Sister Ghost, lead by awesome songwriter Shannon O'Neill, are coming all the way from NI to play at this year's LOUD WOMEN Fest! We had a chinwag with them.
Sister Ghost! Tell us a bit about the DIY/punk scene in Northern Ireland?
The coolest spots to play at the minute would be the Art Department, other local art galleries or theatre spaces or BYOB shows in practice spaces (a collective here used to host shows in a house until that got the boot!). Bands we like to play with are Cherym (all-female trio from Derry), Slouch (from Dublin), New Pagans (Belfast/Derry) and some others.
The scene is NI is getting better in terms of the gender divide. I set up Girls Rock School NI in 2016 and since then people have said it’s definitely to thank for helping with the increased levels of women taking up their space in the scene. There is still so much work to be done and still far too many bands full of lads making the same music over and over.
There are only a few managers or booking agents in Belfast/Derry so it’s a case of DIY or die here.
We are SO looking forward to welcoming you to London and seeing you play live, especially after the release of your single ‘Emily’. Tell us all about the song – what’s it about, how did you record it, and what’s the story behind the awesome video?
I wrote this song in my bedroom back home in an evening – it’s very simple so that’s nothing to brag about haha – but it took on another meaning for me once I decided to release it on IWD 2018. I decided to name it after my grandmother (as well as hark to Emily Bronte, Emily Davison etc). In line with that, I wanted to make a video which celebrated 20th century women like those I’d referenced in it’s title. I scoured the internet and archives to get footage and it took a few days for me to make. I really love it and it got a good response on it’s release. It’s also the first Sister Ghost song to have keys on it (which initally I wasn’t sure about, because I’ve always preferred guitars/bass/drums/vox) – it uses the Stooges, QOTSA repeated piano note thing in the verses.
What can we look forward to from Sister Ghost?
I’m currently in the process of writing my first album. It’s such a big deal for me in a way but I think I’m at a place now where I don’t want to overthink it too much; just let it flow. I’ve been recording everything myself using my laptop, