Introducing Interview: Kidsmoke

Having played at SXSW earlier this year, as well as receiving support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit and BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, welsh band Kidsmoke have now shared infectious new single ‘She Takes You Under’. A dreamy and uplifting slice of shoegaze-tinged indie pop, it marks them out as definite ones to watch.

We caught up with Sophie from the band to find out more…

Hi Kidsmoke, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hey! Sophie here, I play lead guitar and sing backing vocals in Kidsmoke – thanks for having us.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
Lance (lead vocals/guitar) and James (bass/vocals) met when they were four at primary school and have been in bands together since they were teenagers. I grew up not too far away from them, so when they were looking for a lead guitarist a few years ago, a mutual friend put me forward. A few months later, the drummer left to take on a new job and I drafted in Ash, who I met at uni and knew would be a perfect fit!

Your new single ’She Takes You Under’ is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘She Takes You Under’ is a dream-pop mini-epic and has been a live favourite of ours for a while now as it’s so much fun to play. It’s definitely influenced by an ’80s aesthetic, which you can hear in the jangly guitars, synths and rhythms. You can hear in it our love for groups like The Cure, Prefab Sprout and Wild Nothing. Lyrically, the song is about dealing with your demons in order to move forward; being at odds with yourself and being aware that issues need addressing, but feeling reluctant to go back down the rabbit hole.

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Sunflower Bean, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
There are a lot of influences between the four of us. We all have quite varied tastes but are ultimately just completely obsessed with music and are glued to Spotify 99% of the time. I’d say major influences on Kidsmoke would be The Beatles (which is where our love of vocal harmonies comes from), The Smiths, Kate Bush, David Bowie and Wilco. Songwriting is really important to us, hopefully you can hear that in our music, which means that we’re always trying to write something that would be interesting to us if we were listening as an outsider.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
We’re quite lucky to be pretty close to Manchester and Liverpool, which tend to be where touring bands go for the bigger venues. We are based in Wrexham, North Wales which is home to FOCUS Wales music festival and conference, which takes place every year in the town. We feel super proud to have FOCUS on our doorstep, they’re doing such great work with putting Welsh music on the map and it just keeps getting bigger and better. We recently joined them and several other Welsh bands to showcase at SXSW, which was an amazing experience!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Loads of energy, some questionable dancing (from me…) and the happiest drummer you’ll ever see.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
We’d definitely recommend checking out Denuo, Seazoo, Enni The Little Brother, Baby Brave and if you haven’t already (you probably have) we’re all big fans of Boy Azooga. Personally, I’ve been digging out a load of old Sleater Kinney stuff in anticipation for their new album – can’t wait for that!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It’s certainly not easy, the industry isn’t in the same place as it was even a few years ago, but we believe in what we do and we have loads of fun doing it. It’s easy to get bogged down and frustrated about progress, but you just have to try and take the positives as they come. For example, we’re just adding the finishing touches to our debut album at the moment, which we’ve done pretty much independently because we figured that if we wanted it to happen then we could make it happen. Also, being part of Kidsmoke has meant that we’ve been to places and met people we never would have otherwise, so it’s worth the hard work for that alone.

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Kidsmoke?
We’re playing a special showcase for Big Indie’s Big Nights in London on 12th June, which we’re really excited for as we are releasing ‘She Takes You Under’ in conjunction with them. We’ll be doing a bunch of gigs over the summer and finalising the release details for our debut album. We’re so excited to release the album, it’s been a long road but we’ve had some great support along the way (thanks PRS Foundation, FOCUS Wales and Horizons Cymru) and we can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Massive thanks to Sophie for answering our questions!

‘She Takes You Under’ is out now via Big Indie Records. Catch Kidsmoke live at Two Tribes Brewery on 12th June.

Introducing Interview: Tia Gostelow

Having supported the likes of Frightened Rabbit and The Rubens, Brisbane-based artist Tia Gostelow creates compelling, heartstring-tugging ballads, capable of taking your breath away with her soaring, rich vocals.

Gostelow has just released emotion-strewn new single ‘Blue Velvet’, so we caught up with her to find out more…

Hi Tia, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey! Thanks for having me. I’m a 19 year old singer-songwriter from Brisbane, Australia and I’m currently touring Europe!

How did you get started creating music?
Well, I’ve been singing and playing guitar since I was seven and I started writing songs when I was about fourteen. I remember seeing Taylor Swift when I was really young and thought that I wanted to be exactly like her!

Your debut album Thick Skin is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the album?
I wrote Thick Skin between the ages of fifteen to eighteen, and for me it was honestly just about what I had experienced in those years. There is a major theme throughout most of the songs being a social issue called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, meaning a tendency to discredit those who have achieved great things in life. I felt like throughout high school I wasn’t supported by my friends in my music career, and it was nailed down to jealousy and bitterness and it really got to me. I felt like I didn’t have any friends, I felt like I wanted to quit music because what’s the point if even my best friends aren’t proud of the things I’m doing? I’m so glad I stuck it out and kept pursuing music, but it was a really tough thing to go through and I think the title ‘Thick Skin’ says it all.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Mallrat and Nina Nesbitt, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
What amazing ladies to be compared to! I’m not sure if I have any particular influences, but I do listen to a lot of Billie Eilish, The Growlers & BROODS at the moment.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
The Brisbane music scene is great, everybody is so supportive, and it’s small so if you need something or some advice you’re sure to find it! I see so much live music, when I’m not playing shows or at one, I work at a live music venue, so I’m always around it.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
A really diverse set and some dancing and sing-a-longs!  

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I would definitely suggest I Know Leopard, their newest record is insanely good.  

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 that it’s always going to be difficult to get noticed, this industry is hard and there are thousands of people trying to get to the same place, but I think were in an era where there is so many resources and so many people to help you get to where you want to be.

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Tia Gostelow
Lots of touring, writing and recording!

Huge thanks to Tia for answering our questions! 

Thick Skin, the debut album from Tia Gostelow, is out now.

Introducing Interview: Pi Ja Ma

If you haven’t yet heard of Pi Ja Ma think dreamy Parisian alt-pop with a heavy helping of humour and sixties sparkle. Having racked up several million of streams from their debut EP, we caught up with Axel and Pauline to talk about their debut album Nice To Meet U, their gig at Rough Trade East and what motivates their records.

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how Pi Ja Ma started?
Axel: We met each other on the internet in 2015 – I saw a video on YouTube where Pauline was singing a cover of the velvet underground ‘Femme Fatale’. I tried to contact her via email and then we met. I played her some songs and we talked a lot about our lives and laughed and drank a lot of teas. We immediately connected. Then everything happened very fast; we’ve recorded a few songs that we loved and sent them to a small label called Bleepmachine, we decided to work together for our first EP Radio Girl to see what happened… Reactions were great so we started to play live, then we signed a licence deal with a bigger label (Cinq 7 / Wagram Music) to release the album Nice To Meet U.

As a visual and DIY artist can you tell us about the interaction of your illustrations and art with the music that you have created – do they lean on each other or do you find one takes the lead in the creative process?
Pauline:
Music and illustration make a beautiful couple – they are very different but are both an animal way to express yourself. I couldn’t choose between these two. Drawing was easier for me at first but then I began to sing, and it was also very natural doing that everyday. I like to think about the full project with music, drawings, videos etc…

Nice To Meet U album cover

You debut album Nice To Meet U came out last year to a great reception, with your music being described as “evolving fantasies and nostalgic daydreams, encouraging the listener to step back in time to the 1960s” – how would you describe the record?
Pauline:
It was very easy making this record with Axel. Just after we met, we spent a lot of time talking and making jokes. We were inspired by the same artists like The Beach Boys and Mac Demarco. We had a lot of fun, I hope it will be the same for the second album!
This record talk about simple topics like shitty love stories and feeling weird in your own family. It contains a lot of positive vibes and people tell me that it makes them happy so I feel like we’ve succeeded in what we set out to do!

We loved your tracks ‘Vertigo’ and ‘I Hate U’, which we’ve played on the radio show, and love the videos -can you tell us a bit more about the videos and how they link together?
Pauline:
Every time we finish a song, I have images in my head. I try to explain my story to a director and then we make the video together. I like to add drawings and animations to videos because it’s a part of me I can directly put in the reality of the images.
The story begins, I’m in the skin of a sad man who’s trying to let it go and act crazy in the street. He meets his double, a guy who represents a rock’n roll version of him. At the end of the video he’s back in his normal life, drinking whisky and watching TV, and then the second video begins and I’m in the skin of a vintage pop star who’s gonna go crazy in her way too. Both songs are talking about the same topic, which is difficult break ups and moments when you feel crazy and just want to “tout foutre en l’air”.

Can you tell us a bit more about the evolution of your music from your Radio Girl EP to Nice To Meet U?
Axel:
Well it was the same process for the EP and the album. I was recording songs at home, then I would send them to Pauline, and if she’d like it (which happened most of the time luckily) we started to talk about it and what we would like to talk about. At the beginning, I was writing the lyrics alone translating our discussion into lyrics, but more and more we started to write together. Production-wise we kept the same process that worked on the first EP, which is making most of the things at home, to keep our own sound. Apart from drums, and strings, everything was homemade. That’s what we like, to keep it simple.

Your music covers a variety of topics including gender, youth, isolation and failed love with a gentle intensity mixed together with humour – does that reflect your general outlook on life and response to cultural experiences and societal pressures?
Yes. That’s a pretty good sum up of our philosophy. It’s great feeling that people can understand that, just listening to our music.

You’re currently on tour and have just played both Rough Trade East and the Southbank Centre (two iconic London venues) – how were they?
Axel: Rough trade east was great! People were so kind with us, and the gig was fun. That place is amazing, it’s inspiring. I would love to work in that shop, I’m sure I would get many ideas from all the great music they play most of the time.
Pauline: I’m always very well surprised by the warm welcome English people give us everytime we come to England, it’s a great feeling when people can understand each one of your words, even the jokes between the songs. Even walking down the streets in London feels amazing, because of the open-minded way of life there. I mean, what people wear, the way they are smiling much more than French people, and how they organise more cultural activities in the heart of the city.

You’ve previously played London including The Moth Club in East London how have you found the reception this time?
Moth club was one of our first gigs, and we were quite shy back then, now we improvise much more and feel more confident and it makes the show greater!

What’s the rest of 2019 got in store for Pi Ja Ma?
As we’re touring, we’re thinking a lot about our second record. We get constantly inspired by what we see, who we meet, and what we’re listening to. We already have a few songs and can’t wait to do more.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
We love Halo Maud who’s a friend of ours, and who helped write a few lyrics on the album. Her music is great and she’s signed to a British label (Heavenly Records). You should check her out. Also, you should check Musique Chienne, Pauline’s latest crush is Creatures, who we saw at Old Blue Last just after our gig at Rough Trade East.

Nice To Meet U is out now.

Tash Walker
@maudeandtrevor

Introducing Interview: Soia

In the run up to her new release, Where Magnolia Grows, we caught up with Viennese Soia to get to know her a bit better.

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artist?
Thanks! I started my first band when I was 18 with my ex-boyfriend who got me into hip hop, before I was mainly into 60s and 70s fusion jazz and klezmer. When I met the producer Mez years later we started working on the Soia project. It was all accidental.

Are you currently based in Vienna? How do you find the music scene there – is there much collaboration?
Yes, I have been living in Vienna for almost 20 years now. There are a lot of high quality musicians in Austria, a lot of highly skilled jazz musicians that wonder off to NYC one at a time. I recommend artists like Lylit, Schmieds Puls, Ruff pack, Jahson the Scientist, Esches, Oliclusive and more.

We’re loving your latest single ‘Run With Wolves’, can you tell us a bit more about what inspired this?
The song’s lyrics are about not minding so much what other people think of you and not letting yourself be categorised by others. For the video, we collaborated with the performance artist Mirabella Paidamwoyo Dziruni, as the lyrics reminded me of her unapologetic approach to queer and anti racist activism.

It’s taken from your upcoming album Where Magnolia Grows, out on 29th March – how was the making of the album and how best would you describe it in one sentence?
The album was a lot of work and somewhat challenging for everybody involved. I hope it all pays off with the quality we were aiming to provide. Once everything is finished you can reflect and appreciate it again, but in the process it can be wonderful and painful at the same time.

What can fans expect from your live shows, and more importantly are you planning on coming to the UK anytime soon??
I might come to the UK sooner than expected. Our live show is very intimate, and different every time. I love being on stage with the band! We try to make it a whole new experience so it sounds different than the production.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
I’m not the hippest up to date music digger, but I love listening to Allysha Joy, Solange, Mac Miller and Georgia Anne Muldrow at the moment. Also always the NYC fam like Black Spade, P.U.D.G.E. or Cavalier. I’m super excited for Kiefer’s new album coming up. The rest of my current music mood is mostly gems like Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway.

Thanks Soia! You can check out more from Soia via Instagram and Soundcloud

 

Photo Credit: Ina Aydogan

Introducing Interview: Helga

What better way to jump into Spring, than getting to know Swedish artist Helga, who’s told us about the reasons for going solo, her latest EP Nebulous and a new favourite sweet treat she’s discovered called bananinha!

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how Helga started?
Thank you! Back in late 2016 I decided to go solo after having played in a rock band and an indie folk duo. It just felt natural to go solo, I enjoy working alone and I am more effective this way. Also, I think it was a time when I was starting to explore the dark side of my heart and mind. It felt very exciting.

You are described as an artist, activist and songwriter- do you feel you identify more strongly with one particular creative arm, or do all these aspects of your life influence the other?
I wouldn’t call myself an activist. I just have strong opinions about things sometimes. I’m just a human being who happens to create stuff, write songs. Writings songs is one of the best things in the world.

Can you tell us a bit about where you are from in Sweden? Is there a strong music community over there?
I’m from the region of Dalarna. There is indeed a strong folk music tradition here that I hope we can preserve. I appreciate it very much.

We’re loving your single ‘In The Wilderness’, which we’ve played on the radio show – in it you reflect on the state of the natural world from the perspective of someone that spends their life close to nature. Can you expand on this for us?
I’m glad you’re enjoying the song. I wrote it when I was hanging out by myself in the forest nearby. It was just so tranquil and peaceful there. It moved me, so I thought I should write a song about this forest. I wish it knew that I wrote a song for it. I love writing songs about nature, sometimes it’s even easier than writing songs about people. All my music doesn’t have to have a message. Sometimes I just want to feel the music, the melodies. That’s enough. Sometimes there are no words to be said. You just sit there in silence and feel things.

‘In the Wilderness’ features on your recently released EP Nebulous. We’re totally mesmerised by the reverb heavy, drawl of this EP and its dark, damp forest music. How did you go about creating this record?
You’re too kind. Thank you. I played and recorded some of the guitars and vocals here in Sweden, while the rest was recorded in a land far away called Brazil! They have this candy that you should try called “bananinha”. You will like it if you’re a banana fan. I hope you’ll find some in the UK. Anyway, the musicians I worked with were beyond amazing, I can’t thank them enough. I’m not a drummer nor a bassist, but I have a decent idea on how these instruments work, and obviously that helps a lot when producing your own music. Luan is such a groovy bassist. Pedro is also a groovy drummer, even if he can do furious blast beats as well. Luiz is a groovy guitarist, who also happened to be good at producing and mixing. These are versatile and groovy musicians! I loved our team work.

What’s 2019 got in store for Helga?
Hopefully being crazy on stage! There are some exciting things happening, some that I’ll probably talk about later. I’m working on new music as well. Liking it a lot so far, some really cool sounds we’ve managed to create! I need to shut up. I won’t say more… Let’s see how it all goes!

Have you got any plans to tour over the next couple of months?
Maaaaaybe!

Finally as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
I haven’t been listening to music much these past few years, especially not the new ones. But in the beginning of 2017 I stumbled upon this American artist while reading stuff on a Swedish digital music magazine called HYMN. I listened to one song and it impressed me, so I listened to more of her stuff. Really enjoyed it. The artist is called Haley Heynderickx.

 

Nebulous, the latest EP from Helga, is out now.

Introducing Interview: RUNAH

Having received support from the likes of Clash, as well as wowing crowds at Sofar Sounds sessions, Irish artist RUNAH creates truly dreamy, emotion-strewn offerings, with shades of the majestic splendour of Laura Marling.

Ahead of the release of her debut album in May, we caught up with RUNAH to find out more…

Hi RUNAH, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I am a musician originally from Manchester, now spending my life between Manchester and Dublin. I have an alter with herbs and offerings on it and my favourite place is anywhere outside.

How did you initially start creating music?
I was originally a dancer and for various reasons could not continue. It was a strange experience, and a necessary one – I had placed all of my perceived identity onto that being who I was and then I wasn’t. I wrote a lot, and my brother offered me his guitar to borrow, and here we are. I couldn’t stop.

Your new single ‘Ground’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It is the story of a woman caught between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. She longs to fully experience the liveliness of the living, but sees their recognition that she is not from this realm. But equally she cannot rest with the spirits as she is in body. The song is about power, frustration and all that she wishes to know. It is also a nod to our growing gap between understanding the world we live in and its cycles, and our tech fuelled society, which I don’t think my spirit was made for.

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Lana Del Rey and Cat Power, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Lisa Hannigan and Laura Marling are two of my favourite artists, I’m not sure how my influences come out in my work, but I know they do. I’m just not overly conscious of those choices. But I love the way they both tell stories in their music.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I do! I try to see more, but I also teach Yoga so sometimes my evenings are full. But I love live music. Both in Manchester and Dublin there is so much magic to be heard. I am new to the Dublin scene but it’s been fun so far.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
A lot of stories about wild women, interesting creatures and how much I love crystals. But they are mainly stripped back at the moment, it all tends to be quite mystical and dreamy, whilst I take you with me to the realms in my head.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Oh, I LOVE this question. Izzie Walsh, Megan Dixon-Hood, Lindsay Munroe and Chloe Eleanor are just a few of my favourites. But there are so many fantastic musicians, it’s magical.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It is difficult but I just love making music and if a few individuals feel like dancing around or listening to my stories then that’s the magic, isn’t it? It’s wonderful to have people write or come up to you and say “wow, this made me feel this” or “I felt like I’d been to a different place”. I love music for this reason – it’s an offering, so if anything comes that is wonderful.

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for RUNAH?
Magic, and my debut album Strange, out May 5th – it’s all about the wild woman archetype and my journey with her. In love, loss, sexuality, vulnerability, anger, passion and all the magical changeability, that what is women are. It is a love letter to all who identify as women but also the divine feminine that is in us all. May there always be magic with you.

Huge thanks to Runah for answering our questions! 

Strange, the debut album from RUNAH, is out 5th May via Beardfire.

 

Introducing Interview: Hana Piranha

Having performed at a number of prestigious venues including Wembley Arena, The O2, and Koko, as well as having supported the likes of Anna Calvi, goth-rockers Hana Piranha create a unique blend of dark, tantalising sounds.

With the release of their new album, Waiting To Burn, set for release next month, we caught up with front-woman Hana Maria to find out more…

Hi Hana Piranha, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hana Piranha is a four piece goth rock band with violin as a feature. We’re loud and very dark.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
I was working on the project for a few years before I met Jim in a pub and he joined the band. I had just finished our first full-length album Cold Comfort and was working on our second album Fishing with Dynamite, while Jim and I got to know each other and got comfortable writing together. Waiting to Burn is the first songwriting collaboration between the two of us and it’s all the better for it. Dan and Andy joined the band about two years ago and we’ve all been working hard together ever since. After years of lineup changes, it’s wonderful to have a band that is growing together.

Your new album Waiting To Burn is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the album?
Waiting to Burn follows themes of a witch being burned at the stake. My songs all serve to exorcise my personal demons and as such, explore my role as both victim and architect of my own destruction.

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Juliette Lewis and Shirley Manson, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I have listened to a lot of Garbage actually, but my biggest influence is probably Nine Inch Nails – in sound, vibe and lyrics. I’m also really into Lana del Rey at the moment – I started playing the harp recently and began by arranging Lana del Rey covers before working on my own material.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I also play violin for a band called Birdeatsbaby which is fronted by the queen that is Mishkin Fitzgerald. We spark off each other a lot and also tour together with the two bands. We meet a lot of great bands along the way. I’m based in Brighton and Watford, which both have thriving music scenes and a lot of talent.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
We bring an energetic and compelling set to the stage and have a good rapport as a band. Our live sound is less produced and more “punk” than the record, with a no-frills style that showcases our musicianship.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Some of the memorable artists we’ve played with recently include Emberhoney, Unwoman, Jason Achilles, Sit Kitty Sit, Oli Spleen, Ailen and Death Ingloria, to name a few. And of course Birdeatsbaby!

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 internet provides an equal platform for anyone who wants to be heard, which is a great thing but also makes it difficult to stand out. We try to tour as much as possible to entice new fans to the dark side.

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for Hana Piranha?
We are releasing Waiting to Burn next month which is hugely exciting as it’s been over three years in the making, so we’ll be supporting that with shows over the UK and hopefully Europe. We have two videos to release alongside it (‘Naked Flame’ and ‘Waiting to Burn’), and are working on two more. I also recently did a Kickstarter campaign for my solo harp album Wednesday’s Child, so I am finishing that at the moment, for exclusive release to my backers next month and then a wider release later in the year. We have also almost finished writing our fourth album, with the aim to record it later in the year.

Huge thanks to Hana Piranha for answering our questions! 

Waiting To Burn, the upcoming album from Hana Piranha, is out 22nd March via Fourglove Records.