FIVE FAVOURITES: Ren (Petrol Girls)

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ren, frontwoman of the brilliant Petrol Girls, to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have kept her going whilst she’s been busy fighting & fundraising for a defamation case against a man in music industry for statements she made concerning his treatment of women.

Ren has written an intro to her favourite tracks, and we urge you to donate to the Solidarity Not Silence campaign – whether it’s £1 or £100 – every penny counts!

Ren: I’ve picked five tracks by artists that I really respect for the way that they’ve handled the issue of sexual abuse within the music industry. Many of them also faced defamation cases very similar to the one we are currently fighting as Solidarity Not Silence. We are still trying desperately to cover our legal costs and appreciate any donations that people can give, or awareness that people can raise of our crowd funding campaign

We are determined to win this case because the use of defamation law to silence survivors and their allies is yet another deeply unjust part of a legal system that is utterly stacked against survivors. In the wake of #MeToo this is more important than ever.

1. The Tuts – ‘Tut Tut Tut’
The Tuts are the other band involved in Solidarity Not Silence. During 2016 both bands spoke out about the behaviour of the man that is suing us, in solidarity with the survivors that we were aware of at the time. We received the first letters from his lawyers just before Christmas that year, and have been fighting it ever since!

I have so much respect for how outspoken the Tuts are about inter-sectional feminist issues and left politics more broadly, and super grateful for the huge amount of hard work they’ve done during this legal case, including organising a huge benefit gig at the end of last year! I’m so proud of all of us for how well we’ve been able to work together and support each other through this.

2. Taylor Swift – ‘Shake it Off’
I remember sticking on 1989 and leaping around the room when I heard about Taylor winning her case against David Mueller. She alleged that he groped her whilst they posed for a picture and consequently got him fired from his job. He then tried to sue her but she counter sued for a symbolic $1 and won following an incredible testimony in court, where she refused to take any bullshit: “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is in any way my fault, because it isn’t.”

3. Alice Glass – ‘Cease and Desist’
Alice Glass left Crystal Castles in 2014 but as #MeToo gathered momentum she gained the confidence to speak up about her reasons why. In a post on her website she described horrific and sustained sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her former bandmate Ethan Kath. He then sued her for defamation but the case was dismissed in February 2018. When he appealed it in May 2018, he was ordered to pay Glass almost $21,000 in legal fees.

4. Venom Prison – ‘Immanentize Eschaton’
Vocalist Larissa Stupar wrote a public statement in support of survivors that spoke out about her former bandmates in Wolf Down. In her post she detailed some of her own experiences and ended with: “Enough is enough. I stand with the victims.”

5. Kesha – ‘Praying’
Kesha’s legal case against her former producer Dr Luke and record label Sony has been long, drawn out and bitterly unfair. It was overseen by a Judge that is married to a partner in Sony’s legal firm. Somehow Kesha pulled herself back to her feet and was able to release some hard hitting new music including ‘Praying’, which came out in the summer of 2017, just before #MeToo started gaining momentum.

Huge thanks to Ren for sharing her favourites with us. Follow Petrol Girls and Solidarity Not Silence on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Introducing Interview: Chloé Caroline

Having written and recorded over seventy five songs in Nashville and Los Angeles over the past year, Californian native Chloé Caroline has now shared a catchy new single. Filled with her flawless, impassioned vocals and biting lyrical commentary, ‘Messy’ showcases Chloé’s “New Southern California Sound” perfectly.

We caught up with Chloé to find out all about it…

Hi Chloé, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey there, thank you! I’m an LA born and raised singer-songwriter and my music reflects that Southern California sound. I sometimes play live with a band, and most often as a duo with an incredible guitar player who sings harmonies with me.

How did you initially start creating music?
I have been writing by myself since I was eleven. When I moved to Nashville at eighteen for university, I began collaborating with all sorts of writers/producers/musicians of all ages and levels. I spent seven years based there, splitting my time between there and LA, writing hundreds of songs and figuring out what sound was most authentic to me. 

Your single ‘Messy’ is out – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the track?
‘Messy’ is about finding acceptance for the ups and downs in life and is a reminder to celebrate just being alive despite the BS. I wanted to tell two stories, one focusing on the very relatable comparison to social media following this girl Jane who hates her job. The other is following Ricky, a former college star who gets addicted to opiates. Both stories are super conversational and rather blunt because I wanted it to be relatable. They are both fictitious characters, but we all know a Jane and we all know a Ricky of sorts. We might be them. I wanted a song that brought some positive light, but in a way that wasn’t cheesy or preachy – just honest. The track has that combo of organic old school feel and electronic pop that thematically kind of represents not only my roots, but also our warped perception of reality and false perfection. 

 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Taylor Swift and Jewel, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Those are pretty awesome artists to be compared to! I’d say a huge part of my influence comes from the ’60s and ’70s like Stevie Nicks, Carole King, Prince…etc. But I’m also influenced by artists from the early noughties when I was growing up; power female artists like Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch were massive inspirations, with those great honest lyrics and pop melodies. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Between LA and Nashville, there is SO much music it’s ridiculous. I love seeing new artists especially in really intimate venues. I also love seeing artists that are nothing like me, it’s always a great learning experience. 

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
They are really personal, I love talking to crowd and telling the stories behind my songs. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! I’m a huge fan of Andreas Moe, such a chill vibe. 

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
There’s definitely a lot of noise and it’s not easy to break through the mould especially with social media’s algorithms, advertisements, etc. But, if you can find a select group of people that are true fans and cater to them/talk to them/remain authentic, it may be small and slow at first but it’ll be far more long lasting than trying to “buy” people on board. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
Music, music, and more new music. I want to give my fans consistency with my releases, music they can count on on a regular basis and the good news is, the music is ready! I also think it’ll be a lot more global of a year – I hope to travel to create more music and also play shows. 

Huge thanks to Chloé for answering our questions! 

‘Messy’ is out now via AWAL.

Interview: Katherine Deal

Having recently rocketed back into the limelight, thanks to an interpolation of their classic ‘I’m Too Sexy’ from none other than Taylor Swift on her recent single ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, Right Said Fred have worked their way firmly back into our hearts.

We caught up with the band’s saxophonist Katherine Deal to find out about her time with ‘The Freds’, and her experience of being a woman in male-dominated industry.

Hi Katherine, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Please introduce yourself.
Hey! Thanks very much. I’m a saxophone player/multi instrumentalist living in London getting to do what I love and travel the world, and of course, the saxophonist for Right Said Fred!

What’s it like being the saxophonist for Right Said Fred?
A lot of fun! The first time I played ‘I’m Too Sexy’ whilst cat-walking around the stage was awesome. The guys are great to work with, really funny and really intelligent, I’ve learnt a lot from them.

The mash up of Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do / I’m Too Sexy’ looked like a lot of fun to perform, can you tell us a bit about the the experience of recording it?
It was. It was great. We were all in a room for the recording and mashed-up the two songs, which is sort of a challenge when you’re so used to playing the original but we had a great time, the guys did a great job. I think we definitely had the ‘Swifty Spirit’.

Who would you say are you main musical influences?
I’m very into soul/pop/gospel. In terms of sax players, my favourites are Kirk Whalum (Whitney Houston), Mike Phillips (Jill Scott) and the legendary Bob Berg. In terms of artists I’ve always been a big fan of the likes of Miles Davis, Destiny’s Child, Run DMC, Lauryn Hill, N Sync.

Have you found that being a woman in a male-dominated industry has affected your experience?
Yep, it can’t not in such a male dominated industry. Most musicians are male; most managers and agents are male. Audience members think they can touch you simply because you’re a woman (It happens a lot!). There’s also this stigma about female musicians, especially at pop gigs, that they’re only there because they look good but can’t actually play well. So, I’m all about smashing that persona and supporting other women doing the same. There are so many incredible female musicians around. I have, however, been very encouraged by a lot of top male musicians around me for how encouraging they’ve been and how they’ve looked at me and treated me as an equal and looked out for me in that respect, making sure nobody is taking advantage of the situation. That’s powerful and what we need more of. Luckily, we are living in a great time thanks to the bravery of key female figures and the awakening of the press, and the tables are slightly turning. Nevertheless, I and a lot of other female musicians have too many stories of harassment and situations that a male would never find themselves in within the industry.

What can fans expect from the RSF live show with the full band?
Vibes! Fun! Lots of jumping, reflective moments, big drums, big synths, just a big sound with a great vibe. Oh, and some epic outfits from Richard.

Are there any other projects you’re working on at the moment?
I’m just mainly either gigging or in the studio recording for artists.

And what does the rest of 2018 have in store, do you have any live dates coming up?
Yep, we are going to LA, which is going to be amazing! We are also doing this festival in Amsterdam with a 60 piece orchestra and 65,000 audience. Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities in the world, so I can’t wait! It’s going to be a good year.

Right Said Fred‘s I’m Too Sexy EP is available to buy now via their official siteSpotify and all good online outlets.

Introducing Interview: Melissa Bel

With four recorded albums and numerous performances around the globe – including a BBC Introducing session – already under her belt, Toronto-born artist Melissa Bel has now shared her utterly infectious and gloriously uplifting new single, ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’.

We caught up with Melissa to find out more…

Hi Melissa Bel, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m a singer/songwriter originally from Toronto, but have been living in Devon since February 2016. I’ve been pursuing a music career for about ten years now and have released four albums over that time. My latest record, In the Light, was released in Nov. 2016.

How did you start creating music?
I started singing almost as soon as I could talk, and then I wrote my first song (which was actually more of a rap called ‘Believe In Yourself’…) when I was eight after seeing a TV show about songwriting. I basically wrote a bunch of words on pieces of paper, put them on the floor and rearranged them until I was happy with my lyrics. I started learning guitar when I was fourteen because I wanted to write more songs and be able to play along. My Dad is a bass player so I’d asked him to teach me the bass, but he suggested I learn guitar so that I could better accompany myself.

Your new video for ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ is a break-up song with a sense of humour. It’s about the kind of break-up that sucks at the time, but you know is for the best. I wanted the video to have a light-hearted, upbeat vibe like the song, which is why we gave the ex-boyfriend character a very small role and focused on themes of positivity and self-confidence. We filmed it on a teeny tiny budget right in Exeter, and almost everyone you see in the video is one of my friends and/or bandmates!

You’ve been compared to the likes of Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
My influences range from The Beatles to John Mayer, to Joss Stone to Patsy Cline, and I think that’s why my music has never been one specific genre that’s easy to classify. I love pop and soul, which is the main direction we had in mind when making In the Light, but you still get bits of blues, like in the song ‘Sobered Up’, and a real singer/songwriter vibe in the the title track.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Exeter is relatively small but has lots of gigs to offer, and like most music scenes it’s very close-knit and most of the musicians know each other. There really is a ton of talent here and I love the fact that I’ve met so many people who are making amazing, original music. It’s been very welcoming to me coming in as an outsider, and a great place to get my start in the UK. I probably don’t go see as much live music as I should (despite being a musician, I’m not much of a night owl), but I go to my friends’ gigs whenever I can.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I usually perform solo, so depending on the gig you’ll get just me and my guitar playing acoustic versions of my originals, covers, or a mix of both. Solo gigs are where my singer/songwriter side really comes out. I love shows where I get to tell the audience the stories behind the songs because I feel like sometimes you can connect as well in those moments as you can while singing. When I’m lucky, I get to play with a full band, which means a more upbeat show in general, and we can play the songs like they sound on the album.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Yes! Check out Brooke Palsson and Mike Todd – both Toronto-based – and Clara Bond who is also based here in Devon. All incredible singer/songwriters.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
In my experience it has definitely been difficult to get noticed on a large scale. I think independent artists have a lot of useful resources at their disposal these days, but social media is a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s great because there is the potential to be seen and heard by tons of people, but there’s also so much content out there that’s it’s really hard to cut through the noise.

Finally, what does the rest of 2017 have in store for Melissa Bel?
The rest of the year will be spent playing live as well as getting the ball rolling for a small UK tour in early 2018. And I’m going back to Toronto for two sweet weeks off over Christmas! But I’ll be back in England for New Years Eve to perform at Lime Wood Hotel in Lyndhurst.

Huge thanks to Melissa for answering our questions!