FIVE FAVOURITES: Sarah P.

Sarah P. (former front-woman of Keep Shelly In Athens) has shared her new EP Maenads with the world, and it’s a record that openly explores the theme of female power in all its magic, strength and “imperfect perfection”. The record is a triumphant return for the artist, who has been busy championing public conversations about mental health through the creation of her monthly zine EraseRestart, which aims to wipe out the stigma that surrounds it. 

We caught up with Sarah P. to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique. Check out her responses below…

1. Sad Lovers & Giants – Les Années Vertes
This record is everything to me. Pure 80s sound, conscious-but-mysterious lyrics, eerie vocals. I’ve always loved the “hopeless romantic” vibe of the post punk-scene. Les Années Vertes is a classic, timeless piece of art. Even if the sound is now considered vintage, the lyric themes are easy to connect with. This album is a manifesto for the youth – I believe every generation can relate to it. I put on this record when I need a push in my life. It makes me feel powerful and confident. It takes me back to being a suburban teen with dirty converse shoes trying to grasp from the complexities of coming of age. And whenever I’m playing it, I think of this awkward child (that grew up to be an even more awkward adult), her tough years and how she overcame the hardships.

2. Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth
I guess I’m naturally attracted to haunting melodies, thought-provoking lyrics and quirky vocals. This is my favourite Nine Inch Nails album and one of my top records of all time. I remember listening to With Teeth for the first time and being genuinely impressed by the arrangements and how every sound is right where it belongs (pun intended). Also, it’s safe to say that NIN are the most amazing band I’ve seen performing live. The production of everything they do is so detailed-oriented and perfect, and always leaves me in their awe. ‘Right Where It Belongs’ is perhaps my most favourite song in the world. It’s so raw, authentic and honest – a truly inspiring composition. Most of the things I strive to be, I’ve learned courtesy of NIN and With Teeth.

3. Tim Buckley – Goodbye And Hello
When I was around 6 years old, my dad made me a mixtape and included ‘Phantasmagoria in Two’ on it. Boy, didn’t I fall in love? I asked him “who’s Tim Buckley?”, he showed me a picture and I was ready and committed to get married to him. Dad told me that Tim Buckley had died, but that didn’t matter, because he was set out to be my forever crush. An angel for me – a tortured soul, regardless. Goodbye And Hello is too pretty to be man-made. Vulnerability was Buckley’s strength. ‘Pleasant Street’ is a truly moving song about addiction, but there are far too many gems in this album. Buckley wrote from his heart – he never took a vocal lesson or cared for chords and song structures. To me, he’s one of the greatest artists to have ever walked on earth.

4. Anne Clark – Joined Up Writing/The Sitting Room
POETRY! Anne Clark, the ultimate siren – she’s so intense. ‘Our Darkness’ is obviously her most popular song to date, however the whole record is pure beauty. She’s one of the most fascinating artists, I’ve ever come across. I love how committed she’s always been to her artistry. I point that out knowing how tough the industry is with women who are not making what they like to call “mainstream music”. But Anne Clark is a true badass and never shied away from speaking truths on her songs. Beautiful arrangements, leaving room for majestic spoken words that make you shiver.

5. Dionysis Savvopoulos – Vromiko Psomi
‘Zeimpekiko’ is one of the songs that makes me very emotional. My parents played it every time they had their friends over – it brings back memories of their parties at home, the smell of cigarettes and whiskey, the breeze coming in from the open window, the muffled sound of philosophical conversations, music and the sounds of cars passing by. I’ve reconnected with this record while in Berlin – away from home. This record was released two years before the fall of Greece’s military junta. Savvopoulos was jailed twice during that time – the song ‘Dimosthenous Lexis’ is about him in jail thinking how life would be if he got out of jail (apparently, not too bright, because democracy seemed like a dream at the time). In times where fascism slips through even the tightest layers of our societies, it’s important to look back and learn from our recent history. Democracy shouldn’t be taken for granted and neither should artistry and talent that’s bold and brave to address topics
that our societies may not be ready to hear about.

Follow Sarah P. on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: George Geranios

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Dish Pit – ‘1000 Ways To Die’

Forget your ‘Bucket List’ – Montreal punk trio DISH PIT have shared ‘1000 Ways To Die’ – a track which riotously explores the many reasons why millennials might be down in the dumps. The release precedes the band’s May UK tour dates, which include a slot at The Great Escape Festival this week.

Having met in the dish pit, washing dishes and wiping away greasy leftovers; Nora, Jack and Brianna came together as a band under the moniker, and moved into an apartment together in Montreal. Wedged between a porn studio and a music studio – it’s no surprise that their sound is as chaotic, unpredictable, and as filthy as their surroundings.

“This track is meant to be an exploration into why everyone my age is seemingly depressed” says vocalist Nora. “’Is it the hormones in our milk or video games?’ is implying that it could be a chemical, or lifestyle thing.” Whatever the reason, Dish Pit’s new track is a temporary, riotous remedy for millennial angst. Listen to ‘1000 Ways To Die’ below and follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Dish Pit UK Tour Dates
15/05/18 Thomas Street Manchester
17/05/18 The Ferret Preston
18/05/18 East Street Tap The Great Escape Brighton
24/05/18 The Amersham Arms New Cross London
25/05/18 The Exchange Gin Festival Bedford
29/05/18 The Salty Dog Northwich

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: Megan Airlie

Having just released her stunning new single ‘After River’, Scottish artist Megan Airlie tackles the issue of mental health with her sweeping, emotion-strewn vocals and twinkling, finger-picked melodies.

We caught up with Megan to find out more about her journey with music…

Hi Megan, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I grew up in Glasgow which has a pretty predominant and flourishing music scene. You do need to go on the hunt though to find music that isn’t, as a friend calls it, “skinny white boy guitar bands”, but there is definitely a wide variety of great music happening here. I’m currently only performing solo around Glasgow, my voice and my guitar. Soon I would like to build up to being in a band again on my terms. But I write all my own tunes and pull a lot of influence from the ‘40s-‘60s

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I would never tell anyone as a child, for fear of embarrassment, but I’ve always wanted to perform in some way. I looked up to my aunt a lot who was in a band in the ’90s and I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so I taught myself how to sing and play but didn’t really write anything until I was 17.

Who would you say have been your main musical influences?
Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin and Etta James were always the people I would aspire to perform like. I take a lot of influence from the ’60s folk scene as well.

We love your beautiful new single ‘After River’. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write it?
I had not sat down to write or felt the need to write in a long time before ‘After River’. It came out during a very dark period and when my mental health was at its worst, so I thought best to hold myself up as much as a could and release something out of me that needed to be said. I find it easier to talk about things through writing it down and putting it to a melody than just saying to folk “I feel terrible”. I don’t think I could have written about anything else at that time.

 

Do you feel the music industry could be doing more to support mental health issues?
Totally. But every industry could be. I actually feel more unity and support when it comes to mental health discussion in the music scene than anywhere else. There is a lot more understanding I find. But we should always be attentive and we should always open up a dialogue about it.

And what advice would you give to other musicians struggling with their own mental health?
When in doubt, write it down. Get it out and take time to process. Everything slows down a little when you put pen to paper.

And what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Megan Airlie?
I’m currently preparing for future single releases to come out in the next couple of months, and getting back into recording soon with Scott Flanagan who recorded my single ‘After River’. A lot of exciting stuff!

Huge thanks to Megan for answering our questions!

‘After River’ is out now Bloc Music Records.

 

Interview: Bloom Twins

Teaming up with charities to raise awareness of pressing issues is not a new concept for the Bloom Twins. 2015 saw the twins joining forces with UNICEF, covering John Lennon’s iconic ‘Imagine’, in a campaign for children’s rights across the globe. And Bloom Twins are once again combining action with harmonies with their latest single ‘Talk To Me’, in which they raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health – an issue which has affected them both personally.

Nicky Lee-Delisle caught up with the Bloom Twins to find out more about the latest single, and their experiences of mental health issues.

“We wrote ‘Talk To Me’ four years ago” the twins tell me. “One of our friends died from anorexia… Her grandmother died and she was the closest person to her. At some point she stopped talking to anybody and letting anyone in. Passing away from Anorexia was the consequence of not talking to people, and that is what the song is about. The whole idea is focused on talking to people and letting people in.”

The video for ‘Talk To Me’ is a harrowing race against time in an engulfing city landscape, reminding the viewer to take direct action in reaching out to those who need it before it is too late – “We tried to think about it, about what our friend was going through”, Bloom Twins explain. The lyrics are a genuine, heartfelt plea to open up about any troubles ‘Talk to me and speak your mind / I’ll stand beside you’. Songs are a powerful medium in conveying messages, with Anna and Sonia determined to use their platform to create positive change: “The song is about what we went through during that time, and urging those in similar positions to just to let it all out. Talk to people…”

Another platform for change that the twins speak passionately about is the poisoned chalice which is social media. “We wanted to make a change, we didn’t want to make it just about the music. We want to be a part of things which we are thinking about. Something we are striving to deliver. Right now everyone is so into Instagram – how you look and where you go. It’s not about what you’re doing anymore”, Sonia muses, “What I don’t like about social media is that people compare one another, but then we go against that. I find it stupid that people make jokes about others (on social media). Maybe that’s why people have issues talking about mental illness”. However, the Bloom Twins hope that their single will go some way in turning the negative side of social media on its head via their hashtag campaign #holdyourfriend. “That’s why we started talking to strangers (via social media) saying ‘do you want to be a part of it?’. I know it seems like we’re just promoting ourselves, but I was surprised how many people wanted to take part.”

Reaching out via social media is one way of being there for those who are in dark places, but what about those who we encounter in our day to day lives…? “I would say treat them normally”, Anna advices. “Don’t be like ‘oh that person is depressed, I need to be super-nice to them’ – never act too obviously that they are depressed.”

“I would spend more time with that person” adds Sonia. “Then at a point where that person would feel more comfortable with me I would say something like – ‘you know what, I’m going through bad times too!’”

The music industry itself is notorious for taking its toll on the mental health of those involved, and as much as popular culture feeds off the concept of the ‘tortured poet’ musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety than any other profession. The Bloom Twins moved over to London from their homeland of Ukraine at the young age of just seventeen in order to pursue their career in music, so what advice do they have in negotiating such a cut-throat industry? “It is very normal within any creative industry to feel down and feel like you’re not needed from the beginning. You feel like everybody is telling you ‘no’. You need to believe in yourself and it’s fine to feel down. Write a song whenever anything happens, let it out.” Although journeying through the music industry can be gruelling, the music which has been created as the end product can go far in the healing process for anyone who suffers from mental health issues. “Music holds a special place for us, listening to our favourite songs provides an escape. People tend to close inside of them off, and the only thing they can do is plug in those guys (mimes putting on headphones).”

Catch Bloom Twins live at Nambucca on 16th February for The N7 Sessions. And on 17th May at Camden Assembly for MaDa Music Entertainment.

Nicky Lee-Delisle
@Nicky__Lee