FIVE FAVOURITES: Delhia de France

Crafting a solo career between Berlin and L.A over the past two years, Producer and songwriter Delhia de France has been busy re-working a track from German producer Robot Koch’s latest album, The Next Billion Years. She takes Koch’s concept of sound-tracking the far distant future of earth on ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ and gives it an alt-pop twist, breathing new life in to the instrumental piece with her soft vocals and shimmering electronics.

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 Delhia to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ at the end of this post.

1. Massive Attack – ‘Paradise Circus’
‘Paradise Circus’ has a certain melancholic lightness to it that I really like. Massive Attack have been consistently bending genres and been a huge influence of mine since forever. Their latest project Eutopia with Young Fathers is as brilliant as it is important. The tracks are layered over with speeches and lectures by prominent educational figures demanding justice, equality, sustainability. Goosebumps education.

2. Fever Ray – ‘I’m Not Done’
This whole album is one of my all time fives. I will never get tired diving into these eerie synth baths that have a very artificial sound yet and incredibly warm vibe. It really is an album of light and dark and to create opposites so each side can shine is something that I picked up from Karin Dreijer’s productions.

3. Rosalia – ‘A Palé’
I love how the track begins with this soothing melody and then takes a totally different turn. It’s incredible how she fuses traditional flamenco with modern sounds. I love all the space in between and her voice effortlessly pouring over it like a waterfall.

4. Thom Yorke – ‘Skip Divided’
Radiohead had always been a massive influence to me and Thom Yorke with his extraordinary fragile voice throwing words at you like daggers. He has a special way of writing melodies that uniquely beautiful. How he marries the piano with these textured organic sounds has been, I’ve always been fascinated.

5. The Knife – ‘Silent Shout’
Again Karin Dreijer, this time with her brother Olof. The whole Silent Shout album has been an eye-opener to me, these simple melodies and her bone-shaking voice combined with glowing and sawing synths are so far opposite of my usual sound yet so captivating and just plain beautiful in this genius simplicity.

Thanks to Delhia de France for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her cover of ‘All Forms Are Unstable’ below.

Photo Credit: Alix Spence

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sea Change

Norwegian newcomer Sea Change is skilled at crafting atmospheric, transformative, electronic sounds. She’s set to release her new album INSIDE on 15th November, and if recent singles ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Flown’ are anything to go by, it’ll be filled with intriguing synth textures, longing vocals, and irresistible lo-fi beats. 

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) wrote her new album after she relocated to Berlin, and during her many trips back and forth to LA; resulting in seven tracks that meander through intimate and stimulating personal territories.

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 Ellen to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her latest track ‘Flown’ at the end of this post.

 

1. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire / 4-Track Demos
Discovering PJ Harvey at 16 made my whole world turn around. Before that, I loved music and I knew that I needed to do music myself, but I’d never heard anything by a female voice or musician that I loved with all my heart (how sad is that !?). But then I discovered PJ Harvey and the way she sang and made her music was so gut wrenching and vulnerable and beautiful and horrible at the same time; I realized that I don’t have to sing in a pretty voice to make music. When I heard Is This Desire, it was like – yes – this is the music I’m gonna make. Everything kind of fell into place when I discovered her. She taught me that being raw and honest is what makes amazing art. She has a special place in my heart.

2. Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride / Out There. In There.
At 18 I started to discover more and more experimental music and in Norway. There’s an amazing improv and jazz scene. I discovered Sidsel Endresen which is an experimental jazz singer. I think the way she uses silence and minimalism in her music is incredible. She is an amazing improviser, it’s super intuitive. In her music there’s nothing of that showing off-virtuosity you can often find in jazz music, but it’s actually something that comes from her heart. And I think she also taught me to not give a crap about what other people think, and to do your own thing. Her lyrics are also utterly beautiful.

3. Arthur Russell – World Of Echo
Arthur Russel makes the perfect blend of club music/disco/experimental and vulnerability. He has something that I can’t explain. His music and lyricism is so naive and beautiful in it’s simplicity, and I love that it’s electronic music but it has this off-kilter and strange vibe. It sounds like he is improvising and jamming by himself in his living room, and it’s so rare to listen to electronic music that is so unperfected. His songs don’t really have one proper studio version, they have about 10 different ones that make his artistry so utterly interesting. He has a mixture of authority, intuition and vulnerability in his music that I will always strive after, ‘cos its so explosive in an artist. I recently heard that he will be releasing a new mix of unreleased songs/demos on the 15th of November (the same day I’m releasing my record!) and I can’t wait to listen.

4. Noise/Improv/Lasse Marhaug/Noxakt/Kevin Drumm
I need to put in this on the list but it’s more of a state of mind/genre than albums or tracks. Most of this music I’ve experienced live. When I moved to Oslo at 19 I started to go to improv and noise concerts. Oslo has an amazing experimental scene and it was really cool to be able to go to so many shows that were so well curated. There’s a rawness and punk atmosphere to this music that I love, and to be able to just close my eyes and dive into a world of raw sound is incredible. This was also at the same time I started making music myself. When I started playing live I usually had parts in the live sets that were ambient and drone like (it’s surprisingly hard to make something that actually sounds good). This music is best to experience live. I think it awakes something primal in me, and I’m really happy I went through this musical phase cos it taught me so much about what music can be and that it has no limits!

5. Fever Ray – Plunge
I’m such a huge fan of Fever Ray, it’s kind of embarrassing. When she all of the sudden dropped PLUNGE in 2017 I was listening to the record over and over for days. I can’t remember last time I had this obsession with a record, since I was in my teens I guess, and that is the most amazing feeling. I love what she’s challenging both musically and lyrically. There was a music journalist that wrote that this record was like jumping into cold water, and I really love that allegory. This record hit me in the chest and I think it came at a time in my life when I really needed it and it also influenced my newest record a lot. I love how she blends club music, pop music and listening music and makes her own breed of art with her explosive visual narrative. She is a HUGE inspiration!

I saw her live recently and she had a seven piece band with only female musicians, and I remember how shocked I was with how shocked I was. How have I never seen that before!? And that made me realize that hell, from now on I’m only gonna have female musicians on stage. Her first record was amazing and Its still a piece of art that stands steady as a rock, and I find myself going back to it over and over again.

Thanks to Ellen for sharing her favourites with us.

Follow Sea Change on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Fotini Chora

Live Highlights of 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. And seeing live music has, as ever, provided a necessary catharsis and enjoyment; forever giving us something to look forward to. 

Having witnessed an uncountable amount of women/non binary folk being awesome on stage this year, it was hard to pick out our highlights … But, from some of our DIY faves, to Fever Ray and Courtney Barnett (and – yes – Indietracks Festival features twice, it’s that great), here are a few events that stood out as particularly special for us… 

Witch Fever Live @ The Finsbury, January:
2018 has been of year of many incredible gigs, not least our own gigs that we’ve been lucky enough to host at The Finsbury. And, whilst I have a massive amount of love and pride in all the gigs we’ve hosted, the year kicked off with a pretty immense one. Manchester’s Witch Fever, who made two six hour coach journeys to be with us, treated us to their frenzied, raucous offerings with an incredible, un-matched power. As front woman Amy’s incredible, snarling energy stole the show, we were all left completely in awe of this band’s formidable intensity. And they weren’t the only amazing band of the night; joining them was the empowering force of The Nyx, the grunge-fuelled energy of ARXX and the gorgeous pop-punk of Militant Girlfriend.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Fever Ray @ The Troxy, March:
Fever Ray’s fierce, focused, sold out performance at the Troxy proved she’s an inimitable talent with a vision, generosity, and energy unlike any other. In Fever Ray’s space, no-one is an outsider: everyone is welcome in her warped and wonderful world. Emerging from the lights in her trademark “I heart Swedish girls” t-shirt and bare scalp, from start to finish the sound was flawless. Each lyric, synth sequence and drum beat was more distinct and discernible than the next – if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Petrol Girls @ Shacklewell Arms, April:
Mari and I were so excited to see the brilliant Petrol Girls live for the first time this year, and they did not disappoint. Loud, lethal and life-affirming: their headline show was a raw, frenzied, furious affair. The band packed out the venue with the help of their friends Pretty Pistol and Screaming Toenail (our new favourite band), and played our favourite track ‘Touch Me Again’ with all the ferocity and energy we’d come to expect from this brilliant band of activists.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indian Queens @  Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, June:
Hackney trio Indian Queens performed to a packed out Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre this year, after being hand-picked by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his (exceptionally well curated) 2018 Meltdown Festival. The band delivered a mesmeric, sharply executed performance that ended in a well deserved standing ovation. I felt like I’d witnessed something truly special from the Cool Thing Record signees when I left the building, and I look forward to catching them again in 2019.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indietracks Festival (and its sense of community), July:
There is the smell of long past years in the carriage as the rails clackity-clack below you, the signalman waves from the box as you pass, and behind the sidings crammed with moss-windowed rolling stock the natural amphitheatre of the main stage hoves into view.

Indietracks is hidden away but for those in the know its not just the boutique festival quietly winning at line-ups, its home. Not only welcoming and familiar, but full of friendship and love. The diversity of the billing, the cute touches and culture-clash between trains and music will delight newcomers but the community sustained between years – by the festival and railway volunteers, each band, every festival-goer – is something to be really astounded by. At a time when togetherness feels more elusive, but is ever more vital, Indietracks should be both celebrated and cherished for the community its nurtured and welcomes home each summer.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

Indietracks Festival (and the diversity of its line-up), July:
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to discover Indietracks – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

Ask me about any of my favourite bands of 2018, and they were probably playing at Indietracks Festival. From an array of glorious indie-pop (Wolf Girl, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Worst Place), Feminist punk (Dream Nails, The Baby Seals, Dream Wife) and all the scuzzy, dreamy sounds in-between (Ghum, Sink Ya Teeth, Sacred Paws, Girl Ray), every single band I saw filled me with an empowering sense of joy and blissful gratitude. And I think all those I saw consisted of female identifying/non binary artists.

So, whilst it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (plus owls and parrots!).
(Mari Lane)

Qween Kwong @ Rough Trade East, July:
I remember this gig for several reasons. Firstly, because I arrived soaked in sweat and rain from the downpour that briefly broke the overwhelming summer heatwave, and secondly because I was lucky enough to interview Queen Kwong before her set. She was just as cool (and as cutting) as I’d imagined her to be, and her live performance was a visceral, loud, defiant example of her songwriting talent.
(Kate Crudgington)

Wendy Rae Fowler @ The Finsbury, September:
I won’t lie; prior to Wendy Rae Fowler headlining for us at The Finsbury this September I was overwhelmingly excited and a little nervous. I’ve been a huge fan of her work over the years, and to have her play for us stands out for me as a particularly special moment (or 45 minutes) of 2018. Immediately creating a captivating, cinematic atmosphere, she filled the room with a majestic sense of wonder, delivering a soul-grabbing, breath-taking set that I’m truly honoured to have hosted.
(Mari Lane)

Courtney Barnett Live In Berlin, November:
Touring her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett was a sight to behold this year: quite literally. I looked on with envy when the Deal sisters provided backing vocals for ‘Nameless, Faceless’ at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend Festival. But, fortunately, a trip to Berlin also included seeing Courtney live at the city’s Huxleys Neue Welt venue. Seeing the songs played on a larger scale, contrasting with the more laidback atmosphere of songs taken from her debut and early EPs highlighted Barnett’s brilliance and renewed my appreciation of her songwriting.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

 

 

 

PLAYLIST: Pride 2018

Pride. What is Pride?  

Pride is a day to celebrate but it’s also a day to remember. Remember the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, the Stonewall riots of 1969. Remember the first official Pride in London in 1972 and remember it increasing in size during the ’80s to protest Section 28. Remember the first European Trans Pride in Brighton in 2014, and last year Sadiq Khan being the first London Mayor to lead the Pride parade.

Here in the UK we have come so far as a society but still on the streets of London I am shouted at when I kiss my girlfriend. LGBTQ+ people should not be victimised, they should not be judged, they should not be isolated. People should be free to live without fear of judgment or discrimination. LGBTQ+ people should not have to fear for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Throughout the years so many people have stood up for LGBTQ+ rights and achieved so much in the name of equality and this should be celebrated.

So wherever you are, at whatever Pride you are supporting, spread the word and make it known – equality is for everyone.

Here at GIHE we are supporting Pride Month and will be out supporting Pride in London on 7th July, and because we think everything deserves a soundtrack, here is ours for Pride Month and for all of you, whichever Pride you are supporting across the world.

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Their self-titled album released in 2008 was without a doubt the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality, feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. (Tash Walker)

J.D.Samson / MEN – ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free
As part of my favourite trio Le Tigre, and later MEN, LGBTQ+ activist J.D.Samson holds a pretty special place in my heart. Last year I had the honour of being able to dance the night away to tunes that she hand-picked at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival. It was a blissfully euphoric experience filled with an immense joy and sense of unity, proving that it’s more important than ever to make time to come together, dance, love, and be united against those who seek to divide us. (Mari Lane)

Peaches – ‘I U She’
Throughout history many people who are bisexual have been criticised by both the LGBTQ+ communities and the non-LGBTQ+ communities. I don’t think people realise how ingrained biphobia is within our society, which makes songs like ‘I U She’ soooo powerful and sooo important. (TW)

Fever Ray – ‘To The Moon and Back’
After seeing Fever Ray live at The Troxy this year – which was breath-taking – the memory of her fans joyfully echoing her explicit lyrics on this track still makes me smile. (Kate Crudgington)

Mykki Blacno – ‘Loner’ 
Rapper and queer pioneer Mykki Blanco delivers powerfully honest and thought-provoking social commentaries with a ferocious, fun-filled spirit. Seeing them live at M.I.A’s Meltdown Festival last year was like witnessing a colourful whirlwind, a beautifully buoyant ray of light. (ML)

Janelle Monae (feat Grimes) – ‘Pynk’
A perfect pop song from Janelle Monae – who spoke about her pansexuality in a recent Rolling Stone interview – which champions female pleasure. What’s not to like? (KC)

Shamir – ‘On The Regular’ 
The frenzied joy of Shamir’s ‘On The Regular’ is a must-have for any celebration, particularly one for Pride. His uptempo, playful pop puts a smile on my face without fail, and a hug from him at Visions Festival a few years ago was a definite life highlight. (ML)

King Princess – ‘1950’
The latest generation of LGBTQ+ people continually amaze me with their openness and their acceptance of how others identify in their sexuality and gender identity. King Princess’ ‘1950’ is an excellent example of the progression we have made throughout the last 60 years.(TW)

St Vincent – ‘Birth In Reverse’
A believer in gender fluidity, Annie Clark seems incapable of creating a song that isn’t completely wonderful. A particular favourite of mine, ‘Birth In Reverse’ is a vibrant example of her ability to make even the most mundane of subjects utterly intoxicating. (ML)

Partner – ‘Woman Of Dreams’ 
Canadian duo Partner are queens of jangly guitar fuzz, sparkling harmonies and witty lyrics. Seeing them live at The Victoria (with Suggested Friends and Charmpit) recently was a night of pure queer-pop perfection. (ML)

Ms Mohammed – ‘Pandora’
As a champion of cross-cultural tolerance and an out queer artist who advocates for LGBT rights and visibility, Ms Mohammed challenges prejudice through her music. Her video for ‘Pandora’ is another superb example of this. (KC)

Suggested Friends – ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Horcrux For Your Soul’
I just can’t get enough of the perfect, immensely infectious ‘tweemo’ punk-pop of Suggested Friends. Filled with racing, catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, Faith Taylor’s witty charm and exquisite vocals fill me with joy on each listen. (ML)

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
A personal choice for me, this song made me feel a lot less isolated when I was growing up, not quite knowing who I was or where I fitted in. (TW)

Dream Nails – ‘Bully Girl’ 
An uplifting queer anthem from our favourite Punk Witches. Yet another sparkling creation from the formidable force that is Dream Nails. (ML)

Gossip – ‘Where The Girls Are’ 
Beth Ditto, what a legend. (TW)

Sleater Kinney – ‘Dig Me Out’
Sleater Kinney’s third album Dig Me Out is filled with explosive emotion. Following the break up of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (and Brownstein then being famously outed by Spin Magazine), it’s a defiant and important collection – with anger and frustration used to fuel something wonderful. A necessary and motivating listen. (ML)

Madonna – ‘Vogue’
Inspired by the iconic Paris Is Burning documentary and recorded at the height of America’s AIDS crisis, this song has become an essential to any LGBTQ+ playlist. (TW)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’ 
Released in 1984 at the height of the AIDS crisis by openly gay Bronski Beat, Smalltown Boy is a heartbreaking story given an empowering beat. (TW)

Princess Nokia – ‘Tomboy’ 
A feel-good body image anthem and general all-round banger, Princess Nokia’s ‘Tomboy’ asserts that we should be proud of our bodies (“my little titties and my fat belly”) whatever shape they may be. A snarling ode to her small frame and ‘masculine’ ways, it’s a perfect celebratory playlist must-have. (ML)

Kim Ann Foxman – ‘Creature’
Growing up I don’t remember any out famous LGBT+ women in music, so when I discovered Kim Ann Foxman who was so confident in her sexuality, it made the biggest of impressions on me. The music isn’t bad either. (TW)

Ultra Nate – ‘Free’
This song’s chorus speaks for itself, “Cause you’re free to do what you want to do / You’ve go to live your life / Do what you want to do.” (TW)

Perfume Genius – ‘Queen’
I don’t really have the words to describe my love of Perfume Genius. The first time I saw the video for ‘Queen’ it broke me. Filled with the emotion-filled power of Mike Hadreas’ heartbreaking vocals alongside luscious pop melodies, it’s a song inspired by “gay panic”, and the power one can derive from knowing their mere being is making everyone around them extremely uncomfortable. A powerfully poignant offering from this unique and truly beautiful artist. (ML)

Antony and the Johnsons – ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ 
A stirring and powerful ode to the journey of transitioning. With the immense passion of Anohni’s distinctive, soulful vocals, ‘For Today I Am A Boy’ is a simply exquisite creation. (ML)

Listen to our ‘Pride 2018’ playlist here:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss issues around sexuality and/or gender identity Switchboard – the LGBT+ Helpine is available to listen and support.

You can contact Switchboard via the telephone, instant messenger and email.

Open from 10am to 10pm, 365 days a year.

0300 330 0630

 

Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor
Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut