Introducing Interview: Alice Mary

Following her last single ‘Too Much’, London based artist Alice Mary has now shared the second of four singles to be released this year. Reflecting on the mix of feelings that can overwhelm the mind after a break-up, ‘Mystery‘ offers a jangly slice of swirling indie-pop. With shades of the uptempo danceability of the likes of Blondie, it showcases Alice’s sweeping vocals alongside funk-tinged hooks and a scuzzy energy.

We caught up with Alice to find out more… !

Hi Alice, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m a singer-songwriter, producer and guitarist and I make indie pop music which combines my love of classic pop from the ’80s and ’90s with modern production and introspective lyrics.

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I started having guitar lessons when I was eleven – I would bring along tapes and CDs of songs I wanted to learn and my teacher would work them out by ear and teach me how to play them. It sort of forced me to develop a music taste because I had to bring something every week to learn and luckily I lived in a house with three older siblings whose record collections I could raid! Then, after I’d been learning for about a year, my teacher said “I think you should start writing your own music now”. I wasn’t very good and I thought you had to be good at playing music before you were allowed to write it, but he just gave me the permission to go ahead and start. After that I never really stopped writing music!

You’ve just released your twinkling new single ‘Mystery’, can you tell us a bit about this? Is it focused on any particular themes?
The lyrics are about this back and forth I do in my head where I can be a bit all or nothing. It’s looking back on a break up and thinking – “I have to completely forgive this person and be their best friend”, or “I have to hate them and we’ll never speak again”, or “am I still in love with them?”. I could get stuck in this black and white thinking and struggle to make decisions, but I am a bit better at seeing the nuance and the in-between solutions now! After all the back and forth in the verse and pre chorus the clarity comes in the chorus: “I don’t really like you, you’re just what I’m used to / I’m happy that we’re done, I just miss having someone.”

We love your shimmering, heartfelt dream-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Hmmm, so many! For these latest songs probably St Vincent, Prince, Radiohead and Joni Mitchell.

You’ve previously charmed us with your beautiful live set at The Amersham Arms a few years ago – but can you tell those who may not have had the pleasure of seeing you what to expect from your live shows?
I have two different kind of live shows – one with a bassist and drummer where I play electric guitar and sing and have some electronic sounds I playback on an iPad, and one where I play and sing solo with special arrangements on the acoustic guitar.

And, although we are still far from ‘normality’ at the moment, do you have any plans to gig in the near future? And if so, where/when?
I feel like I’m not supposed to say this but: I haven’t missed playing live that much! I’m wondering if when I start to do it again that’s when all the pain of missing out on it this last year will hit me, but I don’t know. I find playing live very stressful and although I enjoy it once I’m up there, all of the organising and psyching myself up beforehand is quite hard. All of that is to say I don’t have any gigs booked and I’m quite ok with it! If I get offered anything good (and safe!) I’ll go with it, but I’m not making any effort to book anything right now.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
Instagram! I’ve been lucky to be quite creative during the last year and have enjoyed sharing my experimentation via videos on my instagram stories. I also joined a Facebook group for women and gender minorities working in music production called ‘2% Rising’, which has been great for learning and sharing ideas.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times?
I started having Zoom piano lessons a year ago and I’m still learning now – I love it and I’m so surprised! Not being able to play the piano was always a secret shame of mine, but now I can and it’s given me so much confidence in myself.

How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The music industry is still a complete mystery to me, and I think that’s by design. There are amazing people who aren’t getting noticed and not very good people who have managers and agents. It’s a business, so they play it safe because they don’t want to lose money. So in answer to your question: yes, it is hard to get noticed by gatekeepers in the industry, but do we even need them anymore when you can reach fans directly through social media? That’s its own kettle of fish – it seems almost completely random to me what gains success online, but in a weird way that has helped me because I feel free to just try anything. There isn’t one way to find success, so you may as well just try things out and see who connects with it – if no one does, then try something else!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
I always want to shout out my friends, so I have to say: Hayley Ross, Semi Precious and James Chapman And The Blue Moon.

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Alice Mary?
I have a re-release of an old song coming out for Bandcamp Friday in September. Then two more singles coming out in the autumn, and some recording this summer which I’m excited about. I’m also hoping to produce and mix some other artists.

Massive thanks to Alice for answering our questions!

Listen to Alice Mary’s new single, ‘Mystery’, here:

Photo Credit: Ben Peter Catchpole

Introducing Interview: The Bug Club

Following support from the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley for debut single ‘We Don’t Need Room For Lovin’, Welsh trio The Bug Club have now shared recent single ‘Check Mate’ ahead of the release of their debut EP Launching Moondream One later this month.

Delivering their uniquely uplifting, frenetic brand of garage rock, The Bug Club provide the perfect soundtrack to these increasingly sun-filled days. Propelled by a vibrant, driving energy, ‘Check Mate’ oozes a playful sense of euphoria as gloriously scuzzy hooks race alongside blissful harmonies.

We caught up with bassist and vocalist Tilly to find out more…

Hi The Bug Club, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Hi, thanks for having us! We’re a three piece based in Caldicot, South Wales. Dan is actually from Kidderminster but the rest of the band is based in Caldicot so we just say that. I (Tilly) play bass and vocals, Sam plays guitar and vocals and Dan plays drums. My favourite colours are orange and green, Sam likes orange too and Dan likes yellow and blue. Our special skills are: I’m good at losing things, Sam’s good at guessing the time and Dans good at getting his car stuck in the mud. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music together?
Me and Sam weren’t enjoying Uni so we decided to pack it in and start a band. we have been playing on and off since school but our shit time at Uni really gave us a kick up the arse to start doing something we actually wanted to do. Sam and Dan attended the same Uni so that’s how we drafted him in.

You’re about to release your debut EP Launching Moondream One at the end of this month – are there any particular themes running throughout it? 
We decided to name the EP after the last song on it. Ben’s (Mr Ben and The Bens) art is really cool so we thought it would be good to give him free rein and let him do whatever came to mind when he heard the words Launching Moondream One. I guess the theme stemmed from there and became quite spacey. 

We love your jangly, uplifting garage-rock sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Ideal band/musical scenario at the moment is Patti Smith and Jonathan Richman on lead vocals, Peter Paul and Mary on backing vocals, Mike Bloomfield on lead guitar, rhythm section from the Violent Femmes and they only ever play ‘It’s Only Life’ by The Feelies.

You’re from a small town in Wales – in ‘normal’ times, how is the music scene down there? Do you get the chance to see much live music? 
There’s a bunch of good bands but it’s too small for any venues so we all just go to Newport, Cardiff and Bristol. We’re sandwiched between all those places so we get to see a load of bands when we’re not skint.

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
We’ve been laying pretty low and luckily managed to record between lockdowns to get this EP done. The connecting will hopefully start happening now the world is feeling better. Marc Riley has been really great to us though and has showed some strangers our songs which we are eternally grateful for!

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
We have quite enjoyed being able to write a bunch of stuff with no real reason or aim of doing anything with it. There is only so many times a walk to the old windmill stays fun though so.. Beans on Toast, the hit live Saturday morning TV show is our new favourite thing. It’s made by a bunch of the people involved with Bingo Records and has no business being that good and funny. Go find it on YouTube!! 

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I like to think that if you try and make stuff that you think is good, be nice and when you’re ready try and reach out to people that you would genuinely like to work with, then things will probably work out alright. If you want to get noticed that is. I think being in a band feels mostly the same at whatever level you’re doing it at. You’re playing the same songs with the same people so don’t put too much time into the other bit. But who the heck am I!?

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming bands that you’d recommend we check out?
There’s so many we love at the moment I can’t think on one we wouldn’t recommend! Also with the lack of gigs lately I’d happily watch any person make any noise for about £6 at the moment. Melin Melyn, HMS Morris, Potpourri, Twin Stranger and Sub Cultures will all blow your dick off though. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for The Bug Club? 
Well we’re hoping to retire off the earnings from this small EP and live expensively in Devon perhaps. But Plan B is to release another something later in the year and play live as much as possible until then! Our biggest dream is to go to Margate and play a big gig with everyone at Bingo Records, that would be heaven. We can only dream.

Massive thanks to Tilly for answering our questions!

Mastered by Eddie Al-Shakarchi, Launching Moondream One, the upcoming debut EP from The Bug Club, is out 30th April via Bingo Records. It will be released on a 7” orange vinyl and comes with the added extras of a comic book, a packet of ‘moon dust’ and secret bonus downloads that differ with each copy.

Introducing Interview: Lena Morris

Having released six singles over the last few years, French artist Lena Morris has now released her debut EP New Blood. Exploring themes of female sexuality, empowerment and vulnerability, the collection showcases Morris’ catchy soulful sounds and heartfelt splendour perfectly. Taking us on an emotion-strewn journey through feelings of anxiety to hope and joy, it’s a truly captivating offering.

We caught up with Lena Morris to find out more…

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a Blues-Rock singer-songwriter-bassist. I’m a French 23 year old. I grew up in Hong Kong, but I’m now based in Brighton. I have just released my first EP New Blood, after releasing six singles. My cat is called Bowie, I’ll leave you to understand this choice of name. And I love cats. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music?
When I was fourteen years old it was the real turning point where I decided to be true to myself and to others by finally saying I wanted to make of music my life. Before then I was very shy about it, even in front of my parents I wouldn’t sing. I listened to ‘Oh! Darling’ by The Beatles and it’s this McCartney song that was like a kind of wake up call. So I immediately bought a bass, started singing and after a couple of months I had my first gig at Hong Kong’s legendary live music bar: The Wanch. Automatically I started writing my own songs. It all came very quickly after this realisation. 

You’re about to release your debut EP New Blood – are there any particular themes running throughout it? 
Yes, definitely. In the songs’ order, we have a woman taking ownership over her sexuality in ‘Little Bird’. ‘Lonely Hunter’ depicts loneliness and love hopelessness. ‘Never (Is An Awfully Long Time)’ portrays anxiety caused by low self-esteem. ‘Phaedra’ was written after Jean Racine’s tragedy of the same name, it’s in the theme of sin and tragic fate. Last but not least, ‘Dance In My Arms’ finishes the album on a more positive note. It’s a song about comfort, hope and a journey to getting better. We go from confidence to loneliness, anxiety, tragedy to finally end up on healing and hope. I believe in our society there are still too many taboos about these issues and I don’t think this is healthy, that’s why I like to sing about it. I modestly try to untwine some thoughts on these topics.

We love your catchy soulful sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! My biggest direct influences would be The Beatles, Queen and David Bowie (yes, that explains my cat’s name!). They’re the artists I’ve got under my skin. With them and that we can maybe hear more in my music there’s Rickie Lee Jones, The Pretenders… Powerplay Magazine recently reviewed my EP and they found some Sheryl Crow and Janis Joplin similarities too, which are extremely flattering and I’ll take! 

How are you connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
I guess like everyone else, I’ve had to become a little more active on social media, which does give us a chance to maintain a contact even if I’m not too crazy about talking/playing to my phone. I’m more at ease in a good old pub, where we can discuss and drink pints with the beautiful audience.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
I know it was very hard for a lot of people and I truly felt for them so I need to be honest as these times weren’t very complicated for me. I had the huge chance of keeping my everyday job by working from home. It sucks big time that we can’t play live or rehearse etc, but I’d rather focus on what I can do rather than on what I can’t. So, that’s why you’ve got an EP you can listen to today! A Covid baby we could say… and the release of an EP for an independent musician is extreme work! So, between this and my full time job, I don’t have much time to think about the situation. Also, even if I’ve been alone a significant amount of time over the past year, I’ve got great people in my life like my family and my close friends. Virtual calls are never the same, but they were good enough to keep me sane. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
I recommend you check out Rosin. She released a beautiful single ‘Honest’ on the same day of my EP (26/03/2021). I highly recommend you check her out cause she’s got big things coming up. I also recommend you to keep an eye on Daniel Borschel- he’s the guitarist and producer on ‘Lonely Hunter’. He’s got big projects he’s working on at the moment and trust me you would want to hear it. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for you, music-wise?
In the rest of 2021 I’m planning on going back on stage (fingers crossed). I am also focussing a lot on new collaborations for a new album. So a lot of songwriting, recording, promoting and gigging hopefully!

Massive thanks to Lena for answering our questions!

New Blood, the new EP from Lena Morris, is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Introducing Interview: Murman

Since forming in 2018, London-based Murman have wowed crowds at venues such as The Scala, The Windmill and The Old Blue Last, and have now – following the frenzied energy of last year’s ‘Panama’ – shared a brand new single. ‘Achilles’ hits you instantly with its gritty hooks, swooning vocals and immense thrashing beats, as it builds to a riotous slice of garage-rock, oozing a raw, scuzzy energy.

We caught up with drummer Abbi Knell to find out more about Murman and their distinctive sound…

Hi Abbi, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, and thank you! I’m Abbi and I play the drums in a band called Murman, based in North London. I grew up in Suffolk and have been playing since I was about 10 years old, when I started my first band to play in a school talent competition. Very rock and roll. For a day job I work in communications and campaigns for a global philanthropy, so it’s a very different world to music but I really enjoy flitting between the two, and I picked up cycling during lockdown 1.0 – so that’s a nice new hobby!

How did you and David initially decide to start creating music together as Murman?
So, when I moved to London after university I was desperate to get back into playing live. I started scrolling through a few GumTree ads looking for drummers, and stumbled across an ad from David looking to start a band. We first met back in 2018, and David already had a few songs drafted (‘Christian Boys’, our first single, and ‘Tred Bay’, our second), so we used those as a springboard into other sounds, hooks, and ideas. It really started for us both as a hobby and a passion, I don’t think either of us thought a year later we’d be playing at Scala or hosting our own headline shows at The Shacklewell Arms, but it’s so much fun, and that’s at the heart of the music we want to create too – fun to play and fun to listen to. 

You’ve just released your gritty new single ‘Achilles’ – are there any particular themes running throughout it?
We have! Out of all our releases it’s probably the most difficult for us to attribute a singular theme or genre to – it’s an amalgamation of different ideas, but we always play with the notion of masculinity and try to flip it on its head. It ultimately developed into quite a tongue in cheek, playful song you can dance to, but the undertones of real emotion are still there.

We love the dark, thrashing sounds of the single, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
It’s a really tricky question. I’d say lyrically we’re influenced by anything and everything, from the darker styles of Joy Division to much lighter stuff like Devo, but drumming-wise I’ve always been pulled towards The Horrors, Our Girl, Idles… Anything with a heavy floor-tom and splashing cymbals. Growing up I loved watching Anna Prior from Metronomy, or Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint as incredible female drummers. Watching Stella definitely encouraged me to be more experimental in my own drumming, and branch out from letting the hi-hat and snare dictate my own drumming patterns.

How are you connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
We (David) have done a few live sessions on Instagram and Facebook, but it’s so far removed from how we sound live that we’ve tried to engage through other means. We were a part of the Stay Home independent artists’ album earlier in 2020, and have done a few Instagram live interviews. But mainly we try to share our friends’ music as much as possible – I think getting support and recognition from other artists has been really important for loads of bands over the past 12 months. 

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times?
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading more over lockdown – I’ve just finished ‘Blonde Roots’ by Bernardine Evaristo, which I’d recommend! I think I’ve actually used this unintended break from music as an opportunity to engage more in other interests, rather than trying to force musical creativity. As a drummer living in a flat, it’s a little tricky to keep playing anyway, so I had to form new routines. In terms of motivation though, I’m definitely counting down to when we can play live and go to gigs again, and I think we’ll all value live music so much more after its 18 month absence!

How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
It seems like it’s always difficult to get noticed, but particularly at the moment. Social media is so heavily saturated with content it’s really hard to cut through, which is why we prefer to focus on live gigs and put on a real show. I think the key thing is not expecting people will just come to you, but reaching out instead – we’re pretty shameless in tagging and messaging BBC Intro, Steve Lamacq and big bands etc on Instagram, and sometimes it pays off! You just have to be super proactive if you’re trying to get industry recognition, but obviously if you’re just doing it for fun then you can do whatever you like!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
It’s pretty bad to think that, over the two years we’ve been gigging, we’ve probably only played with a handful of bands with other women in, but I’m really hoping that will change! I’d definitely recommend listening to Maya Law – she’s an incredibly talented upcoming musician and brilliant lyricist. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Liz Lawrence, she’s such a warm character both on stage and on record, and writes in a really frank and authentic way, which I think often gets taken for granted in the current music landscape. You should definitely check both of them out!

Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Murman?
That’s a big open question but I can safely say that if gigs are back, we’ll do doing as many as we can! We’re also releasing our music video for ‘Achilles’ in a month or so, so keep an eye out for that. Hopefully we’ll also be able to release another single later in the year, and play a few more gigs outside the M25. Getting into more cities across the UK was our original plan for last summer, so we’ll definitely be making the most out of the freedom we have to play again, to as many people as possible. For now, I’ll have to make do with my podcasts and David’s regular WhatsApp voice notes. 

Huge thanks to Abbi for answering our questions!

 

‘Achilles’, the latest single from Murman, is out now. Listen on Spotify.