Get In Her Ears @ Notting Hill Arts Club w/ ESYA 30.11.19

Get In Her Ears returned to Notting Hill Arts Club to host another evening of alternative music, headlined by the multi-talented ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages/Kite Base/180 db). South London duo Scrounge shared the bill, as we as spoken word artist & drummer Eilis Frawley.

The task of opening the night fell to Berlin-based Eilis, who delivered her unique cacophony of live drums, electronic elements and spoken-word lyrics with captivating precision. Performing singles ‘Strangers’ and ‘Illusions’ (both championed by Radio X’s John Kennedy, who was in attendance), her one woman show felt all the more powerful, as many of her songs are informed by feminist beliefs that align perfectly with GIHE.

Scrounge took to the stage next to perform their savage post-punk noise. Lucy & Luke’s live sets are always a raw, urgent affair; and we felt every beat of tracks ‘Badoom’ and ‘Purpose’. The duo released their EP Ideal, earlier this year, and it’s barely left our ears since. They’re firm favourites of GIHE, and their heavy guitar riffs and knockout drumming sat perfectly between Eilis & ESYA’s sets.

  

Headlining the night and performing her last London show of 2019, ESYA hypnotized us with her dark, brooding electronics. Filled with buzzing synth textures, direct vocals and pummeling beats; her songs flesh out the absurdities of our relationships and interactions with each other. Set highlights included ‘Nothing’, ‘Everything’, and brand new single ‘Blue Orchid’, lifted from her recent EP, Absurdity of ATCG (II) – Emergent Form. She multi-tasks triggering synths, performing  vocals, and plucking bass strings throughout the set, and she’s met with deserved cheers and applause at the end of the show.

Huge thanks to the sound engineer and staff at Notting Hill Arts Club.

Follow the bands on Facebook for more updates: ESYA, Scrounge, Eilis Frawley.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Video Premiere: Eilis Frawley – ‘strangers’

Following the success of debut single ‘illusions’, and already receiving acclaim from the likes of Radio X’s John Kennedy, Berlin-based artist Eilis Frawley (Party Fears, I Drew Blank) has now shared a poignant new offering.

Fuelled by jangling percussion and whirring glitchy beats, ‘strangers’ reflects on the different, and often troubling, dynamics of relationships. As the subtle, commanding power of Frawley’s poetic spoken word lyricism flows, the track builds to a psychedelic electronic soundscape, oozing a swirling emotion and sparkling, ethereal majesty. Fusing together innovative layers of instrumentation and speech, it’s a wonderfully unique cacophony, with a truly stirring sentiment that resonates deeply: “Your turbulent past running full speed for our future / hands around our throats.”

Of the track, Frawley explains:

strangers‘ is about the various stages of relationships, how quickly my mind can jump to conclusions whether they are realistic or made up, how vulnerable and anxious I often feel in romantic relationships, and the insecurities they raise within me. We’re constantly creating rituals to build strong relationships, and at the end they are often the only thing left.

Watch the eerily captivating new video for ‘strangers’ now:

‘strangers’ is out on 6th December, taken from Eilis Frawley’s upcoming debut EP, Never Too Emotional, set for release in early 2020, both via Reckless Yes.

Make sure you catch Eilis Frawley live tomorrow night, playing for us at Notting Hill Arts Club, supporting ESYA. Tickets £8 from DICE

Mari Lane
@marimindles

PLAYLIST: November 2019

The shift from autumn to winter has been abrupt this year, and if our eclectic track choices are anything to go by; the lack of vitamin D has clearly hit us hard. From moody electronics, to upbeat bedroom bangers, to experimental soundscapes – we’ve got it all on our November playlist. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist link at the end of the page…

 

Catbear – ‘Unrequited Love’
‘Unrequited Love’ is the second single from Catbear, and what a tune! Fully home-recorded, self-produced, and with a heavy helping of synths. In their own words Catbear say: “We make music for the enjoyment of it. We are two good friends that love each other and we love making music together. There is no other agenda. And with that attitude we want to inspire young women and LGBTQ people like us to not only go form a band, but to take control over every aspect of their music. You can be a guitarist, you can be a drummer. You can make beats, you can record and produce your own music. You can be anything.” (Tash Walker)

HAVVK – ‘Operate’
The new single from long term faves HAVVK, ‘Operate’ is about getting caught up in the pressures of everyday life, and how this can effect your health and relationships. Filled with twinkling hooks and front woman Julie’s soaring celestial vocals, it’s a captivating creation filled with stirring emotion. Of the track, Julie explains: “There’s been a massive culture-shift towards measuring our happiness by productivity. Our digital lives mean that there’s always something we can be achieving and we have fewer obvious moments to switch off and connect with ourselves or the humans around us.” ‘Operate’ is out now via Veta Records, and will be followed by  HAVVK’s debut album, Cause & Effect, on 22nd November. (Mari Lane)

Le Butcherettes – ‘Tunisia’
Teri Gender bender opens this song with the lyrics “I’ve been masturbating thinking of no-one at all / and you make think that it is selfish of me / but I am no one at all” and I just want to applaud her for such an unexpected, celebratory few lines. ‘Tunisia’ is so funky, so catchy, and I’m so excited to hear the band’s new EP, Don’t Bleed, in February 2020. (Kate Crudgington)

Sea Change – ‘Scratch That Itch’
Norwegian artist Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) navigates personal metamorphosis on her new album, Inside, which this track is taken from. Sunde softly sings “I have a white hot anger / I’m slowly setting it free” over mellow synth textures and looping beats that sit in contrast to to emotion she’s expressing. This contradiction in sound and lyricism is what makes Sea Change’s music so compelling, and I’ve had her album on repeat since its release on the 15th. (KC)

Despicable Zee – ‘Counting Cars’
Despicable Zee is an Oxford based musician, composer and performer. I am so very into this track of hers, ‘Counting Cars’. I cannot get enough of the samples and composition – so so good! Despicable Zee aka Zahra is also the director of the Young Women’s Music Project working alongside and guiding young female musicians. Her third EP, Atigheh, is self-produced and independently released, and she will be hitting New Rvier Studios in London on December 8th. I’ll be there, join me. (TW)

ESYA – ‘Blue Orchid’
“I only came here for the meat” broods ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages/Kite Base/180db) on her latest track ‘Blue Orchid’, lifted from her new EP Absurdity of ATCG (II) – Emergent Form. Filled with buzzing synth textures, direct vocals and pummeling beats; the song fleshes out the absurdities of our relationships and interactions with each other. We can’t wait for ESYA to headline our next gig at Notting Hill Arts Club on Sat 30th November. Tickets are available on DICE, and you can find all the event info here. (KC)

JFDR – ‘Taking A Part of Me’
I’m highlighting one of my Icelandic loves on this list, JFDR, who is a prolific songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who we’ve supported at GIHE before as a part of her other project Samaris. ‘Taking A Part of Me’ is the first new material to be taken from her forthcoming album set for release in 2020, in conjunction with a gig at St Pancras Old Church on 30th January. Hauntingly perfect. (TW)

Pallas Athene – ‘Through Hell’
One of my favourite songs of the month, ‘Through Hell’ by Pallas Athene, taken from their debut self-titled EP. Exploring themes of man vs machine and the dissolution of self, this is the latest single from the EP which I’m so into – its spaced out vocals and calming chords – keep up the great work! Looking forward to the future of Pallas Athene. (TW)

Memphis LK – ‘Roses’
This track has been buzzing around my head over the last couple of weeks. It comes from Melbourne-based Memphis LK, described as a “spirited bass-pop on a bed of dystopian electro” – in other words ‘Roses’. (TW)

Shea Diamond – ‘I Am Her’
As early as transgender singer Shea Diamond can remember, she identified as a girl, and was punished for it. “I got whoopings for walking like a girl, for using the restroom sitting down like a girl,” says Diamond today. Written whilst Diamond was incarcerated in various men’s correctional facilities between 1999 and 2009, ‘I Am Her’ is a poignant offering oozing an infectious funk-filled groove. With last week being Trans Awareness Week, I wanted to bring everyone’s attention back to this soulful anthem of self-realisation. (ML)

Brix & The Extricated – ‘Wolves’
The latest single from Brix Smith Start (of The Fall) and her awesome band Brix & The Extricated. ‘Wolves’ reflects on pack mentality and the freedom to show your scars. Oozing eerie undertones alongside the impassioned grit of Smith Start’s vocals, it’s filled with searing hooks and a  powerful grunge-tinged energy. Brix & The Extricated’s album, Super Blood Wolf Moon, is out now. (ML)

Captain Handsome – ‘I Wish I Had A Dog’
The debut single from Captain Handsome (aka Lily from faves Fightmilk), ‘I Wish I Had A Dog’ is a poignant exploration of every-day anxieties. With a twinkling lo-fi scuzz alongside the sensitivity of Lily’s refreshingly honest and consistently relatable lyricism, it’s a slice of effervescent indie-pop that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. ‘I Wish I Had A Dog’ is out now via Reckless Yes, and is taken from Captain Handsome’s upcoming EP, set for release in early 2020. (ML)

Siv Disa – ‘Moths’
The new single from New York based artist Siv Disa, ‘Moths’ is a poignant reflection on the captivity of love. Propelled by eerie, atmospheric hooks, ‘Moths’ showcases Disa’s soaring raw vocals alongside a spellbinding majesty. ‘Moths’ is out now via Trapped Animal Records. (ML)

Anne Müller – ‘Drifting Circles’
An epic seven minute instrumental from Berlin-based cellist and composer Anne Müller. ‘Drifting Circles’ is lifted from her highly anticipated debut solo album Heliopause, which is set for release on 29th November via Erased Tapes. I love Müller’s blend of frantic yet soothing strings, and feel like they would still captivate me even if the track was double its duration. (KC)

Tears|Ov – ‘All Else Is Bondage (for A.)’
Founded in 2015, Tears|Ov are a queer arts and LGBTQI+ trio. Formed of sound artist/musician Lori E Allen, cellist/mixed media artist Katie Spafford and illustrator/prison psychotherapist Deborah Wale; their sounds are experimental, unusual, and always engaging. Their latest album, A Hopeless Place, was initiated by award-winning photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, who asked them to perform at Tate Modern’s South Tanks for his retrospective back in 2017. A Hopeless Place is out now. (KC)

Katie Gately – ‘Bracer’
Brace yourselves for ten minutes of poignant, eerie electronic sounds from Producer Katie Gately. This single is taken from her second album, Loom, which is set for release on 14th February via Houndstooth. The record is dedicated to Katie’s mother, who passed away in 2018 due to a rare form of cancer. Her shifting stages of grief have informed her sparse, yet seismic soundscapes. Not for the faint-hearted. (KC)

WATCH: ESYA – ‘Blue Orchid’

“I only came here for the meat” broods ESYA on her latest track ‘Blue Orchid’, lifted from her new EP Absurdity of ATCG (II) – Emergent Form, released in digital form today (15th Nov). Filled with buzzing synth textures, direct vocals and pummeling beats; the song fleshes out the absurdities of our relationships and interactions with each other.

ESYA (aka Ayşe Hassan of Savages/Kite Base/180dB) has been busy cutting her teeth on the solo electronic music circuit since the release of her debut EP, Absurdity Of Being, in 2018. The first of a trio of records, Absurdity of ATCG (I), followed shortly after, and her latest release Absurdity of ATCG (II) – Emergent Form, now completes her “wonky exploration” of alternate personas.

Laced with themes of acceptance and growth, ESYA’s music is a captivating blend of experimental electronics and urgent lyricism. ‘Blue Orchid’ extrapolates on these elements, as do the other six tracks on the new EP. They’re also underscored by a scientific idea, as ESYA explains further:

“This EP is about becoming the next version of yourself, about engaging in the process of coming into being, or becoming prominent…ATCG refers to the building blocks in human DNA, that set the foundations of what we will be before we take our first breath along with the absurdity we encounter in the life/society we are born into. The intention is to be honest, abrasive and direct, confronting the things we fear the most.”

We can’t wait for ESYA to headline our next gig at Notting Hill Arts Club on Sat 30th November. Tickets are available on DICE, and you can find all the event info here. Watch the video for ‘Blue Orchid’ below (directed by Alex Keegan), and grab a copy of ESYA’s new EP on vinyl here.

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

Get In Her Ears w/ ESYA (Ayse Hassan) 11.07.19

Kate & Mari were back in the studio this week with loads of new tunes from the likes of Grawl!x, Dude York, Life Is Better Blonde, ZAMILSKA, Grapefruit, Gauche & Planningtorock.

ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages, Kite Base, 180db) joined them for a chat about her recent EP Absurdity Of ATCG, and her upcoming gig supporting Bo Ningen at The Shacklewell Arms on 24th August.

Listen back here:

@KCBobCut
@marimindles
@getinherears

Tracklist
X Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours!
Beckie Margaret – New York
NIMMO – The Power
Petite Meller – Aeroplane
Grawl!x – Epicene
Pongo – Quero Mais Anoraak
Deep Deep Water – Something In The Water
The Eyelids – Suffer
Duck – R*ck St*r
Grapefruit – Soak
Life Is Better Blonde – Winter (feat. Angus Dawson)
Dude York – Should’ve
Zamilska – Hollow
ESYA – Nothing
Giungla – Better Than Ever
Jenny Hval – Sabbath
Salad – Under The Wrapping Paper
Gauche – Flash
Smaller Hearts – Circuitry
Atelier Blue – Empty Lungs
Mauno – Take Care
Emma McGrath – Other Side
GEISTE – Ocean
HEALTH (feat. Soccer Mommy) – Mass Grave
Zola Jesus – Bound
Planningtorock – Beuhla Loves Dancing

INTERVIEW: ESYA

Performing under her new moniker ESYA, Ayşe Hassan (Savages, Kite Bass, 180dbm) has been busy crafting electronic sounds designed to delve in to the obscure and absurd nature of life. Having recently self-released her second EP titled Absurdity of ATCG (I), her trademark thunderous basslines are now fused with urgent synths and brooding vocals which captivate by their marked urgency to tell the truth.

Propelled by her desire to always be creating, her new (and older) projects are as eclectic as her influences; ranging from Gazelle Twin to Hannah Peel. We caught up with Ayşe before her headline gig at Hackney venue The Glove That Fits to talk about her new EP, her plans for the year, and what first inspired her to venture in to electronic music… 

Hello Ayşe, what are your anticipations for tonight’s ESYA gig at The Glove That Fits?

With this project, it’s brand new because it’s electronic and I’m singing, so I have slightly different concerns compared to if I was just playing bass. I just want to make sure that everything sits correctly in the mix, which is hard as I’m behind the speakers so I have to trust the sound engineer. I’m excited. I really enjoy doing something that scares me. I feel scared again – in the good way – in the fluttery way when you play in front of people and you’re nervous.

You released your first EP Absurdity Of Being last year. How does your new EP – Absurdity of Atcg, Pt. 1 – differ? What have you learned in the interim between the two releases?

The whole idea of the EPs is that they’re going to be a trio. The first one focused on the construction of the voice, which is my voice and the fact I’ve never really sang live before. This must be the fifteenth time I’ve sang live. The second EP focuses more on electronics which is also quite new to me, as I’ve had to go through this learning curve of learning how to use the equipment I have and how to make it sound good in multiple venues and spaces. The third EP is going to focus more on sounds and bass, so it’ll be a record led by bass and electronics, which I’m writing now. I write a bit every day, I’m constantly writing. The difference between the first and the second EP is that with the second one I was more focused writing the electronics. So on the vinyl I decided to put out, I didn’t want the first few tracks to have a split, I wanted a continual 16 minute song, because that’s how it was originally written.

That sounds really cohesive. The title of your new EP references ATCG – the building blocks in human DNA – how did this influence the sound of your music? It’s quite a unique concept.

I think it’s just me focusing on what I’ve been going through in the past 6-8 years. Life is kind of insane, and it’s kind of absurd and I feel like the whole concept of it and the experiences we go through have a humour in them, but also a beauty that we’re all here on this planet and it’s all a bit mind-blowing. On a more microscopic level – or not [laughs] – being in a band like Savages and playing to thousands of people, and then basically going back to starting something [like ESYA] from scratch is kind of absurd. I find it funny in a strange way because you should never be too comfortable, life has a funny was of messing around with you.

I think the ATCG title is fitting because everything that I sing about on the two records is a reference to the life that I lead, so I feel like it encapsulates every kind experience. There’s so many angles that I was looking at that title from, and I really liked that it could mean so many things to so many different people. Depending on your own experiences, it’s quite ambiguous. I felt that was also relevant to what I was going through and I wanted to express that all of this is absurd so just enjoy life.

Sounds great. What kind of reaction have you had from fans and critics so far?

I self-released both records, so I’ve had a limited budget and I’ve been working in order to earn the money to put out my EPs. I’ve only got 50 vinyl left of the new EP, and I’ve sold out of the first one which is amazing, and most importantly people are responding well to the music. It’s different to what I’ve done before, you’re hearing my voice and everything is recorded by me. I’ve done everything, which has been a challenge in itself. I’m not a Producer, I’ve never really recorded myself other than to write demos, so it’s been a huge learning curve which I’ve found quite empowering.

One thing that used to frustrate me in the past with other records, is that I felt like I didn’t have as much control as I would’ve liked. There’s so much beauty in imperfection, so [the recording] doesn’t have to be perfect. The vocals on both EPs were recorded with just a handheld microphone, so it’s pretty lo-fi if you compare it to a studio record. The bass is recorded in a similar way as well, and I love that. I feel like we’re bombarded with over-produced stuff at the moment and I wanted it to be honest. I’ve worked a job that I don’t particularly like in order to put this record out there, and it’s really amazing that people have purchased it. I really appreciate that.

Having been on a label before, it’s really interesting to see the differences and learn how to navigate an environment without the help of a label. PR was a big thing, when you’re doing it yourself you have to think of everything. How to be creative with getting the word out. I come from a very particular world where I started playing punk bass and have always done things myself, and then being in a band where we were lucky enough to have the support of a big label, and then going back to doing it all myself – I have a lot of respect for musicians who don’t have that kind of support. Because it’s hard, really hard.

Being in different bands sounds like it’s taught you a lot then. From Savages, Kite Base, 180db, and now your new solo project – can you talk me through how each has led to the other? What’s different between what you’ve released before, and the music you’re writing now?

I absolutely love playing live, so me creating this new project was born out of the frustration of being on other people’s schedules. I can’t control when other people need to rest and I do respect that, but also for myself I need to keep playing live, it’s in my blood. Even when I was a teenager I used to put on shows in my house at house parties and get friends bands to come over and play – my neighbours hated it! I was originally thinking with this new project that I was just going to do living room shows, nothing at a venue. So I can go back to really being up close to people and doing the things I’ve missed doing for so many years. It’s that intensity when you’re close to people who really love music, and it’s just you and them, so close to each other.

With Savages I was a bass player, but we all came together to write. I knew at some point because we’d been touring so intensely people would need to take a rest, so midway through that time I started Kite Base, because I wanted to have another option of being able to tour and play. Also, when you’re with three other people who are as passionate about the music you make it can be complicated, it can be amazing but it can be dysfunctional.

With Kite Base it was easier because we were a duo, two halves make a whole! We achieved some really cool things, we put out a record that I love, and we supported Nine Inch Nails [on their American tour] last year which was incredible. That was just the most ultimate of dreams. To actually be able to achieve that in a slightly different way was really special to me. Kite Base was self-funded and we went through stages of having managers and not having managers, so it was another short sharp lesson of how to use what I’d learned through Savages and put it in to practice, which I think is a really great thing to do. We sorted everything for ourselves so it was quite intense. The cost to get out there, and bearing in mind we were self-funding everything, we knew there was no way we weren’t going to say yes to the tour – but the logistics were quite stressful at points. If my visa got turned down, I would’ve cried!

Alongside that, me and Faye [Savages’ drummer] decided to write together. I love working with Faye, I really connect with her so we thought we’d do collaborations. We’re working on a record at the moment and it will feature lots of guest singers, people who we admire, and we’re really happy with the people we’ve worked with so far. My first shows [as EYSA] were just in living rooms performing to friends in America after the Nine Inch Nails tour, just to try out whether I could sing live. I knew I was going to put out an EP because I had so much material and I didn’t want to waste it.

That’s interesting, with the singing, did you always know you could sing? Or was it a confidence issue? Or something that you picked up along the way?

I always wanted to focus solely on one thing. I didn’t want to sing while I was playing bass because I wanted to focus my whole attention on playing one instrument and to lose myself, which I did. I remember many years ago Jehnny [Savages lead singer] joked about me having a mic and I remember thinking “I do not want to sing”. I don’t feel like I’m a natural in front of a mic. Maybe it was because I’d never tried it, but it got to a point where I was so frustrated because there were no shows coming up and I didn’t know when I’d be performing live again, that I thought I’d just try it. How scary could it be? Turns out, it was quite scary!

