An Open Letter To First Timers Fest…

Dear First Timers Fest,

Thank you for existing and for the best Sunday afternoon spent at the Amersham Arms, watching new bands perform live together for the first time.

I (and the GIHE team) have been following your work as a non-profit organisation, encouraging people from all walks of life to start making music for a while now and I think what you do is vital and beautiful – and I hope you feel appreciated!

For those who don’t know, First Timers are a London based initiative who run workshops and festivals that aim to make music accessible to all. They focus on creating fun, low pressure environments for people to learn instruments, form their own band and aim to build a community of like-minded people who think access to music shouldn’t be blocked by financial or social barriers.

I have seen and felt the joy of the First Timers community first hand, having attended their Bass Workshop with Jodi earlier this year and their Festival earlier this month. Turning up alone to these events can feet a bit daunting, but from the moment I walked into an event, the team of volunteers were warm, approachable and always willing to chat. It’s a human-centered initiative designed to make you feel comfortable, and it’s always a pleasure to be in the room with other people who are seeking a connection through music.

Between sets at the festival, I spoke to volunteers and organisers about how much I was enjoying the day. They took the time to stand and talk with me, which was no small feat considering that logistically, organising stage times and supporting 15 new bands must have meant they had a truly chaotic day. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay for the full festival!

It was inspiring to watch new bands like Wormdriver, Poorly Trained Radicals, Pig City, Egg Doggs and Achers share their music with a crowd for the first time. Considering it was a festival for beginners, there were so few “mistakes” in the performances, and if any person on stage looked like they were unsure, the crowd immediately applauded or cheered them on to dissolve the uncertainty. It’s this shared supportive attitude that makes First Timers Fest such a pleasure to witness. It’s an attitude that often gets lost in the pretensions of wider, more “serious” music spheres. It’s easy to forget that everyone has to start somewhere and ultimately – so what if you fuck it up? That’s half the fun anyway, and that’s what First Timers are here for.

I grew up as a working class girl in Essex and despite secretly wanting to, I never learned how to play an instrument. I was one of four kids, incredibly shy and had no idea where to start. My brother taught himself how to play guitar and synths via Youtube videos, but I couldn’t grasp any of it through a screen. The one bass lesson I had with Jodi this year made me feel like I might actually be able to get somewhere with an instrument, if I just make the time to practice it more often. If First Timers had been around when I was a teenager, I think they would have helped me get to where I am today a little bit quicker. I’m grateful to have found them now as an adult, and I really hope others will read this and reach out and join the First Timers community too.

Keep up the good work folks and I’ll see you again soon.

Love & solidarity,
Kate x

 

Follow First Timers Fest on TwitterFacebookInstagram & their official website

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Wet Leg – ‘Wet Dream’

A sultry indie pop tune that’s “enough to make a girl blush,” Isle Of Wight duo Wet Leg have shared their latest single ‘Wet Dream’. Following on from their infectious debut track ‘Chaise Longue’ released via Domino earlier this year, the band have created another witty, playful anthem, this time exploring the feelings left behind by unwanted attention from an ex after a break-up.

Formed of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, Wet Leg began making music together in the summer of 2019 and in the space of two short years, the pair have garnered a loyal and excited following. Their refreshingly laid back attitude, dead-pan humourous lyrics and memorable guitar licks provide their listeners with instant gratification and new single ‘Wet Dream’ is no exception.

“’Wet Dream’ is a breakup song,” Teasdale explains. “It came about when one of my ex’s went through a stage of texting me after we we’d broken up telling me that ‘he had a dream about me.’” Teasdale has put a mischievous spin on this situation in the track’s colourful accompanying video, which she directed herself, featuring Salvador Dali-esque lobster claws and pillow & food fights.

Watch the video for ‘Wet Dream’ below.

Follow Wet Leg on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo credit: Hollie Fernando

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: Monks In The Wood

Having spent the last year changing their line-up and writing new songs, South London band Monks In The Wood create lyrically poignant offerings oozing a twinkling musicality and heartfelt raw emotion.

Reflecting on human behaviour and “all the sorts of crazy things human beings believe, prioritise and do”, new single ‘Patterns’ showcases the band’s majestic shimmering charm and powerful storytelling abilities.

We caught up with Charlotte Nordin, who has recently joined the band on keys and vocals, to find out more…

Hi Charlotte, welcome to Get In Her Ears! For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi Mari! Thank you for having me! I’m a Stockholm-born musician and DJ living in London since 2016. I’ve been working full time in the music since I moved here and I love it! I recently started teaching music and art as well in schools around London, which is definitely an extension of my passion. Teaching is what I studied when I was in Stockholm. 

How did you initially decide to start creating music?
I learned very early on that I loved making music and writing songs. I used to tell my friends I couldn’t see them and instead stood by the stereo in my room, pressing record and play, and singing over tracks, haha! My dad was really into music as well and got me these eJay studio music sample PC games that I started to play around with in the late ’90s. It quickly evolved to getting Cubase, microphones and teaching myself how to play the keyboard and guitar. As an angry angst-ridden teenager I realised quickly that singing and making music was the only non-destructive thing that could make me feel better. And it has continued throughout my entire life. 

And how did you first get involved with Monks In The Wood?
After a couple years being a one woman musician in London I finally signed up to find other musicians online. Monks In The Wood popped up and they needed someone for keys and vocals, and I really liked their image and sound. After meeting them to jam a couple times in Peckham, I’ve been 100% on the Monks In The Wood train, haha. 

The band have been compared to the likes of The Shins and Local Natives, and we love the band’s twinkling dreamy vibes, but who would you personally cite as your main musical influences?
Well, we are five band members with pretty different musical influences to bring to the pot. My personal thought listening to the music when I joined was that it has major Kent-vibes. Kent is a famous Swedish alt-rock band with some shoegaze influences and that dreamy sound that Monks In The Wood also has. Since Kent is one of my own biggest music influences, it’s not strange that I felt at home in the Monks sound straight away. 

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Well, I don’t really know… It’s definitely both good and bad that social media and the online world provides easy access to be seen and also finding new music. I feel like it’s a big ocean of amazing talent out there and if you don’t stick your elbows out, be unique and keep on people’s radar, you drown in the noise of others. As a new upcoming band, it can be quite draining, but also exciting, since it’s easy to connect with new contacts. 

It’s that time of year when normally we’d be getting excited about the upcoming summer festivals… Sadly of course things are all a bit on hold at the moment. But what festivals would you normally be looking forward to?
Oh I love festivals! One of the best ones I’ve been to is Rock Werchter in Belgium. It’s well-structured, audience is mixed and it has a mix of music genres as well. I saw bands like Placebo, The Prodigy and Dave Matthews Band. The worst festival I’ve been to is Openair Frauenfeld, a hip hop festival in Switzerland. I came for Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill, but the festival goers were all under 16 years old and quite rude – it was a very weird vibe! I ended up barely going into the festival grounds at all. My all-time favourite festival is Open’er Festival in Gdynia, Poland. Such a friendly, well-arranged and mixed festival. I’ve been going five years in a row and am so sad I’m missing this year

And who will be the first band/artist you hope to see live when this is all over?
I’ve ticked off a lot of my favourites already, but I’m yet to see Bon Iver! I also want to see Danger Incorporated, Airiel, The Japanese House, Che Ecru, Dej Loaf and Roy Woods.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming new bands that you’d recommend we check out?
Definitely all of the bands and artists I name dropped in the previous question!

And what else does 2020 have in store for Monks In The Wood?
We are currently working on lots of new songs and are looking forward to recording them and doing lots of live gigs when bars and clubs re-open again!

Massive thanks to Charlotte for answering our questions!

 

‘Patterns’ is out now via Spinnup.

Photo Credit: Seb Higgins

Track Of The Day: Small Man Society – ‘Songs I Write About You’

Self described as “The kinda band you wanna take home to meet your Mum”, Small Man Society blend indie melodies and down to earth humour on their debut single, ‘Songs I Write About You’.

Accompanied by a video that shows the band joyfully grooving around the office during their 9-5, ‘Small Man Society’ casually laments the tricky situation between dating and becoming “official”, and all the awkwardness in between. Jangly guitars, catchy lyrics and upbeat vocals all blend together to create a care-free tune designed to distract you from feeling crushed by your crush.

Formed of Mother Trigg (guitars/lead vocals), Dapper Dill (guitar/vocals), Mrs Field (drums), and Shed The Sexy (bass), Small Man say their interests are Gordon Ramsay, existential chat, long walks, reading books and breaking hearts. If any of that appeals to you, we suggest you watch their video for ‘Songs I Write About You’ below.

Follow Small Man Society on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut