INTERVIEW: Ghum

Having been firm favourites here at GIHE for a number of years, wowing us with their immersive live performances and captivating post-punk musicality, London band GHUM have now released their much-awaited debut album, Bitter. Oozing a gritty, swirling energy as front person Laura’s vocals soar throughout, each track carries the band’s trademark ethereal allure and dark, hypnotic splendour, showcasing their ability to consistently hone their sound and bewitch listeners worldwide.

To celebrate the release of the album, we caught up with Laura, Jojo, Marina and Vicki to find out more about Bitter; what inspires them; their thoughts on the industry today; their plans for the year, and more. Have a read below and make sure you immerse your ears in the new album as soon as possible!

Hey Ghum! For those who aren’t familiar, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you all got together to start creating music as Ghum? 
We met because Marina, our bassist, put an ad online looking for female musicians to form a band because she thought playing with other women would be more fun. She knew Laura from a previous jam with other people and asked if she was still looking for a band. “I loved her voice and vibe so much, and was really happy she said yes.” Jojo responded to the ad saying she loved The Cure and Warpaint and I said: “You’re in, bitch”. Vicki came along soon after that and boom: Ghum was formed. 

We’re huge fans of your swirling, ethereal allure and post-punk energy, but who would you say are your main musical influences? 
Bit of Cure, bit of Pixies, bit of Joy Division and Warpaint…

You’ve just released your debut album, Bitter, which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
Bitter is our debut album and we wanted to establish and cement our sound with this record. This time we knew what we were looking for when songwriting, and searched for it. The themes vary but the songs are about people and conversations that have maybe a bitter end – reflections on people that left a mark, and just a release of feelings that needed an escape.

And how would you say this album differs or moves on from your previous releases? 
We have consolidated our sound (for now) after The Coldest Fire EP we released in 2019, we found something that really agreed with all of us – we wanted to explore this sound and make it punchier. It feels like the culmination of an era, what we wanted to reach until now. This is us.

You’ve been wowing crowds with your immersive live shows for some time now, including support slots with the likes of Dream Wife and L.A Witch (and headlining for us at the Finsbury!), but is there a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you? 
We have just finished a supporting tour with Choir Boy and Soft Kill. We played in Paris at the Petit Bain and we really enjoyed that one. The French crowd was awesome and the venue was a dream – it was in the middle of our first European tour, so it was quite special to play to such a different crowd and get such a good response.

I’ve always loved seeing you live, and seem to become hypnotised by your majestic splendour! But how would you describe the Ghum live experience to those who’ve not had the pleasure yet? 
Thank you! We live our shows in our skin, we try to transmit the emotions in the songs and give a performance where we tell a story. We are loud and quiet, and we love low lights and smoke machines. We love a good mosh pit and dance party too.

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?
The industry is changing slowly and improving with this, but there is still a lot to improve on. Lack of representation and sexism is still a massive problem in this industry; on and off stage. For example a lack of female, non-binary, trans and queer/LGBTQ+ tour managers or drivers, or sound engineers, or gig promoters, or lighting designers. Fortunately, there are collectives such as 3T which is a training course for underrepresented gender/ethnic groups in touring and live music – something we want to see more of! At any given point, we try to always work with women across the board for our shows or tours, and to give opportunities to women to work in a safe working environment is also important. It’s still very much a “boys club” or “man’s world” in the music industry, especially when you step outside of the DIY scene – which we’re very fortunate to have started from. But it’s evident there’s still a great deal of improvement that could be done and we hope we can help with this, along with many other artists, fighting for more change.

And with you all being from different parts of the world, how would you say the music scene here differs from the places you grew up? 
It’s totally different! There are underground alternative scenes everywhere of course, but London has such an extensive circuit of venues of all sizes and a lot of respect for bands that are starting out; there is a big history of alternative music from this neck of the woods and it feels like people are more tolerant. I’ll say the alternative scene is even more alternative in places like Spain and Brazil where society is not as open minded – it’s way harder to find places to play, and the resources are more limited. But there is a lot of DIY ethos and community support.

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?
We really like NewDad, Hussy, Fraulein, Bdrmm, Montaña (Spain)…

And, finally, in addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for Ghum…?
We have lots of plans. We have a few shows and festivals coming up. We are especially excited for our upcoming show at Rough Trade East on 4th July where we are gonna be celebrating our album launch and signing some vinyls for the first time. We are finally playing in Spain (where our vocalist Laura is from) at the end of August at Canelaparty in Malaga and we are very happy about that too. We will be announcing a UK tour in autumn and we are writing new songs, so we hope to keep on releasing new material. Lots of work and lots of gigs!

Huge thanks to Ghum for answering our questions!

Bitter, the debut album from Ghum, is out now via Everything Sucks. Buy here.

Photo Credit: Paul Phung

Introducing Interview: Lena Hessels

Having previously been featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday NL, Dutch artist Lena Hessels is now set to release her new EP, then when will it, next month. Taken from the EP, latest single ‘fast lights‘ shimmers with an exquisite twinkling allure. As a majestic, haunting atmosphere is created, Hessels’ celestial vocals soar with an emotion-rich splendour.

To celebrate the release of ‘fast lights’, we caught up with Lena to find out more about what inspires her, live music and what the future holds… Have a read, and make sure you take a listen to the luscious ‘fast lights’!

Hi Lena, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Get In Her Ears! Thanks for having me! I’m Lena Hessels, I’m 21 and I make abstract pop music. Oh, and I’m from Holland.

How did you initially start creating music?
Well, my dad is a guitarist in a band called The Ex, and the house I grew up in was a place where a lot of befriended musicians would stay if they were on tour in Holland. So, growing up I was surrounded by a lot of different music and people. My mom always tells me that I was singing before I could speak, and I believe her! I was always singing, all the fucking time. I loved it, still do! I was very fascinated by all these older people I saw who were playing shows. I knew then that that was what I wanted, so every chance I got I performed songs for people! Then, when I was about six I got a little mp3 recorder from my parents. I started recording all these very long story songs on that. I actually found a couple of them last year on my mom’s old computer, and one of them was also the inspiration for my previous single ‘crown’. Pretty cool, I think. But the first song I actually recorded with instruments and stuff was when I was eight – it was called ‘Dubbel Drop’ (dubbel licorice): my favourite Dutch candy. A couple years later I discovered Taylor Swift – a true pop-star! Pop music was something I discovered then and felt that was what I wanted. I started playing guitar and got obsessed with writing songs. Now we’re here!

Your new single ‘fast lights’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
Lyrically this song is about having a fun weekend with your friends at a festival. Throughout the song, the festival comes to an end and as you reach the outro, you’re in the car driving home and reflecting on the weekend – your life, growing up and how that all works. I think I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s not a sad song in any way, more like a moment of thought.

You’ve been compared to the likes of FKA Twigs and James Blake, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love both FKA Twigs and James Blake very much! For me it all started with Taylor Swift, so she’ll always be an inspiration. Her music is great, also her career and how she works the industry is super interesting to me. I also really look up to ROSALIA and Sevdaliza. I love artists who experiment and mix different styles of music and really make their sound their own.

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
I am based in Amsterdam right now. There is a very rich indie band scene here, which is a lot of fun! I feel like everybody is very supportive of each other’s music here, which is really cool. I really enjoy going to gigs, it’s one of my favourite things to do; it’s so inspiring and interesting to see people perform. And we do have some nice venues here, and touring is slowly starting up again, so there are a lot of cool gigs to look forward to. I haven’t really found the pop/electronic music scene yet here in Amsterdam, that is something I hope to find soon!

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I hope to give a high energy show. Together with Cris Mollee, I’ve made this sick light installation. When I perform I’m alone on stage, so I really wanted something to complement the music and myself. I think it works really well. I have only played a couple of shows, but I really hope to play more. My main goal right now is to go on tour – performing is one of my favourite things to do! It makes me feel so happy and full, I hope people watching the show also feel that.

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
First there is Personal Trainer – they are a great band! The front person lives above me, haha. So definitely check them out! And Raven Artson is really cool – I saw him preform a couple of weeks ago, that was great!

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yes, I feel that since covid the music industry is even more saturated than before. There is just so much music out there. But if you make good music people will find you even if it takes some time, I know that. To get noticed in a different country is even more abstract because you don’t know the environment as well as in your own country. I would love to get played in the UK and play shows there! So, I’m really happy with this interview.

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Lena Hessels?
There is a lot more music coming! This year I’m releasing three EPs in total – I’m really looking forward to it! I am probably going to be working on a lot more music. I really hope to grow as an artist and performer, and I want to learn and get better at my craft. My biggest goal for this year is definitely to play a lot of shows, and I really hope to play my first UK shows – so if you have any gigs for me, let me know, I’ll be there!

Massive thanks to Lena Hessels for answering our questions!

The second in a series of three EPs that Hessels plans to release, then when will it is due out on 13th July, and is produced by Tender Blom (guitarist of Pip Blom).

WATCH: Wyldest – ‘Abilene’

Wyldest, aka Zoe Mead, is a London-based singer-songwriter and producer. Having just announced the release of her new album, Feed The Flowers Nightmares, she has now also shared her disco-tinged second single, ‘Abilene‘. Following the release of her last album, 2021’s Monthly Friend, Zoe was burnt out creatively. She began collaborating with Luciano Rossi (Idlewild, Dama Scout), activating a new energy, and they went on to create what they jokingly call their “doom pop” record; the resulting songs are meticulously constructed, featuring variations on Wyldest’s ambient/dream-pop sound.

Playful and infectious, ‘Abilene’ is a song made to be performed to flashing disco lights. Hidden beneath the glow, is the tale of a sorrowful farewell to a close friend. Starting off with slow, dreamy vocals, and an electronic beat, it then blossoms into swirls of guitar, bringing us into the poignant emotional soundscape of the song (“Lessons you taught me, I’ll think of you Abilene”). 

This stirring latest offering from Wyldest brings out a more introspective side underneath the shimmering surface, blending happy and wistful memories into pure pop bliss. It’s a perfect indication of the different paths her upcoming album will take us on, whilst exploring the themes of regeneration and growth.

‘Abilene’ is accompanied by a heartfelt new video, featuring Get In Her Ears contributor Tutku Barbaros. Watch it below:

Feed The Flowers Nightmares, the upcoming new album from Wyldest, is set for release on 9th September via Hand In Hive.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

Photo Credit: Eva Bowen

LIVE: Women’s Work Showcase 2022 – Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast

A community led, human-centered approach to promoting and supporting women & non-binary people in music, the Women’s Work Showcase at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre was stacked with impressive live performances over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. Full of passionate, respectful fans and artists who all contributed to making the space feel as vibrant and as safe as possible, the showcase displayed the eclectic and exciting musical talent of the Northern Irish & Irish music scenes.

As we walked into the venue to the sound of Girl For Sale‘s tender guitar tunes, we recognised so many faces both on and off stage. HAVVK, Party Fears and Problem Patterns were all amongst the crowd, who cheered as self-described “pink pop princess” Susi Pagel performed her bittersweet anthems ‘Pick Me’, ‘Pretty Girl’ and also treated listeners to a cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’, as a nod to the 20th anniversary of the Canadian superstar’s debut album, Let Go.

Split across two stages, we turned to see Clara Tracey clad in a white suit seated behind her keyboard, as she delivered a captivating set filled with her clear, soft vocals and jazz-tinged keys. The sharp, infectious sounds of rapper Don Chi filled the venue next. Though she confessed to feeling nervous between songs, Don Chi continued to emcee with impressive confidence, with tracks ‘Orange’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Dent’ especially leaving a mark on the memory.

Up next were formidable Dublin four-piece SPRINTS. Tearing through a riotous set list that included songs from their recent EP A Modern Job, the band had the crowd hanging on every riff and chorus, with vocalist & guitarist Karla Chubb commanding their attention with truly furious flair. The infectious, radiant alt-pop tunes of Winnie Ama followed, filling the venue with joy and swaying bodies to tracks ‘Here I Go’ and ‘Awe Of You’.

Aoife Wolf brought her brooding “Noise folk from the bog” to everyone’s ears next. Armed with her guitar and enigmatic vocals, the effect of her subtle, yet captivating performance lingered long after she’d stopped playing. GIHE favourites Fraulein took to the stage afterwards, bringing their moody brand of alternative grunge to an attentive crowd. Joni & Karston’s natural charisma made their performance feel effortless, with tracks ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Belly’ sounding bigger and better each time we hear them. Derry trio CHERYM brought their brand of infectious pop punk inspired tunes next, smiling from ear-to-ear as they did so. ‘Abigail’, ‘We’re Just Friends’ and ‘Listening to my Head’ all stood out amongst a setlist full of energetic guitar anthems that went by in a flash of glee and angst.

Closing the night were feminist punks Problem Patterns. Kicking off their set with ‘Y.A.W’ (‘Yes All Women’), Alanah, Beth, Bev and Ciara firmly established their status as one of the most important and powerful live bands of the moment. Challenging the traditional “front person” set up by having each band member switch between mics and instruments for different songs, their set was full of jokes, joy and rage: all shared and directed at the patriarchal forces that attempt to crush minority communities who are asking for the respect they deserve. ‘Terfs Out’ the gloriously abrasive ‘Big Shouty’ and the wonderful ‘Gal Pals’ all resonated with the enthusiastic crowd.

Despite many artists and fans having to leave the venue earlier than planned due to public transport issues (which Oh Yeah Music Centre’s Charlotte Dryden highlighted in this tweet), the Women’s Work Showcase felt like a truly progressive initiative that proved that safe spaces for women & non-binary artists and fans are vital, and something that can be implemented into the wider music scenes if people are willing to put in the effort.

All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to the staff at the Oh Yeah Centre, the patient and attentive sound engineers, and to Charlene Hegarty, who curated the line-up and invited us over to share in the joy of Women’s Work.

Follow Women’s Work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & on their official website

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut