INTRODUCING INTERVIEW: Fears & TULLE

A gentle, atmospheric offering inspired by her relationship with her late Grandmother, Irish artist Fears has shared her latest single ‘tonnta’ via her brand new label TULLE. Born from her desire to mix things up and provide support to under-represented groups in music, Fears’ (aka Constance Keane) new collective is one we wholeheartedly support and look forward to hearing more from in 2021. We caught up with Fears to talk about the story behind ‘tonnta’, the beautiful accompanying video and how she manages to stay on top of the many impressive musical projects she’s involved in…

Congratulations on launching your new label TULLE! What inspired you to set it up?
Thanks so much, it feels great to get it out in the world now. I’ve been working on my music as Fears for a few years now, just self-releasing stuff and earlier this year I was thinking I’d like to find a proper home for it. It felt most appropriate for that home to be a label owned and run by not straight white cis men to be honest. I was working at a few labels in London and having these great conversations with women about setting something up. At the same time, I was doing some recording with my friend Katie O’Neill, who encouraged me and helped me think this is something I actually could do. The team so far came together really naturally, as we all have a shared want of mixing things up.

We’re always glad to hear about people mixing things up! There was some unwanted backlash on social media when you made it clear that TULLE would be supporting under-represented groups in music (women, trans women, gender non-conforming and non-binary folk). Were you surprised by this?
I actually wasn’t surprised at all and I think that’s the saddest part of it. Generally speaking, when you create something that isn’t directly serving a group of people who are used to being the ones in power, there’s going be some of them who are not into it. I’m at a stage with feminism right now where I think the best approach is to block and swerve those people. Conversations are important and useful when it comes to changing perspectives, but sometimes you have to weigh up if talking to certain people is worth the amount of energy it will cost you, when you could be using that energy elsewhere.

Your first release via TULLE is your own song, ‘tonnta’. It celebrates the life of your late Grandmother, while acknowledging her struggle with dementia. How did you find writing this song? Was it cathartic, difficult, or a mixture of both?
I actually wrote the song while she was still with us. I’ve been sitting on this one for about four years, it’s just taken me this long to figure out the best way for me to present it that I think honours her as a person. She had dementia for quite a long time and we were so lucky that it was a fairly slow decline. My Nana was incredibly good to me growing up, and it was really important to me to write about her and her wonderful soul, even while she had dementia. It’s a very scary and unsettling thing to watch a loved one slip away. But I think it’s really important to step up and care for them, like they did with us. I’m really glad I got to do that.

The single is accompanied by a beautiful DIY video. Love that you directed it, your brother shot the footage and the video features your Mum & sister (as well as pop sensation CMAT) What was the experience of working with your family like?
I love working with my family. I mean, we’re quite loud and direct with each other so it’s not like we’re sitting around smiling and holding hands 24/7, but we are very close. They’re so supportive of me, so this is definitely not the first time they’ve been dragged in to help me with stuff. I felt that for this release in particular, it would be very special to have them as part of it, once they were comfortable with it. For all of us, it’s been really lovely to have our Nana in our thoughts so much, have her things around us, speak about her, and celebrate her. Pretty much everything I do with Fears is extremely low budget and very DIY so having a family who enjoy doing things like shooting a video or getting into the very cold Irish sea is such a bonus.

The sea does look cold actually…Talk me through how you made the dresses in the video. Where did the inspiration for the shape and fabric come from? How long they take to create?
My Nana taught me how to sew when I was younger. We used to make aprons and skirts and stuff when I was a kid. I had a thought around this time last year that I wanted to try making a big dress for my live performances, sort of inspired by a photo of her from 1974, where she looks really confident and happy. It’s the single artwork for ‘tonnta’. My dresses are much bigger than that, as I wanted to capture that idea of taking up space. I get really anxious before I perform, so I wanted to make something that would help me stand up straight and own what I was doing.

My brother actually bought me the sewing machine because I was so broke during the first lockdown, as many of us were, so a big thank you to him. As I made the first dress, I got into a flow of it and found a feeling of connection to those childhood memories. It was then that I came up with the concept for the video, and started asking some women who knew what I was doing if they wanted to be involved. I then designed each dress while consulting each woman.

They do take a little while to make. It depends on the design and the type of tulle I’m using, but it is quite labour intensive. It’s worth it though, when you see the final product and the way the person looks while wearing it. I think wearing something big like that automatically gives you an air of importance that it would be great if women had automatically.

Be honest, did you trip at any point while running through that field in your dress? Do you have a reel of out-takes you’re willing to share with the world?
Hahaha, I didn’t trip, but I definitely fell over a few times while spinning around. I think one of the things I love about the video is that as it progresses, I put in clips that were less polished and us being messy in a field, screaming the Irish national anthem for whatever reason. I will release that clip sometime soon.

You’re a super busy woman – launching a label, hand-making bespoke dresses, creating music as fears and drumming in post-punk band M(h)aol too. Any tips on time management? That’s a lot for one person to undertake!
I guess I am quite busy. I also manage Laura Groves and work on and off at a few labels. My family always joke about how I’m like two extremes at the same time. I’m doing all this stuff, but sitting in my dressing gown drinking hot chocolate. I’m either switched very on or very off. I work really hard and then exist horizontally watching Real Housewives alone for hours on end.

I think my main tip is being honest with yourself about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and assessing what your needs are in order to help you get everything you want done. Most of what I’m doing is not making me money, which you need to do things like pay rent and buy food, so trying to get the balance right with that stuff is obviously key. Everything you do (even if you love it) is going to have its downsides and drain you at some point. I just try to evaluate everything as I go and check in with myself. I also go to therapy every two weeks which is absolutely vital for me, to have space to sit and assess, and be supported doing so. I enjoy hanging out with myself a lot, and know that I need to factor that in to any work schedule I’m making.

That’s great advice. What does early 2021 look like for fears and for TULLE? Anything you can tease us with?
The first half of 2021 will see the first full length release on TULLE. And that’s all I’m saying.

Thanks so much to Fears for taking the time to talk to us!

Follow Fears on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook
Follow Tulle on Instagram & Twitter

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: Cristina Hart

Swiss-born London based artist Cristina Hart has previously charmed audiences playing for the likes of Sofar Sounds, as well as receiving acclaim from Amazing Radio’s Shell Zenner and Charlie Ashcroft, and has now shared an uplifting new single.

Taken from her new EP, ‘Will You’ flows with twinkling keys alongside Hart’s soaring, impassioned vocals, creating a heartfelt slice of alt-pop.

We caught up with Cristina to find out more!

Hi Cristina, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Of course! I’ve been writing and gigging my own songs for the past four years now and this year I finally released original music – it feels so good to finally share these songs! I released three singles and the fourth track ‘Will You’ from my debut EP Sell a Dream finally came out today. My music is indie-pop with quirky, relatable lyrics and upbeat productions, except for the fourth track of the EP which strips away the veneer and lets the emotional lyrics and vocals take centre stage.

How did you start creating music?
About four years ago I moved to London because I wanted to pursue a career in music and since then I’ve got to meet so many creative, talented people. I absolutely love the community here and really enjoy co-writing my songs and working with different writers and producers I click with!

Your new EP Sell a Dream is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the EP?
Yes, there are actually! I wanted to explore the labels that attempt to define us and the importance we attach to them. It’s so easy for people – or even ourselves – to think we’re “too this or that” and this way of thinking is really restrictive when you think about it. Attempting to define ourselves is by definition limiting, which is why I wanted to take some labels that had been thrown at me and play around with them to show that we can not let them mean too much and redefine ourselves every single day.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Demi Lovato and Emily Burns, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thanks so much! This constantly changes to be honest as I love discovering new music all the time. For this EP, I would say that my biggest influences are Lauv, Zara Larsson and Alessia Cara. At the moment, I’m really loving more indie-alt pop songwriters like Phoebe Bridgers, Holly Humberstone, Lauren Aquilina and, of course, the Folklore album by Taylor Swift!

In ‘normal’ times, how is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
With COVID, things have obviously been so shaken up that it’s quite hard imagining them starting again soon – I still have my fingers crossed though! I’m local between London and Essex and pre-COVID days I would go to or perform at gigs about three times a week. Watching live music is so inspiring and it always motivates me to keep working on my craft.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I would say expect some amazing energy and music from my all-female band – they are all badass musicians! We’ve worked on some really cool arrangements and there’s some sing-alongs too, which is always fun! I’m so lucky and grateful to get to gig with them and can’t wait til we get started again!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Oh my, where to start, there are so many!! But a few of my suggestions would be Maisie Peters, Griff, Emily Burns, GRACEY, The Valla and UPSAHL.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Now that we can’t gig and every artist has turned to social media, it feels even harder to rise above the noise and it’s more difficult to meet new people / network than it usually is. But there are definitely new ways of getting noticed that artists like myself need to explore and experiment with! I feel that the best way to use social media is to literally be social, meet people and have real conversations with them instead of simply using it as a self-promotion tool.

Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for Cristina Hart?
Now that it’s coming close to an end I would say the EP release is the main thing! I’ll be posting in the coming weeks some snippets from the creative process of recording this EP – I can’t wait! 

Big thanks to Cristina for answering our questions!

 

Cristina Hart’s new EP, Sell A Dream, is out now.

Introducing Interview: St. Blue

Following the release of her latest single ‘I’m Not Your Baby’, St. Blue has proven that making the leap from cover artist to singer-songwriter in her own right was a risk worth taking. We caught up with the South London based singer to find out more.

Hi St Blue, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about your sound?
Thank you for having me. The sound I set out to achieve for this first collection of songs was dreamlike and uplifting. I grew up listening to indie and ’80s music, so I’ve always loved finding hooks outside of the vocal melody, with the guitar and bass lines having just as much of a catchy input. 

When did you decide to pursue a career in music?
I’ve been in and out of music for about fifteen years. It was always something that I kept going back to but more as an escape from whatever else was going on in my life. In terms of putting original music out there, I guess I never really had the confidence to think about it seriously until two years ago. The records I have today are created by piecing together years of song writing material – it felt like the right time.

Your new single ‘I’m Not Your Baby’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘I’m Not Your Baby’ is about a girl I was dating after a major relationship ended. There was so much about the two of us together that we knew would never work but I think that’s why it was right at the time. I wanted to get across that sometimes we are able to act out of habit rather than feeling.

Who would you say are your main musical influences?
So many artists have inspired my music, whether directly or indirectly. I’d say my older influences include Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. More recent artists include Banks, Lykke Li and Jessie Ware.

How is your local music scene? Which venues did you enjoy going to before lockdown?
The North/East London music scene is great! Favourite venues have got to be The Old Queen’s Head, The Victoria, Oslo, EartH and The Roundhouse.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend to us?
My favourite finds of 2020 are The Big Moon, an indie band called Palace, and Arlo Parks is an absolute inspiration.

How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment?
I think it can be really tricky for new artists at the moment, especially as audiences have become more focussed on social media rather than live experiences. I think it can be harder for people with more of an old soul approach as well; this notion that they may not be heard if they’re not promoting online. I’ve learnt so many things since I first released music in November. I think it’s important for us to focus more on our art and not necessarily the amount of attention it’s getting. Your audience will follow in time if you are true to yourself.

Despite the lockdown, what are you hoping to have achieved by the end of 2020?
I’ve been writing brand new material and I’m planning on releasing an EP by the end of 2020. The sound will be more of a relaxed, off beat vibe and more vocally lead. I’ll still be adding some catchy bass lines and guitar parts, as I will be concentrating on a sound that is more organic and live. I have an amazing relationship with my producer and he manages to capture exactly what it is I’m going for.

Huge thanks to St. Blue for answering our questions!

 

‘I’m Not Your Baby’ is out now.

Introducing Interview: The Frisbys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Massive thanks to Helen for answering our questions!

 

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