LIVE: Dream Nails – Old Blue Last, London 07.10.19

“You are not your job! Work is not your life!” belts lead vocalist Janey from feminist punk band Dream Nails – a validating statement that has their sold out crowd at Old Blue Last shouting back in agreement. Celebrating the release of their new single ‘Corporate Realness’ (from which the lyrics are taken); Janey, guitarist Anya, drummer Lucy, and bassist Mimi lit up the stage with their defiant anthems.

Get In Her Ears have been to many a Dream Nails gig, and we keep returning to see them for the same reasons: empowerment, solidarity, and comfort. Their songs about avoiding creepy grief thieves (‘Tourist’) and getting ghosted (‘Chirpse Degree Burns’) use humour to deflect from the stresses of navigating everyday life, but their ability to switch between the silly and the serious is what makes their live performances so vital.

Delivering their familiar and necessary chant of “women and non-binary people to the front, men to the back” three songs in, the band present an unshakable confidence as they blitz through their 40 minute set. Janey’s voice soars over the perfectly curated noise that Anya, Lucy & Mimi create, and is equally as commanding when she speaks about worthy causes and shameful statistics between songs.

Championing the cause of Solidarity Not Silence, Janey shouts out to the first support act of the night, Nadia Javed of The Tuts. She encourages the crowd to believe and support women who speak out against their abusers, and to follow the campaign that Nadia and other female musicians are a part of.

The band’s collective rage boils over during ‘Joke Choke’, a song that takes down people who think rape jokes are funny in a country where two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. It’s two minutes of frenzied guitar and crashing percussion, and a cathartic burst of righteous energy.

Much like second support act The Baby Seals – whose frontwoman Kerry described her sweat level as “bio-hazard” – Dream Nails know how to get their crowd working out. During their song ‘Jillian’, which is dedicated to cult fitness coach Jillian Michaels, the band ask everyone to squat down for a few moments, before leaping back up to join them in their poppy ode to the health guru.

It wouldn’t be a proper Dream Nails gig without renditions of iconic singles ‘DIY’ and ‘Deep Heat’. The first arrives mid-way through the set, with the crowd screaming back “Do It Yourself!” at all the right intervals. The latter closes the band’s set in furious style, proving that the band’s hex on Donald Trump and his British counterpart Boris Johnson is still as potent as ever.

With their militant mindset and knockout delivery, Dream Nails set at Old Blue Last was a reminder to all to keep fighting in the face of adversity, and to have a fucking good laugh whilst you’re doing it.

Follow Dream Nails on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Chloe Hashemi & Emily Barker

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Happy Birthday Us: GIHE Turns Two!

To mark two years since the birth of our baby website, we’ve decided to look back at a few of our personal highlights of the last 24 months. From fantastic gigs and memorable interviews, to informative guest blogs and the return of some of our favourite bands, it’s been amazing getting to share what we’re passionate about on our little platform.

So, we’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all who’ve supported us on this journey – to all the wonderful bands and artists who inspire us every day, and anyone who takes time to read/listen to us and spread the word about what we do. We’re super grateful for you all, and could not have done this without you! Here’s to the next two years and more, continuing to do as much as possible to promote and support female/non binary/LGBTQ+ people in new music.

Have a read about some of our highlights of the last couple of years, and listen to our special birthday playlist below…

Guest Blog: Dream Nails’ Janey – “What It Means To Be A Punk Witch”
One of the first ever posts to go up on the website, it was a real honour to have Janey from faves Dream Nails share with us what it means to be a punk witch; discussing the importance of sisterhood, feminism and direct action, and the need for women and non-binary people to come together in safe spaces. All things that we hold with great regard here at Get In Her Ears. Talking about the catharsis of channelling “the instinctive, magic energy of womanhood together”, reading this highlights just how necessary and powerful voices such as Janey’s are at times like this; why we need bands like Dream Nails more than ever – groups willing to combine activism and music to form a unifying force against the patriarchy.
– Mari Lane

Get In Her Ears w/ Big Joanie
It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to guests we’ve booked for our radio show, but when Steph & Estella from punk band Big Joanie agreed to come in to the studio for a chat, I was genuinely excited. Their knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism is so fascinating and so vital. The work they do on and off stage is incredible, so I’m glad we could support them on our platform.
– Kate Crudgington

Having Steph & Estella from Big Joanie as guests on the radio show was definitely a highlight for me! We barely needed to ask a question; as Kate says, they spoke with such knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism, it was an honour to listen to what they were saying. And their music’s not too bad either…!
– Tash Walker

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ ARXX
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we invited one of our most favourite bands to headline for us at The Finsbury. And what better way to celebrate womanhood than with the utterly phenomenal, ferocious force of the magnificent ARXX. Joined by the fun-filled empowering energy of The Baby Seals, the fierce post-punk of Scrounge and the twinkling soundscapes of Rainbow Corp, it was a truly special night; one which left me feeling all the feels and incredibly grateful for being able to do what we do.
– Mari

Introducing Interview: Helga
I really enjoyed interviewing Helga both because I love her music but also because it’s so important to us at Get In Her Ears to champion the artists we believe in. Publishing interviews, reviews and guest blogs from womxn and non-binary people across the music industry is what we’re about, and will always be about for all the years to come!
– Tash

Interview: Teri Gender Bender from Le Butcherettes 
I only discovered Le Butcherettes after they released their fourth album bi/MENTAL earlier this year – I must’ve been living under a rock. Shame on me! I saw them live at Moth Club and I was blown away by front-woman Teri Gender Bender’s formidable voice and captivating performance style. When I called her for a chat, I was worried my fan-girling would get in the way of my journalistic interests in her music, but luckily for me, she was incredibly friendly, charming and funny.
– Kate

LIVE (Photos): Cro Cro Land (Part 1) (Part 2)
As a fairly new Croydon resident, it was a real honour to be asked to help with the inaugural Cro Cro Land festival this year by friend and all round wonder woman Angela Martin (of Bugeye). A festival which ensures gender balance across the board – not only with those performing, but with all crew and staff behind the scenes – it was a fantastic day filled with incredible music from both widely known bands such as The Lovely Eggs, Nova Twins and Bang Bang Romeo, and personal favourites like Chorusgirl, Fightmilk and ARXX. Being able to be a part of it, and DJ on the day, was such a wonderful and informative experience, and we can’t wait for Cro Cro Land 2020… !
– Mari 

Playlist: 50 Years Of Pride
Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is at the core of what we do at Get In Her Ears 365 days a year. I’m so proud to be part of an organisation which takes the time to acknowledge this throughout everything we do, from gender neutral toilets at our gigs, to standing up in defence of LGBTQ+ equality. Our 50 Years of Pride playlist is a culmination of everything we believe in and represent, and a great way both to celebrate and take stock of what still needs to be done in the ongoing fight for equality for everyone.
– Tash

Get In Her Ears w/ ESYA
It’s an understatement to say that us GIHE girls were thrilled when ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages, Kite Base, 180 db) agreed to come into the Hoxton Radio show for a chat with us. There were a LOT of capital letters used in our group chat on WhatsApp. I’d seen her live and interviewed her at her gig at The Glove That Fits earlier in the year, and I was so happy to discover she rates Gazelle Twin’s music as highly as I do. Her attitude to going solo, and her general work ethic, are truly admirable. ESYA is proof that it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in the industry, doing things for yourself is a positive and honest way of working (even when you’re snowed under with emails/EP orders/life).
– Kate

Track Of The Day: Chorusgirl – ‘No Goodbye’
Three years after the release of their self-titled debut, GIHE faves Chorusgirl last year shared their poignant second album Shimmer and Spin via DIY label Reckless Yes. The return of a favourite band after a bit of a hiatus is always pretty exciting, but there was something particularly special about Chorusgirl’s come back. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the album was the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi and co. ‘No Goodbye’ was the perfect introduction to the collection: a truly dreamy slice of scuzzy, sparkling garage-pop showcasing all there is to love about this band.
– Mari

Guest Blog: Grapefruit
I really loved this piece from Grapefruit’s Angela as part of our Guest Blog series. She chose to focus on what it means to take claim of being a woman in the music industry – it’s a great read! They also played a fantastic set for us at one of our Notting Hill Arts Club gigs, great music and great minds.
– Tash

EP: Petty Phase – ‘Petty Phase’
I love that our GIHE platform has allowed us to reach some of our established favourite artists but at its core, it’s about providing coverage for new musicians who deserve to be heard by all of our listeners/readers. Petty Phase are an Essex Riot Grrrl band who I’ve happily promoted over the last fews years on our website, and there are plenty more hard-working bands out there who are worthy of your/our attention too.
– Kate

LIVE: Indietracks Festival (Part 1) (Part 2)
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups, I was particularly excited to have found out about Indietracks Festival last year – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And it exceeded all expectations. With highlights including Sacred Paws, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Sink Ya Teeth and Ghum, it was so wonderful to be a part of. Indietracks is truly like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music.
– Mari

LIVE: Hilary Woods, St Pancras Old Church
I’ve just re-read my live review of Hilary Woods’ performance at St Pancras Old Church from 2018, and it’s clear I was an emotional wreck during her show, and afterwards too. What a wonderful thing though – to be so moved by someone’s music that you hammer out 500 words about how insane you are.
– Kate

Get In Her Ears w/ Bengi Unsal
A radio show highlight for me was interviewing the Southbank Centre’s Senior Contemporary Music Programmer Bengi Unsal. She gave great insight to the work that she’s done at the Southbank Centre and throughout her career, including curating several Meltdown festivals, and the championing of electronic and world music.
– Tash

GIHE Behind The Scenes: Southbank Centre’s Alex & Phoebe
A recent feature we’ve started for the website, our behind the scenes feature focusses on all those amazing womxn working hard behind the scenes in the industry. It was a real honour to get to chat to Alex and Phoebe, the PR team behind promoting all the amazing events at my favourite space in London, Southbank Centre, for the first in the series. It was wonderful to find out about all the hard work they do, their dedication to accessibility and inclusivity, and all the Southbank Centre does for London’s culture.
– Mari 

Have a listen to our special birthday highlights playlist here:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor

Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut 

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Interview: Dream Nails – ‘Take Up Space’

As if putting on immense, riotous live performances wasn’t enough, in September last year GIHE’s favourite Feminist Punk Witches Dream Nails decided to blow our minds in a slightly different way – by putting on their first ever acoustic set at infamous independent and anti-fascist bookshop Housmans. A much smaller space than the band have played in the past, the gig was a wonderfully intimate experience, and – whilst perhaps quieter in volume – no less powerful and empowering than your usual raucous Dream Nails gig.

And if you weren’t able to make the gig, fear not! Dream Nails have now made the full recording of the set into a new acoustic album, appropriately entitled Take Up Space. And it’s most certainly worth a listen. Showcasing their luscious harmonies and poignant songwriting in a way we’ve not yet heard, it proves that plugged in or acoustic, Dream Nails are a sparkling, formidable force. Combining impassioned activism and infectious tunes, they consistently inspire and motivate us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might.

We caught up with Mimi, Janey, Lucy and Anya to find out more…

Hi Dream Nails, welcome back to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing today?
Mimi: Thank you! I’m refreshed and ready for 2019.
Janey: I’m rested too!
Lucy: Ran 4 miles on the treadmill this morning like a little excited hamster so I’m bathing in the endorphins right now.
Anya: Me and Janey just did a songwriting session and I’m gassed about our latest ideas, including one about feminism and the future of technology. I can’t say what it’s about but it’s completely ridiculous and hilarious.

We’re super excited to hear about the release of your new acoustic album Take Up Space! What was it that inspired you to record this – something perhaps so different from what fans might expect?
Mimi: We really feel there’s magic in our live shows. In the past we’ve tried to record some shows, but it’s always really difficult because of the sound in the venues, and it’s never come out that great. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to try again, in a less noisy setting.
Janey: We put so much thought into our song lyrics and vocal harmonies, and much of that gets lost in the fuzz of a punk PA system. This gig was a chance to finally let our songs breathe and the lyrics be heard.
Lucy: We were excited to listen to the recordings but didn’t know how good they would turn out and certainly didn’t expect to release them! We only had one acoustic rehearsal before the show and were very pleased with the new dimension the songs have taken on!
Anya: We also wanted to try more of an intimate show, more of ‘an evening with Dream Nails’ sort of thing where the crowd were very much part of the show and we could be really spontaneous with our interactions.

The album was recorded at your intimate gig at Housman’s Bookshop (which was a pretty wonderful evening!) in September last year – how was this experience for you? And how did it differ from your usual gig set ups?
Mimi: For me, I had no distortion pedals and no big amps, I was playing my semi-acoustic bass guitar. My bass was very à la Violent Femmes. It was a much more intimate setting with no stage, and it was a lot of fun to be in with the crowd and hear everyone’s laughs during all of the funny bits.
Janey: That gig was so much fun, and a challenge for us because the audience were sitting right in front of us in pretty good lighting – we could see everyone! That completely changed the dynamic and made it special.
Lucy: Yeah it was exposing at first and I was more than a little nervous! I’m usually hiding at the back on my all-seeing drum throne, so this was my chance to get my jokes and chat in too. I got pretty over-excited tbh. Fun fact: the tom and snare drums I was using were propped up on old Delia Smith cookery books and I think you can definitely hear this in the music!
Anya: I actually play an acoustic guitar borrowed from Dave McManus who runs Everything Sucks Music, one of the labels we work with! It was weird playing an acoustic and I had to change a few things in the songs to make it work, but it was a fun challenge. My hands were like frozen claws by the end – an acoustic is a lot harder work, strangely!

Do you feel that putting on a gig in such a different setting opened up your music to some people who may not normally be able to attend gigs in late night bars/music venues?
Mimi: Yes definitely! We really want to play more bookshops. Because most gigs are in bars, it’s almost impossible to hold all ages shows, and we would love to play to younger people.
Janey: Almost all punk shows are held in squats, basements or alcohol-based venues, which excludes a lot of people from experiencing our live music, and we wanted to change that. At this show, we had more under-18, muslim and disabled fans than usual, many of whom mentioned they hadn’t managed to get to a show before. This show was our most inclusive by far, and I want to do more gigs where we transform a community space into a gig space.
Lucy: Our shows are accessible as we can make them, but I feel like the audience were so relaxed at this show and that contributed to a very special atmosphere. It was early in the evening and the fact that no one felt they had negotiate beer being chucked around, creepy dudes at the bar, dark and sometimes intimidating spaces and pushing created a calmness that was palpable.
Anya: We also live streamed it via Facebook with the help of Get in Her Ears, which we’ll probably do more of in the future so our fans in other countries can see the bookshop gigs we do.

Has having had the experience of performing acoustically changed the way you approach writing songs now?
Lucy: You know what, it’s made me itching to get more into the composition side of our music. Hearing everything so stripped back, and being mindful of how our songs sound in the state will surely translate when we start writing again (imminently!).
Anya: It’s definitely reinforced my feeling that our songs need to work on an acoustic guitar or they won’t work at all!

The album includes a couple of new songs… including ‘Jillian’ and ‘Chirpse Degree Burns (Text Me Back)’ – can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind these tracks?
Mimi: ‘Jillian’ is about Jillian Michaels, a fitness personality who has a workout DVD called ‘The 30 Day Shred’. It was permanently in my DVD player growing up, she is seriously strong and fierce, and I definitely memorised her chat throughout the entire workout. Her message is that you can push yourself and literally be strong!
Janey: Mimi and I really bonded over our shared love of Jillian. To be honest, the 30 Day Shred was my first experience of exercise and recognising how good it was for my mental health. I have Jillian to thank for that. Plus she’s one of my queer idols.
Lucy: ‘Chirpse Degree Burns’ (fyi chirpse is London slang for flirt and can be a noun, verb or adjective) is tragically close to the hearts of me and another anonymous band member. It was written in an emotional outburst during the comedown of Glastonbury 2017 when Anya (oops) and I were thwarted by our short-lived festival loves. I don’t get it?! We are a catch and also 1000000% chill as the song we wrote will attest to!
Anya: There’s also a new track ‘Time Ain’t No Healer’ which is about how much work it is to get over the troubles in your life and recover from trauma. The idea is you can’t just wait for time to do it for you, it takes a conscious effort. And probably a therapist, lol.

The album’s appropriately entitled Take Up Space, which very much ties in with your mantra of “Girls To The Front” at gigs. How important do you think it is for girls/non binary/female-identifying people to take up space in the music industry? And what do you think people can be doing to encourage this more?
Mimi: It’s hard to encourage women and non binary people to get into the music industry because you just know they’re going to meet so many obstacles, which are only there because of deep set misogyny. It just needs to be challenged by everyone. I can’t bear to think of how many women and non binary bands have quit doing music because of people being shit to them at every turn. Even little things – like I can’t even count how many times a sound guy has told me where to plug my bass in.
Janey: Bookers need to change their policies, and introduce diversity quotas. The musicians are out there. Look harder. There’s no excuse for all-male tour line-ups anymore. The issues within the music industry are structural, and need to be met with structural changes.
Lucy: Obviously the need is vital and I’d like to quote an iconic Anya statement here relating to all-male bands: “men, ask yourselves, does the world need any more of your dry music?” We try to hammer home the idea that skill level and technical know-how does not take precedence when it comes to music, no matter what intimidating sound people, music shop assistants, or band boys would like you to think. YOUR music and experiences are valid and vital and you’re the only person in this world who can make it. Until these structural changes manifest, we endeavour to create these spaces and opportunities ourselves.
Anya: For women to Take Up Space, men need to Make Up Space. Make way, not today, man bands, go away!

As ‘Feminist Punk Witches, what does ‘punk’ mean to you?
Mimi: Punk means challenging everything, even the definition of ‘punk’. It’s about being a good ally, standing up for what’s right, being an activist, taking our lives into our own hands. It bothers me that people like Donald Trump and Doug Ford (Canadian Premier of Ontario, where I’m from, who literally fucked Ontario) are seen as punks, only because they’re kind of rogue outsiders from the political world?? They’re the farthest thing from punks, their only intention is to fuck the little guy and they only benefit the rich.
Janey: For me, punk is about shared creation. Not just tearing the world apart, but challenging the status quo by building a new one. I think the punkest thing we do isn’t even our music, but the bands we support behind the scenes, or making sure promoters have gender-neutral toilets.
Lucy: Punk is about utilising a rebellious spirit in a way that DOES NOT resemble a teenager with a “my mum and dad aren’t home, no one can tell me what to do” attitude. For me, the rebelliousness of punk is about radical collectivity, thoughtfulness, inquisitiveness, joy, rage and action that both strengthens you and provides relief in a world and city that seeks to crush you.
Anya: Some of our dearest female idols like Viv Albertine and Patti Smith interrogated the world as they saw it, threw stale, patriarchal convention out of the window, and filled their world with new meaning. Punk is about being thoughtful and honest. It’s interesting that they both taught themselves to play guitars as young women. Being self taught makes you approach music differently, I think.

So, after the experience of playing acoustically in Housman’s, do Dream Nails have plans to play any more acoustic shows in 2019?
Mimi:
This is something we are seriously talking about and would love to do a radical bookshop tour!
Janey: 100%!
Lucy: Yes! It feels so pure!
Anya: I’ll only play in places where they have the entire back catalogue of Simone De Beauvoir now. It’s my rider.

And what else do you have up your sparkly sleeves for the rest of the year??
Mimi: We are going to be spending a lot of the first part of this year writing and recording for our debut album release (not acoustic), and then playing many festivals over the summer.
Janey: We’re headed to Switzerland in the first week of February, and are playing four shows there! Follow us on Instagram for our tour stories, they never fail to delight.
Anya: We are curating a stage at one of our favourite festivals this year. We can’t say which one, but it involves a zine making workshop for young people and I’m so excited.
Lucy: Aside from this, my personal dream is to sell our critically acclaimed ‘Chipadvisor’ chip reviewing YouTube series to Netflix. We would use the proceeds from this to buy ourselves more chips.

Massive thanks to Dream Nails for answering our questions!

Take Up Space is available exclusively on Bandcamp, where you can also get hold of an awesome accompanying t-shirt designed by illustrator Sumena Owen.

 

Photo Credit: Poppy Marriot

The Tuts and Dream Nails to play Solidarity Not Silence Benefit Show

If you’re not familiar with The Solidarity Not Silence case, it’s an ongoing case in which a group of women are defending themselves against a defamation claim made by an abusive, unnamed well-known male musician (referred to as ‘A’) for statements that they made concerning his treatment of women.

The group includes one of A’s ex-girlfriends, one of several of his former partners who are facing a libel claim, and feminist musicians who spoke out in support of these women. Legal papers have been served against all of them. By coming together as a group, they have managed to personally fund their legal defence through the various stages up until the claim was finally served against them in court on 2nd August 2017. Not only has this lengthy process been very expensive, there has also been tremendous emotional and psychological impact. Most of the women have suffered severely with their mental health as a result, but they refuse to give up.

To raise money for their cause, a big benefit show is being held on 5th December at Oslo, Hackney. With live music from GIHE faves The Tuts and Dream Nails, there will also be DJ sets from GIRLI and Dream Wife‘s Alice Go and Bella Pod. A night of fantastic music, and all for an extremely worthy cause.

Tickets for the Solidarity Not Silence Benefit Gig are £12 and can be found here.

Find out more information about the campaign, and what you can do to help, here.

 

INTERVIEW: She Makes War

Bristol-based artist She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) has been busy creating music that fuses fun and freedom over the last few years. Her buoyant attitude and blistering guitar riffs have seen her build a loyal following across the UK, and with the release of her new album Brace For Impact just around the corner (October 5th), it seems this following is set to multiply further. We caught up with Laura to talk about her new record, her upcoming UK tour, the good & bad sides of social media, and why it’s worth giving DIY recording a shot…

Your new single ‘Devastate Me’ is a total banger. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track?
Thank you! I’ve always written music about the dissonance caused by living a digital life in an analogue body, and for me that’s really increased in the last few years. Social media has enabled me to build an audience, but even as someone who is aware of its negative effects and strives to keep a balance, it has had an increasingly terrible effect on my ability to concentrate, and I hate that I spend too much time scrolling and too much time reading stuff that I don’t need to read.

‘Devastate Me’ questions the intention behind our obsession with sharing – it’s not that I don’t think we should share at all, but I’d like us to ask ourselves why we’re doing it. I see reflexive photography everywhere – people not even giving themselves a moment to see what’s in front of them before snapping it. I think learning to be present is so important, and being on your phone when spending time with loved ones is the height of rudeness.

All that is why the video is a bouncy tribute to analogue communication and community spaces – the local postbox I send all my merch orders from, an old red phonebox turned into a book swap and food bank donations hub, a wooden boat in the kids play area of my local pub garden and St Nicholas Market, all in Bristol.

You’re due to release your new album Brace For Impact on October 5th. What can fans expect from your new record?
An exhilarating, riffy journey through my thoughts on love, loss, grief, body image, self confidence and mindfulness. Chunky guitars, beautiful strings and heartfelt lyrics.

That sounds great! I read that you overcame a broken foot in order to write this record?
Yes! Everything was going really well with the release of my third album Direction Of Travel, I was happy, I was running long distances, I was getting booked to play exciting gigs and festivals and then BAM! I had an accident and was struck down. That was a really tough summer. I’m very proud of this album because it’s a result of me working through a reasonably deep depression and lethargy caused by shock, physical pain and resentment at my situation, working super hard to regain my mobility through near-daily yoga and making myself sit down and write the songs amidst all sorts of financial concerns.

Once an album is finished and I get a bit of time and space away from it I can slowly start to view it as something separate from me, and each one has its own distinct character. Brace For Impact is the most expansive album I’ve ever made, it’s kind and big hearted and urgent and strong and beautiful.

It’s great that you took something so negative and turned it in to something so positive! Do you have a favourite track on the album?
I love them all very much, but at the moment my favourite song is ‘Strong Enough’, which I wrote about two specific peoples’ experiences, but is a message to anyone going through a mental health crisis. All of the new songs are stories from real life that have a more far reaching message of care for all concerned.

‘Love This Body’ is another favourite – the riff is so grinding and intense and the lyrics are about how devastating it is to me that people – women in particular – spend so much time worrying about what they look like. The song is about myself; I’ve had issues about this stuff from a young age and only recently have started to come to terms with the fact that my body shape is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. People can be very cruel. We live in a society where airbrushed semi-naked female bodies are in our faces all the time via advertising, and band photos regularly depict the male members fully clothes and the women crouching down in hot-pants and platform heels. What are we supposed to do with all this information?

You’re embarking on a tour to promote the album, with our favourites Dream Nails and The Menstrual Cramps joining you on a couple of dates. What is it you like about these bands? How did you come across them?
Their energy, their freedom and the fact they care so much about spreading their message. Music has to be far more than some pretty noise coming out of some pretty faces to hold my interest. I’d been hearing about them online for ages, so when it was time to put together a bill for the album tour it was obvious who to ask. I’m just lucky they were available! The tour spreads across three weeks so on the first leg I’m joined by Eliza Rickman, an incredible artist from the US, the following week is with Dream Nails and the last four shows are with The Menstrual Cramps. I can’t wait!

What are your anticipations for this tour?
I love performing live, and while I find it impossible to write and record around gigging, it’s frustrating having to miss out on that audience connection for long periods of time when I’m making albums. I start feeling like I’ve disappeared! A lot of the venues on the list are old favourites, so it’ll be great to return with my incredible live band and knock peoples’ socks off around the country.

You record in your own bedroom studio in Bristol. Would you recommend this DIY approach to other girls or women who are looking to record their own music? What are the pros and cons of this method?
I write and demo all my songs at home, yes. I write while recording actually, so as not to forget anything but also to be able to easily play around with arrangements and parts. Once a rough demo is done I go back and do a “posh demo”, where I write and record all the parts – drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals…then when the time comes I take all this into affordable studios to re-create them bigger and better with the help of my brilliant engineer.

I love working in this way because I can be as creative and take as much time over the initial writing and production as I like, without having to explain to anyone why I want another five vocal tracks or whatever, and carefully craft every note in the arrangement for maximum emotional resonance. It saves a lot of expensive studio time, because I know what I’m going to be recording, but also means the end result sounds exactly how I want. Of course, extra ideas will pop into my head when I’m in the nice studio, but they’re just the icing on the cake because the main work is done.

I’d recommend to people of all genders to learn to record themselves, whether that’s in a really simple and basic way or more involved. Anyone can learn to do simple multi-track recording, and it’s always better to have at least a little bit of technical knowledge when you’re working with someone else so you can explain to them what you’d like to achieve. More than anything though, I’d like to see people admitting that they don’t know everything, and realising that’s ok! What’s the point in staying quiet and pretending you know something because you think you’ll embarrass yourself in front of someone else? If that person is rude because you admit you don’t know how to do something, find someone else to work with. It’s better to learn by doing.

What’s the Bristol music scene like? How does it compare to other cities you’ve played in?
I hear about this elusive Bristol music scene a lot (usually from interviewers!), but I’ve never really seen it…there are a few artists who are doing their own thing very well, and perhaps there are micro scenes localised to friendship groups, but unfortunately we don’t have many small venues for people to come up in and start gathering an audience together from, so I’m really glad I started my project in London. Having moved here from Herne Hill six years ago, Bristol still feels tiny to me. It’s definitely my home, and I love living here, but musically I think of it as my creative HQ and my jumping off point to travel everywhere else. It’s always lovely to return though, and it’s worked out brilliantly that the big hometown gig is happening on the last night of the tour. It’s going to be a big party!

Your visuals seem equally as important as your music when it comes to your performances. Is this part of your “make art in every day life” ethos? Can you talk about the inspiration behind this?
The music is by far the most important thing when it comes to my performances, but I made the decision a long time ago to use the opportunity to dress up and create something different from the everyday for my shows, something that matched the drama and glitter of my songs. It’s not a different character – it’s the real me, just…more! I do try and lead as creative a life as possible, on and offstage, it makes everything feel more meaningful and satisfying. I struggle with unanticipated dips in mood like everyone else, and I find it’s those little things that really help centre me again and give me focus. I write in a diary most days, I draw and I try to take beautiful photographs.

Finally, As a new music blog, we’re always looking for recommendations about new bands and artists we should be listening to. Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m excited about upcoming albums from Marissa Nadler, Cat Power and Suede, the new Breeders album is INCREDIBLE and I find myself returning again and again to both Marika Hackman albums, Memories Are Now by Jesca Hoop (the rest of her albums are stellar too) and my beloved Nirvana, Pixies and Blur.

Huge thanks to Laura for answering our questions!

Pre-order She Makes War’s new album Brace For Impact here.
Grab your tickets for one of her tour dates here & follow She Makes War on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ania Shrimpton

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PREVIEW: Dream Nails Acoustic Set at Housmans, 12.09.18

As if putting on immense, riotous live performances wasn’t enough, GIHE’s favourite Feminist Punk Witches Dream Nails have now decided to blow our minds in a slightly different way – by putting on their first ever acoustic set at infamous independent and anti-fascist bookshop Housmans. Taking place on Wednesday 12th September, it will be a much smaller space than the band usually play, and looks set to be an intimate experience, and – whilst perhaps quieter in volume – no less powerful and empowering than your usual raucous Dream Nails gig.

Of their decision to play this unusual event, Dream Nails explain:

It’ll give us a chance to talk more about the context of each song, share stories and chat with the audience too. We are excited to break down each song into its simplest, rawest form for the acoustic show. Also, at a time when fascism is once again rearing its ugly head, bookshops like Housmans are completely essential to provide a counter narrative to populism, white supremacism and the capitalist patriarchy, so we’re really happy to bring our fans into the space so they can see how amazing it is!

Plugged in or acoustic, Dream Nails combine impassioned activism and infectious tunes creating a sparkling, formidable force, inspiring and motivating us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might.

So, don’t miss out on this unique experience! Catch Dream Nails’ acoustic set at Housmans Bookshop next Wednesday 12th September at 7pm. More info and ticket links. And, if you can’t make it, fear not – the band will also be streaming the event live from their Facebook page!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

 

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Sister’

Soft, but striking and seminal in its message; Petrol Girls‘ latest single ‘Sister’ is a remarkable new anthem championing the power of sisterhood. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming EP The Future Is Dark, released via Hassle Records on 14th September.

The accompanying video features footage submitted by Petrol Girls’ allies and fans, as well shots of our favourites Dream Nails and Witch Fever performing live. Speaking about the new single, front woman Ren Aldridge explains:

“I’ve been wanting for us to write a song about sisterhood for a long time, because it’s these relationships that have had the biggest impact on my life and that form the heart of my feminism. I’ve got two younger blood sisters and a few very close friends that I consider sisters, as well as our family dog Skye who passed away last summer but I loved her like a sister too. All of those relationships have taught me so much. They’ve guided me, taken care of me, made me laugh til I cry and nurtured me into better versions of myself. I think society often puts too much emphasis on sexual relationships, when sisterhood is incredibly important and powerful. This song celebrates a relationship that can pose a real threat to capitalism and patriarchy because it challenges competition and is built on care and trust.”

The title of Petrol Girls’ upcoming EP The Future Is Dark, further reflects their unwavering belief in the strength of sisterhood. The EP is named after a Virginia Woolf quote that writer Rebecca Solnit uses as a starting point for her essay ‘Woolf’s Darkness,’ in Men Explain Things To Me. She writes about accepting uncertainty and not fearing the dark or the unknown, because actually we don’t know what will happen next. She describes despair and optimism both as forms of certainty that create grounds for not acting, whereas hope pushes us to act and make change in whatever ways we can.

Ren ruminates further on this point: “The dark, just like the future, is full of possibilities. It makes me think about how its only in the dark that we can see the stars and think about ourselves as just tiny parts of this cosmic system, as part of a bigger picture. I find it really grounding and inspiring to feel individually small but part of something huge.”

We’re definitely proud to share Petrol Girls’ sisterhood ethics. Watch the video for ‘Sister’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order Petrol Girls’ The Future Is Dark EP here.
Available on limited etched 12” vinyl with hand-screenprinted sleeve.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut