INTERVIEW: CMAT

“I’d rather drink piss than drink Pepsi Max,” Irish pop-star CMAT candidly declared on her Instagram Live broadcast a few weeks ago. The songwriter was half way through eating 80 pieces of popcorn chicken from KFC at the time, a challenge she committed to after over 100 of her fans liked a social media post saying she’d film the endeavor. She was washing down her meal with cans of diet coke, whilst simultaneously being hilarious.

Whether it’s competitive eating, or releasing highly relatable pop tunes, according to her Twitter everything CMAT does is “for the girls and the gays and that’s it.” Her latest single ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ epitomises this with its blend of witty lyrics and camp, country-tinged melancholy sounds. To date, CMAT has shared three singles, ‘Another Day (kfc)’ – which inspired the popcorn chicken challenge – ‘Rodney’, an ode to Rodney Dangerfield, and this most recent offering, which is currently sitting at no. 11 in the official Irish Homegrown Top 20 Chart.

We caught up with CMAT just before the release of her new single to talk about the popcorn chicken challenge, her love for Linda Nolan and Jedward, TikTok life and Jason Derulo…

Let’s start by talking about your greatest achievement to date: eating 80 pieces of KFC popcorn chicken in one sitting on Instagram Live. Is this a world record?

Every interview I do now is so funny because it starts with this question. I’m absolutely not mad about it at all, because I am ready and willing to talk about eating 80 pieces of popcorn chicken. I don’t recommend it to anyone.

My housemate was at work all day, and when she came in she saw the aftermath. People had been texting her about it saying “do you know what’s happening in your house right now?” and she came home and I was flat out on the bed. I had loads of friends texting me during the broadcast saying “please stop doing this to yourself, please make yourself vomit like in Roman times because this is going to damage you,” but I thought that was cheating. When I say I was in pain for the next two days, I mean it. It was just not right or healthy.

It was so silly, I saw the sign for [80 pieces of chicken] and I was like that’s so gas. I put up a post saying if I got 100 likes I would eat it live on Instagram, thinking that I wouldn’t actually have to do it. But I got the likes, and I was like “you bastards, you absolute bastards,” but I brought it on myself, and it was actually really fun. I’m going to do another one.

I don’t think it’s an actual world record unfortunately. I thought it was, and that I was great and that I was a legend, and then I looked up actual competitive eating and I was like “I’m never getting into that world”. There’s a woman in England who is like “I’m the number one female competitive eater and no-one can beat me.” She does this thing where she grabs fistfuls of stuff, pushes it into her mouth, and pushes it so it just jams down her throat. It’s terrifying. She does it once a week and I’m like…girl…

I’ve decided that the precedent I’ve set for myself is that I’ll only do it when I want to promote something, and that’s it.

I think that’s a good decision. Your songs – particularly ‘Another Day (kfc)’ – describe quite painful events like heartbreak and loneliness, but you filter them through a humourous lens. How do you manage to make music that’s genuinely funny but also on some level, cripplingly painful?

That’s good, that’s what I’m going for! I think this is a thing that I have going on in my own psychological make-up, which is that I like to take the big things and make them small. And I like to take the small things and make them big and dramatic. For me, KFC has Godly importance, but it’s also important to take heartbreak and love and pain, and bring that back to KFC, and that’s my general rule of thumb.

A lot of songwriting today, especially in the money-making beast that is chart pop, where you get a lot of “band aid” type songs where they’re like “we’re gonna sing a song about something really important and dramatic, and we’re gonna make it sounds really big and important and dramatic,” and fit this massive thing into a song without even trying to look at it through a more focused lens. I think that’s where it comes from. I think I also do it in life as well. A lot of people say I’m kind of like a man and I’m very bad at talking about things seriously. I can’t have a serious conversation about my emotions, or how I’m feeling. I’m just like “Yeah I’m absolutely fine, totally grand, no worries,” I do that all the time. I think that’s just carried on into the song writing, but I think that’s pretty transparent.

