Guest Blog: HUSK

To mark Transgender Day Of Visibility – a day to set the tone for every day, show your support, increase equality and stand by trans people to live their lives freely and confidently – trans, non binary artist HUSK talks to us about their experience in the music industry. Dubbed as “the outsider popstar we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music, they combine ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. 

Find out more below: 

I always get comments about my voice, both good and bad; it’s the first thing people notice. It’s high, it’s low. It’s soulful, it’s raw. It’s trans. Despite the coronavirus disruption, today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), and I’m so proud to be a Trans NB synth-pop musician.

I’ve always been attracted to synth-pop because of its queer history and androgyny. Artists like Grace Jones breaking the gender wall and Erasure, Eurythmics and Bronski Beat challenging vocal expectations that became an iconic symbol of the ’80s. It also has a natural sadness to it, but you can still dance to it. I think that draws a parallel with what it’s like to be a trans musician at the minute.

The difficult parts are well-known. The prejudice of not being booked or featured before listening to what I’m offering. The “I don’t get it” comments about my awesome gender-bending voice. The TERFs and transphobes sending tweets you could do without, and not to mention all the other things that come with being a trans person in society right now.

There’s so many amazing things too.

You’re not confined to societal standards about gender if you’re not conforming anyway. So, you’re a bit more free to write what you love, be your unapologetic self, no matter how many times you have to figure that out. And you get to weed out all those that you’ll ignore when you’re huge! Ha!

It’s really humbling to be representative of such a diverse community. I was once introduced on stage as “an emblem of trans masculinity”, which was terrifying, not to mention inaccurate. I always try to be vocal about my experience and the fact that I’m not a man, I’m just simply not a woman, and I happen to take testosterone.

I’ve been featured in some pretty major BBC 6Music LGBT+ shows, amongst some huge names. This is massively important, not just to me as an artist, but for gender non-conforming people to see. I didn’t have that, and I’ve had to carve out space for someone like me.

You also inherit a community. Allies and other trans people want to see you do well, especially in a world where trans people are vilified for simply existing. Supporting trans people has never been more important.

I’m currently working on my new single campaign for ‘Below The Neck’, which has been supported by Superbia of Manchester Pride, allowing me the freedom to release a high energy, new wave-y synth catchy af pop song. A song that would have otherwise been gathering digital dust on my laptop. It’s also giving others work, including the talented Sugar House and a team of all female radio pluggers.

Now though, we are seeing more and more trans noise. Anohni and Big Freedia are both out trans women of hugely different genres at the top of their game. Half of the artists on AnalogueTrash have trans band members, including the ‘gay metal disco’ from St Lucifer, who are always ridiculously fun to see live. Harvey is making the news in the Midlands and The Spook School are still making their super fun indie pop. Not so long ago, Jordan Grey was up on prime time TV on The Voice and is now on Comedy Central smashing it. And this is HUGE!

I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. And the industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer. Find out – we’re dying to share it with you!

‘Below The Neck’ is out 3rd April on Spotify, iTunes & Bandcamp. Find HUSK on social media – @husknoise .

Massive thanks to HUSK for talking about their experiences with us! 

LISTEN: Mealtime – ‘Denim’

Manchester band Mealtime have shared their debut single ‘Denim’ and it’s a sultry synth-pop gem. Released via Someone Great Records/PIAS, the six-piece have a refreshingly melodic approach to songwriting, culminating in an upbeat and well produced new track.

‘Denim’ is about the relationship between distorted body image and modern beauty standards, but this heavy context is hidden behind buoyant riffs, catchy beats and smooth vocals. Speaking about the track, the band explain: “’Denim’ is a polite introduction to the six of us, and it’s only going to get weirder. With our sound, we’re interested in making something that’s equally as melodic and sweet as it is chaotic, abrasive and challenging.”

Following their sold out debut headline show at Manchester’s YES in March, the band played a free single release live show on 3rd May at Manchester’s Fairfield Social Club alongside Dream Wife and The Ninth Wave. Keep your eyes peeled for more of Mealtime’s live dates, and listen to ‘Denim’ below.

Follow Mealtime on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: HOST – ‘Taste of Your Love’

An electro-pop gem that contemplates the short-comings of an unhealthy romance; Irish artist Host has shared her new single ‘Taste of Your Love’. Taken from her upcoming debut EP Adolescent Content (set for release later this year) the synth-pop star channels her love of bands like Diiv, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and The Cure on her new tune.

Speaking about her new track, Host explains: “Have you ever had someone you really care about do something so idiotic that it makes you look at them in a completely different light? ‘Taste of Your Love’ is that lingering bad impression that I just couldn’t shake, and everything built with this person, this solid foundation, just turned to quicksand. It’s sad really… this idiot, that you still adore nonetheless, has now forced you to cut them out and change your entire life.”

Despite its sad premise, we guarantee Host’s new single will have you up and dancing around your bedroom in no time. Listen to ‘Taste of Your Love’ below and follow Host on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: SEX CELLS – ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’

Dystopian visuals and moody synths permeate SEX CELLS debut single ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’. Described as “a mixture of Suicide, Psychic TV, and Art House sensibilities” SEX CELLS – aka Matt Kilda and Willow Vincent – fuse visual art and vicarious noise to create challenging new sounds.

The London-based synth duo will release ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’ as a double A-Side release, which will be available digitally & on limited edition 7″ vinyl on their own label, Pretty Ugly Records. Under the guidance of Raf.E and produced by Dave M. Allen (The Cure, Yassassin), the two songs will be accompanied by a series of surrealist artworks made by the band.

Formed in down-and-out circumstances, SEX CELLS were originally hobbyist promoters who ran monthly nights of live music and visual projections for experimental noise acts. After being ripped off in a house rental scam, the duo turned their anger in to music in a Peckham rehearsal room, documenting their desperation with a synth and house drum kit.

Since then, SEX CELLS have shared stages with bands such as Meatraffle, Madonnatron, The Rhythm Method, and HMLTD. They’ll be back on stage tonight (Aug 9th) at The Finsbury supporting noise-pop merchants TAYNE (Free gig: event details here).

Listen to ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’ below and follow SEX CELLS on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut