Introducing Interview: Frankie Morrow

Having released their debut EP, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hotel, in October, Scottish alt-rock band Frankie Morrow finally formed their current fully-fledged outfit last year after initially playing together and separately in various musical projects across Scotland since their teens. Since January, musicians Frankie Morrow, James Smith, Duncan Carswell, Samuel Nicholson and Neev have been playing and recording together, and have received airplay from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio.

We’re big fans of Frankie Morrow’s glistening, folk-strewn sounds and heartfelt lyricism, and can’t wait to hear more from them in 2023. We had a lovely chat to find out more about the EP, what inspires them, being a woman in music and more… Have a read, and make sure you listen to the beautiful EP now!

Hi Frankie. Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello GIHE! It’s so cool to be speaking to you, we are huge fans – we loved your night down at the Victoria in October where Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something headlined. Frankie Morrow are a Scottish, female-led 5-piece who play alt-rock for the soul. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
Well, myself and James were actually in a band together back in our hometown of Paisley when we were 14 years old! To be honest I think most of our friends came to the shows as a place to drink cider underage hahaha, but we had a rare time.  

We love your luscious, soaring folk-strewn sounds , but who would you say are your main musical influences?
We as a band have a hugely diverse range of musical influences, though I’d say some of my personal influences would be classic Americana/rock like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bob Dylan, Scottish writers such as Rab Noakes, and more contemporary bands like Big Thief and Katy J Pearson.

You recently released your debut EP, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hotel,  which is very exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about what inspired it and the themes running throughout it?
Well, it all started where most records start – with a break up! These songs are a collection of my musings over the years; before the band got together I used to perform as a solo artist, and so I guess the impetus was really just me coming to terms with lots of the changes and upheaval that had happened in my life at the time. Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel is my ‘Sliding Doors’ moment. Have you seen that film? The whole premise is based around Helen – who’s played by Gwyneth Paltrow – and how her life could dramatically change based on whether she catches a train or not. It got me thinking about how these tiny decisions we make in our everyday lives can have such huge impacts on us later down the line, and I found that a really interesting concept for the record.

You recently played live at the Sebright Arms – how was that? And, for those who missed it, what can fans expect from your live show?
We had an absolute blast! We were still buzzing from it the next day. Our live show and our current musical direction is actually a lot more raucous than what we have on record so far. We absolutely love playing for people – it’s our favourite thing to do, we want people to feel moved and for them to forget their worries at our shows.

The EP was produced and arranged by you, with an all-female engineer team, which is very awesome! What was the recording process like, and how did you all work together? 
It was amazing! I deliberately wanted to recruit an all-female engineering team from the get go for this debut. We recorded most of the EP between my flat and kind friends’ houses. then I sent the stems to Taylor Pollock (Platoon) to mix. Taylor was an absolute dream to work with; it was such a collaborative process from start to finish, and I’ve never met someone so dedicated to a project. Izzy McPhee was absolutely brilliant as well, and I even got to go and meet her at her studio in Bristol. It was really powerful to be part of that team.

And is there a particular live show you’ve played that stands out as a highlight?
To be honest our headline at the Sebright is probably the standout so far as it’s such an iconic venue and we’ve seen so many bands we love play there over the years. It was a real honour to headline.

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? 
In some ways the industry is far more accessible than before in terms of opportunities for editorial playlisting which breaks down global barriers, and of course through social media. Though, on the flipside, labels are taking less chances on bands and there’s not much money in streaming at an emerging level. However, I do feel quite positive about it overall; I think if you focus on the making of good music supported by other marketing tools, and just try not to get to bogged down in the numbers… In terms of treatment of female and queer artists, I think things definitely have moved on, though I have unfortunately had quite a few people presume men have produced the EP or that it wasn’t me playing guitar etc – this is still something that happens regularly. A personal highlight from a recent gig: “Wow, you can actually play the guitar?!” …  If you don’t laugh, you will cry!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Oh absolutely! Lizzie Reid had a gorgeous EP out this year. We saw her with full band down at Paperdress Vintage towards the end of last year. Oh, and I was just introduced to NewDad who are brilliant.

Finally, what does 2023 have in store for Frankie Morrow? 

We are so excited to get back into the studio this month. The new tracks are big alt-rock bangers and we are chomping at the bit to get started.

Massive thanks to Frankie for answering our questions! Listen to Blue Parrot Backpacker’s Hostel now, and watch the charming video for single ‘Sunflowers’ below:

Introducing Interview: Jewelia

With over 20,000 listens on Spotify and with acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC Radio Kent, London based artist Jewelia has been charming our ears with her soulful alt-pop sounds. Oozing a sparkling raw emotion alongside her rich, honey-sweet vocals, latest single ‘Second Best‘ offers a heartfelt anthem delivered with a subtle, stirring power.

To celebrate the single’s release, we caught up with Jewelia to find out more…

Hi Jewelia! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a singer-songwriter based in London, originally from Bucharest, Romania. I moved to the UK a few years ago to study Music Production, so that I would be able to execute the vision for my songs without a middle-man. I play piano and I’m learning guitar. I love books and also writing my own stories and poems when I have time, online shopping (especially when it’s for music video props), and cats, but sadly I don’t have one… !

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was little – in fact, I believe I wrote my first song when I was seven. When I was thirteen I became interested in production and started teaching myself to record and produce my own songs. Music was always something I was very interested in, so there was simply no other way!

We love your Maisie Peters-inspired alt-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
As a teenager, I was obsessed with Muse. Their early material was so powerful and intensely emotional, and I loved how their topics were things that don’t often appear in songs, such as outer space or the state of the world. It was what made me want to have a band, and have my own voice, so a very strong early influence for me. A couple of others would be Amanda Palmer (in the period of my first EP and album), Sufjan Stevens and Lana del Rey. These days I listen to a lot of alt-pop, the likes of Phoebe Bridgers or Holly Humberstone.

You’ve just released your new single ‘Second Best’. Are you able to tell us a bit about it?
‘Second Best’ is about feeling inadequate in a society that celebrates the one-in-a-million American Dream stories of going from rags to riches, while collectively pitying the the masses living average lives. From a young age, we watch stories of success against all odds and are besotted with the chosen one, while getting accustomed to look down on the average people and their struggles – the irony being, of course, that we are them. We are told that we can achieve anything, if only we try hard enough. As inspiring as this sounds, it also implies that we only have ourselves to blame (regardless of systemic disadvantages, biological limits, financial difficulty etc) for having an average life, in a world where mediocrity is viewed as being worse than utter failure. Something is messed up here, and I thought it was worth exploring.

Being based in London, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
There is always something cool happening in London, but I don’t go out as much as I should, really! I used to go to a lot of gigs before the pandemic; not so much now, but planning to change that! I’m Not sure if things are the same, as some venues have really suffered and even had to close, but I see that lots of things are going on, and lots of friends and people I know are back to putting on gigs.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
No shows planned for this year, but hoping to put together a UK tour in 2023, to promote the new album coming out next year. More details TBC!

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?
I am seeing a lot of positive change, a lot more visibility and lot more acceptance. But there’s still a long way to go! I’d love to see more women producers (we are still a tiny fraction of the total, less than 3%)! And less ageism, again especially directed at women. Life doesn’t end at 30, so why should music careers end then? Thankfully this also seems to be improving, slowly.

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?
Just looking at my feed at some musicians I know that have released music recently, check out Austel – ‘Cut Me Down’, GRAY – ‘A Million Roses’, Rookes – ‘Paint’, Feral Five – ‘Silver Sky’. I also love Luna Keller’s ‘Wolves’ and Luke Fraser with ‘Moth Eaten Romeo’.

Finally, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
I have at least one more single dropping before the end of the year, a new album pre-order announcement to come, and also the obligatory Christmas video! And I’ll also be found playing songs and taking requests on Twitch (almost) every Sunday!

Massive thanks to Jewelia for answering our questions!

Introducing Interview: Queen Colobus

Having received support from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs, as well as Jazz FM and Soho Radio, South London based indie-jazz collective Queen Colobus have recently released their new EP Think Fast. Filled with blissful hooks, luscious swooning vocals and glistening laid-back beats, it showcases the band’s ability to fuse together an eclectic array of influences to create wonderfully woozy, musically rich euphoric soundscapes.

We caught up with Queen Colobus to find out more about the EP, what inspires them and what to expect from their live shows…

Hi Queen Colobus, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hiya! We’re a genre-bending 4-piece based in South London. We’ve been together for about three years and Beth (sax/vocals) and Jelly (guitar) live together in sunny Camberwell in a house full of musicians. Our name was derived from an Old World Monkey called King Colobus, which we thought reflected our wise and playful nature (but being a female-led band, Queen felt more apt). We all love marmite.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Beth & Jelly met at a jam session in Southampton years ago and bonded over being the only female instrumentalists in the room. We forged an alliance and, upon realising how weird we both are following a raspberry-blowing-on-a-random-person’s-stomach incident, we roped in our frivolity-filled mates Will & Adam to create Queen Colobus. We thought the weirdness might seep into the music too and, sure enough, our music has been repeatedly described as wonky.

Your new EP Think Fast is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any specific themes running throughout the album?
Yes, we’re really proud of this one! It’s our second EP. Beth wrote the bare bones of most of these songs and then brought them to the band, so they’re fairly personal. The EP covers themes that are often not talked about in society; grief, mental health struggles and unrealistic body ideals. ‘Think Fast’, the title track, hits back at body ideals and their damaging effects on women, especially young women, whereas ‘5/9’ was written about Beth’s Dad’s relentless positivity as he underwent cancer treatment. The final track of the EP, ‘Old Friend’, was recorded live in one take and is a sweet song on learning how to be alone.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote and Arlo Parks, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
We’re lucky to all have such a wide spread of influences. For example, Beth always says that she sort of fell into jazz because she plays saxophone, but listens to so much indie and rock music that this weird amalgamation of them all comes out in her writing. Then when we come together, everyone brings their styles to create an even weirder combination that we often struggle to identify. We can feel a lot of the underground scene’s genre lines becoming blurred and us slowly moving into a post-genre music world, and we’re excited to be part of it. If we had to name one or two influences, Hiatus Kaiyote and Led Zeppelin are probably top of the list.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
As Beth & Jelly live in a house of musicians we were lucky to have a full band in the house over lockdown. As things started to open up but venues hadn’t yet, we would host jams for our community in our back garden, so we were really fortunate to still experience live music throughout the pandemic. Our music community is incredible – everyone is so supportive of each other. We see a lot of live music because we’re passionate about it but also because we want to support all our mates!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Lots of cathartic rage channelled through a saxophone, followed by sweet calming sounds soothed by Beth’s voice. Extreme guitar solos from Jelly via a concerningly un-grounded plethora of guitar pedals. Will’s head bobbing so furiously you feel his neck must be a slinky. An absurd rhythmic wizard named Adam via the medium of drums. Seriously, though, the audience are very much a part of our performance – we’re always so inspired by everyone’s energy in the room. We always try to create a space where everyone on and off stage feels like they can let go and be completely immersed in the moment.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! We’re loving Holysseus Fly ‘Marigold’ and Stanlæy ‘omnibiguous’ – two singles released last month that are incredible. Shoutouts to Plumm ‘Flame to Flame’, Nina Fine ‘Little Lies’ and t l k ‘Frame Of Ted’. Also we became completely obsessed with Jessi Mac’s tune ‘Carry On’ last year. Excited for Marla Kether and China Bowls to drop their new music soon too.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It’s hard because the pandemic stopped so many artists’ trajectories in their tracks – it sort of felt like we were over-saturated as a scene as venues started to open up and bands released music they wrote over that time too. Having said this, the saturation is also super inspiring – everyone is creating and pushing boundaries with their art and it inspires us to do so too. There’s always an element of luck too which is impossible to predict.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Queen Colobus?
We’re working on some new music and will be back in the studio early 2023 – lots more weird sounds coming your way!

Think Fast, the new EP fro Queen Colobus is out now. Listen to / buy it on Bandcamp now.

Introducing Interview: Red Ribbon

Following the release of last year’s album Planet X, and 2018’s Dark Party, LA based artist Red Ribbon is now heading over to our shores for her first ever UK tour. With a London date planned at The Victoria a week today on 19th October with support from GIHE fave, Ailsa Tully, we can’t wait to witness her captivating sounds live. If gritty, ethereal soundscapes and sweeping celestial vocals, interwoven with a twinkling folk-strewn musicality, are your thing then you should definitely join us there!

Prior to her setting out on tour, we caught up with Red Ribbon to find out about what inspires her, the influences behind her latest album, the power of fear and more… Have a read!

Hi Red Ribbon! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Thank you so much! I am currently based out of Los Angeles. I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest, but had a bit of a transient upbringing and moved around the United States growing up.  That has given me a dual perspective of both knowing how to get along with all kinds of people, yet always sort of feeling like an outsider everywhere. I always have a soft spot for underdogs.

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
I was in the grade school choir and band as a little kid.  There was also an acoustic guitar and a piano in my home growing up, so I’d play around on those when I was small. Nothing exceptional, just kid stuff. I don’t think anybody really saw musical potential in me or anything, but I was always drawn to it. What really got me going was when I studied classical violin when I was about eighteen.  I began busking alone in San Francisco, and that is when I realized I loved to perform as a musician, and that I could do it as a job. Sort of in conjunction with that, I began messing around on the electric guitar to write songs, and yeah, I was hooked.

We love your beautifully twinkling sounds , but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Elliott Smith, The Velvet Underground, The Pacific Northwest’s underground DIY music scene…

You released your Planet X album last year. Are you able to tell us a bit about what inspired it and the themes running throughout it?
I recorded the album mostly in Brooklyn January of 2020, right before things really shut down. A few tracks were also recorded in Tornillo Texas (along the Mexican border) and in Seattle Washington, where I was living at the time. I was very influenced by touring my first studio record, Dark Party. Me and my band had the chance to do some lengthy touring in 2019. There was a knowing that we all had going into recording – the American political climate was reaching a fever pitch of horror. I think we knew perhaps something was going to break – though I don’t think any of us imagined how it would play out exactly. I built the visual world of that record as an escape from the disasters of 2020 and 2021. It was my place to go to, colourful and strange.

You’re coming over to the UK this month for a little tour (including a London date with GIHE fave Ailsa Tully), which is super exciting! What can fans expect from your live shows?
I am so excited! This is my first solo tour and my first UK tour. Really I’m looking at this as a tour surrounding the album I’m working on now. I am taking some of the songs from this tour into the studio when I get back to Los Angeles.  I will also be playing some of my favourite songs from my previous albums of course!

And have there been any gigs you’ve played in the past that stand out as particular highlights for you?
I love playing in unusual places, under a freeway with a generator for example! But I think these upcoming shows will be some of my favourite ever, because I am afraid of them, haha. I know that sounds funny, but there is power in becoming the fear! You know, I am travelling very far, and alone. It is fairly dangerous. Sometimes that is exactly what music needs. It’s really about the ‘X Factor’ – the unexplainable magic vibe – that makes a show killer. A little danger is good.

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? 
There is a song by Gillian Welch called ‘Everything is Free’ that I think sums up things better than I can.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Absolutely!  I’ve been really loving the tracks that Cold Mega has been putting out – ‘Swinging the Dog’ is so good. Also some of my most favourite musicians and collaborators, Sheridan Riley and Abbey Blackwell have formed the new rhythm section for the Canadian band Alvvays, and the new record they put out is honestly a triumph. I am so proud of them. My former label mates Momma are also absolutely crushing it right now, they have been hitting the road hard the past few months and I think the world is noticing.

Aside from the tour, what does the rest of the year have in store for Red Ribbon? 
I am close to finishing my next record in Los Angeles. I have been working on it since March of this year. This is a different approach for me.  More of a long-game approach versus you know, seven days in a row at the studio or whatever. Though admittedly musicians always are most excited by their current work, in my opinion it is the best stuff I have ever done. I can’t wait to share these songs with you! The world is opening up again. I didn’t get to tour my last album Planet X much, since it was released during the pandemic. Personally, I didn’t have the desire to be the first back out on the road. But with this tour, and with this new record, I am finally ready. I am relentless in my drive to just keep going.

Massive thanks to Red Ribbon for answering our questions!

If you’re London based, catch her live at The Victoria in Dalston on 19th October – tickets here.