Something that is transparent is your love for American comedian Rodney Dangerfield on your second single ‘Rodney’. Do people know who he is when you’re referencing him? What inspired you to write a song about him?

I don’t know, and I didn’t really care whether people knew about him or not, because I LOVE him. What I said before about not being able to talk about emotions, he’s the exact same. Everything he does is super self deprecating, he hates himself, and everyone around him hates him. Everything is a one-liner, and he makes the big things really small.

I’ve wanted to write a song about him for ages, The “one-liner” in the song is “I’m the Rodney Dangerfield of your ex girlfriends,” because his catchphrase is “I don’t get no respect!” and I’m like “omg same I don’t get no respect either!” I didn’t just pick him for his catchphrase though, I picked him because he is very representative of me. He’s a one-liner comedian, and I’m a one-liner musician, because I’m all about the song, and the song being in its own kind of universe. That’s just my own personal take on it. I don’t like relying on an album, or a body of work to give context to individual pieces, I like the song to be the beginning and the end of it. I don’t think all art has to be that prescriptive though.

My only focus with my music career at the moment is just to keep writing really good songs that are really fleshed out. Not just for myself, but for other people that I’m working with too. All these little co-writing jobs that have been popping up since I started releasing my own music, I have real tunnel vision for whatever the song I’m working on is, I’m like “this has to be the best song in the world”. I don’t really care too much about an album at the moment. There’s a couple of concept projects that I’d like to work on, where it might be an EP or a collection of songs. I had an idea to work on just pure country music duets, do a “CMAT and friends” type thing, but that’s the only way I’d be able to think about it. I wouldn’t be able to put my own songs into a collection and be like “this is cohesive and they’re all related to each other,” because they don’t at all. It’ll have to be a greatest hits album. I don’t think people will mind.

We certainly wouldn’t mind a CMAT Greatest Hits record. Let’s talk about your recent online interactions with two iconic Irish pop groups – The Nolans & Jedward…

The Jedward thing I don’t think is that special to me as an individual. They seem to know who I am now, because they sent me this really specific DM where they called me a “glowing princess” and told me to keep doing what I was doing, they’re so funny. They do seem to be messaging everyone though, saying “keep on keeping on, love John and Edward.” I’m obsessed with them, I think they’re great.

They must be independent now, I don’t think they have any relations with a label because they’ve been so political and outspoken on really meaty topics, and doing an amazing job of it. It’s almost as if they’ve been waiting to do this for ages, and now they’ve been set free they’re like “fuck you Jim Corr!” and they’re dead right. Fuck Jim Corr, what the fuck is he doing? [Jim Corr is a member of the Irish folk/rock band The Corrs.] We can take the conspiracy theories thing, maybe he has weird opinions about the events of 9/11, but the far-right weird movements that are popping up over here in Ireland – Jim Corr is substantiating their views with his weird fucking twisted conspiracies, and also just not wearing a mask during a global pandemic. So for Jedward to be the ones stepping up to the plate and just telling him to go and fuck himself is so sweet. It’s exactly what you want from a popstar, in my opinion. I want to feel like someone has my back if they’re a popstar, and I feel like Jedward have everyone’s backs at the moment.

The Nolans thing is a much longer story…
I don’t think anyone is more important or less important in terms of the Irish musical pop canon, but, for me, I’ve been obsessed with The Nolans since I was about thirteen. My teenage years were spent watching re-runs of Old Grey Whistle Test and Top Of The Pops and BBC4 on the weekend until about 3am. I love music television and I love old music television. So from that era I’m obsessed with Bob Harris [presenter of Old Grey Whistle Test] and he loves country music. So Bob Harris and The Nolans are kind of the same level of importance for me in terms of music discovery. I was always tweeting about them, and then all of a sudden The Nolans just started seeing that happening and Linda Nolan started DMing me, and Maureen would retweet me when i released a single and be like “listen to this, it’s fantastic,” and I was like “what is going on?! This is the most exciting thing in the world! (for me, personally).”

Then, I found out that a lot of people in England really don’t like them, because they were much more famous in England and they have more negative associations over there? I dunno why, I guess people still have that mindset of “it’s manufactured pop music, therefore it’s bad.” I noticed that people were slagging them off, so I would get really defensive and be like “Fuck you! Don’t talk to The Nolans that way, how dare you!” They’re Queens. Linda sends me DMs from time to time just giving me advice about the music industry, and what to watch out for. She was also telling me that The Nolans were one of the first Irish acts to play the USSR, and they were having a party because it was Colleen’s 18th birthday. They party got shut down because guards came into their hotel room and held them up with AK47s and were like “you have to go to bed!” So they waited for an hour before sneaking back into each others rooms, and kept drinking for the rest of the night. It almost sounds made up, but I’ve actually read it in a couple of interviews with them, so it’s real! I’ve also read Linda’s autobiography and she mentions it in there too.

I also did a tweet that said “Who would win in a fight: Jedward or The Nolans?” and then Linda DMd me and was like “obviously we would. Lemmy from Motorhead used to be scared of us and said we were the most aggressive girls that he’d ever met,” and I was like…where am I? She’s a fucking legend and I love her so much. I’m also so receptive to anything she tells me, I’m just like “YES! TELL ME MORE!” I think I might be the number one Nolans fan in the world. Also, on a genuine level, I love their music.

A place where you seem to have a lot of fans is on TikTok…in Poland? Talk us through how that happened?

I don’t really understand how to work TikTok, I had to get my 8 year old cousin to show me how to do it. They showed me how to check which videos are using the same song, and the first time I checked there were 50 videos using ‘Another Day (KFC)’ as a background song, and they were all from Poland. I have no idea why. I get streaming stats on my phone from Spotify so I can see which countries stream me the most, and Poland is not up there. There’s this gardening lady who’s all about houseplants and my song is just playing in the background of all of her TikTok videos. It’s weird, I don’t really know how the internet works, it’s terrifying.

It is a bit, but lots of artists seem to get number one hits nowadays purely from uploading music to TikTok…

I think it’s fantastic in a way. Curtis Waters had a single that was out for about a year, and then people started using it on TikTok and he now has a career out of it. Listen, I know we all work with music labels and music promoters, but the rebel in me is obsessed with user-made, user-directed applications where it doesn’t matter what PR you’re doing, or what label you’re on, it all gets overtaken by people power or people who are just obsessed with things. But then it gets weird, because you get artists who are specifically making things for TikTok, and that’s grim. That’s no good at all. Jason Derulo is making minute and a half long songs, sampling songs that have already gone viral for other reasons, and you’re just like “Jason, stop. Cut it out.”

He does seem to have had a massive “comeback” recently actually, he is everywhere…

I think that’s because he was in Cats as well. I’ve seen the film five times. It’s horrible and gross and disgusting and I love it. His character in particular is one of the most offensive characters in it. He does have some really great songs in his back catalogue though, and he works with a co-writer a lot who I love called Lindy Robbins. I think Jason Derulo is just one of those people who’s like “I can do anything, and there’s no way you can stop me” and I kind of like that about him.

And he does have that unforgettable trademark of introducing himself in the beginning of all of his songs…

I actually like that about him! I like people who keep a thing like that going throughout their whole career. It’s a very country music type thing to do, where you have a tag somewhere in the song so that people know it’s you, but his is just his name.

Speaking of country music, your next single ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ is due out in a few days. Talk to us about what inspired it…

The visuals for the chorus are based around this VINE that was really popular from a couple of years ago of a load of guys drinking cans outside in a playground saying “I wanna be a cowboy baby!” I always loved it, but I had a bit of a deep thought about it which was like “that’s so indicative of male freedom in the world, that they can just do things like that”. The song is basically about a time when I was extremely, extremely isolated. It was the end of my time living in Manchester, I was living alone after going through a breakup, and the breakdown of the band that I had been in for years. Because I was in Manchester, I didn’t really have any friends there, so the old fashioned way of curing loneliness in the cowboy/western films is that you just go to a bar, hang around the bar, and wait for someone to be friends with you. I was like, “why can’t I just do that?” I feel like it’s this weird, unwritten thing where women are just afforded a significantly less amount of freedom than men in the world. I guess we’re addressing it now, but I legitimately want to be a cowboy. I want to walk around by myself, and have no fear and just have the freedom to go wherever I want and meet whoever I want without fear of literally getting murdered for doing it.

That’s kind of what the song is about, but it’s also about general urban isolation. It doesn’t have to just be about gender, I think there a lot of people out there who have really bad social anxiety, and it seems to be really quite relevant now because when you spend a significant period of time alone in your bedroom, or on your phone or your computer, it gets harder and harder to leave. I feel like that’s another thing I was trying to address, that the fear is put into you the more that you stay alone. It gets harder to leave, and it gets harder to become the cowboy. I don’t know what’s going to happen after this lifting of the lockdown, but I have friends who have got anxiety about things so badly that they still haven’t left the full lockdown mode. There are people who’ve been staying inside the whole time. It’s about a lot of things, but it’s mainly about the loneliness that comes with living in a capitalist, heteronormative, misogynist society.

We certainly resonate with that. Something a little more positive though, are there any bands or artists who you’d recommend we listen to right now?

Pillow Queens! There’s loads actually. Limoncello are a great folk act from Dublin, Maija Sofia released an amazing album last year. There’s an artist called Rachael Lavelle who’s released one single, but she’s incredible. There’s a rapper in Ireland at the moment called Denise Chaila who I’m obsessed with, there’s so many! Ailbhe Reddy is about to release an album and it’s fucking class.

There’s bountiful women in Ireland who are releasing really good music right now. I think women in Ireland have definitely had a bit of a rough time in the music industry, because I think there’s a notion of if you’re not a man with an acoustic guitar writing songs then nobody cares – but I am literally just a woman with an acoustic guitar, there’s basically no fucking difference. The perception is that the music is not authentic if it’s coming from a woman and she has even a lick of make-up on her face. So we’ve all been let loose and we’re doing what we should’ve been doing a few years ago. I love them all.

And we love you CMAT!
Follow her onbandcamp, Instagram, Spotify and Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Sarah Doyle

Interview: Duchess

With acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, South London artist Duchess writes from the heart; creating rich soulful ballads reflecting on her childhood of frequently moving from place to place, her experiences in London, and love and life in general.

Having released her debut EP Early Days back in March, she has now shared a special acoustic version of the collection. With her distinctive impassioned vocals at the forefront, oozing a raw heartfelt emotion, it showcases all there is to love about this upcoming artist.

We caught up with Duchess to find out more…

Hi Duchess, welcome to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing?
I’m good thanks – wish it was a bit more sunny though!

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I’ve always been around music growing up. My mother would always have the stereo on in the morning with her all-time favourite CDs, from Tracy Chapman to Lauryn Hill, and my dad always played Bob Marley and Gregory Isaacs.

What made you decide to release an acoustic version of your EP?
I’m in love with live music and instrumentation, so it was really important to me to have an acoustic version of the EP. I feel it allows you to focus on the voice of the artist and gives you a whole different vibe to dive into. It reminds me of small or intimate shows and concerts with stripped back production.

What other acoustic albums or versions do you love?
I’m a big fan of Amy Winehouse’s acoustic version of Back To Black and ‘I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind’ from Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged album. I really enjoyed Summer Walker’s cover of ‘Fake Love’ too! 

What was behind the choice to use guitar for ‘Elephant’, ‘When it All Falls Down’ and ‘Blame’ vs piano for ‘Why Can’t We’?
When I’m in the studio, I love to freestyle and see where the energy takes me, so we will always start with live instruments – I’m just so in love with the bass guitar. It was a bit of a no-brainer to get Fred Cox involved, as he really understands me, and the vibe I wanted to create with this project. He instantly got how we could strip everything back, but still keep it fresh, and it just felt natural that ‘Why Can’t We?’ was just piano.

How has growing up in a big family and moving around so much affected your music and artistic expression? Were you the sole musician/artist, or was music and art a big part of your family life?
I mean moving around a lot isn’t good for anyone, especially if you want to focus on something, so it was unsettling. But, wherever I lived, music was always there with me. I admit, it was hard to really focus on music when there were family priorities that came first, but I’m also happy I’m pursuing music, at this stage in my life – It feels right and I feel ready!! In the family, I’m the main one involved in music, along with my younger sister who often writes with me, but we are all connected to music in our own way

People compare you a lot to Minnie Riperton. Is she an influence and, if so, how? What other artists influence your music, and how?
Wow, I’m flattered. She is an amazing woman and I’m a big fan of her material – one of my favourites is ‘Inside My Love’ – it’s so beautiful. My main inspirations come from all kinds of places – Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Gregory Isaacs, Lady Gaga – the list goes on, but they main thing is they have all showed me to always be me and believe in my message musically.

What music scenes are you into – offline and online?
Shoreditch is cool! There are some really good live and open mic nights if you want to discover something new and fresh. Online-wise, I love to watch other artists livestreams and special projects. I don’t have a particular genre or focus – as long as it’s good, I’ll tune in!

How are you connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
I’ve been doing a few livestreams during lockdown which have been fun. But with social media in general, it’s been really good to connect with the listeners and other musicians. It’s defo sparked off a new wave of creativity in everyone.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
Yes of course! Check out Ray Vela (@rayrayvela) – she’s such a great bubbly character and has such a beautiful tone to her voice which is so soothing. And also Nia Wyn (@niawynmusic) – she’s got such a unique voice and I really enjoyed watching her live. We were on the same bill for a show at the beginning of this year, and she just blew me away.

And what else does the rest of 2020 have in store for Duchess?
Definitely new music which I’m very excited about! I also want to work with other artists more and create together – I’m interested to see what could come from it. And I know it’s probably a while from now, but I can’t wait to start performing live again.

Huge thanks to Duchess for answering our questions! 

The acoustic Early Days EP is out now via Lost Ones Recordings.

Interview: Zebede

South London five piece Zebede were set to take 2020 by storm, but obviously Covid 19 had other plans… However, despite the difficulties of navigating lockdown, they’ve just released their new single ‘Love Me Enough’.

We caught up with lead singer Leah Cleaver to discuss music’s role in the Black Lives Matter movement and what changes we all need to see in the music industry. 

Hi Leah, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Starting from the very beginning, how did the band come together? Did you all know each other from before?
Before I moved to London I was in one of those really tacky uni bands and we all decided to meet up at a party in Fulham. I started talking to a guy called Henry and we became very good friends – we ended up basically getting into bands with each other. He was a drummer and we were doing soul covers and writing a little bit. We had booked this one gig in AlleyCat, which was one of the last good venues left in Denmark Street. It was our first gig in London, and the biggest deal ever. Henry tells us that he has just broken his arm, so I told him that he’s out the band! I was so savage! I already had a replacement as I had been playing in university as part of group work, and so I got in a drummer called Max. He was in the band for a little while. About a year later, Henry got back to me and told me that he had started playing on keys, so the three of us just started writing songs and hanging out for hours and hours. We also needed bass and guitar. In fact, I could have just had bass – you need bass! I enlisted Mike Jones which is just the best name for a bassist. He was so quiet but then he would play and it would be enormous. I had also been watching a guy called Charlie play in class who was just so good. I knew I had to poach him. 

Zebede’s music is a very gentle blend of so many genres, so do you all bring different influences to the song writing table?
100 per cent, we all write the songs together. Sometimes I’ll write a melody and bring it to the boys, or one of the guys will have the chords. To be honest, 80 to 90 per cent of the time we’re all in a room and we all chip in with everything. I love Soul, Motown, Blues, R&B and Funk. Charlie is a massive jazzer – he loves Jazz. Mike is a Motown King, and Max is completely ’90s Hip-Hop. Max is my ‘go-to’ guy; I don’t know what it is about drummers but they’re always the coolest people in the band. Henry doesn’t really have a set genre, but as a pianist he writes very beautiful melodies. We never try to go for a certain genre, it just comes out as it comes out. 

What can we expect from your new single ‘Love Me Enough’?
‘L.M.E’  is the first single which we recorded in the new studio. The song is about the classic thing of you love someone, and they love you, but you have the moments of “do you love me ENOUGH?” It is absolutely crazy and irrational but you get yourself into this wormhole. The song is a complete journey because you can turn it on at 3 minutes and then 3:55 and it will sound like two completely different songs – which we love! Recording this song was like “we’ve paid for this session, a lot of money and lot of great equipment – I want to use everything!” Zebede has been up until now figuring out we want to record, but looking at it now ‘L.M.E’ is like a new start point. 

You’ve all been pro-active in your support of the Black Lives Matter movement across your social media, are you hopeful that music can be a positive force of change?
Yeah, 100 per cent. I feel that people listen to music more than they do to people and it’s that comfort, it is everywhere. I do think that people have these massive platforms now, especially with Instagram being so big. All of our references and all of our inspirations come from black music in Zebede – also generally because all music comes from Blues. right? With us it’s how we feel, and hopefully the rest of the world will feel too. If you feel a certain way you should always write it down, in a haiku or chords and just release it. It doesn’t matter if some artists feel that they can’t talk about these topics because they don’t have a big enough platform. If you have ten people who are following you or like your music, they are going to listen to what you have to say. You just have to say it and put it at the forefront of your art. At the end of the day, I am black and the boys are very freethinking, so our music has these topics. I don’t think we’ll ever not talk about it. 

What changes would you like to see in the music industry?
I would actually like to see women represented better across all genres. At the Brits there was only about four women nominated out of twenty categories and it was like – what are you listening to? We are half of the population! There are so many great women artists who are underrepresented, and I think black and minority artists are underrepresented too. We keep them to their ‘genres’ which is a problem, we label everything. People say “oh, you want to listen to black music? Oh, that’s Hip-Hop or R&B.” That’s not true! There’s some of the biggest in Pop, Techno, Drum & Bass – all kinds of people in there. We need to get rid of the labels. All of the major radio stations and Spotify playlists need to be representing this because they have so much reach. 

Despite the lockdown, what are you all hoping to achieve by end of the year?
I think we want to grow our fanbase and following. We want more people to hear us, but it’s obviously very difficult right not because we’re not gigging. I would love for us to start planning a tour with some of our favourite local artists like Brother Zulu. We love them so would love to plan a show. We just want to release music and just keep releasing. We also want to keep expanding on our message. As each song goes by, we’re figuring more out about ourselves. I want to experience everything with Zebede, so we’re putting that into place for next year. 

Massive thanks to Leah for answering our questions!

 

Introducing Interview: The Frisbys

Having received praise from the likes of Amazing Radio, Gigwise and For Folk’s Sake, South London folk collective The Frisbys create twinkling, emotion-strewn offerings, oozing a sweeping musicality and celestial splendour.

With a new EP set for release this week, we caught up with Nicola Frisby from the band to find out more…

Hi, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about The Frisbys? 
Hi! We are an alternative folk/country band from South London. Our band consists of myself (Helen – vocals, flute), my twin sister Nicola (vocals – guitar), my husband Sam Keer (electric guitar) and three of our friends from university/college – Sal Palekar (piano and violin), Will Cattermole  (bass) and Tom Finigan (dums). We will be releasing our third EP, My Wicked Mind this week and we’re looking forward to hopefully playing live again as soon as we possibly can!  

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Although Nicola and I have been writing music together since we were teenagers, our line up as a band has changed massively over the last few years. When Nicola and I started creating music, we were an acoustic duo playing locally around South London with just harmonies, guitar and a flute. Gradually as the years have gone by, we’ve recruited some amazing musicians who also happen to be some of our best friends. Every member of our band is a friend that we’ve met through studying music at college or university. The most wonderful thing is that making music together has helped to reunite us again and I know that both Nicola and I feel incredibly lucky for that.

Your new EP My Wicked Mind is out on Friday – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the EP?
The title of My Wicked Mind stems from the idea that the human mind is just bonkers. I suppose I just find it strange how the mind can create such wonder and beauty, whilst at the same time be capable of causing so much anxiety and suffering. I wouldn’t say that this EP is thematic in its concept, but it is a collection of songs that explore both the inner turmoil and the resolute strength of the human mind. So, for example, the songs ‘I Heard’ and ‘Print’ are almost opposite viewpoints based on the same theme. ‘I Heard’ is a fighting song about pushing through even when everyone is telling you what you are trying to achieve is impossible, whereas ‘Print’ highlights the insecurity that lies beneath. Even if you believe in yourself and the path you’ve chosen, it can be very hard not to let those doubts overwhelm you. Everybody wants to be accepted. 

You’ve been compared to the likes of First Aid Kit and The Lumineers, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Unsurprisingly, Nicola and I have very similar musical influences. Our early days listening to my mum’s Simon and Garfunkel records or my brother’s Nirvana collection has meant that we have a pretty varied taste in music; which would maybe explain why our music can be so hard to fit into one genre. We like everything. As individuals, we all have quite different musical tastes. I recently asked the band to compile some of their favourite artists for a Spotify playlist and it was pretty amazing how diverse some of the artists were. Nonetheless,  there are always points where our influences cross. I would say that, collectively, we are inspired by artists such as Carole King, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles. 

How is your local music scene (in ‘normal’ times!)? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I actually moved very recently and so Covid has prevented me from getting out and about and testing out the local music scene, but before that we gigged a lot in the Croydon and South London area. Some of our very first gigs were gigging in South Croydon and we have a real soft spot for it in our hearts. What we’ve noticed as the years have gone by is that more and more of the venues that we used to play in have closed down and so now it can be quite difficult to find a venue that has a capacity for a band of our size. The good news is that there are some local musicians and venues who are constantly fighting this and putting on some excellent nights of music. I adore seeing live music and I try to see as much of it as I can. I prefer more intimate gigs to big arenas as I sometimes feel a little stifled by the environment. I need to move around and hate being restricted to a seat! One of the best gigs I’ve been to recently was watching Skunk Anansie in Brighton. The energy they created was just incredible and Skin’s stage presence is second to none.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I think our aim as a band is to make you feel something. Tom (our drummer) has a particular talent for creating set-lists and he always puts a lot of thought into making the set into a bit of a journey. We definitely don’t just have one style that we sit with, we try to mix it up. I love the fact that we can build the crowd’s energy with songs like our recent single ‘I Heard’, only to drop them back down again and make them almost silent with songs like ‘Give in to the Dark’. As horrible as it sounds, I quite like it when people tell me we made them cry! For me it means that we connected with them.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
One of my favourite bands I have found over the last few years is an American band called Joseph. They are a band of three sisters who create the most incredible live sound I’ve ever heard. Other upcoming bands we’d recommend are Theo Katzman (a multi-instrumentalist from California) and FlagTwister, John Lovell, Scott McFarnon, Chloe Ray and Dave Sears who are all local musicians we love to listen to.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I think there are lots of really wonderful opportunities for new bands at the moments. For example, anyone can submit their music to be played on BBC Introducing and there are some fantastic blogs (like yourself) who are out there promoting new music. More affordable music software has meant that it is cheaper for people to create music themselves which is so wonderful, but it does mean that the music industry is very over-saturated. Most bands now realise that they can make music without record companies funding them and so that has meant that it is a much more level playing field. I think it has meant that bands have to work harder to get their music heard and maybe they have to be more creative about how they promote their music, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing!

Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for The Frisbys?
We recorded a live lock-down version of our new single, ‘I Heard’, in May and we are currently in the process of creating some more videos for our fans. We were hoping to be playing an EP release party this year and some festivals, but who knows what will be happening on the ‘live’ music front. Hopefully, we will find a way of playing an ‘online’ gig to help celebrate the release, so fingers crossed we can make something happen!

Massive thanks to Helen for answering our questions!

 

My Wicked Mind, the upcoming EP from The Frisbys, is out this Friday 26th June.