Introducing Interview: Tina Boonstra

Having previously charmed our ears with her heartwarming 2020 EP, City Of Doubt, and received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson and BBC Introducing, alt-pop artist Tina Boonstra has now returned with a beautiful new single. A stirring reflection on female friendships and how life rarely meets your expectations, ‘Martha’ flows with lilting melodies and a shimmering, heartfelt lyricism, showcasing the raw, immersive emotion of Boonstra’s vocals.

We caught up with Tina Boonstra to find out more about what inspires her and her experience of the industry… Have a read, and listen to ‘Martha‘ now!

Hi Tina, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m an artist based just outside of London. I’m really interested in songs that tell stories, and I’ve been trying to write them since I was a kid.

How did you initially start creating music?
I think I was eleven or twelve when I wrote my first song. My sister played guitar at the time so I tried to get her to work out the chords to play along, but she couldn’t figure them out. That’s when I started playing guitar. After that I just kept on writing new songs, and that fuelled me to practice playing. I was never really very interested in playing covers – it was the writing that really excited me and still does now

Your new single ‘Martha’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s a story about getting to know someone. And how first impressions aren’t always that accurate., When you meet someone for the first time, you almost never start at the beginning. You start somewhere in the middle and travel simultaneously forwards and backwards together as you begin to build a picture of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The way this song developed, it took me by surprise; it takes a pretty dark turn when Martha starts telling her story. But I suppose that’s true for a lot of us – there’s the self we show when we meet someone, but then over time we share more of the things that have shaped us, the good stuff and the hard stuff. 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Sam Fender, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love songs that tell a story. So artists like Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac have really had a big influence on me over the past few years. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
It’s been difficult over the past few years, but it’s exciting to see things start to happen again. There’s this incredible record store not far from where I live called LP Cafe. It’s a tiny place, but they host some great events, they do a lot to support the local scene and they make a mean flat white too.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I love playing these songs live – there’s nothing like the energy of a room full of people singing songs you wrote in your bedroom. Expect all the emotion, joy, pain, heartache that you hear on the record times a hundred. Expect to dance, sing, cry and maybe even make some new friends. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’m really looking forward to hearing Nadine Yomi‘s new EP – she’s just released a new single, ‘Bloom’. I love her songwriting and her voice. Definitely go and check her out.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The times when I’ve focused on making music instead of ‘making it’ in music have always been a lot more fun for me. As an artist I have an amazing opportunity to introduce fans of my music to other great artists. I love curating nights, sharing great music with people I love and giving other artists the opportunity to share their story. I think if we could do more of that as artists, the better the world would be. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Tina Boonstra?
I’m working on an album at the moment. It’s my first one, and I’m very excited about it. There are a lot of stories to tell. Mostly stories of older women, which kind of surprised me in the writing process, but I hope it will connect people. Also, me and my band are playing at Between the Trees Festival later this month!

Massive thanks to Tina for answering our questions!

Introducing Interview: Wallis Bird

Following the acclaim of 2019’s poignant Woman, Irish born/Berlin based artist Wallis Bird has now released her seventh studio album, Hands. Showcasing Bird’s unique, vibrant brand of alt-pop – combining fizzing ’80s-inspired blissful soundscapes with an empowering energy and stirring sentiment -, it reflects heartfelt and resonant themes with a raw emotion, delivered through an uplifting, cinematic musicality.

We caught up with Bird to find out more about the album; her live shows; her thoughts on the music industry today, and more. Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the stirring sounds of Hands at the earliest opportunity!

Hi Wallis Bird! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hiya, I’m Wallis. I’m intelligent, funny, very handsome and talented. Most of all I’m humble. Everything else is wiki.

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
Before I could talk I was whistling, before I could stand I got my first guitar. I’ve been writing songs since before I knew what songs were, so it’s actually been something I’ve followed my whole life without question. I wrote my first song as a toddler and I distinctly remember the feeling of comfort and excitement it gave me to sing a lullaby or poem. At around eleven I realised that my friends were singing my songs and since then I suppose I’ve been writing with others in mind, to gather people socially or for posterity. I’ve realised in the last decade that my music is there to inspire, and encourage solutions and conversation through respect and patience and positivity.

We love your vibrant yet gritty pop-infused sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
As a baby it was Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Sharon Shannon, Rory Gallagher, as a teen it was Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple. As an adult it was Björk, Radiohead, Villagers, classical. Nowadays I’m leaning towards jamming again and writing for comfort and collaboration.

You released your seventh album Hands earlier this year… Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes that run throughout it?
Spiritual connection, asking for and offering help, the unknown future, exciting and terrifying new beginnings, giving up alcohol and going to therapy, adulting. Obsession and control, and taking care that it doesn’t own me. It’s in support of migrants and defiance of racism. Positivity and powerful vulnerability, and wanting to fucking sweat dance.


Being based in Berlin, do you get to see lots of live music? Would you say it’s recovered since the pandemic?
It finally has, but only in the last two months. Usually Berlin crowds are either tough as fuck, or wild and welcoming, but they seem to have lost their critical edge and are just extremely happy to see their favourite artist on stage again. It’s a golden age at the moment!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Tonnes of power. Power power power. I can’t ever tame it or hide it, it always comes out. Ugh!

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 feel that new artists are defining the industry because there seemed to be no love for them, so they did it their way and are now defining the industry under their terms – it is revolutionary, and the labels are having to catch up. I love it. It has bred new and exciting artists who are fully aware of and in control of their worth and not taking any less than that – which hasn’t happened in my time on this earth. I’m all for it! In terms of queer artists, man I’m so excited at the normalised lyrics of same sex relationships in stories, something previously disguised and dangerous in my short lifetime. Across all genres, even the known homophobic genres like modern hip-hop or trap specifically, it’s just so powerful to see people laying their heart out in this vulnerable way. To be vulnerable takes the most strength, I love where the youth is going. Healing with abandon.

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?
Síomha just released her debut album, Infinite Space, made over two years with the people from Vulfpeck. Irish traditional mixed with NY ’80s pop jazz cats – it’s deep and relentless in its adventures. Caoi De Barra is my bandmate and she’s just released a beautiful EP called Thicket – think private R&B Jeff Buckley Sin-è sessions. And I can highly recommend Landers – hi-fi lo-tunes from atmospheric jazz nerds.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
A ton! I don’t know about you, but it’s as if life happened all at once again. I’m renovating a farm house I bought with five other people and I’m also going on a European tour with my band for three months from September on (tickets are at wallisbird.com/live) It’s all nice things!

Massive thanks to Wallis Bird for taking the time to answer our questions!

Hands, the latest album from Wallis Bird, is out now via Virgin Records / Mount Silver Records.

Introducing Interview: Raindear

Having previously charmed our ears with the ethereal grace of 2019’s album Skies To My Name, Swedish artist Raindear has returned with an emotive new single. Reflecting on the theme of self-renewal, ‘Howl’ flows with a swirling majestic splendour, as Raindear’s rich, soulful vocals soar alongside glitchy hooks with a driving, impassioned energy.

To celebrate the release of the new single, we caught up with Raindear to find out what inspires her, her honest opinion on the music industry today and her plans for the next few months. Have a read, and the watch the beautiful new live video for ‘Howl’ at the bottom of this feature!

Hi Raindear! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
I’m a Swedish artist and producer mostly known for making monumental and majestic art pop. I’m a sucker for beautiful and unique melodies, and I also love tasty things and to take a little swim. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
I have always created things. I guess it’s just a natural instinct for people like me. Some people need to create or else they will not feel that anything is meaningful at all. I was also born in a family of professional musicians, so making music was just a normal thing that everyone did. I never had to “discover” it on my own and for that I’m very grateful. 

I love your glitchy, soulful sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! That’s a tricky one. I guess Kate Bush would be one of my main ones through the years. I’ve always listened to her, long before she went viral recently. I’ve also grown up with jazz and impressionism (classical music), so I love that too. Other than that I think influences work in mysterious ways. I get influenced by pretty much everything around me – everything I experience goes through my filter and some things stick with me better than other things. I think when music is your whole life it’s hard to pick specific influences since you get influenced every day by just staying alive; you interpret everything you experience through your musical lens and it’s always possible to make something out of it because art is life and life is art. 

You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Howl’. Are you able to tell us a bit about the single? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
It’s about massive subconscious feelings that every now and then explode out of my chest. I’ve struggled with many kinds of emotions the last couple of years – ‘Howl’ came out of that and made me feel better briefly. 

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’ve tried to stay positive for so long but I don’t want to fake it anymore, now I want to be real for once. This industry is just incredibly unreasonable, I actually wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. And don’t even get me started on how the industry looks specifically for female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists. Sometimes labels etc pretend that they care about equality, but they definitely don’t. At least not the ones that sit on the money. They care about money and nothing else. Sorry for not bringing too much hope to the table…!

You’re now based in Stockholm – how is the music scene there? Do you feel that the live music community there has fully recovered since the pandemic? 
I think the Stockholm scene is very boring and mostly focused on mainstream pop. I don’t know if the live music scene is fully recovered. In some ways I feel like it is recovered – at least people are excited and out to gigs again. At the same time, the whole system is so broken and the noise is insane. It’s probably harder for the independent ones to get back into some some kind of normality right now. 

And what can fans expect from a Raindear live show? 
Heavy and colourful stuff in every possible way!

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?
My friend Bonander is insanely talented and makes very cool music. 

What does the rest of the year have in store for Raindear?
I’m performing at Rough Trade East on August 31st – come!! I’m also releasing a second single in August. And performing in Montreal in Canada October.

Massive thanks to Raindear for answering our questions! Watch the beautiful new live video for ‘Howl’ here:

INTERVIEW: Ghum

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