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

Track Of The Day: My Idea – ‘Breathe You’

With the final single from their debut album, New York duo My Idea rip up the rulebook. ‘Breathe You’ feels radically vulnerable. The intimacy of the lyrics and production make for uncomfortable listening: it’s the musical equivalent of hearing your neighbours arguing through paper-thin walls. 

The band, made up of Palberta’s Lily Konigsberg and Water from your Eyes’ Nate Amos, have talked about their latest album soundtracking a collective breaking point. And you can hear that so clearly in this duet. Amos’ lo-fi, electronically enhanced vocal collides starkly with the purity of Konigberg’s voice, stopping you in your tracks. And the conflict builds further with the song’s urgency and almost grotesque imagery that paints a picture of obsessive lust. 

Of the track, Amos explains:

“‘Breathe You’ was never really intended to be on the album. I made the hook/beat in the middle of a night when I was unable to sleep and sent it to Lily as a sort of ‘check out how ridiculous this is’ joke; she recorded the verses and sent it back within a day. This was during a really difficult time for both of us and we were processing our emotions in very different ways – I buried my sadness inside of humour and Lily wore hers on her sleeve In spite of the absurdity of the song at a basic level, it ended up being as honest and accurate as anything we’ve made…”

Releasing ‘Breathe You’ as the last single of their first album is a stroke of genius from the band. It’s such an interesting song, both musically and lyrically, that you can’t help but wonder what they’ll do next! 


Cry Mfer, the debut album from My Idea, is out now on Hardly Art.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Photo Credit: OK McCausland

LIVE: The Great Escape 2022 (Photos & Highlights)

We were back at The Great Escape for the first time in 3 YEARS at the weekend, stomping around Brighton trying to catch some of our favourite women and LGBTQ+ artists in new music. Spread across multiple venues in the city, the festival showcased an eclectic line-up of talent, and our Features Editor Kate Crudgington and official photographer Jon Mo were there to capture just some of the highlights of the prolific 3 day event.

Of course, clashes, queues and timing issues meant we inevitably missed some artists, including sets from ZAND, Ailbhe Reddy, Mykki Blanco, A.A. Williams, Witch Fever, Bad Waitress, Kills Birds, LibraLibra, PEANESS and Grandmas House, but we tried to get to as many gigs as possible on Thursday & Friday. Read about the performances we did manage to catch and take a look at our pictures below…

 

ARXX remain one of our favourite bands, both on and off stage

Whether it’s vocalist & guitarist Hanni casually saying “let’s break up this wall of men” as we moved towards the front for Fräulein’s set at Queens Hotel, or drummer Clara cracking up the crowd with her story about a seagull stealing her croissant during their own set (she’s a Brighton resident as well, rookie mistake) – ARXX truly are the definition of an iconic duo. Their set at The Hope & Ruin was so packed we couldn’t get in, but it was worth running up the hill to Brighton Youth Centre to catch them performing later on the same day. Full of their trademark riotous riffs, anthemic vocals and knockout percussion, the duo tore through renditions of ‘Deep’ and ‘Call Me Crazy’ as well as previewing their new single, ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’. We can’t wait to have them headline for GIHE again at The Shacklewell Arms on the 22nd July. (tickets here)

Fräulein are your new favourite grunge duo

Joni & Karston aka Fräulein blew us away when they headlined our first GIHE gig of 2022 back in January at The Victoria in Dalston. Since then, the duo have been playing across London non-stop and have been out on tour with The Mysterines and Coach Party too. They performed their brooding, captivating grunge sounds to a full house in the basement at Queens Hotel on Thursday afternoon, with singles ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Drag Behind’ being set highlights. They played a show on each day of the festival over the weekend, so if you didn’t catch at least one of their sets, you definitely missed out.

We are in love with Brimheim and her band

We had a lot of FEELINGS watching Danish artist Brimheim perform to a packed crowd at seafront venue WaterBear – and all of them were GOOD. Clearly loving every moment of her set alongside her equally enthusiastic band, she thrashed around with her guitar, enjoyably scowling down at her mic as she delivered her pitch perfect vocals. Performing songs from her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, she thundered through ‘favourite day of the week’ and ‘baleen feeder’, her exquisite, confessional lyrics were given a new edge by her raw, more abrasive live performance. We cannot wait to see her live again.

The Irish showcase at Prince Albert is always a festival highlight

Year after year, the line-up for the Irish showcase at the Prince Albert continues to impress us. Even when we can’t physically get into the venue to see the bands (we heard SPRINTS sounding HUGE as we stood in the queue on the stairs) the atmosphere and the talent is always worth sticking around for. We caught Tolu Makay in her stunning sequin-drenched outfit on Thursday, performing infectiously fun tracks from her debut album Being, including ‘Me, Myself & I’ and ‘You Are Enough’. On Friday, we were front row for CMAT’s show (read more on that below) and to catch Kynsy live for the first time. Since the release of her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’ in 2020, we’ve been keen to see her show and she did not disappoint. Accompanied by her band, she ripped through singles ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’ and ‘Elephant in the Room’, her voice sounding superb despite her saying she was “a little croaky” on the day.

Tolu Makay

KYNSY

CMAT is Queen

Despite their best efforts to make things work, CMAT’s band couldn’t play along with her due to tech difficulties, so the Irish pop sensation shrugged it off and performed a superb solo acoustic set instead. Armed with her guitar and her trademark white cowboy boots, she performed seamless renditions of ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’, ‘Nashville’ and a “lounge version” of ‘No More Virgos’ with keyboard player Colm, all taken from her debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. A mix of stand up comedy and stand out vocals, CMAT’s sets are always a total joy to witness, and listening to other folks in the crowd sing along to ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ never gets old.

Lido Pimienta is a L.E.G.E.N.D.

Full of her stunning vocals, metal-esque screams, sharp wit and strong pro-choice vibes, award-winning Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta had the crowd dancing, cheering and laughing along during her set at Jubilee Square. Performing tracks from her 2020 album, Miss Colombia, including a flawless rendition of ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’, Pimienta cracked jokes about the Queen’s Jubilee between songs and made valid comments about the importance of respecting women’s reproductive rights. Her charisma, euphoric live energy and candid comments will remain embedded in our memories for weeks to come.

We want to join Softcult

We’ve been looking forward to catching Canadian twin siblings Mercedes and Phoenix aka Sofcult live since the release of their debut EP, Year Of The Rat, in 2021. Informed by their experiences of sexism and objectification as young women in the music industry, the pair performed their bittersweet grunge-pop anthems to a packed crowd at Volks, with songs ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and ‘Gaslight’ providing an empowering and cathartic moment to push back against toxic masculinity.

We want to scream in tune like Lucy from Projector

Brighton band Projector have always impressed us with their live shows, but their set at The Tempest Inn on Friday evening truly excelled all other times we’ve seen them play. The four piece smashed through a set full of visceral alternative noise, with bassist & vocalist Lucy’s cord-ripping screams absolutely decimating our ear drums (in the good way), especially during the band’s latest single ‘hell in my head’.

Like most major UK festivals, The Great Escape has room for improvement

Whilst our experience of The Great Escape was a positive one, we know that’s not the case for everyone who attends or plays at the festival. We saw a tweet from artist Billy Nomates explaining that there was “no water no towel no buy out no rider [and] a microphone that doesn’t work” – therefore she couldn’t perform to the best of her ability at her set on Friday night.

We also saw a tweet from the band PEANESS, rightfully lamenting the lack of opportunities for artists playing the festival to have access to complimentary food and drinks, whilst delegates are often bombarded with these invites. It was both disheartening and comforting to see replies on these threads that echoed similar sentiments, especially as artists (particularly female artists) are often labelled as ‘unappreciative’ or ‘difficult’ when they highlight these issues. It’s not fair that people’s experiences of the same festival differ so vastly.

There are plenty of artists, promoters and PR teams working towards a better and more equal music industry – we met and saw some of them at The Great Escape! – but until everyone is on the same page, we will continue to elevate the conversations that challenge the unfair “norm”.

In terms of its line-up, 2022’s Great Escape really did feel like one of its most diverse and entertaining yet. But there’s always more to learn, more work to do both on and off stage, and more reason than ever to speak out when you think you’re being treated unfairly. Respect to the artists who were bold enough to do so this year.

CIEL

BERRIES

Gen & The Degenerates

Words: Kate Crudgington / @KCBobCut
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography

VIDEO PREMIERE: LibraLibra – ‘Fancy Car’

Having released their epic second EP, Modern Millennial, earlier this year, and fresh from wowing crowds at TGE and receiving acclaim from the likes of Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, GIHE total faves LibraLibra have now shared a brand new video for album track ‘Fancy Car‘.

With the vibrancy of the retro, Grease-inspired hand-crafted visuals matching the colourful charisma and frenzied energy of the track perfectly, ‘Fancy Car’ is propelled forwards with a sizzling, empowering spirit. Fizzing with a swirling, psych-infused chaos, it oozes a fierce, immense power as the raging magnificence of front woman Beth’s colossal vocals are interwoven into the track’s gritty, anthemic musicality.

With the visual and lyrical narrative so wonderfully aligned, we’re fully immersed into the story of ‘Fancy Car’ – the highs and lows of intense young love, and the rollercoaster of feelings that can accompany it. Fluctuating between a riotous angst-driven force and glistening soulful majesty, the glorious dynamic splendour of Beth’s vocals lends itself perfectly to the vivid cinematic allure of the animated illustrations.

The video for ‘Fancy Car’ was created by Holly Deanna from previous GIHE headliners and faves CURRLS – and I think you’ll agree that she has encapsulated the fiery essence of LibraLibra perfectly! See more of her art at @heavenlystudio_ .

Watch the new video, for the first time, here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles