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