Introducing Interview: MONOGEM

Refinery 29 named MONOGEM a “trailblaizer of gender fluidity in the entertainment industry”, and we caught up with the ethereal alt-pop artist to discuss this, her latest single  ‘Shade’ and MONOGEM’s origins…

Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how MONOGEM came about?
In 2014, I decided to take a detour from my singer-songwriter/Jazz solo project and explore the realm of electronic music. A monogem ring is a supernova remnant which rang true in so many ways for me at the time. The largest monogem ring was found near the Cancer constellation, and being born on 22nd June, this felt like the perfect moniker for me to use to dig into another side of myself. I’m having the time of my life evolving with every release, every interview and show!

We’re loving your latest single ‘Shade’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
Thank you for the love! I’m so happy this track is out in the world. This song is so me, the lyrics are some of the most honest I’ve written so far. I wrote it as a reminder to stop hiding my truths, even if they aren’t pretty. As an artist and a woman, I’ve felt the need to brush whatever I’m feeling under the rug, pull myself together and put a smile on my face for the big show. When I allow myself to be truly present in every moment, happy or sad, a better version of myself comes out to play. And that person showed up the day I wrote this song.

Listening to your newer music it feels like this has a much more complex layered feel to it, would you agree with that? Has there been a change in your writing/creating process?
Definitely. It’s all part of the evolution of this project and it’s so exciting to be at the centre of it. I studied Jazz at Berklee College of Music… for whatever reason I used to cover up that training and simplify my creative writing process. But now, I’m embracing it more than ever, and it feels really, really good.

Your have been described in such a variety of ways from “a soulful blend of the past and the future” to “a trailblazer of gender fluidity in the entertainment industry”… Do you feel that you fall into any of these descriptions?
I’m always honoured when someone takes the time to write about my music and what they take from it. It makes me feel like the art I’m making is being received in the way that I intended… What a beautiful thing.

LA, where you’re based, has a great music scene with so many artists who are emerging – do you feel part of a strong music community over there?
It’s taken time to develop a strong music community here, about 5-6 years for me, but wow do I feel it more than ever now. Especially after my headline show at School Night last night, I’m definitely home.

Amazing! How was the gig and how would you describe your live shows?
I am over the moon about last night’s gig. The live show features an all-female band – Neara Russell (keys/synthbass) and Valerie Franco (drums) – and they are ridiculously talented. I usually sprinkle in some special guests, like last night my long time friend and collaborator, Adam Tressler (guitar), joined us as well as my friend Hailey Niswanger on saxophone. I am so lucky to work with powerful and skilled musicians. The show is dynamic and sensual. I am very proud of where we are at in this very moment and am excited to keep improving.

And more importantly are you planning on coming to the UK anytime soon??
I’m dying to get to the UK!  Hopefully in 2019.

What’s the rest of 2019 got in store for MONOGEM?
More music and more tours!

Finally as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
Lately, I’ve been really into Maiah Manser, Doe Paoro and CLARA-NOVA. All LA-based female powerhouses I am lucky to call friends.

A big thank you to MONOGEM for answering our questions! Fingers crossed for that UK tour date in 2019!

‘Shade’ is out now and you can find more from MONOGEM via Soundcloud.

 

Introducing Interview: Bellhouse

Having received acclaim from the likes of Clash and Earmilk, Swedish electro-pop artist Emma-Lee Andersson – aka Bellhouse – has just released her shimmering new single ‘Like You Loved Us’. A flowing celestial soundscape filled with Andersson’s impassioned soulful vocals, it’s a majestic alt-pop gem.

We caught up with Bellhouse to find out more…

Hi Bellhouse, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you so much! I create powerful pop-music from the heart that I think can give people all kinds of different emotions, which is the purpose of music!

Your new single ‘Like You Loved Us’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
For sure! It’s about this pure (and sometimes not very pretty) uncontrollable desperation when two people who used to be everything to each other try to convince themselves that they can move on and remain friends when they are clearly not over it. Desperate enough to hold on, even at the cost of hurting the other.


You’ve been compared to the likes of Allie X and Zella Day, but who would you say are your main musical influences?

That’s great to hear, I love ‘Paper Love! It varies a lot, and I get inspired by new artists all the time, but I’ve looked up to and gotten inspired by Stromae and Purity Ring for a long time even if my music is pretty different from theirs.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Unfortunately I don’t at the moment, but I love to do it, so that must change!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
They can expect me and an amazing band who goes all in since this is what we love most to do. Hopefully the fun we have on stage catches onto the audience!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
There are so many amazing new bands and artists, but I recently discovered GRANT who I think is simply amazing.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
There is so so so much music coming out everyday so it’s definitely difficult to get noticed, and it’s really important to have something unique that makes you stand out, but if you know who you are and where you want to go, you just need to keep fighting. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, but if you really are a great, original musician, I think you will get there!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Bellhouse?
I will be writing new music and keep getting it out there!

Huge thanks to Bellhouse for answering our questions!

Introducing Interview: Tokyo Taboo

GIHE faves Tokyo Taboo have long been blowing us away with their immense, riotous live performances and seething energy, and so it’s with excitement that we heard they’re set to release their second album very soon!

Taken from the album, latest single ‘No Pleasure Only Pain’ rages with the band’s trademark ferocity as whirring hooks race alongside tremendous beats and the immense power of front-woman Dolly Daggerz’ vocals.

We caught up with Tokyo Taboo to find out more…

Hi Tokyo Taboo, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
We are Tokyo Taboo – a punk, rocker duo with weird visual ideas, lots of energy and acrobatics on stage!

How did you initially get together and start creating music?
Dolly auditioned Mickey when she was in search of a guitarist for her solo project. There was an old guy who made up his only chords, a guy who couldn’t play guitar at all and Mickey. The rest is history!

Your new single ‘No Pleasure Only Pain’ is out this week – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Dolly’s lyrics came from her realisation that she was sabotaging herself with alcohol and lusting after the wrong kinds of things that cause only pain. The song is about when you know something or someone is wrong for you but you still can’t stop thinking about how good it would feel to have it/them. Animal impulses basically that drive addiction and bad behaviour!

You’ve been compared to the likes of Deap Vally and Juliette & The Licks, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Madonna is a massive influence for Dolly along with Freddie Mercury and Bowie. Dolly is a big believer in the importance of commanding a stage and bewitching an audience! Any performers who are compelling to watch with that sense of unpredictable showmanship are going to be a massive influence on us.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
We put on a lot of shows with other bands (especially female fronted acts). When we are putting together a line up we like to choose female fronted acts over male as the industry is so male dominated. We love to go to see live music and performance of any kind. Dance, aerialists, acrobats – all art inspires us.

We’ve been blown away by your live show many times! But can you explain what fans can expect from your live shows?
Dolly likes to push herself to the max. The last show we did in Canada involved Dolly doing a bridge (one handed back bend) whilst singing the final two minutes of the last song, high notes and all. She likes to jump on things (she climbs a lot on the bar or on high tables). She also likes to climb up poles and hang upside down off them. Our set is high energy with a lot of audience participation so it’s not one you can stand back and be detached from.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands you’d recommend we check out?
We are big fans of Polly Pikpockets, Yur Mum and Healthy Junkies, and are planning another show with all three in 2019! Watch this space!

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 music industry sucks and will always suck for bands starting out as there are so many sharks out there that you need to blacklist and so many lessons to be learnt that you only learn from going at it! It is, of course, difficult to get noticed but perseverance is everything!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Tokyo Taboo?
Our single launch night is on the 29th of November at Fest in Camden. We are then releasing our new music video the following week. We have been spending a lot of time at the moment booking festivals and planning for 2019. I don’t think we’ll stop working on music until Christmas Eve. But we love it so who’s complaining?

Huge thanks to Tokyo Taboo for answering our questions!

‘No Pleasure Only Pain’ is out 30th November, and you can catch Tokyo Taboo live at their single launch at Camden Fest on Friday 29th, along with Bugeye, Thunder On The Left and HAWXX and Bled The Fifth.

 

Introducing Interview: Sive

Having shared stages with the likes of Lisa Hannigan and Gemma Hayes, Irish artist Sadhbh O’Sullivan – aka Sive – creates slices of spellbinding alt-folk, interweaving twinkling melodies with soaring, multi-layered vocals and a unique, compelling charm.

With her captivating latest single ‘Quietly’ out now, we caught up with Sive to find out more…

Hi Sive, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you! I’m an Irish songwriter and musician living in a place called Kildare, not too far from Dublin. I’ve been writing and performing independently for about 10 years now, and in that time I’ve released two albums and toured all over Ireland, Europe and New Zealand. I recently started working with Berlin-based label Veta Records, so I’m really delighted to be releasing my new music in collaboration with them.

How did you initially start creating music?
As a kid I loved singing along with whatever pop songs I happened to be obsessing over at the time. I particularly remember being fascinated with harmony and learning the backing vocals parts, which is probably a little weird for a child. It was really when I was about 13 and got my first guitar that I started to write songs. I had a tape recorder which I used to use for very fancy multi-tracking (you need two blank tapes and a second tape player – happy to give lessons if anyone’s interested), and then I eventually got a Boss 8-track recording device which allowed me to mess around a little bit more with arrangements – piano parts, layered vocals etc. I’m showing my age now! When I finished school I went to study in Ballyfermot Rock School and started playing my songs with other musicians. It was terrifying, I hated singing in public for a long time, but that’s when I really started to take my own music to the next level.

Your new single ‘Quietly’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s about feeling overwhelmed by the noise of the world, and wanting to find a space among all of that to be quiet. It reflects what it’s like to just stop and listen to what’s going on inside yourself – it can be a calming experience but also a little scary in there. The video played around with using lots of projected images to reflect the idea that you create this mad and complex reality in your head, and then project it out onto the world around you.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Jesca Hoop and Julia Jacklin, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Jesca Hoop would certainly be one of the more recent ones. I’m not familiar with Julia Jacklin but will look her up – it’s always interesting when you get compared to someone you haven’t heard yet! Some of my biggest influences over the years were Tori Amos, Simon and Garfunkel, The Shins, Feist, Ella Fitzgerald, Kila and Jeff Buckley. More recently I’ve been listening to This is the Kit, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Rokia Troare, The Toure-Raichel Collective, Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. I really love choral and early vocal music, and I think that’s why vocal layering is one of my favourite parts of the recording process!

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
My local music scene is on the up. Being so close to Dublin I think people are used to travelling for their live music, but more has started happening in my area. I was actually involved in setting up a new night in my own community called Skylarks Music Club recently, which got off to a roaringly successful start. It’s happening in an old nun’s chapel and our first night featured three amazing performances from Cathy Davey, Ross Breen and Farah Elle as well as our house band who are called Square Pegs. I also just opened for John Spillane in a community centre in a small town nearby last weekend. It was their first live music endeavour in there and they put a lot of work in to make it succeed, so I really hope they continue to grow. John’s live show is really fantastic!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
My live show has ebbed and flowed over time, depending on what feels right for different gigs. At the moment I’m enjoying playing solo because it opens me up to some nice intimate gig opportunities and also gives me a chance to really connect with the audience. I always try to engage the crowd as much as possible by chatting a bit about the songs etc, so that hopefully it feels like a shared experience as opposed to me just singing at them. I’m actually toying with some new ideas for my live shows for next year though, so at the moment your guess is as good as mine as to how that might unfold!

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’m always scared to answer these questions, because I know so many talented artists that I hate leaving anyone out! But I’ll narrow it down to a few who I’ve gigged with recently or who’ve released new music this year. Some of those who I’d recommend checking out would be Maria Kelly, Pearly, Ross Breen, Farah Elle, Dani, Inni-K, and Hatchlings. My pal Emma O’Reilly has some new stuff stuff up her sleeve too, I had a sneak preview a while ago and it’s well worth keeping your eyes peeled for!

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 because there are so many people making music independently out there. But I think if you have good material and you put some thought into how you want to present it, it’s very doable. The upside of social media is that, if you’re clever, you really can do so much by yourself. The downside is that it’s quite saturated, and you also end up having to pay to make sure the stuff you share gets seen even by people who’ve already liked or followed you. But I do think there are endless opportunities out there for people who are willing to persevere.

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Sive?
Well I’ve just released my new single ‘Quietly’ as you mentioned, along with the video by Myles O’Reilly which was a dream to make. I’m planning lots more releases for 2019, so the rest of this year will be mostly preparing for everything that goes along with that. In fact, as soon as I finish chatting to you I’ll be packing my bags to head off for a week’s writing retreat in a little village on the southeast coast of Ireland! I do have a gig coming up in Whelan’s on Sunday 9th of December, supporting a great songwriter called Enda Reilly. Then there are some lovely shows already planned for early next, so do come and say hi on social media if you’re interested in finding out more!

‘Quietly’, the new single from Sive, is out now via Veta Records.

Introducing Interview: Chinah

Fresh off the back of their latest single ‘Real Thing?’, we caught up with Copenhagen based Chinah in the run up to their London show at Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November.

Hi Chinah, welcome to Get In Her Ears! We’re loving your latest single ‘Real Thing?’, which we’ve played on the radio show, can you tell us a bit more about this song?
‘Real Thing?’ is a song about choosing to be lazy with your integrity because you long for intensity, and explores the feeling of experiencing a sense of “dominance within the submission”.

Your newer music has a much more evocative feel to it, each song creating its own individual atmosphere, with an almost hypnotic element… Is that something that you are consciously trying to create?
We try to make each song unique whilst still having something in its essence in common with the other songs on the album. The philosophy perhaps. But for everything beyond that, we like to allow ourselves to experiment and try different things out. We’re having fun with it. So yeah, the shifting moods and the different mixes of genres on the album are sort of an expected result of us staying curious and insisting on not limiting ourselves in terms of genre.

Previously you’ve spoken about seeing music in terms of contrast and dynamics, which is a refreshingly realistic way to describe the artist and the listener’s interaction with music, rather than by the constraints of labels. Could you expand on that a bit?
This last year we’ve been experimenting a lot with mixing genres, both within the length of a song and on the album as a whole. Likewise, we knew from the start of working with Anyone, the album, that we wanted it to be somewhat unpredictable. We prefer not placing ourselves into just one genre that has too narrow of a ruleset. In a sense, not defining our music too precisely prevents us from constraining our creativity, in that we might not try to “live up” to a made-up idea of what our music is or isn’t.

You’re about to embark on a tour of Denmark, but before you do you’re going to be stopping over here first at the Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November! Are you looking forward to playing London again?
Definitely! It’s been a year since we played in London, so coming back now with new music feels just right. We’ve played in London a few times before, and we always felt a very supportive atmosphere at our concerts and beyond. Hopefully the Londoners will dig the new music as well

Anyone, the upcoming album from Chinah, is out this Friday 9th November. Vinyl pre-order here. And you can check out Chinah live at Bermondsey Social Club on 13th November – tix available on DICE.

Introducing Interview: FOURS

Having received praise from the likes of Clash Magazine, and being playlisted on Spotify, London-based FOURS have just released a powerful slice of soulful alt-pop with new single ‘Even In My Dreams’. Propelled by the soaring vocals of Edith Violet, it’s an instantly infectious, impassioned offering.

We caught up with Edith to find out more…

Hi FOURS, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about the band?
Hi there! We are FOURS, we spend most of our time sending each other gifs and talking nonsense. Also we sometimes write songs, but mainly it’s the gifs thing.

How did you initially all get together and start creating music?
We initially got together a few years ago. Had no idea what we wanted our sound to be and kind of rambled along for a while. I think when we started writing songs that we liked we started to take it seriously. How we met was kind of random and could very easily have never have happened. I think we’re all glad it did, we have lots of fun.

Your new single ‘Even In My Dreams’ is out very soon – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s about f**kboys making you hate yourself. And not being able to stay away from them. Dicks.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Paramore and Lykke Li, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Soul singers are my idols, Nina Simone is my all-time favourite. I think Florence is spectacular and very clever. My influences are often the people who are different. I don’t take influence from pop that tends to sound the same, even though I can appreciate it.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
London’s music scene is mental, it’s rare to see a bad band play because there are hundreds of great ones gigging constantly. It’s quite terrifying but also brilliant cause there’s nothing more fun than watching a band kill it on stage. I used to be better, but I try and go to see live music as much as I can, I take a huge amount of joy from it.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I think bands should expect me dancing lots during the show and then about five songs in being quite severely out of breath which is due largely to how out of shape I am. We try and make the shows fun and bouncy… Come see us and you can tell me!

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 new bands is Childcare, they go on tour this month, so go see them! Also Clean Cut Kid have a new album coming out and I listened to their first one to death.

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 the music industry will always be a tricky one. It’s very fickle and can be quite disheartening but it’s kind of that way with *nearly* everyone so at least we are all in it together. There’s good people too, who are trying to get your project to work as much as you, so you just have to find some good ones!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for FOURS?
The rest of 2018 will be very quiet from us. We are continuing to write a body of work that we’ve been writing all year. I’m super excited for people to hear the new tunes, so 2019 will be a fun one!

Huge thanks to FOURS for answering our questions!

‘Even In My Dreams’ is out now via Big Indie Records. Stream on Spotify.

Introducing Interview: Cryptic Street

Maltese rockers Cryptic Street are fast becoming known in the UK for their immense, riotous live performances, and we cannot wait for them to headline for us at The Five Bells on 26th October!

We caught up with the band before the head on over to blow our minds! So, get to know all about Cryptic Street here…

Hi Cryptic Street, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do?
Hi! We are so looking forward to performing for your Get in Her Ears event on 26th October! We are Cryptic Street – a psychedelic punk band ready to rock your patriarchal ears and mess with your brain. We’re serving alternative madness fresh out of a DIY framework, straight outta Malta!

How did you all initially get together and start creating music?
Leona (vocalist) and Janelle (guitarist) initially met in an all-girls school and founded Cryptic Street 8 years ago for a school project. After several lineup changes and a lot of ups and downs, we decided that it was something we want to pursue in a serious and professional way, and we are working to do just that!

We love your soaring post-punk energy, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
We have a wide range of musical influences, but our music and lyrics mostly channel an emotion or an experience that we would be going through at that point in time. Rather than pinpointing specific artists, Cryptic Street’s music is like a sponge – absorbing everyday life and personal troubles to create something cathartic and meaningful.

We can’t wait for you to headline for us at The Five Bells on 26th October, but would you say there’s been a particular gig you’ve played so far that stands out as a highlight for you?
All performances are special to us. Performing in Malta is heart warming since we’re performing for our home crowd and for people who have seen us grow. On the other hand, every time performing abroad is a different challenge since we have to prove ourselves again and again, and that itself is very invigorating and makes us want to push and challenge ourselves both musically and personally. However, supporting Acid Mothers Temple and PINS last year were definitely special gigs for us!

How is the music scene in Malta? Do you go to see much live music?
Malta’s music scene is small but blooming. There are projects ranging across the musical spectrum, and live music is something that is happening constantly all year round. The music community is a tight knit one, and you always manage to find a fellow musician that will help you out in some way or another. Everyone knows everyone, and obviously that has its advantages and disadvantages. There’s a lot of talent… But little international exposure. We hope to continue pushing the boundaries and promote Malta as a musical hot spot whenever we tour.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new upcoming bands/artists who that you’d recommend we check out?
We would definitely recommend Emme Woods from Scotland – she’s amazing, and of course, the amazing bands we’re performing with for your wonderful event (HAWXX, Worst Place, Panic Pocket). We would also recommend Maltese artists such as Beesqueeze, nosnow/noalps, and all the other cool bands and artists hailing from Malta… too many to mention everyone!

And how do you feel the industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Coming from a tiny island, we definitely have to push harder and harder to get noticed and to get gigs abroad. There are so many amazing bands, for example in the UK, especially in our niche of Riot Grrrl punk, that you constantly have to push yourself in all aspects. Doing it DIY, like so many bands out there at the moment, is both rewarding and stressful at the same time – apart from the music we have to cater for everything, ranging from admin work to design to social media etc. We even organise our own parties in order to fund band stuff! Bands nowadays have to think of themselves as brands and that really pushes people involved in bands to develop different skill sets. On the other hand, we really want to advocate the importance of taking care of your mental well being – being a musician is tough work, and you really need to be mentally strong to navigate through all the rejections and obstacles that the industry throws at you. That’s something that really spills over in our lyrics too!

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Cryptic Street?
First of all, we have our upcoming UK Tour – totally DIY, totally fun, and supported by Girls Against and Women that Rock. We really wanted to support female talent during this tour and promote safe inclusive spaces where everyone, irrespective of their differences, can enjoy a night out without the fear of being harassed or mocked. That’s something we REALLY believe in. Therefore we are collaborating with a lot of feminist/non-binary promoters and we’re performing alongside a lot of inspiring, innovative artists. So check us out cause we’re coming for ya! We will also have our unique merch pieces as well as our Titty Monster album on sale during each performance so make sure you come and grab them here. We will be spending the rest of 2018 writing new music, developing the band and our vision, and becoming even more kick ass!

Huge thanks to Cryptic Street for answering our questions! Catch them live headlining our gig at The Five Bells, New Cross on 26th October! 

They’re also playing the following dates for their End Of The Titty Monster Tour:

26th October – London, The Five Bells (for Get In Her Ears!)
27th October – London The Good Mixer
28th October – Cardiff, The Moon
29th October – Exeter, The Cavern Club
30th October – Bristol, Venue TBA
31st October – Brighton, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
1st November – London, The Windmill
2nd November – Brighton, The Green Door Store
3rd November – Sheffield, HER FEST//Picture House Social

Have a listen to Cryptic Street on Soundcloud and Spotify, and give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Credit: Matthew Attard