I think the way I sing has an honesty to it, and I’m talking about things that mean a lot to me so it wouldn’t have worked if someone else was singing it other than me. I remember saying to Jehnny not that long ago that my respect for people who front and sing lead vocals in a band has gone up so much, because having to go through that process is so hard. Even just thinking of the things you say in the spaces between songs! I had a different idea of what that would be before I did it, and it takes a lot of balls. To do it well and master the techniques with the mic and your environment. I’ve gone from playing my bass with my eyes closed not giving a shit about anything other than performing and playing as well as I can, not worrying about my environment and just losing myself. Also, for practical reasons – I can just get in a car with my synth and my drum machine and that’s it. I can be there, and I can sing.

That sounds great too. Who inspired you to first pick up a bass? And who or what got you in to using FM & Analog synths?

With the bass, it was the frustration of wanting to play an instrument but feeling like I couldn’t. At the time I was listening to a lot of David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails and I feel like with the bass, it wasn’t really one person or one thing that inspired me to play, it was a series of things and influenced by what I was listening to. I remember getting really in to Nirvana and thinking “I just wanna play something”. Then I happened to meet someone who needed a bass player, but I couldn’t play bass at the time. They were like “you don’t have to know how to play bass!” which in the context of the band I didn’t really, and I loved that. So I got in to loads of bands who at the time who were just loads of dudes and I was always just the female bass player. Then I got in to a band with Gemma [Savages guitarist] and we had a great lead singer and things were going well, and then when he left Gemma & I wanted to keep going – but I was working full-time and we wanted to play at least three times a week – but then we found Jehnny and then we found Faye, so it all came together. What’s really important is that I’ve always trusted my instincts. I’ve always known that I love making music, even just for myself. I lose myself in what I’m creating.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s trying to learn either of these instruments?

Just do it. Even if you feel like you can’t play, there’s nothing that’s stopping you. You can always learn. With the electronics, you don’t have to have super expensive gear. I use a keyboard Yamaha DX reface which is £200, and that’s quite cheap compared to other equipment. You can make music from sound recordings, I’ve done that in the past. Do what feels true to you, you don’t have to learn to play an instrument in a particular way, go with what feels right for you. That’s what I did with bass, my style has come from not really learning how to play. I play really low, which is terrible for the back, but I always wanted to be able to play like crazy and to be really solid at keeping the rhythm and lose myself in it and enjoy that moment. Over the years, I’ve been thinking more about tone and stuff, but I think you should do what scares you. If you’re scared to play a particular instrument – just do it. Once you’ve done it, you can just create.

If you’d told me that I’d be singing and playing electronics when I was 16, I’d be like “No way…” so you don’t have to stick to one thing. If you connect with an instrument, just go for it. The more you play, the better you get.

That’s great advice. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I’m thinking about playing some more shows that are in record stores and are really intimate, because that terrifies me! Technique-wise, I think that’s a really good learning process to go through, and to connect with people. If I can play somewhere where people literally love the records on the shelves around them, that’s really sweet.

The third ESYA EP and the record with 180db will probably be coming out later this year too.

Who are you listening to? Recommendations?

Hyperstition duo who are playing with me tonight, they are two members from a Sheffield-based band called Blood Sport who I love.

I also love Gazelle Twin. I went to see her at Red Gallery – it might not be called that anymore, but it’s a venue near Old Street – and after she came off stage I was like “CAN YOU SIGN MY VINYL?!” and she was like “are you kidding me?” [laughs]. She’s been an inspiration to me actually, because it’s just her and her partner live, and she’s a Mother as well. I really respect how hard she works and how she juggles all of those things. She’s amazing. Her second album Unflesh, that was the soundtrack to my nightmares and I remember telling her that! It comes from a dark place, but it’s so powerful. The honesty in it, that’s why I was so attached to it.

Hannah Peel, slightly different vibe, but she is incredible too. It’s not the typical thing I’d listen to, but the way she plays violin is amazing. I did a tour with her as Kite Base, she played and so did I Speak Machine and after watching them I thought they were both amazing. Tara [of I Speak Machine] is a genius with electronics. These women are pioneers when it comes to electronic music.

Thanks so much to Ayse for answering our questions! Buy your copy of ESYA’s EP Absurdity of ATCG (I) here.

Photo Credit: Chiara Ceccaioni

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut