Having been firm favourites here at GIHE for a number of years, wowing us with their immersive live performances and captivating post-punk musicality, London band GHUM have now released their much-awaited debut album, Bitter. Oozing a gritty, swirling energy as front person Laura’s vocals soar throughout, each track carries the band’s trademark ethereal allure and dark, hypnotic splendour, showcasing their ability to consistently hone their sound and bewitch listeners worldwide.

To celebrate the release of the album, we caught up with Laura, Jojo, Marina and Vicki to find out more about Bitter; what inspires them; their thoughts on the industry today; their plans for the year, and more. Have a read below and make sure you immerse your ears in the new album as soon as possible!

Hey Ghum! For those who aren’t familiar, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you all got together to start creating music as Ghum? 
We met because Marina, our bassist, put an ad online looking for female musicians to form a band because she thought playing with other women would be more fun. She knew Laura from a previous jam with other people and asked if she was still looking for a band. “I loved her voice and vibe so much, and was really happy she said yes.” Jojo responded to the ad saying she loved The Cure and Warpaint and I said: “You’re in, bitch”. Vicki came along soon after that and boom: Ghum was formed. 

We’re huge fans of your swirling, ethereal allure and post-punk energy, but who would you say are your main musical influences? 
Bit of Cure, bit of Pixies, bit of Joy Division and Warpaint…

You’ve just released your debut album, Bitter, which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
Bitter is our debut album and we wanted to establish and cement our sound with this record. This time we knew what we were looking for when songwriting, and searched for it. The themes vary but the songs are about people and conversations that have maybe a bitter end – reflections on people that left a mark, and just a release of feelings that needed an escape.

And how would you say this album differs or moves on from your previous releases? 
We have consolidated our sound (for now) after The Coldest Fire EP we released in 2019, we found something that really agreed with all of us – we wanted to explore this sound and make it punchier. It feels like the culmination of an era, what we wanted to reach until now. This is us.

You’ve been wowing crowds with your immersive live shows for some time now, including support slots with the likes of Dream Wife and L.A Witch (and headlining for us at the Finsbury!), but is there a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you? 
We have just finished a supporting tour with Choir Boy and Soft Kill. We played in Paris at the Petit Bain and we really enjoyed that one. The French crowd was awesome and the venue was a dream – it was in the middle of our first European tour, so it was quite special to play to such a different crowd and get such a good response.

I’ve always loved seeing you live, and seem to become hypnotised by your majestic splendour! But how would you describe the Ghum live experience to those who’ve not had the pleasure yet? 
Thank you! We live our shows in our skin, we try to transmit the emotions in the songs and give a performance where we tell a story. We are loud and quiet, and we love low lights and smoke machines. We love a good mosh pit and dance party too.

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists?
The industry is changing slowly and improving with this, but there is still a lot to improve on. Lack of representation and sexism is still a massive problem in this industry; on and off stage. For example a lack of female, non-binary, trans and queer/LGBTQ+ tour managers or drivers, or sound engineers, or gig promoters, or lighting designers. Fortunately, there are collectives such as 3T which is a training course for underrepresented gender/ethnic groups in touring and live music – something we want to see more of! At any given point, we try to always work with women across the board for our shows or tours, and to give opportunities to women to work in a safe working environment is also important. It’s still very much a “boys club” or “man’s world” in the music industry, especially when you step outside of the DIY scene – which we’re very fortunate to have started from. But it’s evident there’s still a great deal of improvement that could be done and we hope we can help with this, along with many other artists, fighting for more change.

And with you all being from different parts of the world, how would you say the music scene here differs from the places you grew up? 
It’s totally different! There are underground alternative scenes everywhere of course, but London has such an extensive circuit of venues of all sizes and a lot of respect for bands that are starting out; there is a big history of alternative music from this neck of the woods and it feels like people are more tolerant. I’ll say the alternative scene is even more alternative in places like Spain and Brazil where society is not as open minded – it’s way harder to find places to play, and the resources are more limited. But there is a lot of DIY ethos and community support.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
We really like NewDad, Hussy, Fraulein, Bdrmm, Montaña (Spain)…

And, finally, in addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for Ghum…?
We have lots of plans. We have a few shows and festivals coming up. We are especially excited for our upcoming show at Rough Trade East on 4th July where we are gonna be celebrating our album launch and signing some vinyls for the first time. We are finally playing in Spain (where our vocalist Laura is from) at the end of August at Canelaparty in Malaga and we are very happy about that too. We will be announcing a UK tour in autumn and we are writing new songs, so we hope to keep on releasing new material. Lots of work and lots of gigs!

Huge thanks to Ghum for answering our questions!

Bitter, the debut album from Ghum, is out now via Everything Sucks. Buy here.

Photo Credit: Paul Phung

Introducing Interview: Lena Hessels

Having previously been featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday NL, Dutch artist Lena Hessels is now set to release her new EP, then when will it, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘fast lights‘ shimmers with an exquisite twinkling allure. As a majestic, haunting atmosphere is created, Hessels’ celestial vocals soar with an emotion-rich splendour.

To celebrate the release of ‘fast lights’, we caught up with Lena to find out more about what inspires her, live music and what the future holds… Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the luscious ‘fast lights’!

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Get In Her Ears! Thanks for having me! I’m Lena Hessels, I’m 21 and I make abstract pop music. Oh, and I’m from Holland.

How did you initially start creating music?
Well, my dad is a guitarist in a band called The Ex, and the house I grew up in was a place where a lot of befriended musicians would stay if they were on tour in Holland. So, growing up I was surrounded by a lot of different music and people. My mom always tells me that I was singing before I could speak, and I believe her! I was always singing, all the fucking time. I loved it, still do! I was very fascinated by all these older people I saw who were playing shows. I knew then that that was what I wanted, so every chance I got I performed songs for people! Then, when I was about six I got a little mp3 recorder from my parents. I started recording all these very long story songs on that. I actually found a couple of them last year on my mom’s old computer, and one of them was also the inspiration for my previous single ‘crown’. Pretty cool, I think. But the first song I actually recorded with instruments and stuff was when I was eight – it was called ‘Dubbel Drop’ (dubbel licorice): my favourite Dutch candy. A couple years later I discovered Taylor Swift – a true pop-star! Pop music was something I discovered then and felt that was what I wanted. I started playing guitar and got obsessed with writing songs. Now we’re here!

Your new single ‘fast lights’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Lyrically this song is about having a fun weekend with your friends at a festival. Throughout the song, the festival comes to an end and as you reach the outro, you’re in the car driving home and reflecting on the weekend – your life, growing up and how that all works. I think I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s not a sad song in any way, more like a moment of thought.

You’ve been compared to the likes of FKA Twigs and James Blake, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love both FKA Twigs and James Blake very much! For me it all started with Taylor Swift, so she’ll always be an inspiration. Her music is great, also her career and how she works the industry is super interesting to me. I also really look up to ROSALIA and Sevdaliza. I love artists who experiment and mix different styles of music and really make their sound their own.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I am based in Amsterdam right now. There is a very rich indie band scene here, which is a lot of fun! I feel like everybody is very supportive of each other’s music here, which is really cool. I really enjoy going to gigs, it’s one of my favourite things to do; it’s so inspiring and interesting to see people perform. And we do have some nice venues here, and touring is slowly starting up again, so there are a lot of cool gigs to look forward to. I haven’t really found the pop/electronic music scene yet here in Amsterdam, that is something I hope to find soon!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I hope to give a high energy show. Together with Cris Mollee, I’ve made this sick light installation. When I perform I’m alone on stage, so I really wanted something to complement the music and myself. I think it works really well. I have only played a couple of shows, but I really hope to play more. My main goal right now is to go on tour – performing is one of my favourite things to do! It makes me feel so happy and full, I hope people watching the show also feel that.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
First there is Personal Trainer – they are a great band! The front person lives above me, haha. So definitely check them out! And Raven Artson is really cool – I saw him preform a couple of weeks ago, that was great!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yes, I feel that since covid the music industry is even more saturated than before. There is just so much music out there. But if you make good music people will find you even if it takes some time, I know that. To get noticed in a different country is even more abstract because you don’t know the environment as well as in your own country. I would love to get played in the UK and play shows there! So, I’m really happy with this interview.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Lena Hessels?
There is a lot more music coming! This year I’m releasing three EPs in total – I’m really looking forward to it! I am probably going to be working on a lot more music. I really hope to grow as an artist and performer, and I want to learn and get better at my craft. My biggest goal for this year is definitely to play a lot of shows, and I really hope to play my first UK shows – so if you have any gigs for me, let me know, I’ll be there!

Massive thanks to Lena Hessels for answering our questions!

The second in a series of three EPs that Hessels plans to release, then when will it is due out on 13th July, and is produced by Tender Blom (guitarist of Pip Blom).

Introducing Interview: Gabi Garbutt

Having received acclaim from the likes of Steve LaMacq at BBC 6Music and shared stages with legends such as The Libertines, London-based ‘punk-poet’ Gabi Garbutt has now announced the release of their second album via lovely label Trapped Animal Records.

Taken from the album, latest single ‘Never Never‘ showcases Garbutt’s knack for creating instantly catchy indie-pop anthems. With a soulful, impassioned energy propelling the jangling, uplifting musicality, it’s an emotionally-raw, fiercely gritty earworm, leaving you longing to hear more.

We caught up with Gabi to find out all about the new single, upcoming album, their thoughts on the industry, and what inspires them most… Have a read!

Hi Gabi Garbutt! Welcome to Get In her Ears? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Mari! I’m a half-Chilean singer songwriter from London, then Gloucester, then London, writing mainly lyrical soul punk songs.

Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music?
The first band I was totally obsessed with were Green Day. I remember for my twelfth birthday being taken by my mum and dad to see Green Day at a festival in Nottingham. Iggy Pop was the support act and I was right up there in the mosh pit being thrown around, the crowd howling around me… My baptism by fire. That’s when I discovered rock and roll. From there, there was no going back. Bowling around school with Clash City Rockers tipexxed to the back of my school jacket. Next birthday my mum and dad bought me a Squire Strat and soon after I started learning songs. When I was in my mid-teens I used to borrow my sister’s acoustic and busk in town at the weekends, then spend that money on buying records. Another watershed moment was when I was sixteen – my English teacher lent me his copy of Patti Smith’s Horses, and hearing how she merged poetic lyrics with punk, I realised that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I started writing songs and when I moved back to London when I was 18 I started my first band.

I love your uplifting, colourful sounds, but who would you say are you main musical influences?
Thanks! Ezra Furman and Patti Smith are two of my main influences – that lyrical urgency fuelled by euphoric punk energy is something I really aspire to. I love a lot of Motown and Stax soul artists and they inspire a lot of the upbeat brassy sounds. Julian Casablancas’ band The Voidz are really exciting, totally original wild pop verging on chaos, and they’ve inspired the more electronic songs on the record. Nina Simone is a big inspiration; I really admire her fearlessness and conviction, and how she turned her vast musical vocabulary into really raw and emotionally charged songs. I’m a huge fan of Valerie June, particularly her latest album Prescription for Dreamers, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before, totally stratospheric soul. I’ve got it on repeat in the tour van and often put it on before we go on stage. It’s a totally energising, mind expanding record that at the same time gets me in a calm and collected state. Lyrical masters like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed are big inspirations too.

You’ve recently released your single ‘Never Never’, taken from your upcoming album Cockerel, which is out in May. Are you able to tell us a bit about the album? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
This record is musically exploratory. It’s got a restless energy and considered sincerity too. There are lone cries and there is sorrow shared. There’s also a celebration of the beauty of existence and the power of human connection. The music takes twists and turns that echo the shifting emotional landscape of the lyrics, but not quite in step. There’s euphoria where there’s raging sadness, otherworldly sounds when the lyrics run closest to the beating heart, but I feel it’s more interesting that way.

How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
In 2020 we had a bunch of tours and festivals planned that were cancelled. It meant that I had more time to work on writing this album and as soon as rehearsal studios opened up, we started playing these songs as a band. We recorded the album in Spring 2021 but because of the vinyl backlog, it didn’t make sense to release it in a rush. The timing has worked out quite well as we’re doing a fair bit of touring at the moment in the build up to the album release in May. I really thought that all we’d been building would disintegrate during the lockdown, so I’m really happy that the adventure’s continuing.

Do you feel much has changed over the last few years in the music industry’s treatment of female and non-binary artists? 
I do think things have changed. There are still assumptions about females not writing their own songs, crafting the arrangements or being involved in production, which is incredibly frustrating, but luckily I work with a progressive bunch of guys. The label we’re signed to – Trapped Animal Records – are really excellent at nurturing female and non-binary artists, I highly recommend people check out their roster. I was a total tomboy when I was a kid, I remember a girl at school throwing her shoes at me when I was five, and when the teacher asked her why she did it, the girl said it’s because I had said I wanted to be a boy. I’ve always been androgynous and remember hearing the word gender-fluid a few years ago and realising how much that resonated with me. The freedom of expression that music encourages means that the process of creation itself reveals things about ourselves. It also means musicians are perfectly placed to lead the way in starting new conversations, changing perceptions. Artists like Ezra Furman, who recently came out as a trans mum, and consistently promotes trans joy – that’s really powerful, I admire her so much. It just shows the role our musical heroes have in pulling us all into the future.

You’ve previously supported infamous indie acts such as The Libertines – how was this experience for you? And has there been a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight? 
I’ve been a huge fan of The Libertines since my early teens, so it’s been a brilliant experience. We joined them on a couple of dates of their recent tour – Kentish Town Forum was a highlight, but back in 2019 playing Paris L’Olympia then racing across Germany playing Cologne, Munch and Berlin with them was some of the best fun I think I might ever have had.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Label mates Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something are ferocious, one of the best bands around. I’d also recommend Catherine Rudie who’s Glasgow based, a total one of a kind making otherworldly folk. Veronica Bianqui, who creates garage soul stateside, Sasha & The Shades make raw bluesy rock n’ roll, and Magda Goncalves is a brilliant London based r’n’b/ soul singer writer. A lot of the acts that come out of the Lantern Society, a singer-songwriter night in Clerkenwell are really ace too… Sam Nicholson (who also plays with Jemma Freeman), Jeremy Tuplin, The Violet Hum, Dead Writers, Peter Doolan, Chris Brambley, Gabriel Moreno to name a few. My cousin Paula Arismendi and my brother Leo Garbutt are really talented musicians and songwriters. Also shout out to Real(s), our bass player’s band and Hackles, our drummer’s other band who are both well worth checking out. 

In addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
We’ve got a few more U.K tour dates coming up with Big Country and I’m going to be playing a couple of acoustic dates in New York, including Rockwood Music Hall on 29th April. In the summer we’ve got a few German dates booked and will be looking to tie this in with a few other dates on the continent and some more U.K tour dates. I’ve also started writing and demoing the third record so I’ll be working hard at that, hopefully recording it by the end of the year!

Massive thanks to Gabi for answering our questions!

Cockerel, the upcoming album from Gabi Garbutt, is set for release on 20th May via Trapped Animal Records.

Introducing Interview: LUIANNA

Splitting her time between Berlin and Bristol, innovative electro-pop artist Jasmine Luianna Emslie – aka LUIANNA – has now announced the release of her debut EP, Skiá. Taken from the EP, she has recently shared poignant new single ‘Witch‘. Propelled by glitchy beats and a soaring ethereal splendour as LUIANNA’s celestial vocals flow with a delicate grace, it’s an empowering reflection on addressing past trauma and coming out stronger.

We had a little chat with LUIANNA to find out about the upcoming EP and more. Have a read!

Hi LUIANNA, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a producer and singer songwriter. I was born in South London and brought up in rural Wales, I’m half Greek and half Scottish and have lived my adult life in both Bristol and Berlin, so I’m a mixed bag to say the least… I have been in many bands and different creative music projects, but it feels like everything was leading me to this place here, to have the confidence and ability to compose and write songs myself. I’ve chosen a pretty different life than most and have spent the past 15 years squatting in both Berlin and Bristol, enabling me to be able to spend my time doing what I love, instead of chasing after high rents and bills. The combination of music and meditation is how I navigate through this weird and wonderful world and I’m so happy that I’m in a place to start sharing some of it!

How did you initially start creating music?
I started with acoustic guitar and putting my little childhood poems to basic chords. I went on to make a girl group with my two best friends in school and this got me into college. Through college I fell in love with dance music and was somehow bored of seeing an audience sad in all my gigs, so started writing for DJs and producers – it made me so happy to see a crowd jumping and smiling! After this phase, I moved to Berlin and started singing jazz in cabaret venues around the city, and then joined a hip-hop band for a few years, playing a lot of shows in Germany. This was when I realised I didn’t want to be confined to a genre. I wanted to make music that came as and when it did. So I started to save and buy equipment to be able to write my own stuff. Starting with a micro Korg and teaching myself some basic piano, and then a looper and a drum machine and electric guitar. This all came together pretty quickly and within a year I was ready to record this Skiá, my debut EP!

Your new EP Skiá is out on 29th April – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the EP?
The EP is an intimate view into my life. I open up about my father who is a heroin addict, and share how that has made me feel growing up. I also sing about mental health, and what it is to be a woman – the love, the strength, the ebs and flows of our moods and attitudes. And it’s all tied together with love songs, sad but empowering love songs.

You’ve been compared to the likes of London Grammar and BANKS, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
For me it’s Lauryn Hill, Aurora, Madonna, Portishead. I love beautiful majestic pop, and also hip-hop and old school beats. I think I’ve intertwined all of this into the EP.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I’ve been in Berlin for the past seven years and yes, the music scene is thriving. From incredible street shows, smokey jazz bars to epic clubs; small intimate venues, and an array of concert halls – it’s a fab place to be for live music. I’ve just arrived back to Bristol and am excited to get out and see whats happening here too!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Vulnerability, a lot of vocal loops, and hopefully a hint of beautiful and original music to their ears!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! Ber is an incredible new artist that I can’t stop listening too, also LushUs are a new group from Germany with their first single out ‘Velvet’ – love them! 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It’s so tough. To get any reach outside of your friendship group is a challenge. I’ve noticed even when my posts do get shared by friends on Facebook it just doesn’t get seen. If you have a ton of money for adds and PR, and you’ve got a great piece of work to promote, then I think it’s straight forward – but as it stands, it’s tough tough tough. A lot of artists are talking openly about how we are musicians, not content creators and there’s a big pressure to keep active online and posting, but it’s not always easy when you just want to make music and not be on social media day in day out. That being said, no-one said it would be easy!

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for LUIANNA?
I have just moved back to the U.K, so it’s about getting my music out and starting to gig again. Moving to a cabin in the forest and writing more songs!

Massive thanks to LUIANNA for answering our questions! Listen to latest single ‘Witch’ below:

Skiá, the upcoming debut EP from LUIANNA, is set for release on 29th April.