INTERVIEW: Ghum

Having been firm favourites here at GIHE for a number of years, wowing us with their immersive live performances and captivating post-punk musicality, London band GHUM have now released their much-awaited debut album, Bitter. Oozing a gritty, swirling energy as front person Laura’s vocals soar throughout, each track carries the band’s trademark ethereal allure and dark, hypnotic splendour, showcasing their ability to consistently hone their sound and bewitch listeners worldwide.

To celebrate the release of the album, we caught up with Laura, Jojo, Marina and Vicki to find out more about Bitter; what inspires them; their thoughts on the industry today; their plans for the year, and more. Have a read below and make sure you immerse your ears in the new album as soon as possible!

Hey Ghum! For those who aren’t familiar, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you all got together to start creating music as Ghum? 
We met because Marina, our bassist, put an ad online looking for female musicians to form a band because she thought playing with other women would be more fun. She knew Laura from a previous jam with other people and asked if she was still looking for a band. “I loved her voice and vibe so much, and was really happy she said yes.” Jojo responded to the ad saying she loved The Cure and Warpaint and I said: “You’re in, bitch”. Vicki came along soon after that and boom: Ghum was formed. 

We’re huge fans of your swirling, ethereal allure and post-punk energy, but who would you say are your main musical influences? 
Bit of Cure, bit of Pixies, bit of Joy Division and Warpaint…

You’ve just released your debut album, Bitter, which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
Bitter is our debut album and we wanted to establish and cement our sound with this record. This time we knew what we were looking for when songwriting, and searched for it. The themes vary but the songs are about people and conversations that have maybe a bitter end – reflections on people that left a mark, and just a release of feelings that needed an escape.

And how would you say this album differs or moves on from your previous releases? 
We have consolidated our sound (for now) after The Coldest Fire EP we released in 2019, we found something that really agreed with all of us – we wanted to explore this sound and make it punchier. It feels like the culmination of an era, what we wanted to reach until now. This is us.

You’ve been wowing crowds with your immersive live shows for some time now, including support slots with the likes of Dream Wife and L.A Witch (and headlining for us at the Finsbury!), but is there a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you? 
We have just finished a supporting tour with Choir Boy and Soft Kill. We played in Paris at the Petit Bain and we really enjoyed that one. The French crowd was awesome and the venue was a dream – it was in the middle of our first European tour, so it was quite special to play to such a different crowd and get such a good response.

I’ve always loved seeing you live, and seem to become hypnotised by your majestic splendour! But how would you describe the Ghum live experience to those who’ve not had the pleasure yet? 
Thank you! We live our shows in our skin, we try to transmit the emotions in the songs and give a performance where we tell a story. We are loud and quiet, and we love low lights and smoke machines. We love a good mosh pit and dance party too.

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists?
The industry is changing slowly and improving with this, but there is still a lot to improve on. Lack of representation and sexism is still a massive problem in this industry; on and off stage. For example a lack of female, non-binary, trans and queer/LGBTQ+ tour managers or drivers, or sound engineers, or gig promoters, or lighting designers. Fortunately, there are collectives such as 3T which is a training course for underrepresented gender/ethnic groups in touring and live music – something we want to see more of! At any given point, we try to always work with women across the board for our shows or tours, and to give opportunities to women to work in a safe working environment is also important. It’s still very much a “boys club” or “man’s world” in the music industry, especially when you step outside of the DIY scene – which we’re very fortunate to have started from. But it’s evident there’s still a great deal of improvement that could be done and we hope we can help with this, along with many other artists, fighting for more change.

And with you all being from different parts of the world, how would you say the music scene here differs from the places you grew up? 
It’s totally different! There are underground alternative scenes everywhere of course, but London has such an extensive circuit of venues of all sizes and a lot of respect for bands that are starting out; there is a big history of alternative music from this neck of the woods and it feels like people are more tolerant. I’ll say the alternative scene is even more alternative in places like Spain and Brazil where society is not as open minded – it’s way harder to find places to play, and the resources are more limited. But there is a lot of DIY ethos and community support.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
We really like NewDad, Hussy, Fraulein, Bdrmm, Montaña (Spain)…

And, finally, in addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for Ghum…?
We have lots of plans. We have a few shows and festivals coming up. We are especially excited for our upcoming show at Rough Trade East on 4th July where we are gonna be celebrating our album launch and signing some vinyls for the first time. We are finally playing in Spain (where our vocalist Laura is from) at the end of August at Canelaparty in Malaga and we are very happy about that too. We will be announcing a UK tour in autumn and we are writing new songs, so we hope to keep on releasing new material. Lots of work and lots of gigs!

Huge thanks to Ghum for answering our questions!

Bitter, the debut album from Ghum, is out now via Everything Sucks. Buy here.

Photo Credit: Paul Phung

ALBUM: Horsegirl – ‘Versions Of Modern Performance’

With their debut album, Versions of Modern Performance, Horsegirl have translated the world of underground underage Chicago into 30 minutes of sludgy jubilation. Thudding drums, strangled guitar lines and catchy choruses: it’s a time-honoured formula, executed here with vigour and original flair.

The band produced this record as college freshmen and high school seniors and it is bursting with a fine balance of youthful exuberance and nuance beyond their years. Within a tight instrumental framework, the group explore a range of emphases and styles, from the more straightforward guitar pop of tunes like ‘Anti-Glory’ to textural instrumental interludes and the unusually weighted ‘Fall of Horsegirl’, in which the guitar foregrounds the vocal line.

The integrity of the artistic scene from which Horsegirl have emerged defines the sound, attitude and presentation of this music. The group are keen to champion the work of the network of fellow creatives too young to get into most concerts going on in Chicago and forced to organise shows and create among themselves. Their videos employ the talents of friends and peers who put their directorial and kitchen dancing skills to use in assertively homemade productions (check out the video for ‘Billy’). There is an infectious DIY enthusiasm in everything this band does, and this reverberates through Versions Of Modern Performance.

Undaunted by the transition from high school band to signees with heavyweight indie label Matador, the group have made a deliberate effort to remain faithful to the simple setup that has taken them this far. Describing this self-consciously as “the debut bare-bones album”, they bring the sound of their various basement rehearsal rooms to the studio. The choice of John Agnello as producer suits this aim to be true to the band’s roots, given that his CV, which includes Dinosaur Jr. and The Breeders, reads like a list of the influences you can hear working throughout the record.

Though this record takes many cues from the sound and approach of much of that American brand of alt rock that has been around since the mid-80s, the group make this sound their own. It feels like the natural outcome of three imaginative rock musicians playing in someone’s basement; an honest, instinctive debut free from contrived affectations.

Listen to Versions Of Modern Performance on bandcamp or Spotify

Follow Horsegirl on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Cheryl Dunn

Lloyd Bolton
@franklloydwleft
@lloyd_bolton

Track Of The Day: My Idea – ‘Breathe You’

With the final single from their debut album, New York duo My Idea rip up the rulebook. ‘Breathe You’ feels radically vulnerable. The intimacy of the lyrics and production make for uncomfortable listening: it’s the musical equivalent of hearing your neighbours arguing through paper-thin walls. 

The band, made up of Palberta’s Lily Konigsberg and Water from your Eyes’ Nate Amos, have talked about their latest album soundtracking a collective breaking point. And you can hear that so clearly in this duet. Amos’ lo-fi, electronically enhanced vocal collides starkly with the purity of Konigberg’s voice, stopping you in your tracks. And the conflict builds further with the song’s urgency and almost grotesque imagery that paints a picture of obsessive lust. 

Of the track, Amos explains:

“‘Breathe You’ was never really intended to be on the album. I made the hook/beat in the middle of a night when I was unable to sleep and sent it to Lily as a sort of ‘check out how ridiculous this is’ joke; she recorded the verses and sent it back within a day. This was during a really difficult time for both of us and we were processing our emotions in very different ways – I buried my sadness inside of humour and Lily wore hers on her sleeve In spite of the absurdity of the song at a basic level, it ended up being as honest and accurate as anything we’ve made…”

Releasing ‘Breathe You’ as the last single of their first album is a stroke of genius from the band. It’s such an interesting song, both musically and lyrically, that you can’t help but wonder what they’ll do next! 


Cry Mfer, the debut album from My Idea, is out now on Hardly Art.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Photo Credit: OK McCausland

Track Of The Day: Ghum – ‘Some People’

Having been firm favourites here at GIHE for a number of years, wowing us with their immersive live performances and captivating post-punk musicality, London band GHUM have now announced the release of their debut album.

Our first taster of the upcoming album, new single ‘Some People‘ is propelled by a gritty, swirling energy as the raw, impassioned vocals of Laura Guerrero Lora soar throughout. Rippling with a seductive ethereal allure and dark hypnotic splendour, a frenzied, grunge-tinged anthem is created; a colossal, majestic offering showcasing GHUM’s ability to consistently hone their sound and bewitch listeners worldwide.

Of the track, Laura explains:

This song is about getting to know someone and having the fear of hurting them, because love has turned a bit hopeless and unexciting. Not trusting oneself to be able to love someone after not falling in love for a long time...”

Directed by Lydia Garnett, watch the wonderfully theatrical, tongue-in-cheek new video for ‘Some People’ here:

Bitter, the upcoming debut album from GHUM, is set for release on 17th June via Everything Sucks. Pre-order here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Paul Phung