Interview: Sit Down

We’ve been massive fans of Brighton duo, Katie Oldham and Greg Burns – aka Sit Down – for a while now; the intensity of their thrashing garage-punk sounds completely blowing us away on each listen, and their sheer dedication to their craft (Katie even makes all their stage outfits) marking them out instantly from other bands.

Now, following last year’s immense EP Cheap Luxe and singles ‘Take A Seat’ and ‘Knives’, they’re back with a gritty new offering. Accompanied by a gripping video set in the French Alps, ‘Teeth’ is out now.

We caught up with Katie to find out more about the new single, their thoughts on the music industry and what 2019 has in store for Sit Down…

Hi Sit Down, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how you both initially got together and started creating music?
Haha, it’s a funny story actually. I was at Uni and just tentatively dipping my toe into making music – joining some music societies and uploading some acoustic covers on YouTube and stuff. I was incredibly shy and was just secretly trying to start creating what I’d always dreamed when these music students reached out to me and said they’d seen what I was up to, and was wondering if I’d be up for fronting their indie/electro band. I was over the moon, and as soon as I met up with them we clicked instantly. The funny thing is, after about a year of jamming together, they finally admitted to me one night that they’d actually just sent the same identical message to the hundreds of people in the music society and I was the only one who replied! But I do believe it was fate, because I was best friends with them all through Uni from then on, and Greg and I were inseparable; firstly starting our own acoustic/folk duo, then moving on to the heavier stuff we always dreamed of making.

We’re loving your gritty new single ‘Teeth’! What’s the story behind the track?
We actually wrote the song about two years ago, when we were both going through some heavy shit at the time. I was really struggling with depression, yet still desperately yearning to make music and progress, but the two were fundamentally incompatible. I’d force myself to go to practice, but I’d sit behind the drums without the strength to lift the sticks. It felt like a curse that wouldn’t let me do, say or achieve anything except wallow. And I think I realised that the only way to get through it was to face it head on and face the worst my brain was trying to convince me of. Sonically, the song seems to be of two very different styles, which represent the duality of depression – the sad lonely isolation of wanting to be better, as reflected in the verse “I’m trying to be a bigger man / but I just feel so small / I’m trying to feel better man / but I don’t feel so strong”, and the fiery frustration that comes from the anguish of being trapped in a sadness that’s trying to push you to extremes. “I’ll throw myself into the ocean / and wash up upon the beach / stick a knife into my ribcage / and I’ll tell you how it tastes”. But ultimately this isn’t a song about self-destruction, it’s about catharsis. The chorus ends – “But it’s too hard to take it easy / so I grit my teeth” – because I knew I was stronger than the depression, and I was going to grit my teeth and find my way through. Which I did, and I think that’s an important message for anyone going through a similar thing to know. And also not to be ashamed of the dark thoughts that cross your mind when you are depressed, because it’s not your fault.

And the gripping new video was filmed in the French Alps – that must have been fun! How did that come about?
As the song is so heavy, in terms of sound and sentiment, we wanted something to balance that to create a more light-hearted interpretation. We wanted to focus on the theme of being pursued by something you want to escape and outsmart. So, after watching Spy Kids one night, we came up with the idea of two rival spies set to target one another. It just so happened that it was my parents’ anniversary and they had planned a family ski holiday to celebrate, so we thought what better way to make the most of that then to set it in the French Alps! It was very serendipitous, and definitely not something we could ever afford in a million years, so we had to nail it in a couple of days, haha. The single flaw I guess is that neither of us can ski for shit, so with our ‘high speed ski chase’ we had to improvise a little….

We’re big fans of your immense, raucous sounds, but who or what would you cite as your main influences?
The Garden, The Kills, The Voidz, Ho99o9, Grimes, Deap Vally, Electric Wizard, Promiseland… 

You’ve previously supported the likes of Drenge, as well as playing the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festivals, but is there a particular show you’ve played in the past that stands out as a particular highlight?
I think it’s gotta be Leeds Festival. We’re still so new and playing Reading & Leeds was such an unbelievably big jump (which I’m not sure we’ll be able to live up to for a while, haha), and the first day at Reading we were just destroyed by nerves. The staff and stage crew were all amazing and so hospitable, but there was just this insane amount of pressure not to mess up, as well as having a bunch of cameras all pointed at you and knowing if you swore you were gonna get blacklisted and not broadcast! But all the stressful stuff was done at Reading, so Leeds was just pure enjoyment. You could even see it with all the other bands. Backstage at Reading everyone was very quiet and keeping to themselves, not really drinking. Backstage at Leeds everyone was laughing and all mingling together, getting pissed in the rain and swearing their hearts out on stage. It was such a welcome relief and, even though there weren’t really that many people in the crowd, everyone just had such a good time!

You’re currently based in Brighton which is well known for its array of new bands and artists! Are there any in particular you’ve come across recently that you’d recommend we check out?
I think the best band in Brighton right now is Clt Drp. They had a brief hiatus while their singer Annie went back to Canada, but I feel like they’re gonna do some really cool shit this year!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
You know, we spend a lot of time thinking about this. I think for young DIY bands like us, to think of the music industry as one singular thing – like one building you need to get the key to – is just not going to help you. The industry is so monstrously huge and multi-faceted that there’s no one size fits all solution to ‘breaking through’. And NONE of it is what it looks like on paper, and there’s a LOT of people who will cash in on your naivety. In Brighton, there’s bands that can have gigged solidly for like seven years and put out three albums, but are still unsigned and can’t get on festival rosters. Then there’s bands that seemingly pop out of nowhere with thousands of likes and are headlining European tours without ever having released a single. And you think HOW?! It’s mind-boggling to try and wrap your head around it, because there’s so much secrecy around it too. Essentially, it just comes down to who you know. Some acts just know someone who knows someone who puts them in touch and starts dropping their name into the right conversations and voila. That’s not something you can replicate without those hookups, and you can’t bog yourself down trying to keep up with it.

Having started completely clueless and now entering our third year, we have learnt so so much and we’ve come to the point now where we’re stepping away from trying to be acknowledged by the places we all seem to be desperately competing to get the attention of, and focusing on the smaller scale – what we want to make, how we do that, who we want to hear us, and how we make that happen. There are bands on minimum wage jobs paying thousands to companies that say they ‘might’ get them on a big Spotify playlist, and it’s kind of soul-destroying. We always make sure we’re constantly observing and watching and learning whilst cultivating organic relationships and connections. Bands at this level are kind of being encouraged to spend all of their time and energy on licking industry ass, but we’d much rather have full creative control of what we do and actually communicate with the people who take time out of their lives to listen to our music and come to our shows. A lot of people think we’re probably stupid for doing that at this critical point, but… fuck them. We make punk music, we’re gonna do it our way, and we’re gonna make it work.

It’s that time of year when we’re just starting to hear about all the various festival line-ups… which ones are you particularly looking forward to?
Kylie Minogue at Glastonbury is all I care about right now. Primavera kills it every year, but… they don’t have Kylie, so.

Finally, what else does 2019 have in store for Sit Down?
Collaboration. We’ve been so precious about it just being the two of us, ever since way back from when we first met. But we’ve finally started to realise we can’t let that inhibit us in making what we want to make. You’re gonna start seeing a lot more than just two faces on the stages we play. And we are so so excited about it.

Massive thanks to Sit Down for answering our questions! 

‘Teeth’, the new single from Sit Down, is out now. Catch them live at The Windmill Brixton on 22nd February, with Pussyliquor, Petty Phase and Crack Foxes.

Interview: Our Girl

Following last year’s debut album Stranger Today, we’ve been massive fans of the lush, fuzzed out sounds of Our Girl. And now, having supported the likes of Bill Ryder Jones, as playing as wowing crowds headlining The Garage, they’ve announced a gig at London’s Southbank Centre next month.

Ahead of the upcoming intimate set, we caught up with Soph from the band to find out more…

Hi Our Girl, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how you all initially got together and started creating music?
Hey! Josh and I were living in Brighton at the time, and I had written a bunch of songs I was desperate to get a band together for. I was obsessed with this Canadian two piece called Cousins at the time, so I initially imagined the band would be a two piece. It totally needed bass though, and Josh and I really wanted to play together so, although he’s primarily a guitarist, he started playing bass! We then tracked down Lauren through friends of friends and met up for a practice. We asked her to be in the band on the spot and it’s been the three of us ever since!

Your debut album Stranger Today was out last year to much acclaim, can you tell us about the writing process and the inspiration behind this album?
The songs on the record were written over a period of four years. About half the record was written before we started playing live, so it was really nice to be able to finally get them on record and make them sound exactly how we wanted them to. I write the songs at home on the guitar, and then I’ll normally send Josh and Lauren an unfinished demo. We’ll then get together in a practice room near where we live and we’ll flesh it out! It’s such a satisfying feeling when it all comes together.

We’re big fans of your lush, fuzzed out sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thanks very much! We have so many different influences – I guess our sound is just the product of them all coming together! It’s not something we think of consciously during the writing process, but when I started writing songs I was listening to a lot of St. Vincent (mainly Strange Mercy which is my favourite of her records). I love the dynamics and theatrics in her music. We’re all fans of Warpaint too, seeing them perform as a teenager really solidified my want to play music with people. They make it look so easy and fun and I love the way they interact and play off each other – that’s a huge part of the joy of being in a band.

You’ve previously supported the likes of Bill Ryder Jones and Pale Waves, but is there a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight over the last couple of years? Our own headline show at The Garage was one of my favourite shows ever. It was the biggest headline show we’ve ever done and the crowd was amazing. It felt like we’d been building up to it for a long time, so it was quite cathartic. Another one of our faves was supporting our friend Marika Hackman at Shepherds Bush Empire! The venue’s beautiful, we had a great time.

And you’re going to be playing at London’s Southbank Centre next month, how are you feeling about this? And how do you think it will differ from your other gigs?
Yeah really excited! We played there (in the Queen Elizabeth Hall) when we supported Bill Ryder Jones and it was one of my favourite shows. I was a bit daunted by the idea of having everyone seated but actually it felt quite special. This show will feel similar but it’s in the Purcell Room which is smaller so will be quite intimate and we’re playing some more stripped down songs from a record we made called Bedroom Record which is an album of demos that accompanied our debut Stranger Today.

You’re currently based in Brighton which is well known for its array of new bands and artists! Are there any in particular you’ve come across recently that you’d recommend we check out?
We’ve actually all moved to London now but Brighton is one of my favourite places. A new Brighton based band I think are great are CLT DRP. It’s heavy and quite different to other things coming out of Brighton at the moment I think.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yeah I think it is difficult. It’s also so multifaceted it’s hard to know who you even want to get noticed by. I guess it depends on what you want from being in a band! There are a lot of bands all trying to achieve the same things, especially in London, which makes it harder. Having said that, there are lots of opportunities for new bands to play gigs – DIY have set up a cool scheme that bands can apply to to get shows. We also have friends who put on shows which give new bands an opportunity to perform in really friendly and supportive environments (Echochamp do a lot in Brighton and Memorials of Distinction in London).

It’s that time of year when we’re just starting to hear about all the various festival line-ups… which ones are you particularly looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to Liverpool Sound City! We recorded part of our record there and loved it, so it’ll be nice to be back.

Finally, besides your upcoming gig at Southbank Centre, what else does 2019 have in store for Our Girl?
Well, we have a UK tour around the Southbank Centre show that are all in intimate venues/churches so I think that’ll be quite an interesting change from the kinds of places we normally play. After that it’s festival season and in the gaps we’re going to be writing and working on new songs!

Huge thanks to Our Girl for answering our questions! Catch them live at The Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room on 6th March at 7.45pm – tickets available here

Photo Credit: Hollie Fernando

Interview and Playlist: Amahla

Having played legendary venues such as The Jazz Cafe and The Roundhouse, and garnered support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 Extra and 6Music’s Tom Robinson, Hackney native Amahla was also been a recipient of the second ever MOBO Awards X Help Musicians Grant for her exceptional voice. Following the lush sounds of last year’s ‘Old Soul’, she’s now returned to grace our ears with poignant new single ‘Dorothy’s Verses’.

We had a little chat with Amahla to find out more, and asked her to pick a few of her favourite songs for a special guest playlist…

Hi Amahla, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
Hey, I’m Amahla! I’m 22 and I’m a soul singer-songwriter from Hackney. Some of my music branches into folk because I write primarily with guitar but it’s definitely in the bracket of soul. I’ve been lucky enough to play some amazing venues so far, like the Jazz Cafe and Roundhouse main stages. Usually I play with my band but I’ve also been doing more intimate acoustic shows recently.

Your new single ‘Dorothy’s Verses’ is out on Friday, can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘Dorothy’s Verses’ is a story inspired by my grandmother. She came to the UK with my mum and Grandad in the early ’60s from Guyana. She’s always been super independent but three years ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to change her lifestyle. Since then my family and I have had to learn to see her world through this new lens. ‘Dorothy’s Verses’ is about her reflecting on her life, but also about the need to push women’s stories to the forefront into all of our collective memories more generally.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse, but who would you say are you main musical influences?
Have I? That’s nice! It’s hard to say who my main influences are, but here are a few on my mind at the moment… Amy is a huge one, I was 11 when Back to Black came out and she showed me that I could sing soul but still retain everything that makes me a London girl – the accent, the honesty – and not compromise my identity. Listening to Etta James taught me how to sing with conviction, plus the phrasing of lots of the early Jazz pioneers like Ella and Nat King Cole is just exquisite and has fed into the way I now write my melodies – it’s all about intention.

You graduated university with a first in Anthropology, how would you say what you’ve learnt about this feeds into your music?
I wrote my final thesis about the impact technology (particularly camera phones) has in recreating an archive of violence against the black body – one that the US government sought to repress after the civil rights movement. I think this thesis broadened my mind in terms of how I think about social movements, how they occur and why. These topics consumed my life for a year and I think you can hear its impact on my upcoming EP Consider This – thematically I explore similar themes of memory, justice and using one story to tell many.

And how important do you think it is for musicians to use their creative platform to address issues of politics and race?
At the moment it’s important for me to address issues of politics; I’ve always wanted in some way to impact social change in my lifetime. I don’t know how yet, but for me putting my thoughts into my music is a start. But, as much as music is a place to dissect these issues, it’s also a place to escape from them. Having the freedom to create and innovate is the most important thing.

And would you say movements such as Me Too have allowed more musicians to be more honest in their songwriting?
It’s an interesting question, I don’t know how anyone would go about quantifying its impact yet. I think that the impact of Me Too as a movement won’t really be felt on a broad level for a few years still.

 

We’ve asked you to pick some songs by artists and bands you admire for a special playlist, can you tell us a bit about each of your choices?

Miss Jacqui – ‘These Walls’
I’ve known Miss Jacqui for a while now, she is a songwriter and poet. She performed at the 2012 Paralympics ceremony but hasn’t released anything officially ’til this year. She’s exceptional. We need more voices like hers in the music industry.

Hejira – ‘I Don’t Belong To Anyone’
One of the most underrated bands in my opinion, their sound and visuals are so unique – every single is fire. The rhythm of this one particularly, captures you from the beginning.

Cosima – ‘Hymns For Him’
Cosima is uncompromising in her sound and has such a cutting tone to her voice, she reminds me of Prince. I love this song!

Fatima – ‘Westside’
The bassline in this track is something else and Fatima’s low register is gorgeous. I was lucky enough to support her at her Roundhouse show last month, she’s even more magical live. Her music came alive and her voice and presence filled the room, I haven’t been able to switch it off since.

Nai Palm – ‘Crossfire/ So Into You’
Her voice of course is out of this world, but there is nothing conventional about her songwriting. The way she uses guitar as harmony and percussion to complement her vocal lines is something I’ve admired for years.

Shae Universe – ‘Tell Me The Truth’
Shae’s voice is simply incredible. I’d love to write a song for her catalogue, the range and melodic possibilities with her voice are just gorge.

Massive thanks to Amahla for answering our questions! Listen to her guest playlist here:

 

And you can catch Amahla live at The Roundhouse on 19th February.

Interview: Dream Nails – ‘Take Up Space’

As if putting on immense, riotous live performances wasn’t enough, in September last year GIHE’s favourite Feminist Punk Witches Dream Nails decided to blow our minds in a slightly different way – by putting on their first ever acoustic set at infamous independent and anti-fascist bookshop Housmans. A much smaller space than the band have played in the past, the gig was a wonderfully intimate experience, and – whilst perhaps quieter in volume – no less powerful and empowering than your usual raucous Dream Nails gig.

And if you weren’t able to make the gig, fear not! Dream Nails have now made the full recording of the set into a new acoustic album, appropriately entitled Take Up Space. And it’s most certainly worth a listen. Showcasing their luscious harmonies and poignant songwriting in a way we’ve not yet heard, it proves that plugged in or acoustic, Dream Nails are a sparkling, formidable force. Combining impassioned activism and infectious tunes, they consistently inspire and motivate us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might.

We caught up with Mimi, Janey, Lucy and Anya to find out more…

Hi Dream Nails, welcome back to Get In Her Ears! How are you doing today?
Mimi: Thank you! I’m refreshed and ready for 2019.
Janey: I’m rested too!
Lucy: Ran 4 miles on the treadmill this morning like a little excited hamster so I’m bathing in the endorphins right now.
Anya: Me and Janey just did a songwriting session and I’m gassed about our latest ideas, including one about feminism and the future of technology. I can’t say what it’s about but it’s completely ridiculous and hilarious.

We’re super excited to hear about the release of your new acoustic album Take Up Space! What was it that inspired you to record this – something perhaps so different from what fans might expect?
Mimi: We really feel there’s magic in our live shows. In the past we’ve tried to record some shows, but it’s always really difficult because of the sound in the venues, and it’s never come out that great. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to try again, in a less noisy setting.
Janey: We put so much thought into our song lyrics and vocal harmonies, and much of that gets lost in the fuzz of a punk PA system. This gig was a chance to finally let our songs breathe and the lyrics be heard.
Lucy: We were excited to listen to the recordings but didn’t know how good they would turn out and certainly didn’t expect to release them! We only had one acoustic rehearsal before the show and were very pleased with the new dimension the songs have taken on!
Anya: We also wanted to try more of an intimate show, more of ‘an evening with Dream Nails’ sort of thing where the crowd were very much part of the show and we could be really spontaneous with our interactions.

The album was recorded at your intimate gig at Housman’s Bookshop (which was a pretty wonderful evening!) in September last year – how was this experience for you? And how did it differ from your usual gig set ups?
Mimi: For me, I had no distortion pedals and no big amps, I was playing my semi-acoustic bass guitar. My bass was very à la Violent Femmes. It was a much more intimate setting with no stage, and it was a lot of fun to be in with the crowd and hear everyone’s laughs during all of the funny bits.
Janey: That gig was so much fun, and a challenge for us because the audience were sitting right in front of us in pretty good lighting – we could see everyone! That completely changed the dynamic and made it special.
Lucy: Yeah it was exposing at first and I was more than a little nervous! I’m usually hiding at the back on my all-seeing drum throne, so this was my chance to get my jokes and chat in too. I got pretty over-excited tbh. Fun fact: the tom and snare drums I was using were propped up on old Delia Smith cookery books and I think you can definitely hear this in the music!
Anya: I actually play an acoustic guitar borrowed from Dave McManus who runs Everything Sucks Music, one of the labels we work with! It was weird playing an acoustic and I had to change a few things in the songs to make it work, but it was a fun challenge. My hands were like frozen claws by the end – an acoustic is a lot harder work, strangely!

Do you feel that putting on a gig in such a different setting opened up your music to some people who may not normally be able to attend gigs in late night bars/music venues?
Mimi: Yes definitely! We really want to play more bookshops. Because most gigs are in bars, it’s almost impossible to hold all ages shows, and we would love to play to younger people.
Janey: Almost all punk shows are held in squats, basements or alcohol-based venues, which excludes a lot of people from experiencing our live music, and we wanted to change that. At this show, we had more under-18, muslim and disabled fans than usual, many of whom mentioned they hadn’t managed to get to a show before. This show was our most inclusive by far, and I want to do more gigs where we transform a community space into a gig space.
Lucy: Our shows are accessible as we can make them, but I feel like the audience were so relaxed at this show and that contributed to a very special atmosphere. It was early in the evening and the fact that no one felt they had negotiate beer being chucked around, creepy dudes at the bar, dark and sometimes intimidating spaces and pushing created a calmness that was palpable.
Anya: We also live streamed it via Facebook with the help of Get in Her Ears, which we’ll probably do more of in the future so our fans in other countries can see the bookshop gigs we do.

Has having had the experience of performing acoustically changed the way you approach writing songs now?
Lucy: You know what, it’s made me itching to get more into the composition side of our music. Hearing everything so stripped back, and being mindful of how our songs sound in the state will surely translate when we start writing again (imminently!).
Anya: It’s definitely reinforced my feeling that our songs need to work on an acoustic guitar or they won’t work at all!

The album includes a couple of new songs… including ‘Jillian’ and ‘Chirpse Degree Burns (Text Me Back)’ – can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind these tracks?
Mimi: ‘Jillian’ is about Jillian Michaels, a fitness personality who has a workout DVD called ‘The 30 Day Shred’. It was permanently in my DVD player growing up, she is seriously strong and fierce, and I definitely memorised her chat throughout the entire workout. Her message is that you can push yourself and literally be strong!
Janey: Mimi and I really bonded over our shared love of Jillian. To be honest, the 30 Day Shred was my first experience of exercise and recognising how good it was for my mental health. I have Jillian to thank for that. Plus she’s one of my queer idols.
Lucy: ‘Chirpse Degree Burns’ (fyi chirpse is London slang for flirt and can be a noun, verb or adjective) is tragically close to the hearts of me and another anonymous band member. It was written in an emotional outburst during the comedown of Glastonbury 2017 when Anya (oops) and I were thwarted by our short-lived festival loves. I don’t get it?! We are a catch and also 1000000% chill as the song we wrote will attest to!
Anya: There’s also a new track ‘Time Ain’t No Healer’ which is about how much work it is to get over the troubles in your life and recover from trauma. The idea is you can’t just wait for time to do it for you, it takes a conscious effort. And probably a therapist, lol.

The album’s appropriately entitled Take Up Space, which very much ties in with your mantra of “Girls To The Front” at gigs. How important do you think it is for girls/non binary/female-identifying people to take up space in the music industry? And what do you think people can be doing to encourage this more?
Mimi: It’s hard to encourage women and non binary people to get into the music industry because you just know they’re going to meet so many obstacles, which are only there because of deep set misogyny. It just needs to be challenged by everyone. I can’t bear to think of how many women and non binary bands have quit doing music because of people being shit to them at every turn. Even little things – like I can’t even count how many times a sound guy has told me where to plug my bass in.
Janey: Bookers need to change their policies, and introduce diversity quotas. The musicians are out there. Look harder. There’s no excuse for all-male tour line-ups anymore. The issues within the music industry are structural, and need to be met with structural changes.
Lucy: Obviously the need is vital and I’d like to quote an iconic Anya statement here relating to all-male bands: “men, ask yourselves, does the world need any more of your dry music?” We try to hammer home the idea that skill level and technical know-how does not take precedence when it comes to music, no matter what intimidating sound people, music shop assistants, or band boys would like you to think. YOUR music and experiences are valid and vital and you’re the only person in this world who can make it. Until these structural changes manifest, we endeavour to create these spaces and opportunities ourselves.
Anya: For women to Take Up Space, men need to Make Up Space. Make way, not today, man bands, go away!

As ‘Feminist Punk Witches, what does ‘punk’ mean to you?
Mimi: Punk means challenging everything, even the definition of ‘punk’. It’s about being a good ally, standing up for what’s right, being an activist, taking our lives into our own hands. It bothers me that people like Donald Trump and Doug Ford (Canadian Premier of Ontario, where I’m from, who literally fucked Ontario) are seen as punks, only because they’re kind of rogue outsiders from the political world?? They’re the farthest thing from punks, their only intention is to fuck the little guy and they only benefit the rich.
Janey: For me, punk is about shared creation. Not just tearing the world apart, but challenging the status quo by building a new one. I think the punkest thing we do isn’t even our music, but the bands we support behind the scenes, or making sure promoters have gender-neutral toilets.
Lucy: Punk is about utilising a rebellious spirit in a way that DOES NOT resemble a teenager with a “my mum and dad aren’t home, no one can tell me what to do” attitude. For me, the rebelliousness of punk is about radical collectivity, thoughtfulness, inquisitiveness, joy, rage and action that both strengthens you and provides relief in a world and city that seeks to crush you.
Anya: Some of our dearest female idols like Viv Albertine and Patti Smith interrogated the world as they saw it, threw stale, patriarchal convention out of the window, and filled their world with new meaning. Punk is about being thoughtful and honest. It’s interesting that they both taught themselves to play guitars as young women. Being self taught makes you approach music differently, I think.

So, after the experience of playing acoustically in Housman’s, do Dream Nails have plans to play any more acoustic shows in 2019?
Mimi:
This is something we are seriously talking about and would love to do a radical bookshop tour!
Janey: 100%!
Lucy: Yes! It feels so pure!
Anya: I’ll only play in places where they have the entire back catalogue of Simone De Beauvoir now. It’s my rider.

And what else do you have up your sparkly sleeves for the rest of the year??
Mimi: We are going to be spending a lot of the first part of this year writing and recording for our debut album release (not acoustic), and then playing many festivals over the summer.
Janey: We’re headed to Switzerland in the first week of February, and are playing four shows there! Follow us on Instagram for our tour stories, they never fail to delight.
Anya: We are curating a stage at one of our favourite festivals this year. We can’t say which one, but it involves a zine making workshop for young people and I’m so excited.
Lucy: Aside from this, my personal dream is to sell our critically acclaimed ‘Chipadvisor’ chip reviewing YouTube series to Netflix. We would use the proceeds from this to buy ourselves more chips.

Massive thanks to Dream Nails for answering our questions!

Take Up Space is available exclusively on Bandcamp, where you can also get hold of an awesome accompanying t-shirt designed by illustrator Sumena Owen.

 

Photo Credit: Poppy Marriot

Introducing Interview: CHILDCARE

Having received acclaim from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC Radio 1, softcore-psych group CHILDCARE have returned with the release of their new single ‘Bamboo’.

With Emma Topolski taking the reins as lead vocalist, ‘Bamboo’ is an instant indie-pop anthem, filled with scuzzy hooks, luscious harmonies and an infectious psych-driven haze.

We caught up with the band to find out more…

Hi CHILDCARE, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
We’re a four piece softcore-psych band from London that are really very good.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
I started the band a few years ago when I was working as a nanny, hence the name CHILDCARE. Over time I got these guys involved; Emma the bassist I met at a party, Rich the guitarist I knew from other bands and Glyn the drummer I met on a mini golf course.

Your new single ’Bamboo’ is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘Bamboo’ is a metaphor for ego. It’s about understanding the relevance of it but recognising how it can be limiting and that most of our mental difficulties are as a result of having an ego.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Everything Everything and Our Girl, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Well loads of stuff, I guess most decent guitar music from the last fifty years, so let’s say Pixies and Radiohead, but melodically and harmonically also R’n’b, Beyonce etc.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Local is a slightly tricky word in London, though obviously we have mates in bands we go and watch. And yeah I go to a fair amount of gigs, last three big ones were Pixies, Kendrick Lamar and LCD Soundsystem.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Guided meditation, dangerous guitars, weeping fans and strong poses.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Check out Lazy Day who just supported us on tour, I’d describe them as psych-grunge.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
In London it’s pretty difficult, but I used to live in Leeds and it was a lot easier there. You’ll have more luck making a name for yourself somewhere smaller. As to the music industry, well there’s no money for very new acts really, so just be prepared to work on your own and fund everything yourself for a few years.

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for CHILDCARE?
Finish album, play two gigs in London on 14th and Manchester on the 16th, get better at table-tennis.

Massive thanks to CHILDCARE for answering our questions! 

Interview: Young Romance

We’ve been big fans of duo Young Romance ever since they charmed us with their completely dreamy sounds and ethereal splendour playing for us live at The Finsbury in 2016. And so this week, we were super excited to hear the announcement of their spellbinding second album Don’t Look.

To celebrate the good news, our Nicky had a quick catch up with the duo.

Welcome back to Get In Her Ears, we’re all excited about the release of Don’t Look! We’ve seen that it’s another self release?
Thanks, happy to be back! Yes, it will be released via Banquet Records again which worked really well for us last time.

In what ways would you say it differs from your 2016 debut, Another’s Blood?
This record was made with a different approach to our debut, and probably reflects a bit more what our live show has become. It’s a bit more raw but has the same pop sensibilities than the last one has.

Are you hoping to embark on another extensive tour for the album release?
We’ve had a release show this week at The Social in London and will be playing an in-store at Banquet Records on Tuesday 6th November, but we are hoping to tour more extensively next year once the record has settled in a bit!

What was the deciding factor in forming a band together in the first place?
We had been in bands together prior to Young Romance, and when those came to an end we continued to write songs together but weren’t actually looking to form a band at that point. I think after working on the songs it was a kind of natural progression wanting to try them live, and it just went from there really.

Do you both have different artists / bands which you draw inspiration from?
We both have a fairly similar taste in music, but there will always be places where we differ. I think we generally meet in the middle on things and that’s where the songs come from.

Heartbreak seems to be the running theme throughout your releases so far, how far do you think music can heal us?
I really find it interesting with music that two people can listen to the same song and take completely different meaning from it. There is nothing greater than immersing yourself in a song, whether it is to wallow or to dance, and it transcends where you are at that moment and I think that can be incredibly healing.

Huge thanks to Young Romance for answering our questions! 

Don’t Look is out now via Banquet Records. Buy here

Photo Credit: Niki Parr

 

INTERVIEW: She Makes War

Bristol-based artist She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) has been busy creating music that fuses fun and freedom over the last few years. Her buoyant attitude and blistering guitar riffs have seen her build a loyal following across the UK, and with the release of her new album Brace For Impact just around the corner (October 5th), it seems this following is set to multiply further. We caught up with Laura to talk about her new record, her upcoming UK tour, the good & bad sides of social media, and why it’s worth giving DIY recording a shot…

Your new single ‘Devastate Me’ is a total banger. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track?
Thank you! I’ve always written music about the dissonance caused by living a digital life in an analogue body, and for me that’s really increased in the last few years. Social media has enabled me to build an audience, but even as someone who is aware of its negative effects and strives to keep a balance, it has had an increasingly terrible effect on my ability to concentrate, and I hate that I spend too much time scrolling and too much time reading stuff that I don’t need to read.

‘Devastate Me’ questions the intention behind our obsession with sharing – it’s not that I don’t think we should share at all, but I’d like us to ask ourselves why we’re doing it. I see reflexive photography everywhere – people not even giving themselves a moment to see what’s in front of them before snapping it. I think learning to be present is so important, and being on your phone when spending time with loved ones is the height of rudeness.

All that is why the video is a bouncy tribute to analogue communication and community spaces – the local postbox I send all my merch orders from, an old red phonebox turned into a book swap and food bank donations hub, a wooden boat in the kids play area of my local pub garden and St Nicholas Market, all in Bristol.

You’re due to release your new album Brace For Impact on October 5th. What can fans expect from your new record?
An exhilarating, riffy journey through my thoughts on love, loss, grief, body image, self confidence and mindfulness. Chunky guitars, beautiful strings and heartfelt lyrics.

That sounds great! I read that you overcame a broken foot in order to write this record?
Yes! Everything was going really well with the release of my third album Direction Of Travel, I was happy, I was running long distances, I was getting booked to play exciting gigs and festivals and then BAM! I had an accident and was struck down. That was a really tough summer. I’m very proud of this album because it’s a result of me working through a reasonably deep depression and lethargy caused by shock, physical pain and resentment at my situation, working super hard to regain my mobility through near-daily yoga and making myself sit down and write the songs amidst all sorts of financial concerns.

Once an album is finished and I get a bit of time and space away from it I can slowly start to view it as something separate from me, and each one has its own distinct character. Brace For Impact is the most expansive album I’ve ever made, it’s kind and big hearted and urgent and strong and beautiful.

It’s great that you took something so negative and turned it in to something so positive! Do you have a favourite track on the album?
I love them all very much, but at the moment my favourite song is ‘Strong Enough’, which I wrote about two specific peoples’ experiences, but is a message to anyone going through a mental health crisis. All of the new songs are stories from real life that have a more far reaching message of care for all concerned.

‘Love This Body’ is another favourite – the riff is so grinding and intense and the lyrics are about how devastating it is to me that people – women in particular – spend so much time worrying about what they look like. The song is about myself; I’ve had issues about this stuff from a young age and only recently have started to come to terms with the fact that my body shape is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. People can be very cruel. We live in a society where airbrushed semi-naked female bodies are in our faces all the time via advertising, and band photos regularly depict the male members fully clothes and the women crouching down in hot-pants and platform heels. What are we supposed to do with all this information?

You’re embarking on a tour to promote the album, with our favourites Dream Nails and The Menstrual Cramps joining you on a couple of dates. What is it you like about these bands? How did you come across them?
Their energy, their freedom and the fact they care so much about spreading their message. Music has to be far more than some pretty noise coming out of some pretty faces to hold my interest. I’d been hearing about them online for ages, so when it was time to put together a bill for the album tour it was obvious who to ask. I’m just lucky they were available! The tour spreads across three weeks so on the first leg I’m joined by Eliza Rickman, an incredible artist from the US, the following week is with Dream Nails and the last four shows are with The Menstrual Cramps. I can’t wait!

What are your anticipations for this tour?
I love performing live, and while I find it impossible to write and record around gigging, it’s frustrating having to miss out on that audience connection for long periods of time when I’m making albums. I start feeling like I’ve disappeared! A lot of the venues on the list are old favourites, so it’ll be great to return with my incredible live band and knock peoples’ socks off around the country.

You record in your own bedroom studio in Bristol. Would you recommend this DIY approach to other girls or women who are looking to record their own music? What are the pros and cons of this method?
I write and demo all my songs at home, yes. I write while recording actually, so as not to forget anything but also to be able to easily play around with arrangements and parts. Once a rough demo is done I go back and do a “posh demo”, where I write and record all the parts – drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals…then when the time comes I take all this into affordable studios to re-create them bigger and better with the help of my brilliant engineer.

I love working in this way because I can be as creative and take as much time over the initial writing and production as I like, without having to explain to anyone why I want another five vocal tracks or whatever, and carefully craft every note in the arrangement for maximum emotional resonance. It saves a lot of expensive studio time, because I know what I’m going to be recording, but also means the end result sounds exactly how I want. Of course, extra ideas will pop into my head when I’m in the nice studio, but they’re just the icing on the cake because the main work is done.

I’d recommend to people of all genders to learn to record themselves, whether that’s in a really simple and basic way or more involved. Anyone can learn to do simple multi-track recording, and it’s always better to have at least a little bit of technical knowledge when you’re working with someone else so you can explain to them what you’d like to achieve. More than anything though, I’d like to see people admitting that they don’t know everything, and realising that’s ok! What’s the point in staying quiet and pretending you know something because you think you’ll embarrass yourself in front of someone else? If that person is rude because you admit you don’t know how to do something, find someone else to work with. It’s better to learn by doing.

What’s the Bristol music scene like? How does it compare to other cities you’ve played in?
I hear about this elusive Bristol music scene a lot (usually from interviewers!), but I’ve never really seen it…there are a few artists who are doing their own thing very well, and perhaps there are micro scenes localised to friendship groups, but unfortunately we don’t have many small venues for people to come up in and start gathering an audience together from, so I’m really glad I started my project in London. Having moved here from Herne Hill six years ago, Bristol still feels tiny to me. It’s definitely my home, and I love living here, but musically I think of it as my creative HQ and my jumping off point to travel everywhere else. It’s always lovely to return though, and it’s worked out brilliantly that the big hometown gig is happening on the last night of the tour. It’s going to be a big party!

Your visuals seem equally as important as your music when it comes to your performances. Is this part of your “make art in every day life” ethos? Can you talk about the inspiration behind this?
The music is by far the most important thing when it comes to my performances, but I made the decision a long time ago to use the opportunity to dress up and create something different from the everyday for my shows, something that matched the drama and glitter of my songs. It’s not a different character – it’s the real me, just…more! I do try and lead as creative a life as possible, on and offstage, it makes everything feel more meaningful and satisfying. I struggle with unanticipated dips in mood like everyone else, and I find it’s those little things that really help centre me again and give me focus. I write in a diary most days, I draw and I try to take beautiful photographs.

Finally, As a new music blog, we’re always looking for recommendations about new bands and artists we should be listening to. Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m excited about upcoming albums from Marissa Nadler, Cat Power and Suede, the new Breeders album is INCREDIBLE and I find myself returning again and again to both Marika Hackman albums, Memories Are Now by Jesca Hoop (the rest of her albums are stellar too) and my beloved Nirvana, Pixies and Blur.

Huge thanks to Laura for answering our questions!

Pre-order She Makes War’s new album Brace For Impact here.
Grab your tickets for one of her tour dates here & follow She Makes War on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ania Shrimpton

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut