Track Of The Day: Slagheap – ‘Destination Boyfriend’

Following the vibrant energy of last year’s single ‘Caffeine’, having supporting the likes of Billy Nomates, Wet Leg and GIHE faves Big Joanie, and with acclaim from Radio X’s John Kennedy and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, Bristol ‘do-it-for-yourself’ band Slagheap have now announced the release of their new EP, due out in August.

Taken from the EP, new single ‘Destination Boyfriend‘ is a joyously discordant yet euphoric celebration of femininity and feeling comfortable in your own skin, regardless of how far from the ‘norm’ you may stray. Reflecting on the different paths that bisexuality may take you on, it races with a scrappy, jangly energy as clashing beats sizzle alongside swirling, scuzzy hooks.

Creating a frenzied, shimmering cacophony, ‘Destination Boyfriend’ oozes a stark post-punk fuzz with the added quirky, playful spirit and tongue-in-cheek wit we’ve come to know and love from Slagheap. Of the track, the band have commented:

From our first Barbie Jeep, the GPS was programmed for heteronormativity. As we journeyed through puberty our eyes began to wander from the set path. The pre-planned girls trip is appealing… But so is the sweet fruit on the lay-by.”

Set to be a queer girl summer anthem, ‘Destination Boyfriend’ is accompanied by a nostalgia-tinged, and typically fun-filled, new video. Produced by Bristol’s Clump Collective, and featuring some of the band’s own artwork, you can watch the wonderfully wacky visual here:

Appetites, the upcoming new EP from Slagheap, is set for release on 5th August. And we’re super excited to have Slagheap headlining for us at The Victoria in Dalston this coming Friday 24th June – it promises to be a super fun evening, with support from Nervous Twitch and The Famous Daxx. Get your tickets here!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Guest Blog: FES Break Down Their Top 5 Essential Pieces of Guitar Gear

Having just released their debut album, With Regards From Home, Leeds-Peterborough band FES have previously received acclaim from the likes of Guitar World, BBC 6 Music and Noizze, and have also wowed crowds at festivals such as Portals Festival and Bad Pond, and supporting LA duo Standards on tour.

Reflecting on themes of grief, loneliness and front-person Pollyanna Holland-Wing’s identity as a young queer woman, with the new album FES showcase their knack for delivering fuzzy, swirling riffs, creating quirky math-pop melodies with a catchy punk-pop energy. With its slick, scuzzy, emotion-rich anthems, With Regards From Home is sure to propel FES further into the stratosphere of music fans’ hearts.

To celebrate the release of the album, we spoke to Pollyanna about her love of her guitar equipment and the five favourite pieces she used on their 2017 single ‘Inside Out’. Read more below and watch a new, awesome ‘play along’ video of Pollyanna playing guitar to the track at the bottom of the feature…

For so many years I’ve always had to borrow equipment. It wasn’t until we started on ‘Inside Out’ that I started my own collection of equipment. It’s been a long journey getting our sound right and finding budget friendly equipment that still has a lot of oomph behind it, but I think I’ve nailed it now!

Marshall DLS 20
I really believe the amp is the most important part of my core guitar setup. I think you can plug a rubbish guitar into a great amp and you’ll be alright. But a great guitar into a crap amp will do you no favours. As well as sounding great, I needed an amp that was going to be slim and light to carry- my Marshall is just that! To help get my sound for ‘Inside Out’, on my amp I have the bass turned to 10 o clock, the mid at 12 and treble at about 1. I love a crisp clean sound from my amp that’ll rock a punch, but I believe it’s important to let the actual bass take charge of that low end. There’s no need to let our sound get muddy.

Stratocaster Guitar
I’ve always been a Tele girl for the most part and I think I even use one for the studio version of ‘Inside Out’. That middle pick-up sounds great on record, and I have no regrets! However, since then I’ve come to love the classic Strat. I can’t go back now! I love the total uniqueness and variety in tone. ‘Inside Out’ uses the middle pick-up which I find has the perfect balance in bass and treble alongside my amp. I think they’re quite complementary of each other. However, being in a three piece it’s imperative to still achieve those big sounds. The Strat definitely takes the cake over the Tele in this regard!

5 Ages Walrus Overdrive Pedal
Okay, so I believe I used the Fulltone OCD in the studio, but damn do I wish I used the ‘5 Ages’. This pedal just can’t be beaten in my eyes. I just love the versatility of it! It has five different types of overdrive which has been so handy when double tracking guitars in the studio. I used to swear by the Fulltone OCD but like many others, I fell out of love with the company and frankly the Ages does everything the OCD did but with so much more flavour. My personal favourite mode to use is the 3rd mode with the gain turned up to 12 o clock. I find that although I pretty much always have the overdrive switched on, I don’t like the sound to get too muddy. In ‘Inside Out’ there’s a lot of chord progressions and chord voicings that are important to not get drowned in overdrive. The major seven chords hold so much emotion in them, I can’t let them get lost.

MXR Micro Amp Pedal
This pedal is great! I don’t use it often but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as important as all my other equipment. I use it for the breakdown at 2:16 in ‘Inside Out’ to thicken out the sound. Like I mentioned earlier, being a three piece it’s important we sound as big as possible with the limited musicians in the band. Utilising pedals is our best bet at doing so. The MXR is straight to the point with one stomper and 1 big dial to control the gain. Bish bash bosh!

Walrus SLO
Gosh, this pedal is so dreamy! The thing I love about the Slo is the added low octave that it adds to reverb tails. This again comes in handy when wanting to create bigger sounds, but I find that it’s not too overbearing. Whilst some reverbs can sound like a huge cathedral, the Slo adds colour without losing itself in massive swirling worlds of reverb. I use this setting live just after the breakdown at 2:42 in ‘Inside Out’.

FES’ new album, With Regards From Home, is out now via Small Pond Records.

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: Nikki & The Waves – ‘The Phone Song’

Having recently been recommended Manchester band Nikki & The Waves by Chester trio Peaness when interviewing them for our last radio show on Soho Radio, I was excited to hear that they’ll be releasing a new EP in June. Having originally formed in Liverpool, the band have played esteemed venues such as The Cavern Club and charmed audiences at Isle Of Wight festival and Sound City, and look set to bring their joyous energy across the country throughout 2022.

Taken from the upcoming EP, new single ‘The Phone Song‘ instantly hits you with its jangly, quirky energy. Propelled by an uplifting, vibrant groove, it flows with fizzing hooks and Nikki’s lush, sugar-sweet vocals, as voicemails from those closest to the band – spanning Hong Kong to America – are interwoven into the funk-fuelled musicality. Oozing a blissful, shimmering allure – with shades of an eclectic array of influences, from early hip-hop to Lily Allen – it comes complete with swooping trombone solos, sparkling harmonies and a relatable witty lyricism, showcasing all there is to love about Nikki & The Waves. The perfect effervescent bank holiday jam to shimmy along to in the blazing sunshine (we can hope…).

Produced by Joel Pratchett (The Orielles, King Krule), songs to play tennis to – the upcoming EP from Nikki & The Waves – is set for release on 17th June.

Mari Lane
@marimindles