Gazelle Twin & NYX Electronic Drone Choir to perform ‘Deep England’ as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) has paired up with the NYX electronic drone choir once again to perform ‘Deep England’; a hair-raising transformation of her recent album Pastoral, which exhumes England’s “rotten past” and questions its uncertain future. The performance will take place on 20th November at Southbank Centre, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The collaboration was first commissioned and performed in December 2018 as part of a collaborative series at London’s Oval Space, but now Bernholz’s operatic voice will be displayed in all its glory alongside the equally as powerful voices of the NYX choir in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Together, Bernholz and NYX use their voices, acoustic glitching, polyphonic overtone and ambient textures to bring Gazelle Twin’s Pastoral vision to life. The unique choir explore and test the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument. Their veiled Handmaid’s-Tale-esque silhouettes are a formidable sight on stage, so expect to be blown away by the power and the glory of their live show.

GIHE will be at the show, and we urge you to grab a ticket for it here.

For more information about EFG London Jazz Festival events, click here.

LIVE (Photos): Berries EP Launch, 06.11.19

Celebrating the release of London trio Berries’ new EP, Lies, last Wednesday three of our most favourite bands got together to put on a night of the most exciting live music.

Kicking things off, captors of my heart Chorusgirl treat the crowd to their truly luscious, emotion-strewn dream pop. As Silvi describes set opener ‘In Dreams’ as “a nice song about my hometown”, she revels in “all the familiar faces” in the crowd as the band continue to deliver their effervescent harmonies and impressive driving riffs. From tracks from their first album such as ‘To Be A Defector’ to newer tracks such as the hugely stirring ‘Stuck’, Chorusgirl deliver their shimmering sounds with a heart-rending, cathartic energy.

Next up, The Franklys blast out their energy fuelled rock ‘n’ roll with their immense empowering charisma. From the soaring buoyant power of ‘I’m Not Guilty’, to the swirling grit of ‘Keeper’ and many more riff-tastic anthems in-between, the half Swedish band completely captivate the crowd with their catchily riotous sounds.

And then, the three women of the hour, Berries, take to the stage with their trademark fun-filled energy and sparkling magnetism. Treating the jam-packed venue to dazzling guitar solos, front woman Holly’s distinctive spiky vocals and an all-encompassing life-affirming sense of unity, the trio deliver familiar offerings such as the frenzied force of ‘Discreetly’ and ‘Faults’, amongst songs so new their name is not yet decided – “It’s ‘Trace’, not ‘Once'”, Holly asserts. In between designated swigs of drinks, Berries don’t disappoint, with their admirable raw passion and buzzing charisma, proving them worthy of the highest accolades.

Massive thanks to all three bands for a great night of live music!

Berries’ new EP Lies is out now, via RoseColoured Records/AWAL. Stream now.

 

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Salad, 08.11.19

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us lately, including GENN, Chorusgirl, Witching Waves, CLT DRP and Crumbs, we were back at The Finsbury last night with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best new music.

Kicking things off, and completely packing out the venue instantly, London trio Macadamia Sluts deliver their insightful pop-punk – delving into poignant subjects of toxic relationships and the struggles of being an introvert, with refreshingly confessional lyricism and an impassioned, buoyant energy they uplift and inspire; securing themselves as a definite new favourite band.

Next up, Gold Baby dazzle with their shimmering, heartfelt offerings on the first outing for completed new line up – consisting of Siân, Scott and Sara. The trio deliver dreamy lamentations on life, love and alternative realities, as glistening melodies flow alongside Siân’s utterly spellbinding crystalline vocals that ooze with a raw emotion. Just beautiful.

Penultimate band of the night, all the way from Seattle, Cozy Slippers charm us with their catchy, twinkling slices of indie-pop. Delivering delightfully jangly tales of stolen cars and lost love, they treat us to exquisite harmonies and a gentle romanticism that leaves each and every one of us with a smile on our face and a warmth in our hearts.

And then the secret’s out… our headliners reveal themselves to be reformed ’90 legends Salad. Kicking things off with an energy-fuelled rendition of last year’s single, ‘The Selfishness Of Love’, the band continue to treat us to offerings new and old, predominantly showcasing their latest album The Salad Way, released earlier this year, whilst fitting in classics such as ‘Drink The Elixir’. Oozing a vibrant charisma and sparkling pizazz, despite battling the flu, front woman Marijne leads the way in delivering a set jam-packed full of relentless riffs (courtesy of most recent member Charley Stone) and buoyant melodies, proving that Salad is well and truly back on the menu…

Massive thanks to all four bands for making last night so special, and to everyone who made it out to show support. Catch us next month, on 13th December, with headliners Screaming Toenail!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Keira-Anee Photography / @keiraanee

 

Interview: Bang Bang Romeo

Having been completely blown away by the immense force of Doncaster’s Bang Bang Romeo live at Cro Cro Land earlier this year, it was with excitement that I ventured out on a rainy Thursday night to see them again last week.

With their current UK tour in full swing, having already sold out shows in Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton (amongst others), and with the injuries to show for it (drummer Richard broke his foot in an unfortunate accident coming off stage in Birmingham, but is continuing to play gigs like a trooper), the band are in good spirits when I catch them for a quick chat before the gig at Omeara.

The tour’s been beyond what we expected”, front woman Stars enthuses when I ask how it’s been going so far. “We’ve sold out every night… it’s crazy. Of course, we’d hoped that Leeds and Sheffield and places close to home would sell out. But, for places down here, like Southampton, it blows my mind; driving so far away from where friends and family are, there are no guestlists, it’s just genuine fans. It’s a great feeling.”

Discussing how the crowds have all been totally “up for it“, Stars tells me how it’s been the first time she’s experienced receiving gifts from fans. From wooden BBR logos and names tattooed on people’s arms, to tasty Bake Off worthy cakes: “One BBR fan in Edinburgh had seen on social media that my favourite breakfast is Eggs Benedict with black pudding, so they baked a three tier cake in the shape of Eggs Benedict with a shiny pink tutu… And it tasted amazing.”

And so it seems that Bang Bang Romeo’s time has come to win over hearts worldwide with their energy-fuelled anthems and Stars’ unmatched charisma, and it’s fantastic to see this well-deserved success. “There’s been all these weird moments that we’ll never forget… This tour really has been a turning point.”

But what got Bang Bang Romeo started on their journey to ‘stars’dom? Has music always been a part of their lives?

There’s just nothing else we could see ourselves doing,” Stars reflects. “I’m very happy that mine and Ross’ paths crossed a few years ago. We’ve been writing together ever since.” And with Richard Gartland (drums), and the recent addition of Richard (II) on bass, their line-up is now complete. “This is the line-up that you see today,” Stars motions around the cosy dressing room, “We’re a very happy unit.”

We’re all just massive music lovers“, guitarist Ross continues, “We got a lot of inspiration from our dads.” Stars agrees: “We’ve all had our dads as a main focal point for music… Well-played dads!

As well as listening to music from a young age, Stars can’t remember a time that she didn’t love singing – “Dad says I started singing when I came out of the womb… just imagine – ‘I’m here and I’m queer!’” she chants, with that distinctive cheeky glint in her eye. Drummer Richard, too, has been honing those beats since childhood: “I started playing when I was ten. At first, I didn’t like missing Maths for the classes, but as soon as I got into it, I loved it.”

Music has always been an integral part of the band’s lives, and this completely shines through in their boundless passion and enthusiasm for all they do. Music is life, and Bang Bang Romeo’s belief in this is just one of the things which I’d imagine makes so them so popular – their genuine love for what they do resonates deeply in each of their immense performances; it’s impossible not to become swept up in their utterly infectious joyous energy. “Music is everything” Stars explains, “… Whatever experience you have relates to music – happy times, sad times, you wanna pull a girl – music… Music is the real accompaniment to every memory. It’s a wonderful thing. We are all obsessed with it.”

Bang Bang Romeo’s passion and optimism is reflected in their empowering latest single ‘Love Yourself’, which saw them team up with songwriter and producer Example. Of the collaboration, Ross explains: “It all started at a This Feeling TV show we were doing. He (Example) was also there doing an interview, and we just started chatting.” Stars continues: “Mikey Johns – the creator of This Feeling, an organisation that’s always supported us – just introduced us to his mate, Example, and we just both hit it off straight away… We had each other belly-laughing, and he suggested we should work together. Two weeks later, behind the scenes, it had all been sorted out.” Co-writing and recording the song together, the collaboration seemed like a completely natural and pretty relaxed process: “Blueprints of the song were down within two hours. It was just there.

Reflecting on the meaning behind the lyrics and its message of self-love, Stars explains: “The state that social media’s in, with the massive pressure to be perfect… It bleeds into your life and your loved one’s lives. It’s becoming more and more apparent that no one can accept a compliment or be proud of how they look. I’ve experienced it a million times with myself, and with my partner Charlotte too: I’ll say ‘You look beautiful today’, and she’ll say ‘no thanks’… I’m like basically ‘just love yourself!‘” So, it seemed only right to write a song with this message. “We all wanted to roll with that”, she continues, “Ross had had this chorus in his ‘brainlocker’ for a while, and it was just a perfect starting point for this song, and we just built around it…”

Taking this as a starting point, Example, too, was inspired: “He would just suddenly come up with lyrics… He’d be on his phone and we’d be like ‘what the fuck’s he texting for?’, and he’d literally just written the whole songThere were just little things that inspired the lyrics. Like, we were recording in London and it was absolutely pissing it down, and we went somewhere called The Moon, which is where the lyric ‘meet me down the moon some rainy Sunday’ came from. The guy’s a genius, we loved working with him.”

On the subject of working with other members of the pop elite, we discuss the band’s recent support slot on tour with the legendary P!NK. “It was amazing“, Stars recounts, “It was more than we expected. A dream come true. Everything was more than we expected“. Richard interjects: “Especially the catering!

Everything was more. We got told that P!NK’s agent had come to a show we didn’t know about – you don’t expect anything to come from it, and then obviously this happens. So, that was more than expected. Then you think you’ll be playing somewhere like the O2, then it’s Wembley Stadium two nights in a row, so it’s a little more than expected. Then on the catering, you expect chips and burgers and then it’s lamb shank with a dauphinois red wine jus. Everything exceeded every expectation. Including P!NK herself.”

With clear admiration and gratitude, Stars continues: “That saying ‘never meet your heroes’ – whoever came up with that had shite heroes! She’s a total hero of mine, and I know the lads genuinely love her and appreciate her as an artist. She was extremely inspirational in every single way. It really is a testament to her as a person, and an artist, and her whole team – putting on a band like us, a completely unknown band in comparison. I think other artists of her level should take a leaf out of that book because otherwise noone’s gonna have a chance. And we feel like we’ve been given this wonderful chance.”

Again, Stars’ and the band’s genuine emotion and love for what they do shines through. They’re clearly not taking anything for granted and relish every opportunity they get to spread the word about BBR, perform around the world, and recruit new members of the ‘BBRMY’. Their love for each other and closeness as a unit is also explicitly evident; they seem completely at ease with each other; totally on the same page, and frequently breaking out into little giggles either at each other or the various interruptions we have throughout the interview (the fire alarm and support bands’ vocal warm-ups only adding to the fun). 

With them now having shared a stage with one of the most famous women in the industry, I ask the band what they think of the representation of women in music generally. “I think it’s progressing”, Stars begins, “And quite rightly so. Just like anything else in the world, the more awareness there is about it – the more conversations we have, and the more open-minded we are – the more change will happen. And I think this change has started to happen. We’re starting to have more of these conversations; whether it’s the 50/50 split on festival line-ups, or even tragic things that shouldn’t have to be campaigns like the ‘Me Too’ movement. They shouldn’t have to be a thing, but shed light on the way women in general are treated.”

And on the labels women are so often heaped under, Stars laments: “I think we’re at a stage where people are starting to hopefully not focus too hard on ‘female fronted’ as a label. I hate that so so much – my vagina’s nothing to do with it! It’s not ‘female fronted’, it’s ‘me’ fronted! I think we’re getting there. We just need to have more conversations like this.”

It’s evident that the rest of the band are in agreement too, as Richard adds: “I think the best thing we’ve seen is women now finding the confidence to say ‘actually you can’t say that to me. You can’t do that to me‘”. In other words, Stars clarifies: “We’re not taking any more shit!

However, Stars does have some concerns about certain measures being put into place to promote ‘equality’. “The 50/50 split does kind of worry me. I wanna be on a line-up for a festival because I’m good enough, not because I’ve ticked a box. Not because there’s a space for my vagina! It would have to be a pretty big space… I take up two seats. I don’t want to be a statistic on your fucking spreadsheet. I’m here because I’m good enough.” 

She has a valid point. These measures are of course positive steps, but what’s key is the awareness of the issue, and the importance of female/non binary artists being given as many opportunities as their male peers. “I think we just need to come up with more ideas, because it’s working and I’m seeing more bands with a strong female presence, and that’s because of this, and soon I won’t have to say a ‘female band’, that’s the dream for me… Just stop calling me a ‘female fronted’ band!” Stars’ passion fills the room; her assertive and vibrant nature is something that I truly admire, and wish I had more of. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an essential strong presence in today’s industry.

So, it is not surprising that when asked about sexist attitudes she’s come across directly, her initial response is: “I think the majority of people wouldn’t fucking dare! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ll just tell you what I think.” (I have noticed, and it is one of the things I love most about her).

“Yeah, I’ve experienced little things – it’s hard to compile just one experience. But there are always things that make you go ‘Oh, you said that because you’re a man… At a show abroad recently, I was getting interviewed and the guy was like ‘how do your band feel about a woman fronting them?’ … I was like ‘they probably feel pretty fuckin’ lucky. Next question’… And then he continued ‘how does it feel to be female in a band in a man’s world?’ – I was like ‘what is this?! Am I being Punkd?!'” So, yes, even the strongest and most outspoken of us experience sexism from ignorant men in the industry… “There are so many other interesting things to talk about… Why are we talking about my tits?!

And it’s clear this wasn’t a stand-alone incident, as Richard adds: “And a bloke the other day said he’d wank over Stars. He even said it twice, for effect.” Stars continues: “Yeah, he said it like it was a compliment, like I should be flattered. I was like ‘why are we having this conversation?!’ If I could get away with breaking someone’s nose, I’d have broke his nose. Obviously I don’t condone violence though… Piss off!

My admiration for Stars only continues to grow, as I secretly wish she had broken that guy’s nose…

So, onto subjects other than being in a ‘female fronted band’…

It’s with evident excitement that the band talk about their upcoming debut album, which is out this Friday, 1st November. “We had the release pushed back a couple of times due to various things, like the P!NK tour and Example song“, Richard explains, “And us all just being total perfectionists… But we’re finally in a position when it’s ready.

We’re itching to get it out“, Stars adds, “It’s a compilation of songs that we’re so excited about. It’s our life’s work versus recent work, showing the journey of us as musicians, and how we’ve progressed.”

I just think it’s a really good introduction to what we deliver” Richard continues, “It varies from different sorts of vibes. It’s got funkier tracks, heavier ones, and then more mellow ballads, like my personal favourite ‘Beautiful World‘.”

“It includes songs we’ve recorded all over the world“, Stars explains, “From songs we recorded a few years ago, to one we recorded in March of this year. It really does span a long amount of time and distance – from NY and LA, to Birmingham, London and Doncaster.

This distinctive, yet eclectic, sound is a Bang Bang Romeo trademark, as I witness at the gig that follows – from head-banging, fist-clenching heavy rock moments, to lighters (phones) in the air emotional pop ballads. Their versatility, all held together by the immense power of Stars’ vocals, her unique charisma, and the band’s consistently tight musicality, is another element that I think contributes to their widespread and ever-growing fan base.

And, yet again highlighting their closeness as a band, Stars explains how all the songwriting is completely collaborative: “In terms of lyrics, me and Ross will write the songs, then when we take the bones into the studio, it’s all very hands on in how we want it to sound. We all help each other out with everything, we’re strangely in tune with each other, and have the same kind of vision. We all trust each other completely, and want each other to be completely happy.

One of our favourite things to do“, Ross adds, “is just being in the studio, throwing ideas around. With ‘Beautiful World’, for example, Stars went in to do a vocal on it, and just went off on a tangent of crazy vocals. We were all hugging each other, and she had no idea what was going on – it was perfect. There are loads of little beautiful moments. So, hopefully people will listen to the album and get those too.

It seems, with the tour and album, that Bang Bang Romeo are pretty busy and couldn’t possibly fit in anything else for the rest of the year, but they’re not stopping there…

We have got a few announcements coming up. A few Christmas shows we’re playing and announcements for next year…” Richard assures me.

Even though our debut album will have just come out”, Stars adds, “we are going straight back into the studio to record album number two… Sitting on our hands and doing nothing is just not an option. Not just financially, but we just don’t wanna do anything else… This is life. We are often talking ’til midnight, and then will be back on the phone at 8am. Not a day goes by when we don’t speak.”

And it shows. Bang Bang Romeo are clearly as tight personally as they are musically. There will be no stopping them as they continue to blast into our ears and minds, expanding their ‘BBRMY’ and creating powerful, empowering anthems. With the incredible raw force of Stars at the helm, they’re unlike any other band around; their music, and all they stand for, is truly admirable. It was an honour not only to meet them, but to continue to have my mind blown by their colossal live show once again.

A Heartbreaker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the upcoming debut album from Bang Bang Romeo, is out 1st November.

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ ĠENN, 11.10.19

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us lately, including Chorusgirl, Witching Waves, CLT DRP, Crumbs and Mammoth Penguins, we were back at The Finsbury on Friday with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best new music.

Kicking things off to a joyous start are Breakup Haircut. Treating us to songs about everything from wanting to be a “greaser”, to not feeling cool enough to move to Berlin, their set’s filled with an uplifting buoyant energy and infectious punk fuzz.

Next up, Bitch Hunt deliver their poignant offerings with stirring emotion. Covering themes of being non-binary, experiencing domestic abuse and general feelings of grief and being an outsider, they bring an impassioned energy and gritty power to an immense set.

Penultimate band of the night, The Weird Things, bring their racing energy propelled by the soaring vocals of front woman Leila, creating a set filled with rough ‘n’ ready rock ‘n’ roll anthems.

Having played for us twice before (under their former moniker Cryptic Street), it’s an honour to now have ĠENN headline for us. With their wonderfully eccentric charisma and immense, empowering spirit, they deliver impressive riffs and racing beats, enrapturing the crowd with their buoyant spirit, as vocalist Leona bounds across the stage in a whirlwind of joyous energy. Once again proving that they’re a force to be reckoned with, ĠENN deliver a memorable set that does not disappoint.

Massive thanks to all four bands who played for us on Friday! We’ll be back at The Finsbury on 8th November with a super exciting Secret Headliner, plus Cozy Slippers (all the way from Seattle!), Gold Baby and Macadamia Sluts. Not to be missed!

 

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Five Favourites: ĠENN’s Sofia Rosa Cooper

Having completely blown us away playing for us at both The Finsbury and The Five Bells over the last year, we cannot wait for ĠENN (fka Cryptic Street) to headline The Finsbury for our gig there this Friday!

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with ĠENN‘s drummer Sofia Rosa Cooper to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five songs that have influenced her playing and songwriting techniques, or simply take her back to a specific feeling or time. Check out her choices below, and make sure you listen to the band’s ‘Let’s Go Suki’, ahead of the gig this Friday, at the end of this post!

Kashmere Stage Band – ‘Kashmere’
Sounds varying from jazz to rare groove/funk have always been an inspiration source to me, no matter what style I play and this is just one example. The drums are tasty af and worth grooving to if you can keep up (I can’t!).

Angel Olsen – ‘Woman’
This song!!! I can’t be the only person to have stumbled across Angel Olsen and wondered why it took so long. It’s just so nice to see a rise of powerful and raw artists that are striving unapologetically. Writing music almost always serves as an outlet for me and I’ve found that part of putting pen to paper is being open and honest with myself. I can’t imagine the process being any easier without influence!

Funkadelic – ‘Maggot Brain’
I don’t need to say much! but Funkadelic have definitely played a part in my growth as a musician and I just love ‘Maggot Brain’. Unrelated to this song, one of my favourite drummers of all time Dennis Chambers played for Parliament/Funkadelic and this was the connection that brought me to them. If you’re unfamiliar with Dennis but a Santana fan like me, Dennis was also an asset to Santana’s never-ending supergroup and toured extensively with him. Watch some Dennis Chambers content today!

Yellowjackets – ‘Summer Song’
Yellowjackets are a band I revisited after listening to a bunch of my dad’s records and I instantly felt nostalgic. I love this song so much and it’s definitely my favourite of theirs. Also, I always associate these kinds of songs with nature and being outdoors, and they’re usually the type to get my creativity flowing!

Hollie Cook – ’99’
A sweet and tropical song to finish, and an easy choice really! I first saw Hollie Cook when she was supporting The Skints a while back and I’ve been following her ever since. It’s really cool to see artists really innovate with genres like reggae and dub whilst staying true to their foundations, and she’s done exactly that.

Big thanks to Sofia for sharing her Five Favourites! Make sure you catch ĠENN live headlining The Finsbury, this Friday 11th October, and listen to their immense track ‘Let’s Go Suki’ below!

 

Photo Credit: Maria Galea