Introducing Interview: Claire Pitt Wigmore

Having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for previous singles, ‘Dreaming (Where Did You Go?)’ and ‘Words’, Margate-based multi-instrumentalist Claire Pitt Wigmore has charmed our ears with her soulful, impassioned energy and sparkling, blues-infused musicality.

Having recently released gritty, yet instantly catchy, riff-filled single ‘Shades Of Green‘, we caught up with Claire to talk about what inspires her, her experience as a female artist in the music industry, and more. Have a read!

Hi Claire! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Hi Mari! Thanks so much for interviewing me. I certainly can! I’m a multi-instrumentalist from Margate, Kent. I predominately perform with my electric guitar, loop pedal and vocals. I create music ranging from indie, trip-hop and blues but that’s my own interpretation. I’ve always been a huge lead guitar blues fan. 

Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music? 
I always wanted to play the guitar. Electric guitar to be exact. I became fascinated by “shreddy” guitar solos from an early age and thought “if they can do that, why can’t I?” It was around about the time ‘Sk8er Boi’ by Avril Lavigne became a hit that I became inspired, but I didn’t start learning the guitar until I was about ten, which was six or seven years after this musical awakening. I played in a wide range of cover bands and original bands before venturing off as a solo artist. I played in indie bands, rap-rock bands, acoustic duos. All of which stood me in good stead as a performer. But it wasn’t until I started creating my own music that my musical abilities really started coming to life. I bought myself a loop pedal. It was only to track chord progressions and practise my improvisation skills, but I soon started creating original instrumental pieces with it. From there, I managed to create a unique blend of soulful chord progressions and bluesy guitar solos that would later become fully composed pieces of mine. 

I love your impassioned, shimmering sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! That’s very kind of you! I’ve been influenced by a number of genres and sounds over the years. It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific influence but I’ve definitely honed in on the genre of blues, regarding my guitar playing. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd has been a big influence of mine – that warm, psychedelic tone of his has always been a favourite of mine. I’ve also been influenced by guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. But speaking from a general musical point of view, I’ve gravitated towards artists like Massive Attack, Air, Portishead, Tash Sultana, Deftones. The list could go on really!

You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Shades Of Green’. Are you able to tell us a bit about the single? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
‘Shades of Green’ seems to be everyone’s new favourite at the moment. I think because I’ve branched out as an artist and started exploring different writing styles and genres, and it’s a little more upbeat than my previous releases. The track talks about the image that’s on the single artwork actually: it’s a photograph of me aged three wearing a lilac/mauve party dress and I just remember thinking “I hate this dress”. Which is also really sad because my mum must have thought it looked really sweet and pretty! I probably just wanted to wear something a little more “tomboyish” and I guess there was a mixture of emotions running riot at the time. It’s probably one of the first songs I’ve written where I’ve opened up about childhood emotions; I’ve tended to write in a rather cryptic way in the past to avoid people actually knowing what was going on in my head.

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+  artists
It’s interesting you should ask this question actually because I recently wrote a blog, that was published by a local music charity, about my experiences as a female instrumentalist. I hadn’t really spoken up about the injustices I’d faced in a male dominated industry before, but I’m so glad I did. Especially being a “female guitarist”, which isn’t as common as a “male guitarist”, I felt like an outsider and unfortunately encountered a number of sexist and dismissive remarks. I do feel like things are changing though which is really positive. There are a number of queer/LGBTQ+ artists and bands on the scene at the moment and that’s also something that’s been embraced in my local music scene. 

You’re based in Margate – how is the music scene there? Do you feel that the live music community there has fully recovered since the pandemic? 
Margate really is the place to be now, isn’t it? I remember growing up, Margate was just another seaside ghost town but in the last five to ten years there’s been a huge change, especially in the creative scene. New and exciting venues such as Elsewhere have really turned things around and regenerated the music scene by not only putting on up and coming artists but welcoming local talent to its stage. Since the pandemic, I’ve actually been able to perform as a solo artist more than before. I think people were in desperate need of a music scene after nearly eighteen months of nothing. You never really appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone, I think is a very fitting phrase!

And what can fans expect from a Claire Pitt Wigmore live show? 
A lot of bluesy, psychedelic guitar solos, ambient vocals and an incredible amount of loop pedal use. The Boss RC-30 loop pedal has become a staple for every show.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Good question! I supported a Northampton based band at Ramsgate Music Hall, back in July 2021, called Sarpa Salpa. Think ’80s disco/funk, mixed in with pop and a bit of alternative rock. I was very impressed. 

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
This is an interesting one because I’ve been quite unwell recently and have been diagnosed with a lymphoma that I’ll be starting treatment for very soon. A dark ending to this interview, but it is treatable! I’m still writing and releasing music and gigging as much as I can. I haven’t been able to gig as much as I hoped this year, but I’m doing as much as I can. I’m in the process of writing my second EP, that should be out later this year. It discusses my bout of ill health and the end of my relationship, that happened not long after I became ill at the beginning of the year. I’ve put my heart and soul into this body of work, so expect to get a real insight into my life.

Massive thanks to Claire for answering our questions!

‘Shades Of Green’, the latest single from Claire Pitt Wigmore, is out now:

Photo Credit: Nigel Martin Photography

ALBUM: pink suits – ‘political child’

Having first formed back in 2017, Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Blasting into our ears at the end of last year with their raging single ‘Fake Great Britain’, they are now set to release their debut album political child later this month. 

A collection of thirteen tracks, each as poignantly charged as the last, the album sets out pink suits’ manifesto with a raging, angst-driven energy. With just drums, a guitar and the riotous force of their voices, Lennie and Ray offer an inclusive Feminist rebellion to bring about radical change. Truly a soundtrack for these times; a rallying cry to make our voices heard and fight for an upheaval of a neoliberal society. 

Kicking off with ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’, the album starts as it means to go on: with a seething, all-too-poignant social commentary on the increasingly terrifying state of the UK right now. As intense beats and whirring hooks provide the backdrop for gritty blazing vocals, an impending sense of doom is created, reflecting the way many of us are feeling right now and the urgency felt in the need to “… strip authority from all abusive powers”. 

Continuing in a similar vein, ‘Decades Back’ and ‘Salute To The Sun’ ooze the duo’s quirky, playful energy as swirling punk-rock riffs race with an impassioned, riotous zest. Next up, stand out single ‘Fake Great Britain’ pretty much epitomises the message of political child as a whole. Propelled by a frenzied power and scuzzy hooks, it hits you with its raw, punk-fuelled lyricism raging against austerity and the fake ‘great’ ideals of a post-Brexit UK. With a ferocious passion, it’s a rallying cry against this government and the intolerance it promotes, its lies and the detrimental effects it’s had on all of our mental health. A perfect queer punk anthem inciting us to fight fascism with all our might. 

Perhaps more uptempo in sound, ‘We Can Shout’ reflects on the power of protest and the need to stand up to authority. With the seething cry “we can break it from the inside out”, pink suits seem to assert the importance of spreading information and discrediting the fake news we are so often fed by the right wing press. Touching on a theme that is particularly resonant right now – with the government trying to take away our right to protest – the track manages to firmly lodge its important message in your ears with its catchy refrains and buoyant energy.

The next three tracks seem to stand alone as their own entities, stepping away from the trademark punk-driven force of the rest of the album, showcasing the many different sides to pink suits and their eclectic sonic capabilities. Whilst ‘Gold Girl’ treats us to a Riot Grrrl reminiscent angst-driven power as penetrating screams blast out across the scuzzy soundscape, ‘Be The Best’ is propelled by steady marching beats offering a tongue-in-cheek commentary on toxic masculinity, and addressing the damaging importance that the government places on the military and arms trade, as well as the dangerous patriotism rooted in the desire to fight against other nationalities. And then there’s ‘3AM’: what appears to be a soothing respite from the seething rage of other tracks as the duo take a twinkling moment of personal reflection. 

Returning to their vibrant fist-clenching energy, the next two tracks awaken the senses with a racing force. Following ‘This Hole’, ‘Anarchist Wisdom’ offers a raging reflection on the prejudice that’s so rife in society – name-checking some of those responsible for spreading hatred, going against both morality and humanity. As a ferocious screech of “be a Feminist” blasts into the ears, I feel a shiver down my spine; with this immensely powerful sonic storm, pink suits just seem to magnificently capture the burning anger, frustration and sadness that so many of us are feeling right now.

Drawing the album to a close, the final three tracks continue with a similarly empowering energy. Following the seething statement of intent of the collection’s title track, ‘Scarred’ is propelled by a driving punk energy as it builds in tempo to a wonderfully frenzied climax. Finally, ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ may appear more melodic in sound than the majority of the album, but is no less pressing in its stirring intent. Offering a vibrant message of inclusivity and hope, here the duo urge us to come together and unite against the powers that seek to contain us. 

With political child, pink suits have not only created a completely necessary and ferociously poignant listen, but have done so whilst oozing an infectious vibrant energy and colourful charisma, cementing each of their raging, yet catchy, offerings firmly in our ears, leaving us longing to catch their colossal, swirling power live (we may have news on that this week…).

political child offers a perfect riotous catharsis; an immense formidable force, coated in a rousing cacophony, calling us to arms in these truly terrifying times. 

political child is out 16th April. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Aim4 Recording, Canterbury.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Kathryn A Betts

Premiere: pink suits – ‘Fake Great Britain’

Having first formed back in 2017, Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Having just announced their debut album, ‘Political Child’, they have now shared a brand new riotous single.

Propelled by a frenzied, angst-driven power and scuzzy hooks, ‘Fake Great Britain’ hits you with its raw, punk-fuelled lyricism raging against austerity and the fake ‘great’ ideals of a post-Brexit UK. With a seething, ferocious passion, it’s a rallying cry against this government and the intolerance it promotes, its lies and the detrimental effects it’s had on all of our mental health. A totally necessary listen, it’s a perfect riotous catharsis; an immense formidable force calling us to arms in these terrifying times. A queer punk anthem inciting us to get up, make our voices heard and fight fascism with all our might. (It’s also catchy as f**K – an instant earworm that you need in your ears now).

‘Fake Great Britain’ is accompanied by a wonderfully vibrant, poignantly pink-themed video – a perfect depiction of the inclusive Feminist rebellion that pink suits urge us to unite in to bring about radical change.

Watch for the first time now:

Mixed and mastered by Aim4 Recording, Canterbury, ‘Fake Great Britain’ was filmed in Margate with Dogbrain Videos.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Kathryn A Betts