LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Big Joanie 21.09.22

Tash and Kate were back on Soho Radio’s airwaves playing loads of new music from some of their favourite female, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ artists, and Mari offered some of her “musical musings” too. They enthused about the eclectic mix of tracks on the playlist, their love for London duo Scrounge, and Kate revealed that her fear of technology stems from watching Terminator 2: Judgement Day on repeat throughout her childhood.

They were thrilled to have Chardine, Estella and Steph aka DIY punk legends Big Joanie join them on air again to talk about their latest single ‘Confident Man’, which is taken from the trio’s upcoming second album Back Home, due for release on 4th November. The band also spoke about their recent work organising Decolonise Fest, the inspiration behind the artwork on their new album, working with amazing producer Margo Broom at Hermitage Works Studios in North London, and their top tips for surviving life on the road whilst touring.

Listen below:

 

Tracklist
Noga Erez ft. Missy Elliott – NAILS
Maury Blu, Peaches – Vashti Part One
Lucy Dacus – Night Shift
Scrounge – Starve
O Hell – I Watch The Women
AGAAMA – Blackbox Oracle
Moglii, Palmaria – Volcano
TSHA, Clementine Douglas – Dancing In The Shadows
Tokky Horror – Jazz Music
New Pagans – Better People
SPRINTS – Literary Mind
Amaroun – Brown Skin Beauty
Perera Elsewhere – Who I Am
Big Joanie – Confident Man
**Interview with Big Joanie**
Gustaf – Best Behaviour
Grandmas House – Body
Connie Constance – Mood Hoover
Brutus – Victoria
adults – things we achieve
DIVES – Say
Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani – Waiting
th’sheridans – Luka
Perfume Genius – Queen
Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something – Helen Is A Reptile
The Big Moon – Trouble

(you can listen back to the our original 2019 interview with Big Joanie here too)

INTERVIEW: Grandmas House

Since we heard the opening riff of ‘Always Happy’ by Bristol trio Grandmas House, the Get In Her Ears team have been hooked on their sardonic, thumping post-punk sounds. Formed of guitarist & vocalist Yasmin Berndt, drummer & vocalist Poppy Dodgson and bassist Zoë Zinsmeister, the band combine gritty guitars, powerhouse percussion and visceral vocals to create intensely relatable anthems. They were busy cutting their teeth on the UK gig circuit before Covid-19 put an abrupt stop to live music. The trio decided to use their time in lockdown constructively, quickly writing and recording new material, including recent singles ‘Always Happy’ and ‘Small Talk’.

We caught up with Grandmas House to talk about recording fun music videos in lockdown, where they’re looking forward to playing once the current Covid-19 restrictions have lifted and the context behind their latest singles…

Hello Grandmas House! For anyone who doesn’t know, can you explain how you met and originally formed as a band?

Yasmin: We all went to uni together in London. Then me and Poppy moved to Bristol afterwards and then we dragged Zoe along with us well.

Poppy: Yeah, we were like “you’ll love it here!”

Yasmin: We did have a different bassist before Zoe actually, who we also met at uni. She lived in London still and she was commuting so much and that didn’t really work out. Then Zoe moved to Bristol and became our new bassist, so that worked out pretty well. We’ve all been living together now for three years.

Does living together make things easier in terms of recording and writing songs?

Yasmin: We usually go into the studio now that we’re getting a bit more serious about music, but when we started the band it was just demos recorded on all of our phones. We didn’t know how to edit music so we just cropped all the recordings together. But now we try to go to a professional and take it into a studio and stuff. Obviously because of Covid-19 and all the studios being shut, we did have to record a few things from home. We did a few vocals on the mic from home, but that’s it.

You’ve recently released two single, the first of which being ‘Always Happy’. I read that you came up with this track really quickly and unanimously agreed on the context. Is that usually the case when you’re writing songs?

Poppy: I feel like usually it does happen like that, it just flows out. We’re very much on the same wavelength, but there are occasionally times where we get stuck on a song for ages.

Yasmin: I think I think if it doesn’t flow, it’s just not the one. If we’re working on a song and we have to kind of really, really try to make it work, we usually just take ourselves away from it and try something else. I do feel like our really good songs are usually the ones that literally just completely flow out of us though.

Poppy: We know if we’re working on a song for more than an hour, it might be time to put it on the shelf. Sometimes we come back to them of course, but we usually get a good feel for whether a song is working or not quite quickly.

‘Always Happy’ is a song about the misconceptions we have about people’s confidence in social settings and also online. Talk me through what the track’s about, as I know it’s based on your own experiences of performing on stage as well.

Yasmin: I feel like everyone is a bit taken aback by how we are onstage and how loud our music is, especially because our name is Grandmas House, which is quite calm…

Zoe: The track is a mix of thoughts about social anxiety, performing on stage and how people perceive you online, as well as how you show yourself online too. In between songs when we’re on stage, people have said we’re always so smiley, and then we suddenly just start screaming again. There’s been a few gigs where Poppy has been on the drums, looking really, really into it and angry and then as soon as a song ends she’s doing this cute giggle.

Yasmin: I think we’re definitely confident off stage as well. The song is definitely more about mental health and social anxiety that is generally present, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be talkative or chatty after a show. I think you definitely just see a snippet of us, or any other band, when we’re on stage. You don’t see how nervous we are before as well.

Zoe: That adds to the adrenaline we get whilst we’re playing  though. It’s been built up beforehand which is great, so performing is definitely an outlet for that.

The accompanying video you directed for ‘Always Happy’ definitely showcases the fun and the more serious sides of the track. Talk me through it…

Poppy: Originally we were going to film it with some other people, but because of lockdown we suddenly had to try and make it ourselves, but it was so so fun!

Yasmin: We’re quite good at coming up with ideas – if I do say so myself. We love coming up with visuals and talking about would look good aesthetically. So for the video we had three main shots in mind and we were just really lucky and happy with how it came out, exactly how we imagined it.

Zoe: We were really able to create the atmosphere that we wanted for the song. It’s quite a personal song I think, so the fact that we could make it ourselves with no other kind of creative input was really nice.

You’ve also released a new single ‘Small Talk’, which forms part of your two-track cassette release on Brace Yourself Records which Zoe designed the artwork for. Tell me what this track is about…

Yasmin: It’s just about not really liking small talk. It’s one of the first songs we ever wrote. It’s quite a straightforward, snappy, loud, quick song – which I think a lot of our songs are. It’s a bit of a contrast to ‘Always Happy’, it’s a bit rougher and a bit more like our earlier sound.

That’s to the point, I like it. The UK government have teased us with the potential lifting of lockdown restrictions & return of live music if their step-by-step plan over the next few months. If it does work, is there a particular venue or festival you’re keen to play?

Yasmin: We’ve announced that we’re playing Dot to Dot Festival which is so exciting. That’s in Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester. We’ve never played in Nottingham before, so that’s gonna be fun.

Zoe: I honestly feel like we would take anything and play anywhere right now?

Yasmin: I mean, we usually take any gig that gets offered to us because we love playing, but especially now I think we would take anything!

Poppy: I think if we were dreaming big we’d love to play End Of The Road Festival. But yeah, honestly anywhere….

That sounds good! I know we’re all approaching 2021 with caution, but do you have plans to record or release more music this year?

Zoe: We’ve recorded an EP, which will be coming out this year. That’s very exciting.

Yasmin: We’re almost done with it. Covid-19 got in the way of it once again, the studio we were recording it had to shut, but it’s nearly get ready to go. Hopefully we’ll do some more music videos as well.

Looking forward to hearing that! Finally, can you recommend some new music for us to listen to?

Collectively: Ooooh yes! Grove, they’re from Bristol and they’ve just released an EP. Sinead O’Brien, deep tan, LIME, Katy J Pearson – always a favourite! We’re just playing all of these bands on repeat at the moment…

Thanks so much to Grandmas House for chatting with us!

You can buy a copy of ‘Always Happy/’Small Talk’ on limited edition cassette here.

Follow Grandma’s House on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook

 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

STILL SPINNING: The Joy Formidable – ‘The Big Roar’

Our Still Spinning feature focuses on records that we consider to be iconic – whether that’s for popular, or personal reasons – and celebrates our enduring love for them. Get In Her Ears Co-Founder & Features Editor Kate Crudgington talks us through why Welsh alternative trio The Joy Formidable’s debut album, The Big Roar, released in January 2011, is still one of her most influential listens today.

 

At the tender age of nineteen, I discovered The Joy Formidable through a crush I was trying to impress. Naturally, that crush faded over time, but my sheltered ears had been introduced to a new world of music outside of the charts. It’s that priceless personal affiliation with the songs on The Joy Formidable’s debut album The Big Roar that’s kept me listening to the record for the last decade.

Formed of Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd & Matt Thomas, The Joy Formidable dropped The Big Roar in January 2011, two years after their debut EP A Balloon Called Moaning, and twenty year old me fell head over heels in love with it. I bought the limited edition boxset which included the album, a pin badge, a CD of live recordings and a piece of Ritzy’s smashed guitar. I worked part-time in retail earning minimum wage back then, so it took a hefty chunk out of my pay-check, but I felt like I’d struck gold.

The record was littered with singles I already knew – ‘Whirring’, ‘Austere’, ‘Cradle’ & ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ – so listening for the first time flooded me with familiar excitement. As the title suggests, The Big Roar rips and roars with vital, visceral urgency, plunging listeners into overwhelming waves of sound before allowing them to resurface and breathe again. At the time, I thought it was a bold move to open an album with a 40 second cacophony of indiscernible clacking noises, but it laid the foundation for the spiralling opener ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie,’ which rushes the ears with swelling riffs and urgent vocals. This track, along with ‘I Don’t Want To See You Like This’ brim with cathartic guitar wails and commanding beats, encouraging listeners to be “courage’s child” and break away from the past.

I remembered the stomping rhythms of ‘Cradle’, Austere’, ‘The Magnifying Glass’, ‘Chapter 2’ and ‘A Heavy Abacus’ because I’d heard the band play them live. After seeing The Joy Formidable headline The Garage in Islington in 2009, I remember leaving the venue with the overwhelming feeling that I’d seen something that was going to change my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but watching Ritzy Bryan shredding her guitar, singing lead vocals and thrashing her white-blonde hair around the stage with her bandmates galvanized my idea of what a guitar band should be, and quite frankly, who I wanted to be – I wanted to be just like her.

When I used to frequent the dancefloor at The Pink Toothbrush on a Saturday night – one of the only alternative clubs in my home county of Essex – DJ Darren B would play ‘Whirring’ in its entirety so my friends and I could thrash about to it. The thudding drum beats and punchy lyrics kept me stomping on those floorboards for hours. Even now, I can remember pushing open the double doors to enter the club, hearing a Joy Formidable song playing and feeling like I’d truly arrived at a place of happiness. Maybe I’m just overly sentimental, but the trio provided the soundtrack to so many of my clearest memories.

My ribs still remember the thrill of being hit by the ear-swelling sounds of ‘Buoy’ when I heard it live for the first time at Kentish Town Forum. From the subtle allure of Ritzy’s opening guitar riffs, to Rhydian’s dense buzzing bass lines, it’s an all-consuming aural blur. I love the way they spit the last lines “And you should have talked / and you should talk too / ’cause in twenty years / you’ll be a fucking mute” – their urgency complimented by dizzying riffs and Matt’s relentless percussion. Bassist Rhydian takes the vocal lead on ‘Llaw=Wall’, which like ‘Buoy’ has a colossal drop in.

The opening track on A Balloon Called Moaning, but the closing one for The Big Roar, ‘The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade’ still sounds as shadowy and hypnotic today to me now as it did back in 2009. It’s a song that I’ve turned to at so many different points in my life, that my heart overflows with nostalgia when I hear it.

After penning such a passionate essay about The Big Roar, it might surprise you to know that I didn’t review the album when it was first released. When I looked up some reviews by respected music publications, one labelled it a “brit-pop” revival record, but I don’t think that’s the best comparison to make. The most important thing is, The Joy Formidable just sound really fucking good on this album.

Listen to The Big Roar on bandcamp or Spotify.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

GIHE: Personal Highlights Of 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and we’ll be glad to see the back of it, but before we wave goodbye, the GIHE team would like to share some of their personal highlights. Thanks to everyone who has been following, reading or listening to GIHE this year. It really does mean the world to us and we couldn’t do this without you.

Shared Highlights

Seeing the GIHE name appear in a PHYSICAL BOOK was a landmark moment for the team this year. Music journalist Lucy O’Brien mentioned us in her 25th anniversary edition of She Bop, a fantastic book that explores the role of female artists and how they’ve helped to shape the music industry. You can buy your copy here.

Fellow GIHE Co-Founder Tash Walker was super busy recording & producing series 2 of The Log Books throughout 2020, a podcast which explores the history of the LGBTQ community via the phone archives of LGBT+ charity Switchboard. Tash is a co-chair at Switchboard and she is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community through her work with them, and through her work with GIHE. She is one of the most resilient, informed and hilarious people we know and it’s a privilege to work alongside her and call her a friend. The Log Books are a truly necessary listen for all.

Now for some personal highlights…

Kate Crudgington (Features Editor)

GIHE usually takes up a big part of my life, but it was a lifeline for me during March of this year when the government text me (lol) telling me to shield for 12 weeks. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to talk to the people who were making the music that was distracting me from the panic-inducing headlines, reminding me what a huge privilege it is to have access to this amazing platform.

As our followers already know, Lockdown 1.0 instantly put a stop to our weekly GIHE new music shows on Hoxton Radio. We had 16 weeks off air, so when it was “safe” for me to go back in to the studio in July I was buzzing with excitement (which you can hear in my voice if you listen back to the show here.)

Like most platforms during the pandemic, we embraced technology and started interviewing artists over Zoom instead of inviting them in to the studio for the usual chat and live session. We managed to get time with Jessica Winter, BISHI, Lucy O’Brien, Tessa from Girlhood, Julia-Sophie, Lizzie from Bitch Falcon, Grave Goods, Problem Patterns, ZAND, Hannah from PELA, Seraphina-Simone & Penelope Trappes. It was so lovely to see Tash in person in the studio most weeks, and while we both missed seeing Mari a great deal, her weekly track contributions to the show still made it feel like a GIHE team effort.

At the beginning of the year, I was invited by Niall Jackson, one of the hosts of Riverside Radio’s The Irish Jam, to be a contributor to their New Music Sunday section. Co-hosted by Kealan, Mel and Rob, The Irish Jam is a London based radio show that celebrates and promotes music from Irish artists. The crossover of favourite bands between GIHE & the Jam is huge and something I’ve enjoyed chatting to the team about both on and off air. They’ve introduced me to the likes of CMAT, fears, Denise Chaila, Silverbacks and Celaviedmai, whilst I’ve shared tracks by Kynsy, Party Fears and CAMI with them. Listening to their show on a Sunday evening continues to be a wonderful distraction from life.

Who could’ve predicted that bandcamp would become the musical hero of 2020? When the streaming platform announced that on the first Friday of every month they’d be waiving their fees so that 100% of profits would be going directly to artists, my newsfeeds were awash with new music recommendations. Moving home to Essex from London in March meant I actually had some expendable income to buy new records, so I was furiously typing bespoke recommendation threads on Twitter every time the date rolled around. bandcamps’ generosity meant you were able to genuinely support your friends (and the artists you secretly wish you were friends with) during a truly depressing year for music.

Normally, we’d be picking our live music highlights too, but for obvious reasons, we’ve hardly been to any gigs this year. Mari had to cancel half of the gigs GIHE she had booked pre-pandemic and it’s fucking depressing to not know when it will be (properly) safe for her to book more. That’s why I feel incredibly fortunate to have wedged in one last GIHE gig before Lockdown 1.0. GIHE worked together with Sofar Sounds to put together a special International Women’s Day gig at their Hackney HQ in March, with Beckie Margaret, Amahla and Indian Queens on the bill. It was so exciting (and nerve-racking) to host the evening with fellow GIHE pal Tash too. Even if I’d had a year full of gigs, this one still would’ve made my highlights list.

One last gloat – I published some of my all-time favourite features on our website this year. My Zoom interviews with the wonderful A.A Williams, the hilarious CMAT and the ultra talented Lido Pimienta are well worth a read.

Mari Lane (Managing Editor)

It goes without saying, most of the highlights I’d normally mention at this time of year were not able to go ahead in the void of 2020. They would normally consist of the monthly gigs that I host at The Finsbury, whereas this year I was only able to put on two before Covid hit. And, in addition to having to cancel at least seven of our regular gigs, we were pretty heartbroken to cancel what would have been our very first festival, due to take place in July. However, I did manage to fit in a couple of memorable live experiences before being confined to being permanently pyjama clad; my only weekly highlight being our regular beer delivery from Croydon’s Art & Craft bar.

The first gig I hosted this year felt particularly special. Personal Best headlined a night filled with all the best vibes. Drawing the night to a memorable close, front person Katie Gatt dedicated their set closer to the queer community. As a sea of buoyant voices joined in with “I wanna kiss you in the street / where everyone can see / ’cause this is what we look like,” the poignancy of the lyrics was overwhelming and an empowering sense of unity took hold. The night also included the shimmering folk-strewn offerings of Athabaska, the quirky energy and sparkling charisma of Nun Habit and the sun-drenched swirling anthems of Hurtling. There is nothing quite like that joyous sense of togetherness that comes from hosting gigs filled with like-minded wonderful people.

I was also lucky enough to fit in seeing one of my all time favourite bands with a few of my all time favourite people. The last time that Tash, Kate, Paul and I were all together pre-Covid was for Sleater Kinney at Brixton Academy – a pretty special night. Not only did I get to see the legendary Carrie Brownstein deliver her distinctive gritty, scuzz-filled riffs alongside Corin Tucker’s unmistakable swooning vocals in the flesh, conjuring up massive feelings of awe and nostalgia, but they were supported by one of our favourite current bands. The second time we’d seen Big Joanie on the Brixton Academy stage (the first being opening for Bikini Kill last year!), they showcased just how deserving they are of their rising success; with their unique, raw, post-punk soundscapes and poignant lyricism, they delivered an absolutely incredible set. A truly memorable night.

My last ‘outing’ before lockdown was to the BBC 6Music festival for International Women’s Day at The Roundhouse. An epic line-up consisting of some incredible women and non-binary folk that I’m incredibly grateful I got to witness before everything fell apart. In addition to the immense poignant power of Jehnny Beth, the utterly beguiling splendour of Nadine Shah (who I fell in love with there and then), and the completely mind-blowing presence of hero Kim Gordon, Kae Tempest delivered a fiercely moving, truly breath-taking headline set.

And then gigs were gone. To be replaced by online streamed “events” which I think have had mixed reviews over the last few months – they’re of course no replacement for the “real thing” and it’s hard to feel motivated to “attend” things when you’ve been on the sofa in your pjs for weeks. However, I have managed to organise a few GIHE Instagram ‘Takeovers’, featuring some of our favourite bands and artists. From ARXX’s drum and guitar lessons, LibraLibra’s quirky tele-sales style feature and Tiger Mimic’s interviews with others on the scene, to inspiring chats with Amaroun, Eckoes, Foundlings and Husk, beaut “live” sessions from Gold Baby, Scrounge and KIN, and King Hannah’s EP run through, I feel grateful that so many creatives have wanted to be involved.

It’s a strange time, no doubt, but one which is made that much better by a sense of togetherness within the community. One positive from all this really has been the mutual support and genuine care that I’ve seen musicians and those within the industry show for each other.

John McGovern (Contributor)

On the one hand, there’s been almost no gigs, no festivals, much fewer physical releases and closed record shops. On the other, BBC 6Music’s response helped me stay indoors and make the most of my furlough life. Lauren Laverne‘s show was extended to cover the late morning, running to nearly double the length of most of the other shows on the station and basically saw her appointed as chief mood-lifter for the BBC’s flagship alternative music station. Amongst the days of uncertainty, where even leaving the house offered the risk of serious illness, with no guarantee of a job at the end of the summer, having Lauren there to soundtrack breakfast/brunch made a world of difference. It produced a kind of odd stasis: the background radiation of a pandemic, but an excellent range of music, usually featuring a smattering of classics, new music and obscure gems. The only disappointment was when the schedule reverted back to usual come the end of lockdown. Hopefully, that same semblance of normality will be back for us all, soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our highlights!

You can read about our GIHE Albums of 2020 here and our GIHE Tracks Of 2020 here.

Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch in 2021 feature next week!