Track Of The Day: Kynsy – ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’

Through jagged guitar riffs and succinct lyricism, Dublin-based artist Kynsy offers a fresh perspective on a breakup on latest single ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’. Balancing a painful reality with a buoyant optimism, the multi-instrumentalist navigates the push and pull between the head and heart, post-relationship.

“It’s about accepting the fact that sometimes you have to laugh the pain away, or look at negativity head on in order to feel positive emotions and have positive thoughts again,” explains Kynsy (aka Ciara Lindsey). “It’s a tug of war between the positive and negative thought processes that occur when a relationship ends.” Kynsy tackled writing and co-production duties head on with this single, enlisting the help of mixer Claudius Mittendorfer (Interpol, Sorry, Parquet Courts) to add a sheen to her edgy sound.

The track is also accompanied by a self-directed video, shot in Dublin by Tim Shearwood featuring Kynsy and her friends. “[The visuals] needed to be fun and playful but with moments of emotional vulnerability in there too,” Kynsy explains. “A sort of ying and yang of simple fun against complex emotions.”

Check out the video below and follow Kynsy on Spotify & Instagram for more updates.

Photo Credit Paula Trojner

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: Rising Damp

A creator of brutal yet captivating soundscapes, Dublin based artist Rising Damp describes her recent EP, Petrol Factory, as “the quaking barrier between the end of the end of time and the end of the world.” Her dystopian visions are fleshed out with hypnotic electronics, dense drum beats and deadpan vocal delivery, and her live performances are a blend of improvised sounds and intriguing visuals.

We caught up with Rising Damp (aka Michelle Doyle) to talk about her recent EP, what she’s been creating during lockdown, and her upcoming contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III, an eclectic compilation album of music from grassroots Irish artists which is set for release on 2nd October…

 

Hello Michelle! Your EP Petrol Factory was recently featured in The Quietus’ 2020 ‘Albums Of The Year So Far‘ chart. What are you most proud of about this record?

I’m most proud about the journey of the album. Most songs were made in response to live gigs, and were never cast in stone, always improvised. Playing to bigger audiences forced me to have to professionalise my practice. It has made me think more visually about the stage show, creating of the band and a how video links this all.

Do you have a favourite track? If so, why?

My favourite song is ‘The Bank’. It was composed as part of an exhibition exploring subculture in Ireland. In Dublin, all the punks, skins and goths used to hangout at Central Bank, in the city centre. I was a late stage central banker and started hanging out as hoardings and gates went up to stop young people sitting on the steps. The Bank is a landmark of Irish modernism, but also where protests would start or finish and where Occupy was. The place is a site of both financial institution and protest. Everything that is done to Central Bank is to further the hostile architecture around it and create a fortress. The song is about building this space and the tension of holding onto it.

 

During lockdown you were recording shows for Dublin Digital Radio, playing tracks by Throbbing Gristle, Gazelle Twin & Nyx Drone Choir (all GIHE faves). Talk us through how you curated these shows and what you enjoyed most about recording them.

Often I curate a show by taking one theme and building a repository around it. For example, I did a vocal special about people using voice as an instrument without singing. Sometimes I approach the show as research for songwriting. Other times I just want to play some high energy music. I’m using Mixxx as I can’t access the DDR studio at the moment. I miss the cdjs and the tactile way they can make you create tunes on the fly.

How have you been coping during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic generally? Any advice for similar bands or artists who may be struggling right now?

My own feeling has been to reassess what your output should be. I was working on a live band towards playing festivals, and arranging with them and practising twice a week. When lockdown came, we had to stop and only got back in in May. Now we are taking a break during phase 3 again. As we can’t play live gigs, we are going to get back in to the studio and re-record songs from Petrol Factory as a live band and put them out. We’re also aiming to create videos to accompany. My most prized possession as a teenager was music video VHS and DVDs. I especially liked Sonic Youth’s for a DIY video art aesthetic. So trying to use the time now as a time for writing, editing and creating visual art.

Something positive during this time is your contribution to A Litany Of Failures: Vol. III. Your single ‘Cannibal’ features on the record. Talk us through what the track’s about and why you chose it for the compilation.

‘Cannibal’ came from playing in clubs between DJs who were DJing “hard drum” music. Originally it began as a jam and the lyrics came from a time I had just been in the dentist for an emergency tooth pull. A wisdom tooth was tearing flesh in my mouth, and gave me a serious infection. I’d written part of the song and finished it during the first lockdown. It seemed to change and become about feeding off past experiences and thoughts while isolated. Vocals recorded at home during lockdown were always pulled back as I live in a large group house.

Besides your own track, do you have a favourite track or a favourite band that also features on the compilation?

I love the Grave Goods and Extravision songs. It’s a great release, I’m super excited to be on vinyl.

What else is on the horizon for Rising Damp during these “unprecedented” times?

I’m putting together applications for exhibition/gigs in galleries where I can design a set, lighting and objects. Working on videos and new songs always.

Finally, are there any bands or artists you’d like to give a shout out too?

One artist who has a huge output and amazing energy is God Knows. I’m so impressed by his ability to keep exploring sound and switch things up. I love that he’s super attentive to his scene, is the opposite to a gatekeeper and is constantly bringing people in from all around Ireland. He’s a total supporter and great musician.

I also urge everyone to checkout Fulacht Fiadh, Salac, Dylan Kerr, Lastminuteman and Maria Somerville. Right now I’m buzzing off listening to the labels Chicago Research and Detriti Records.

Thanks to Michelle for answering our questions.
Follow Rising Damp on bandcampFacebook and Instagram for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: September 2020

It’s been another testing month, filled with more government Covid-19 “rule” changes and unwanted opinions on social media, but we’re determined to keep our spirits up by listening to some of our favourite women and non-binary artists. September’s GIHE playlist is filled with an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, frenzied guitar anthems, indie tunes and alternative new sounds. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Noga Erez – ‘You So Done’
An emotionally charged offering from a resilient and uncompromising artist, Noga Erez’s latest single is accompanied by a stunning set of visuals directed by Indy Hait. The Tel Aviv based artist delves deep into the memories left behind by a toxic relationship, making this her most personal release to date. She’s yet to share something that we don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, so expect to see her name on all future playlists! (Kate Crudgington)

Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’
The poignant new single from GIHE fave Eilis Frawley, ‘Stats’ offers a completely unique soundscape from the classically trained percussionist. Kicking off with an arresting drumroll, it quickly picks up the pace moving into bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. A poignant protest song that you can dance to. ‘Stats’ is out now via faves Reckless Yes. (Mari Lane)

Æ Mak feat. Seba Safe – ‘i dance in the kitchen’
Embracing production duties for the first time on her new EP, how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, Æ MAK – aka Aoife McCann – made this record during the Covid-19 lockdown period with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs”. This single in particular showcases her delightfully carefree, vibrant attitude when it comes to letting go of performance qualms and focusing on making music that makes you feel good. (KC)

HANYA – ‘Texas’
The latest single from Brighton’s Hanya, ‘Texas’ is propelled by a dreamy haze, as it flows with twinkling hooks and the soaring, effervescent vocals of front person Heather Sheret. With shades of the lush surf-pop of Real Estate or Best Coast, it’s a shimmering slice of exquisite indie-pop oozing a blissful tranquility and spellbinding ethereal splendour. The perfect soundtrack to soothe these post-summer blues. Of the track, the band explain: “‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, experimenting with working remotely as a group. The track explores the startings of a relationship – the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and the desire to know each other entirely.” (ML)

Daniela Andrade – ‘Puddles’
A definite September highlight for me comes from Honduran-Canadian producer and musician Daniela Andrade. The track is called ‘Puddles’, it’s self-produced and it has been reverberating around my head since I first heard it. If you don’t start swaying when you hear this, something is wrong. This track was announced alongside details of her new EP, Nothing Much Has Changed, I Don’t Feel The Same, which is out on 30th September via Crooked Lid. (Tash Walker)

Komang – ‘DEWI’ 
I cannot get this song out of my head! It’s excellent. It comes from Melbourne artist Komang and is her debut release, endorsed by a mentorship with the amazing Sui Zhen. Komang is a multidisciplinary producer, performer and vocalist who blends soul-based groove and echoes of traditional Gamelan to create vibrant electronic RnB described as “neo-soul meets Balinese mystic power”. This track is lifted from her forthcoming EP Mythologies, which is set to be released later this year. There’s only one way to listen to this song and that’s very loudly with your eyes closed. TURN UP THAT DIAL. (TW)

Nina Cobham – ‘Solar’ (Bipolar Sunshine Remix)
I love this remix by Bipolar Sunshine of Nina Cobham’s ‘Solar’, it’s so goddamn sultry. Makes me hold onto those dreamy summers of years gone by… (TW)

Seraphina Simone – ‘Hollywood $$$’
The latest release from one of my faves Seraphina Simone, a song shining the spotlight on the glitzy, gritty, ghastly Hollywood. In her words, “’Hollywood $$$’ is about the Lynchian, fame-obsessive undercurrents of tinsel town, with its sirens, starlets, leeches & letches. It’s about that world of smoke and mirrors – where nothing and no one is really as it seems, and the world of celebrity – where we deify or demonise people into these superhumans or arch villains. Kim Gordon mentions ‘tarantula LA glamour’ in Girl In A Band, and that sums it up perfectly I think – the predatory darkness under the glitz.” Amazing description, I defy you to not think of Mulholland Drive or even Selling Sunset (for my sins) when you press play on this. (TW)

ZAND – ‘Slut Money’
A defiant, savage pop tune that celebrates self-autonomy, body positivity and sexuality, self-described “ugly pop” star ZAND takes aim at slut shamers on their latest single. They deftly defy the haters on ‘Slut Money’ through a combination of gritty beats, sweet vocals and candid rap verses. (KC)

Leikeli47 – ‘Zoom’
I’m ashamed to say I’m extremely late to the Leikel47 party, but I’m so glad I’ve now discovered the gritty, brutal wit of the bandana-clad Virginia born rapper. Following 2018’s epic album Acrylic, last month she shared ‘Zoom’. Holding nothing back, ‘Zoom’ showcases Leikel47’s swagger and tenacity with its glitchy beats, catchy hooks and lyrical wit, with references to ‘90s boy bands and her roots in the DMV area: “I ain’t the type of bitch to do a lot of barking/ And only thing I need validated is my parking/ I’m from the back street boy, where it’s very rare to link/ And if you using the wrong note/ We’ll put yo ass n sync…” I just can’t get enough of it. And if you too are new to the joy of Leikel47, I strongly suggest checking out singles ‘Girl Blunt’ and ‘Money’. (ML)

Tolü Makay – ‘Don’t Let Go’
An understated, beautifully soothing listen, Nigerian-born, Ireland-based artist Tolü Makay gently reassures her listeners to let go of their fears through her smooth vocals, tender lyricism and jazz inspired instrumentation on this reassuring track. (KC)

SUSU – ‘Work Song’
New York based SUSU have shared this epic guitar tune that powerfully demonstrates the deep civil unrest that’s simmering beneath the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA. The band explain: “This song is for US – the disenfranchised, black, brown, minority, middle class, poor, trans, gay, and subjugated communities stepping down off the auction block, breaking the stranglehold; saying: ‘If a house gets in my way, you know I’ll burn it down.’ As Nina Simone once said, ‘An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times’.” (KC)

MOURN – ‘Men’
A rallying cry against toxic masculinity and street harassment, Barcelona-based MOURN’s latest single is lifted from their upcoming album Self Worth, which is set for release on 30th October via Captured Tracks. The song is an honest, cathartic purge of the distrust and anger many women suppress on a daily basis when they’re intimidated in public spaces. (KC)

Francis Of Delirium – ‘Equality Song’
Funded by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Equality to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote, Francis Of Delirium’s vocalist & guitarist Jana Bahrich penned this poignant track in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. It’s a powerful, necessary dismantling of the ingrained sexism and toxic masculinity that permeates society. (Just a heads up: there’s mention of rape/sexual assault) (KC)

Fightmilk – ‘If You Had A Sister’
The latest single from faves Fightmilk, ‘If You Had A Sister’ may be more sombre in tone than previous releases, as it oozes a swirling melancholy and heartfelt lyricism, but it loses none of the band’s trademark emo-tinged indie-pop goodness. Propelled by the gritty, raw emotion of front person Lily’s yearning vocals alongside scuzzy hooks and perfectly interwoven musical layers, it offers a shimmering reflection on life and loss. The band expand: “ … if there was ever a time for songs you can do ominous slow dancing to, it’s 2020.” ‘If You Had A Sister’ is out now via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Looking Happy’
Dublin’s Ailbhe Reddy has transformed the crushing sadness that comes with seeing your ex “enjoying” their life on social media without you, into a buoyant alt-folk gem. Lifted from her upcoming debut album Personal History, which is set for release on 2nd October, the track taps into the feelings of inadequacy we all experience when the FOMO unexpectedly hits us while scrolling through our ex’s newsfeed. (KC)

First Frontier – ‘Take Cover’
Having been creating music together since last year, South London duo Helena Poole (who has previously played for us at The Finsbury in her other band Macadamia Sluts) and Paul Stafford – aka First Frontier – pride themselves on choosing hope over fear and play over fight. Focusing on what we can control and devote positive energy to, debut single ‘Take Cover’ is propelled by scuzzy hooks and thrashing beats, creating a catchy slice of fuzzed-out garage rock, tinged with dark ‘80s nu-wave vibes and swirling harmonies. (ML)

Nadine Shah – ‘Ladies For Babies (Goats For Love)’
In the wake of another irritating tirade from “that” man-punk-band of the moment, I just wanted to take this opportunity to declare my love for Nadine Shah. Having released her immense latest album Kitchen Sink earlier this year, she completely blew me away when playing the BBC 6Music festival in March; one of the most immersive live performances I’ve ever witnessed, it’s simply impossible not to become utterly captivated by her unique charisma and the subtle, gritty power of her vocal delivery. I’d pay whatever it took to take her on tour with me… (ML)

Vanessa Richardson – ‘Spider’
This track is right up my experimental music street. It comes from Toronto/Montreal based Vanessa Richardson who is an experimental singer, songwriter and producer. I’ve listened to it non-stop since I heard it first, I love the loops, the deep vocals, the feverish percussion, it really creates this wonderfully dark intoxicating sound. Sublime. (TW)

Masma Dream World – ‘Theta’
This is the lead track from the upcoming album by Masma Dream World, the solo recording project of multi-disciplinary artist Devi Mambouka. Of the track, she explains: “From age 0-7, the human brain is in ‘theta,’ a state during which our minds can be programmed to believe anything. I became quickly aware of that programming growing up in the African country of Gabon, where, despite its Matriarchal roots, young girls are groomed to be wives and mothers only — there are no other options.” Mambouka wanted to create an anthem for these young girls, which developed into the otherworldly trip-hop song ‘Theta,’ driven by a deep sub-bass and kick drum. The lyrics, which are heard both forward and in reverse, translate to: “We are girls from central Africa. We are Gabomas!” Gaboma refers to a young hip Gabonese girl. As with the rest of her debut album, the music is designed specifically to awaken one’s power source from within, and it set for release on 25th September via Northern Spy. Incredible. (TW)

LibraLibra – ‘Listerine’
A step away from the usual high energy riotous cacophonies of the Brighton band’s previous releases, ‘Listerine’ reflects on lingering painful memories. Showcasing the incredible soaring splendour and versatility of front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals with an almost operatic force, the track oozes a glistening soulful majesty, creating a striking cinematic soundscape. With blissful twinkling keys providing the backdrop to Beth’s vocals, it’s filled with poignant, reflective lyricism as a raw, emotion-strewn power builds to a magnificent, immense anthem of self-realisation. ‘Listerine’ is taken from LibraLibra’s new EP, Hail Mary, out now. (ML)

Balraj Singh Samrai, Pandit G Gavsborg, Farah Amad Khan, Shanique Marie, Tunde Adekoya, Vikaash – ‘I should have hugged you tighter when we last met (Oh What A Joy)’
This piece was made in June of this year with the help from Opera North’s artist development programme, Resonance: The Lockdown Edition. Combining  music and spoken word to document life  during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on  communities of colour, Samrai initially produced an instrumental which tabla player Vikaahsh Sankadecha added South Asian percussion rhythms to. Equiknoxx member Gavsborg then penned a poem for the track, and Farah Ahmad Khan added her own spoken word contribution. The accompanying video is so powerful and was made by the Rainbow Collective, go check it out and raise the profile of this track. This is documentary art at its best. (TW)

 

WATCH: Æ MAK – ‘hey driver (!)’

A vibrant, catchy tune made with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs”, Kitsch-bop Queen Æ MAK has shared her latest single, ‘hey driver (!)’. Taken from her new EP how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, which is released today (18th Sept), the Irish artist has crafted another polished art-pop offering with a dance routine that’s a joy to mimic.

Embracing production duties for the first time on her new release, Æ MAK – aka Aoife McCann – wrote and recorded her new EP during the Covid-19 lockdown period. She focused on making upbeat tunes that listeners could bop too, and the result is a candid and ultra fun aural “how to” on making music that’s joyous and uplifting.

McCann’s carefree attitude is best displayed in the accompanying music video for ‘hey driver (!)’, shot and edited by Tim Shearwood. Featuring her cousin Anyamanee Thungsombat and school friend Kavneet Kainth, the video shows the girls seamlessly executing dance moves such as the “bumble bee butt walk” and adopting the “casual horse rider” pose.

Watch the video below and follow Æ MAK on Facebook and Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut