FIVE FAVOURITES: Aerial East

Described as a deeply personal coming-of-age record, New York-based musician Aerial East is preparing to release her poetic new album, Try Harder, on 12th February. Set to be released via Partisan Records, the LP tentatively explores East’s experiences of disconnection, loneliness, suicide, friendships, gender roles and breakups, whilst also embracing the simple beauty that life can unexpectedly bestow upon us.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Aerial East to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch Aerial East’s latest video for ‘Try Harder’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
This album just keeps giving. When I first heard it in 2010 I had a really negative reaction to it. I was already a big fan having binged The Milk Eyed Mender and Ys after high school. A friend of mine made a comment about her during this time that was something like “I would marry her without even meeting her” and I followed an immature impulse to prove that she wasn’t that amazing by rejecting the overwhelming 3 disc record. By 2011 though I was feeling heartbroken and I found myself uncontrollably humming and singing ‘On a Good Day’, the most digestible song on the epic breakup record. The more heartbroken I felt the more I threw myself into the record. I must have listened to this album thousands of times – probably more than any other. It is so familiar to me and feels like home. It still makes me cry. My friend Kelly once said that she feels like herself when she hears it. I feel that way too. I still don’t always know what is going to happen next when I listen though. I haven’t yet memorized the lyrics, melodies and structures of the songs and that makes for stimulating repeated listens. I saw her perform again in 2019 and it sent me into a satisfying spiral of obsessively analyzing her lyrics and reading about her that really helped me think and write about my own songs.

2. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
The Kick Inside gives this one a run for its money but Hounds of Love is the record I put on to cheer myself up when I’m feeling depressed. I actually first heard the song ‘Hounds of Love’ in high school when the Futureheads covered it and didn’t discover Bush until years later when I moved to New York. I was immediately drawn in when I first saw her dancing in the red dress video for ‘Wuthering Heights’. I remember thinking I had heard the song as a child but I later realized I was remembering ‘Come to My Window’ by Melissa Etheridge. Anyway, Bush’s videos are all amazing. I wanted to study mime for a long time because of her. I still kind of do. Hounds of Love is one of the best records ever made.

3. Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – Ethiopiques, vol. 21: Emahoy (Piano Solo)
This record centers me. It was all I could listen to in 2016 and I don’t play piano but I wanted my record Try Harder to feel like this. I first heard it when I was working at Dimes, a restaurant I have worked at since 2013. I used to listen to it often while setting up for my night shift that the closing daytime server would put it on when they saw me arrive. Emahoy, homemade pizza, and David Attenborough got me through 2016. A good remedy for anxiety.

4. Joni Mitchell – Blue
I mean, come on. It’s so good! I actually didn’t get into Joni Mitchell until Teeny Leiberson and Rachel Pazdan invited me to perform in their HUM Joni Mitchell tribute show. There was a lot to dig into and I said yes obviously, but then I had a deadline to familiarize myself with her work – she is pretty prolific – and choose a song I wanted to sing. I ended up doing ‘My Old Man’ because I don’t really write love songs even though I’m very romantic and ‘Hana’ from 2007’s Shine, because I wanted to acknowledge her as a contemporary artist. This is one of those records that just makes me feel good when it comes on. It came out the same year as Carole King’s Tapestry and I like thinking about the two different song-writing styles. Tapestry has so many crazy big hit songs that you are like “wait, she wrote that song too?!” They are such perfectly written pop songs but Blue is full of weird idiosyncratic songs that only really make sense if Joni is singing them. I love both albums so much and I imagine Carole made more money off of Tapestry because those songs are so widely covered and licensed, but if I could choose I would rather have made Blue.

5. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Beautiful melodies, beautiful harmonies, dizzying layered vocals, heart-breaking lyrics produced joyfully. I’m not sure if it was the first time I heard this record but I remember listening to these songs upstate and crying and everyone in the room politely pretending not to see. Pet Sounds was a big reference when I was producing my first record Rooms.

Thanks to Aerial for sharing her favourites with us!

Watch Aerial East’s video for ‘Try Harder’ below.

You can pre-order Aerial East’s new album Try Harder here.

Follow Aerial East on Spotify, bandcamp, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook 

LISTEN: Laura Guarch – ‘Fleeting Light’

Having established herself as a professional vocalist, with collaborations with ACM Gospel Choir and London Contemporary Voices under her belt, Spanish London-based artist Laura Guarch has now shared her debut single. 

Soaring with Guarch’s stunning crystalline vocals and an anthemic emotion-strewn musicality, ‘Fleeting Light’ builds to an ethereal, glistening soundscape. A cinematic, alt-pop ballad with shades of the other-worldly majesty of the likes of Bjork or Kate Bush. Of the track, Guarch explains:

The idea for Fleeting Light was born on a night looking at the starry sky from a semi-deserted island in Thailand, called Mu Koh Ang Thong. How are the old stars looking at us, humans, and the changes the Earth is experiencing? Fleeting Light imagines million year-old stars looking down on the Earth and watching the history of life on our planet as their Sunday afternoon entertainment.

Listen to ‘Fleeting Light’ here:

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Guest Playlist: Temples Of Youth

Covid 19 and the necessary restrictions surrounding it have brought about a number of cancellations of music events, including what would have been Get In Her Ears’ very first festival. It would have taken place on Saturday, 18th July, and was set to be a pretty special day, filled with some of our favourite female and non binary artists. Fingers crossed we can finally make it happen next year.

One of the bands set to play was total faves Temples Of Youth. Captivating us with their hypnotic, musically rich neo-pop and majestic, emotion-strewn splendour, the Winchester duo have charmed us live at The Finsbury more than once and we were very much looking forward to hosting them again.

In the absence of our festival, and any gigs, at the moment, Jo from the band has put together a playlist of songs that have shaped her songwriting, and written a few words about the inspirations behind Temples Of Youth. Have a read, and listen, below!

Inspiration…

As I sit to write this a few days after my 30th birthday, I can’t quite get my head around the fact that Temples of Youth is already five years old. I don’t know where that time has gone – it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had.

So often in life, we are reaching for the next achievement, trying to make each one bigger and better than the last. I find this is so prevalent in the music industry, with something you worked so hard on becoming “irrelevant” so quickly. It’s a tough place to be – overcrowded, competitive and at times, disheartening. It is important to take a step back, and to reflect on what you have already achieved, and take note of its value.

Paul and I came together with a shared interest in starting something new, and whilst our influences have grown and changed, our ethic has stayed the same. We write for us, we play for us, and we hope that people will find something to connect with.  Paul is very driven by sound and the feel of a track, where as I find myself drawn to the lyrics and the vocal melody – so we make a good team.

Our inspirations are hard to pinpoint – from ’80s dream-pop, to grungier sounds and modern US indie bands, plus art and film soundtracks. To give you an idea, we’ve curated a playlist of some of the tracks that have shaped the way we write, and we hope you enjoy listening to it.

We’re currently working on recording our third EP remotely, and I think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far. We always hope these things won’t be released to ‘disappear’; forgetting that they can’t.

Listen to Temples Of Youth’s playlist below, and also make sure you check out their spellbinding latest single ‘Silver Cross‘ now. 

Introducing Interview: Koza

Having made the move from Istanbul to London in order to follow in the footsteps of her musical idols, emerging pop artist Koza recently released her second, dreamy single ‘Hold My Breath’.

We caught up with Koza to find out about her journey so far… 

Hi Koza, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about when you initially decided to start making music?
Hi, thank you for having me! My passion for music and writing goes a long way back. If I had to pinpoint a defining moment, I would say definitely my high school years when I first joined a band and performed on stage. It was the scariest moment of my life, but also the most amazing experience. I had already been writing songs, but there was something about being able to perform them and connect with an audience. That became the dream. 

What inspired you to make the move from Istanbul to London in order to pursue a career in music?
After graduating from high school, I really didn’t know how to proceed to a career in music. All I knew then was that I wouldn’t be satisfied with doing gigs with function bands at weekends, or just singing covers. I wanted to write and sing my own songs, about things that mattered to me – I wanted to sing my own truths. I started writing in English, which came naturally to me because of all my influences growing up. This was part of the reason why I wanted to move to London, so I could explore music in a specific language. The music industry in Turkey didn’t have many established artists writing original songs, and nothing in English, so it didn’t make much sense to me. London, on the other hand, had everything that I was after; the writers, the venues and the culture which I had grown up listening to and loving. The decision to leave my studies in Istanbul and move to London was a tough one but I’m so glad I did it. It’s been tough trying to adapt to a new culture, but it’s helped me grow in ways which I would have never imagined.

Which bands or artists would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
Growing up I found myself drawn to songs which gave me new perspectives on storytelling or song structure; I really loved Alanis Morissette for this reason. She is an amazing lyricist and her songs are so powerful in their vulnerability. Madonna is another big influence – I mean, I think we can all agree that she is one of the ultimate pop-stars. Then of course Kate Bush – she’s my number 1! I think she’s so eccentric, effortlessly cool and such a talented musician and poet. Her musical language is unique to her and that makes her an amazing artist. My other favourites growing up included Fleetwood Mac, Alicia Keys, Duman, Teoman, No Doubt, Prince, Depeche Mode and The Cure. 

You recently released your dreamy second single, ‘Hold My Breath’. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the lyrics?
The inspiration was the feeling which I got every time that I thought I was maybe falling in love. I mean, maybe I did fall in love every time… “there are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” I don’t know if that makes sense, but every moment of love feels so magical. It’s like that feeling you get when you meet someone and think “maybe?”. These lyrics might be my rawest ones yet, I didn’t change them at all after I wrote them. They were written in a very authentic and joyous moment, and I wanted to write down that feeling and make a song which reflected that.

In ‘normal’ times, how is your local music scene? Do you have a favourite local venue?
I live in Notting Hill and yes, we have a small but very satisfying music scene. Notting Hill Arts Club has always been a favourite. Another place that’s been around for a couple of years now is Laylow, our cool neighbourhood hangout; it’s introduced me to many new artists.

Although it is rather difficult to be making plans at the moment, what are you hoping to have achieved by the end of 2020?
Like you mentioned, it’s a bit tricky right now! My plan was to release two more singles before the year ends. However, quarantine has been very fruitful for me and I am now considering finishing an EP in the same time frame. Either way, I will continue to release music and hopefully start doing live shows from late September. I am very excited to sing my new songs because they’re really special in a way that they will allow me to connect with more people than I ever have done before as an artist. It will hopefully lead to some collaborations with musicians/writers I have not yet had the chance to work with.

Thanks so much to Koza for answering our questions! 

‘Hold My Breath’ is out now. Listen here: