Introducing Interview: Alice Hubble

Set to release her new album Hexentanzplatz this Friday, innovative London based artist Alice Hubble has previously captivated us with poignant singles such as ‘Power Play‘ and ‘My Dear Friend‘. With her distinctive euphoric, synth-driven energy and glitchy ‘80s-inspired musicality, we’re already huge fans of the soaring, ethereal soundscapes she creates.

Ahead of the release on Friday, we caught up with Alice to find out more about the album, what inspires her and her thoughts on the treatment of women and non-binary people in music at the moment… Have a read!

Hi Alice, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! Thank you, it’s great to be here! I’m Alice Hubble, an electronic pop musician, based in London, originally from Leeds. I make music with my collection of vintage synthesisers, which combines pastoral instrumentals and budget pop in equal measure. My first LP came out in 2019 and the second is coming out this month via Happy Robots.

What initially inspired you to start creating music?
It’s hard to think what initially inspired me to create music cause it feels like it’s always been there. I was one of those music nerd kids, always singing and playing in music groups. In my 20s and a lot of my 30s I was in various bands, albeit to very limited successes. In mid 2018 I decided to focus on my own solo musical creation and Alice Hubble as we know it was born. I’m very inspired by creating ‘otherly’ worlds in music, recreating my imagined worlds sonically. As a person, I’m always pushing to contradict expectations and I attempt to do this in my music. Writing lyrics can be a form of therapy for me to unpack my lived experiences, but I also write about things that matter to me – particularly a highly inclusive form of feminism.

You’re about to release your new album Hexentanzplatz at the end of this week – are you able to tell us a bit about this? Are there any particular themes running throughout the album? 
The album was recorded in October 2020, with half of the songs written during the lockdown in 2020. Though I chose to stay away from writing about the lockdown, I feel the unease and anxieties of the time are very present in the music. The album is called Hexentanzplatz, named after the German mountain. The mountain is steeped in magic and legend and is famous for its Walpurligsnacht celebrations. The name translates literally to mean Witches’ Dance Floor, which really is too perfect. Recurring themes on the LP are illusion, feminism and protest. Illusion creeps into my songs a lot, whether it’s a projected myth of an unbeknown subject of my affections, the illusions we create on social media or your re-imagination of a place in your head. I’ve always been fascinated about how a real place or moment can exist so differently in two people’s minds. 

And how have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times? 
It’s definitely been strange, I’ve been lucky that the pandemic gave me more space to focus on my music – I was on furlough with my day job, so I had time to spend writing and recording at home. I got to travel to Germany and visit the Harz mountains and learn about Hexentanzplatz and then to Ramsgate in October to record the LP. I also got to play a gig in May just after things started to lift which was really great. I spent 2019 being so busy that I was burnt out, so spending a lot of 2020 focusing on my mental health and having a quiet time was really good for me. It also gave me the chance to record a collaborative EP with Bradford based musician Andy Abbott (under the name ADRA Hubble) and do things I thought I’d never have the confidence to do like host a Facebook chat show and start my radio show. It was disappointing to have things cancelled, but it wasn’t something I dwelled on too much, there were bigger tragedies of the pandemic. I very much see myself as one of the fortunate ones over the last year and feel grateful for what I achieved in this time.

We love your shimmering, euphoric electro soundscapes, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! Oh my, it’s hard to narrow down. The bands that have always been with me are the classic synth pop bands – Kraftwerk, OMD, New Order. The Beach Boys have also been such an influence to me. For Alice Hubble, sonically I’ve been inspired by Sally Oldfield, School of Seven Bells, Goldfrapp, Book of Love, Susan Sundfor, to name a few.

We have been particular fans of your recent single ‘Power Play’ – described as the closest thing you’ve written to a protest song, it’s inspired by the #MeToo movement. Are you able to tell us a bit more about this? And, in relation to this, how do you feel the music industry is for women/non-binary people at the moment – do you feel that things have improved over the last few years
Thank you! It means a lot to have people respond to the song. ‘Power Play’ is a track that was, on the whole, written in lockdown 1. I feel like a lot of anger and frustration that came out of that time was channeled into the track. At the time I’d looked at Twitter and seen that one of the musicians whose hideous behaviour had been a focus in the #metoo movement was back Tweeting and interacting with fans as normal. And it got me thinking “have things really changed? Do people move on to different things once the moment has passed?” It all started with the menacing synths and, as the track was so angry sonically, I wanted the lyrics to be a call to arms of some sorts. The mass hex of Brock Turner as an act of resistance and resilience (to quote the song) always really intrigued me as a form of activism and I read a lot around this to inform the lyrics. With the subject matter being so triggering, it was a song that needed careful consideration to get just right. It’s definitely getting better for women/non-binary people in the industry but there is still a long way to go. There is better representation generally – I just came back from Green Man where there were so many amazing women/non- binary performers at the festival. There’s also a greater understanding of mental health awareness, and discussions taking place about what behaviours in the industry are not helpful for women/non-binary people. The male ego power-trip that was accepted as the norm for years is now being recognised for what it is, and there are people in the industry trying to make changes. My brother is trans, so naturally trans rights is an issue close to my heart. I have noticed there is more awareness in the general public of trans and non-binary people compared to twenty years ago, which is great. But I feel there is still a long way to go, and a lot of educating still to do, particularly with how polarised society is. I find all the ‘anti-woke’ and TERF rhetoric very disturbing, particularly in the way that they present themselves as reasonable people (when they clearly aren’t!).

How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
I played a few online shows including a Zoom show, the shows went ok but I’m not sure I’d rush to do them again as it’s so hard to connect with an audience that way. I’m also not sure how long people’s attention span is for a Zoom gig these days. It’s great to use digital to connect with audiences in different ways than the typical live performance. I really enjoyed doing the Hubble’s House Party chat show, partly as it felt like such an achievement and we had a great crowd watching. I also did an Instagram DJ set for Divine Schism which was great.

And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times? 
Hexentanzplatz and music making in general helped give me a purpose during this time. I think 2020 would have been a lot harder for me if I hadn’t had a creative project to throw myself into. I also consumed a lot of TV and books. My partner and I have done a lot of travelling through culture to take us outside of our reality. We got really into watching travel shows like Race Across the World. I also went on a bit of a deep-dive reading about the ’60s hippy trail trekkers after watching The Serpent, and found Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld a bit silly but a welcome break from real life politics.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands that you’d recommend we check out?
Sister Wives from Sheffield are awesome!

Finally, in addition to the release of your album, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?
Alongside the album there’s a fantastic video which will be out soon, created by illustrator Katherina Rival. I’m going on a mini tour in October which, fingers crossed, will happen as expected. It would be great to see you there!

Massive thanks to Alice for answering our questions!

Hexentanzplatz, the upcoming new album from Alice Hubble, is set for release this Friday 10th September via Happy Robots. Catch Alice on her UK tour:

7th October – Folklore, London
8th October – The Cold Store, Nottingham
15th October – Wharf Chambers, Leeds
23rd October – West Hill Hall, Brighton (supporting Laetitia Sadier)
31st October – The Moon, Cardiff

Photo Credit: Tom Hilverkus

PLAYLIST: Galentine’s Day 2021

Grrrls, it’s one of the best days of the year – GALENTINE’S DAY! Coined by Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) back in 2010, Galentine’s has since been recognised by girls across the globe and used as a light-hearted platform to celebrate the girls and women who enrich our lives.

To celebrate, we’ve chosen tracks from some of the many female-identifying artists who inspire us and we’ve put them all together in one big playlist. We’re all about self-love & sisterly (not just cis-terly) love today, so scroll down, press play and share the Galentine’s joy!

 

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
This one goes out to my GIHE gals, Tash and Kate! A song about having the coolest best friend, by ultimate heroes Bikini Kill, you should listen to it at full volume and celebrate all the “queens” of your world this Galentine’s. (Mari Lane)

Nova Twins – ‘Thelma & Louise’
An iconic duo singing about another iconic duo! The GIHE team love everything that Nova Twins are about. Not only do they make genre-defying, loud music that makes our cells scream, the pair are vocal about the lack of visibility and support for women of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. They’re releasing a new compilation album on Blood Records titled Voices Of The Unheardwhich aims to spotlight just some of the amazing artists of colour in the scene who deserve more recognition. Featuring tracks by Big Joanie and The OBGMs, it’s set to be a superb listen and all profits will be going to The Black Curriculum too.  (Kate Crudgington)

X-Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’
We are all so, so, so excited to see the new documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché that celebrates the life of the X-Ray Spex frontwoman. This track always reminds me of GIHE and  Tash & Mari when I hear it. I’m very grateful for all the hard work and friendship they put into running this platform with me. (KC)

T-Bitch – ‘Dressing Up’
Southend-based feminist punks T-Bitch deliver a much needed dose of defiant self confidence on this belter of a track. If you can’t dress up on Galentine’s Day, when can you? Underscored by a strong and necessary message of support for trans women, ‘Dressing Up’ is a middle finger to anyone who tries to stop you from being your true self. As the band put it: “It’s not about pleasing them, it’s about pleasing yourself / Fuck those insecurities, leave them on the shelf!” (KC)

The Other Ones – ‘Forever Young’
The latest single from GIHE faves The Other Ones, ‘Forever Young’ races with a swirling, euphoric energy, oozing a sunny sense of nostalgia with honey-sweet harmonies and scuzz-filled riffs. This uplifting anthem is an irresistibly catchy slice of shimmering punk-pop, reflecting on how “anything feels possible” when you have the right person with you. (ML)

Diet Cig – ‘Roadtrip’
Flowing with Alex Luciano’s luscious honey-sweet vocals, infectious jangly melodies and all the twinkling energy I need now more than ever, Diet Cig’s ‘Roadtrip’ (taken from 2017 album Swear I’m Good At This) reflects on a fun, carefree trip across the country with friends, with nostalgia-inducing lyrics and an uplifting sunny charm. What I wouldn’t give for a roadtrip with loved ones right now…! (ML)

Chastity Belt – ‘Joke’
This was one of the bands I discovered at the start of GIHE, all those years ago, and it just reminds me so much of what it was like at the start of it all. All these years on here’s to my two GIHE gals Mari & Kate, and all of the jokes we’ve had along the way. (Tash Walker)

ARXX – ‘The Cat Song’
At first listen, a song about appreciating our feline friends (which I have done LOADS throughout the last year, as any of my Instagram followers/Poppy fans will be aware), I think this cute song from our fave gal duo ARXX is also about the love we have for our friends. As Hanni sings “I’m going to hold you up like this”, I think of how my friends hold me up throughout the bad times and good. And there’s added actual cat sounds – what’s not to love?! (ML)

Vagabon – ‘Every Woman’
Over the last year, I’ve completely immersed myself in the soothing sounds of Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon. And this song seems the perfect ode to all the strong women in your life this Galentine’s. As Tamko’s rich distinctive vocals soar with a reassuring tenderness, reflecting on how “all the women I meet are tired…” she speaks out for all women who have been told they are not enough as they are, offering a gentle cathartic release for all of us ‘gals’ who are so tired of patriarchal norms. (ML)

Girlhood – ‘It Might Take A Woman’
Tash introduced me to the glorious sounds of Girlhood last year and we were lucky enough to have vocalist Tessa join us for a Zoom chat for one of our radio shows too. I remember the call so clearly, because Tessa’s passion for her music radiated through the screen. She was such a joy to talk to. She also paid me a very nice compliment when I was trying to pose for a promo screenshot we were taking. An absolute babe through and through. (KC)

Queen Latifah ft. Monie Love – ‘Ladies First’
After I kept going on about listening to the Slowburn Podcast about 2Pac & Biggie Smalls, Mari kindly recommended I watch Netflix’s documentary Hip Hop Evolution. It’s an epic look back at the origins and development of the genre, featuring big names and many artists who I didn’t know anything about. One name that did strike a chord though was Queen Latifah. She released this track in 1989 with Monie Love and it’s an empowering BANGER. These lyrics say it all: “Some think that we can’t flow / Stereotypes, they got to go / I’m a mess around and flip the scene into reverse / (With what?) With a little touch of Ladies First” (KC)

Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
It it even a Galentine’s playlist if this absolute classic isn’t on it? These two talented women coming together to sing about equality and independence never fails to make me feel good. It may have been released in 1985, but the lyrics are just as relevant today. (KC)

CMAT – ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
This charming slice of country-pop from Irish artist CMAT is a heartfelt, witty lament about urban isolation and wanting to be free from societies patriarchal shackles. She just wants to exist with the confidence of a cowboy, unafraid to down a whiskey at the bar and stagger home safely. “Wanna go to my first rodeo, what’s that cracked up to be? / I wanna stop relying on men who are bigger than me” she sings, pining for the freedom that’s naturally afforded to men, but rarely extended to women. I love everything CMAT releases and will continue to stalk her on Twitter for the rest of 2021. (KC)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
With fond memories of Piney Gir charming our ears at the last gig we hosted on Valentine’s Day last year, ‘Puppy Love’ oozes a honey-sweet romanticism and shimmering catchy melodies. Nostalgically harking back to the simpler times of crushes and the pain of first (‘Puppy’) love, the track also reflects on the common metaphor for depression – the ‘Black Dog’ – its all-consuming nature, and the struggles of mental health. A poignant and infectious offering, it could just be the perfect, bitter-sweet, accompaniment to the mixed feelings that go hand in hand with the love-filled celebrations of the next couple of days. (ML)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
An ode to friendship, ‘Friend Like That’ flows with the trio’s colourful energy as jangly syncopated beats flow alongside the distinctive soothing allure of Poppy Hankin’s vocals and funk-filled pop-inspired hooks, creating a dreamily uplifting offering. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.” (ML)

Chromatics – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’
A great cover of a great track. ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ always reminds me of a story about this 60 year old Italian woman who walked into her local fire station as she was having trouble with her lock. When the firemen asked the woman where she lived, thinking she’d locked herself out of her house, she lifted her sweater and showed them her chastity belt. (TW)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret elegantly balances her emotions as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” I absolutely love everything this young woman writes and I can’t wait to hear her debut album, which she’ll be releasing through Cool Thing Records at some point in the future. (KC)

Carole King – ‘You’ve Got A Friend’
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Carole King’s Tapestry continues to be one of my most favourite albums. It’s my mum’s favourite too, and I have many memories of singing along with this uplifting message of unity and platonic love with her over the years, both reaching for the tissues when we saw it live in the musical Beautiful. So, this heartfelt anthem goes out to her, my all time favourite gal, who inspires me every day and I miss so much right now. (ML)

CIRCE – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe is inspired by the films of David Lynch, the brutality of Margaret Atwood’s fiction and the soundtracks to Stranger Things and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & Juliet. This single takes its title from a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” I’m obsessed with Circe’s debut EP She’s Made Of Saints, which is full of sweeping, cinematic gems. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
‘Dancing On My Own’, and what’s wrong with that!? Often I prefer to dance on my own. More space. Robyn is also an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights, and we all know romance isn’t just for the heterosexuals out there! So whether you honour Galentine’s, Valentine’s, or even Palentine’s Day; make sure you have a good old dance. (TW)

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande – ‘Rain On Me’
I am dying to hear this on a dance-floor at some point! Until then, I’ll settle for my new flatmate Rachel telling Alexa to play it at random intervals during the day. (KC)

Lizzo – ‘Like A Girl’
Turning the common derogatory phrase ‘Like A Girl’ on its head to create something wonderfully empowering, this is another ferociously fun offering from GIHE fave, Lizzo. With references to other powerful women of colour, including Lauryn Hill and Serena Williams, it’s the perfect ode to the power of being female and the power felt when women unite. So, this Galentine’s Day, I’ll leave you with the Lizzo’s words of wisdom: “If you fight like a girl, cry like a girl, do your thing, run the whole damn world”. An ultimate feel-good anthem for women everywhere. (ML)

Lotic – ‘Burn A Print’
With a name that means to “to inhabit rapidly moving water,” Lotic’s chaotic yet fluid soundscapes truly embody her passionate, fighting spirit. Her mission is to “live life to the fullest by not giving a fuck about what anybody thinks” and she communicates that with defiant flair on this track. (KC)

Britney Spears – ‘If U Seek Amy’
I just thought that this Galentine’s Day would be a good opportunity to show some solidarity with wonder woman Britney Spears. I’m sure most of you have heard about the new documentary ‘Framing Britney Spears’ – a film investigating the conservatorship arrangement that has been in place since 2009, declaring Spears unfit to manage her own personal affairs, and the grossly unfair ways in which she has been treated over the years. With her independence being so extremely restricted by a terrifying patriarchal system (and her own father), it highlights the awful ways that society can find to assert control over women. This Galentine’s Day, and all other days, we stand with the #FreeBritney campaign by singing along to one of her most controversial songs. (ML)

Destiny’s Child – ‘Girl’
I re-watched the video for this Destiny’s Child track recently with tears in my eyes, because they’re just so nice to Kelly in it?! The bit where Beyoncé wipes the tear from her cheek… *sobs* This 2004 banger pure girl power all the way through. (KC)

Get In Her Ears w/ Maya Yianni 17.10.19

This week, Tash & Mari played out some of their fave new music from the likes of Deux Furieuses, Scrounge, Genau, ILL and Pallas Athene.

Maya Yianni also popped into the studio for a chat about her upcoming single ‘Red Drapes’ and played a beautiful acoustic rendition of her song ‘Call Me Anytime’.

Listen back:

 

Tracklist
Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
ILL – ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’
Tanya Harper – ‘Crash Pad’
Bang Bang Romeo (feat. Example) – ‘Love Yourself’
Brooke Bentham – ‘All My Friends Are Drunk’
Lewin – ‘The Giant’
Dishpit – ‘Seven’
Cherry Glazerr – ‘Call Me’
After London – ‘You Know What I Mean’
Nina Harries – ‘Lose Yourself’
Two Tribes – ‘Videodrone’
Van P – ‘Ala.Ni’
Emily Breeze – ‘Heaven’s Gate’
Hourglvss – ‘Dead Man’s Hand’
Superglu – ‘Forever Endeavour’
Pallas Athene – ‘Through Hell’
Deux Furieuses – ‘Let Them Burn’
JEANA – ‘Nameless’
Scrounge – ‘Badoom’
GENAU – ‘Open’
Dolly Parton – ‘9 to 5’

ALBUM: Queen Zee – ‘Queen Zee’

Making weirdness in to wonderful, inclusive, explosive new tunes; GIHEs favourites Queen Zee have shared their debut self-titled album and it’s every bit as glorious as we’d hoped. Released via their own label Sasstone Records, the group have created ten tracks that gleefully cut down any of the forces that attempt to stand in the way of equality.

The tongue-in-cheek ‘Loner’ opens the record, and it’s an in-your-face anthem taking the piss out of being a solitary, socially inept loser. Zee’s vocals dominate the track as swirling guitar and non-stop percussion keep the riot going. It’s followed by the equally punchy ‘Lucy Fur’ and ‘Sissy Fists’, which are belting fusions of grunge & punk. The latter smashes apart any associations of weakness and is a proper hardcore two minutes of pure adrenaline.

‘Idle Crown’ is a riotously executed piece of Marilyn Manson-esque pop sleaze. The narrative centers around two LGBTQ+ characters trapped in a toxic heteronormative relationship, who are unable to live as their true selves. It’s hard to resist screaming along to the chorus of ‘Porno’ and ‘Victim Age’, both of which will have you kicking and screeching around a dance floor.

The album’s standout track is undoubtedly ‘Boy’. It’s an anthem for trans-gender rockers and their allies who refuse to be ignored, or oppressed by transphobic or homophobic attitudes. “You can try and bury my head in the sand, but that won’t make the body at the surface a man’s” sings Zee, as manic guitar and heart-pounding drums smash out for just shy of five minutes. ‘Hunger Pains’ follows with Zee’s ravenous screeching and more trademark corkscrew guitar riffs, whereas the brief interlude ‘Anxiety’ is a mellow yet candid admission to not feeling well.

Whether you admit to it or not, we can all relate to closing track ‘I Hate Your New Boyfriend’. It’s a hilariously vicious take-down of a misogynistic partner who drains your friend and by default drains you too. Turn it up extra loud anytime you know said antagonist is in the vicinity. With their punk attitude and ability to write abrasive and infectious tracks, there’s no danger of Queen Zee being melted in to a “masculine mould” – and we’re rejoicing in support of this “whipping girl born into a big man’s world”. What a debut, invest immediately.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo Photography

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut