FIVE FAVOURITES: Bonnie Trash

Finding comfort and catharsis in the darker spheres of life, Canadian-Italian twin siblings Emmalia and Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor create music inspired by everything from Italian folklore to the gloom of post-punk. Performing under their moniker Bonnie Trash, the duo have recently released their deliciously droney debut album, Malocchio, which translates as “hex” or “curse”. Inspired by the stories that their grandma Nonna Maria handed down to them as children, their record is a potent and commanding blend of metal, shoegaze and gothic rock, released via aptly named label, Hand Drawn Dracula.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Bonnie Trash to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out Emma & Sara’s choices below and listen to their new album, Malocchio, here.

1. The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
Sara: When I was a teenager, around 13 or 14 years old, I was emotional as all hell and needed to release my sadness, my anger – it’s like all of a sudden I was finally feeling everything all at once. I was just beginning my journey into 1990s grunge like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Alanis Morisette. Then I heard, ‘I Am One’ by The Smashing Pumpkins and it blew my mind. It was loud, heavy, and had hints of heavy metal. That drum opening drew me right in and I became an instant fan of Jimmy Chamberlin. At the time, I was solely playing the drums. I didn’t even think about singing until I was around 16. As I listened to Gish on repeat for a few years, it didn’t take long until Billy Corgan’s lyrics and voice seeped into my bloodstream, and inspired me to sing and write. There are truly painful, sad, and quiet moments on this album, and they are almost always followed by dramatically explosive arrangements. I instantly fell in love.

2. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
Sara: This album is a post-punk gem. It’s gorgeous. Those smooth, noisy, yet soft grooves that make you want to slow-bop along to it all – it’s pure bliss. There’s a sensitive nature to this record, and it bleeds out through the vocals and lyrics, backed up by pop-sensibilities. The drums hit hard and are super robotic, as the guitars float on top. Darklands sparked my love for drum machines and electronic percussion. And the lyrics? They’re macabre, sad, dark, and at times joyous: “And I awake from dreams, to a scary world of screams.” Combining these contrasting lyrical themes are beautifully-haunting. What’s so cool about this record is that it’s got this overall bubblegum pop sound. Darklands continues to inspire my love for electronic drums, writing pop-structured songs, and singing about dark subject-matter in a (sometimes) joyous way.

3. Godspeed You, Black Emperor – Yanqui U.X.O 
Emma: I encountered this album after a hard drive swap with my bandmates/friends about 10 years ago. I religiously listened to my iPod on shuffle to hear how songs were related to each other. ‘Motherfucker = Redeemer’ came on and my world was transformed. It slowly repeated and grew in intensity, yet gave so much sonic space for emptiness to shine. This album forever changed my guitar playing. It made me want to expand on noise and texture while keeping everything I wrote simple enough to be repeated, droned, and transforming. I changed the way I use a slide and it made me pick up a bow. Yanqui U.X.O is the soundtrack of major horror and disaster, telling a story of how deep our formations of capitalist structures eventually funnel into the corporate hands of bomb making and war-feeding. It tells the tale of how the little things really do add up.

4. Nine Inch Nails – And All that Could Have Been
Emma: This is more of a recent discovery and a moment of excitement in re-igniting a creative spark. I’m not normally into listening to live albums but this one is exceptional– the 2000 Fragility 2.0 tour that took the world by storm. In this sonic capture, you can hear every instrument in its live element embodying the heaviness of each song with even more depth; you can feel everything vibrate and sense the sweat. This was the first time in a long time where I picked up my guitar and played to each song, pretending to be part of the band. ‘Wish’ hits me the hardest on this album because you can hear an entire audience singing, “Wish there was something real, wish there was something true / Wish there was something real in this world for you.” And in this time, I cannot help but wonder how many of us are reciting these very same lyrics.

5. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures 
Emma & Sara: The feeling, “Is that it? Is there more?” is a ghost that haunts humanity. Don’t pretend it isn’t. Even the most joyous person asks this question from time to time. Unknown Pleasures in it’s most turmoiled, poetic existence, illuminates the truths behind our being. It adds some sort of comfort despite the demise and perhaps, in this struggle, we find ourselves again. Let there be disorder, lose control, fuck your day of the lords, and fall into the interzone. This chaos is the beauty of existence and with it comes hope, a monster to have faith in. There is more. You are more. Make your fate. Unknown Pleasures is a classic because it allows you to pick your personal scabs and come out transformed. It has inspired our love for the macabre, sorrowful, and of course, post-punk.

Thanks to Emma & Sarah for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Watch the video for Bonnie Trash’s single ‘Silence Is A Killer’ below

Follow Bonnie Trash on bandcamp, Spotify, TwitterInstagram

Photo Credit: dana Bellamy

FIVE FAVOURITES: Ora Cogan

Ora Cogan is not easily categorised. Since releasing her 2007 debut, Tatter, the Canadian artist has continued to evolve in intriguing ways, not only as a musician but as an activist, filmmaker, photographer and writer. Her new EP, Dyed, follows 2020’s shapeshifting album, Bells in the Ruins, and finds her exploring gradations of shoegaze and experimental folk succoured through shadows and light. As well as the high and airy title track, described as “a cryptic rumination on awkward love,” there’s a cloudy, ephemerally anxious mood piece (‘Diver’) and a tantalising cover of PJ Harvey’s ‘To Bring You My Love’, completely reimagined within Ora’s rapt soundworld.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. To celebrate the release of Dyed, we caught up with Ora to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for their choices of her five favourite albums, and be sure to catch her on tour with Aoife Nessa Frances in November. Full list of headline and support dates here.

 

1. Buffy Sainte-Marie – Coincidence and Likely Stories
One of my favourite memories of this record is from when I was a kid. My mum and I had picked up my godmother on the side of a highway for a roadtrip. I think my godmum had just finished doing some kind of farm work, but I’m not sure. She’d click her rings on the dashboard, singing along to every song on this record at the top of her lungs as we drove through the desert. Buffy Sainte-Marie is a legend, she’s one of the greatest songwriters alive and has many mind-blowing albums of course, but Coincidence and Likely Stories was the first record of hers I heard that I fell in love with. I keep going back to these songs. Her work continues to inspire me to write honestly, to try to use songwriting as a way of finding understanding in life, in politics, in love. She inspires me to write songs that speak truth to power.

2. Fiver – Audible Songs from Rockwood
Audible Songs from Rockwood is a monumental piece of work. This record is comprised of songs Fiver (Simone Schmidt) wrote after of years of research on inmates incarcerated in the Rockwood Asylum for “the criminally insane” in Kingston, Ontario, between 1856 and 1881. The songs speak of these women’s lives and dig into matters of the heart, the justice system, colonialism, ableism. This record is more than a record, with 30 pages of liner notes featuring illustrations, history, and context for the songs. I first heard Fiver when I opened for them at one of the stops on their tour in support of this album, and they had the whole audience spellbound. I look up to them as an artist so much, and this project was such generous work.

3. Marika Papagika – The Further the Flame, The Worse It Burns Me
Marika Papagika moved to New York City from Greece and became a prolific recording artist there. She eventually opened a club with her husband in the ‘20s and had a successful music career, but that ended abruptly with the Wall Street Crash of 1929. I fell in love with Marika Papagika after Eric Isaacson at Mississippi Records introduced me to her work. Rumbetiko feels vital and familiar as I grew up listening to Jewish folk music that can sometimes have similar vocal lines. Marika’s voice felt relatable, and this record will always hold so much magic for me. Marika inspires me endlessly to be a better singer.

4. Nina Simone – Sings the Blues
The opening track, ‘Do I Move You’, kills me every time. You can hear people yelling in the recording, they were feeling it so much. I first heard this album when my friend Jeremy from Shearing Pinx was DJing a bush party a few hours north of Nanaimo. The song was echoing across a lake, and I swear I could feel the whole natural world saying, ‘Yes, Nina Simone, you move us, you move everything. The whole universe bends towards you.’ I might have been high, but it’s still the truth. She was truly the best.

5. White Magic – Through the Sun Door
White Magic (Mira Billotte) has been one of my favorite musicians forever. I first heard her when she was a part of the Washington D.C. group Quix*o*tic; their song ‘The Breeze’ stopped me dead in my tracks. My friends and I used to stay up all night crafting or painting with Through the Sun Door on repeat. For us, I think, this album was our touchstone, like a secret passageway to an alternate reality. Some music opens up entire worlds, and for me this was a teleportation device. This record is intimate but spacious. Some of it feels like tavern music, punk, psychedelic folk and experimental music at the same time. I love the unique arrangements. I don’t know any other music that breathes like this does.

Thanks to Ora Cogan for sharing her Five Favourites with us!

Watch her video for ‘Diver’ below.

Dyed, the new EP from Ora Cogan, is out now via her own label Prism Tongue Records.

Photo Credit: Journey Meyerhoff

Alan Pedder
@alanthology

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)

FIVE FAVOURITES: Muna Ileiwat

London-based, New Jersey-born songwriter Muna Ileiwat creates tender indie pop tunes that are a blend of soft vocals, shimmering electronics and steady beats. Her debut EP, Twenty-Seven, released today (19th Aug) via Fear of Missing Out Records, explores the fluctuating nature of relationships in all their forms, and the resilience and freedom that comes with creating art for arts sake.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Muna to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch her video for ‘Pity Party’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Ms. Lauryn Hill – ‘I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel)’
This song made me want to learn guitar and start writing my own music. When I started guitar lessons I learned classical music. At the end of each lesson, my teacher and I would spend a bit of time learning a “pop” song. This was the first song I chose. I heard Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged album a lot when I was young (my dad owned it on CD). I’m not really into live albums except this one I love. I’ve come back to this song throughout my life. It’s not a conventional structure and the lyrics are stunning. The song’s nearly 7 minutes long, but every time I listen to it, it feels like half the time, probably because it’s so moving. Lauryn Hill’s performance is so raw. Once I was old enough, I discovered the song was about the murder of Amadou Diallo.

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Maps’
An indie gem. I have such a soft spot for Karen O, she’s so badass! Yeah Yeah Yeahs were one my first introductions to indie music (this song in particular). There’s something so understated and vulnerable about the chorus line – “wait, they don’t love you like I love you”. It’s hard to convince me that a guitar solo is ever cool, but Nick Zinner’s solo in this is very cool. I got so wrapped up in the story behind this song. Music is so much about storytelling. You get a unique perspective into the deepest parts of people’s inner emotional states, the things people want to talk about, but just don’t know how. In the music video, Karen O is apparently crying real tears because her boyfriend was hours late to the shoot, right before her tour. There’s speculation that the song title is an acronym for ‘My Angus Please Stay’ and even though Karen O has never confirmed it, this kinda makes me love the song more. It really hurts. You feel her disappointment when the person you love can’t show up for you in the ways you need.

3. Selena – ‘Como La Flor’
I spent my early childhood in the US and Selena was always on the radio. I can’t begin to explain how much I love her and what she represents. Her outfits – incredible. Her voice – flawless. Her stage presence – mesmerising. Her music crossed cultural boundaries. That’s so powerful. Her iconic performance of this song at the Astrodome can bring me to tears. I’ve watched that performance a billion times. She was so talented. Her music is a nostalgic part of my childhood.

4. Solange – ‘Losing You’
The synths, chord progression, harmonies, production, the video – I love this song! It’s so fun! It’s melancholy cloaked in catchy hooks. I love the simplicity of the lyrics. Nothing is hidden under metaphors. I find songwriting like this bold. You can’t disguise your vulnerability under fancy wordplay. It’s direct. I’m a big Dev Hynes fan so the fact that he co-wrote this explains why it’s so goddamn good. I’ve always appreciated Solange’s holistic approach and commitment to her art. The video manifests a sense of community. It reminds me of Curaçao and that island life.

5. Robyn – ‘With Every Heartbeat’
I’ve always admired Robyn’s songwriting. She’s so inspiring and her music is so cathartic. This song has everything you need – a sweeping orchestra and driving beat. The lyrics are a perfect blend of hopefulness and devastation, particularly in the chorus. Robyn is so good at finding that balance, and nothing hits like a pop song about the realisation that you have to leave someone behind even though it hurts. I dream, and will continue to dream of writing a Robyn equivalent one day.

 

Thanks to Muna for sharing her favourites with us! Watch her video for ‘Pity Party’ below.

Pre-order Muna Ileiwat’s debut EP, Twenty-Seven, from Rough Trade here

Follow Muna Ileiwat on Apple MusicSpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Guy Gotto

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut