nostalgic dance anthem, sparking many fond memories for us millennials. A massively uplifting, fun-filled banger, complete with Husk’s smooth, soulful vocals and a wonderfully infectious groove, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any Pride party. (Mari Lane)

Crisp&Classy X Rookes – ‘Basic’
Electro-pop duo CRISP&CLASSY (aka producer Kat Knix and singer-songwriter Plushy) pride themselves on bringing sexual liberation and self-acceptance to the UK pop scene. Collaborating with GIHE fave, London-based artist and promoter of queer female identity, Rookes, ‘Basic’ is a vibrant, uplifting dance-floor anthem. Blasting into the ears with an explosive fizzing energy, it’s an effervescent ode to being yourself and silencing anyone who chooses to get in your way. (ML)

ARXX – ‘DEEP’
The latest single from GIHE faves Brighton duo ARXX, ‘DEEP’ is an empowering ode to leaving behind all your anxieties and getting what you want. Interweaving a more electro-infused, glitchy sound than previous releases with their signature ferocious grunge-fuelled drive, it instantly hits you with its raw, anthemic rush and gritty, sensual prowess. ARXX have now also released a number of remixes of ‘DEEP’ – including one by Dream Wife’s Alice Go. (ML)

Ci Majr – ‘Ultraviolet’
Non-binary Atlanta artist Ci Majr creates uplifting, emotion-filled pop anthems with a twinkling sensitivity. Taken from their latest EP Side Effects, ‘Ultraviolet’ sparkles with a heartfelt sense of hope alongside a scintillating energy and instantly catchy, shimmering hooks. (ML)

Alex Loveless – ‘Meet Me Tonight’
There’s something about Hackney-based DIY electronic artist Alex Loveless’ music that’s just effortlessly chill. ‘Meet Me Tonight’ is their latest single, but I would also recommend checking out their recent EP, Phone Keys Wallet too. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’
Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. It’s one of my faves. (TW)

BISHI – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’
As part of Southbank Centre’s 2019 Meltdown Festival, Kate and I had the privilege of meeting Bishi. She’s an incredibly talented singer, electronic rock-sitarist, producer and performer born in London of Bengali heritage. She is also the co-founder of WITCiH: The Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub, a platform elevating Women & Non-Binary in tech through commissions, performances & panels. (TW)

STRAIGHT GIRL – ‘Limón’
Describing themselves as “fiercely and fearlessly queer,” Leeds-based electronic artist STRAIGHT GIRL is a master at exorcising their demons and developing them into their own brand of “grave rave” sounds. I love this track ‘Limón’ which is a vibrant, jagged soundscape inspired by disjointed and self-critical thoughts. (KC)

Gordian Stimm – ‘Though My Love Is Always Still’
I am such a huge fan of everything Gordian Stimm aka Maeve Westall of itoldyouiwouldeatyou releases. They’ve crafted so many experimental gems in the last year, from their debut album Your Body In On Itselfto this single for Amateur Pop Inc.’s compilation record, their offerings are intensely eclectic & so well produced. (KC)

Twin Pixie – ‘Firestarter’
Philadelphia-based hyper-pop duo TJ Cole and Aiv Rubino aka Twin Pixie are inspired by the likes of SOPHIE and Grimes and explore themes of queerness and the supernatural in their majestic, ethereal soundscapes. Propelled by glitchy beats, ‘Firestarter’ races with a sweeping cinematic allure as poignant spoken-word vocals soar, tearing into the sexist norms of society. (ML)

Khx05 – ‘Trouble’
I have Nova Twins to thank for introducing me to North Carolina-based artist Khx05. They feature on the duo’s compilation album Voices For The Unheard, a blistering collection of alternative anthems that showcase the eclectic, tenacious range of talent from artists of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. (KC)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
‘Pandora’ and its rolling, rumbling drums – such a tune by Ms Mohammed who we had a total blast with in the Get In Her Ears studio a few years ago. As well as being an artist in her own right, Ms Mohammed founded the Clit Rock movement in 2013 as a way of speaking out against female genital mutilation. As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed is challenging prejudice through her music and we stand by her every step of the way! (TW)

pink suits – ‘pink suits everyone’
Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Taken from their recently released album, political child, ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ oozes a rousing, stirring intent. Offering a vibrant message of inclusivity and hope, here the duo urge us to come together and unite against the powers that seek to contain us. Watch the new video for ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ here. (ML)

Ezra Furman – ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’
Having recently come out as a Transgender woman, and shared beautiful images of herself with her child, Ezra Furman has long been a favourite of mine, since I first fell in love with her 2018 album Transangelic Exodus. This Pride, I think it’s particularly important to celebrate the Transgender community whilst drawing attention to how society’s acceptance of trans and gender non-conforming people still has a long way to go. As Furman poignantly states in her coming out message: “I’m telling you I’m a mom now for a specific reason. Because one problem with being trans is that we have so few visions of what it can look like to have an adult life, to grow up and be happy and not die young. When our baby was born I had approximately zero examples that I had seen of trans women raising children. So here’s one for anyone who wants to see one. I’m a trans woman and a mom. This is possible.” (ML)

Chuck SJ – ‘Sink Your Teeth In’
This single is taken from DIY multi-instrumentalist Chuck SJ’s upcoming debut album Resist.Recharge.Revolt, which is set for release later this year. Full of atmospheric guitar riffs, sparse beats and glitchy electronics, it’s an industrial-tinged rumination on the forces that construct, influence and sometimes dismantle our ways of thinking. Chuck is also one half of punk duo Byenary who you can check out here. (KC)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Shapeshifter’
Non-binary band Bitch Hunt originally formed at the amazing First Timers fest, and have just released their debut EP via Reckless Yes. The title track of the EP, ‘Shapeshifter’ is a stirring slice of effervescent punk-pop, reflecting on themes of transition and gender identity, and how we are consistently ‘shape-shifting’ depending on our circumstances. A resonant yet ultimately uplifting offering, oozing a sparkling sense of optimism. (ML)

Grace Petrie – ‘Pride’
Taken from 2018’s album Queer As Folk, Grace Petrie’s ‘Pride’ offers a reflection on the strides that have been made for the LGBTQIA+ movement over the years, whilst also drawing attention to how far we still have to go to end all forms of discrimination. With her poignant, heartfelt lyricism oozing both a stirring sense of solidarity and hope, as well as frustration and rage (“I know you don’t want to face the fact / that each and every day we’re still being attacked…”), it’s a perfectly resonant anthem drawing attention to why we still need Pride, over 50 years on from the Stonewall Rebellion. (ML)

Naz and Ella – ‘Internalised’
Having been guests on our radio show back in 2019, alt-folk duo Naz & Ella recently released their new EP, De-Humanize. Taken from the EP, ‘Internalised’ is a deeply poignant offering about overcoming internalised queerphobia. Oozing a gritty edge and sweeping, stirring majesty, it’s an empowering ode reflecting the heartfelt message running throughout the EP as a whole, as the band explained in a recent interview with us: “… you don’t have to participate in your own dehumanisation to comply with social norms.” (ML)

Arlo Parks – ‘Black Dog’
I cannot get enough of Arlo Parks and her mesmerising music, so full of emotion I get lost in every second. ‘Black Dog’ is no different, a frank, heart-breaking insight into the the darkness of depression. Mental health awareness within the LGTBQIA+ communities is so important, especially with rising levels of isolation and loneliness. From talking, to supporting, to asking and reaching out for help is so important and totally OK to do. The more we can look out for each other, the more we can encourage and show people that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. (TW)

Kele – ‘Smalltown Boy’ (Bronski Beat Cover) 
I was lucky enough to speak to Kele Orekeke about his new album The Waves Pt. 1 earlier this month for The Line Of Best Fit, and he was incredibly generous with his time. I regret that I was too shy to tell him how much of my late teens & early twenties I spent dancing to Bloc Party and his first album The Boxer, so I thought I’d mention it here instead. His cover of Bronski Beat’s iconic LGBTQ+ anthem ‘Smalltown Boy’ is really beautiful, fore-fronting the track’s unique melancholy in an understated and moving way. (KC)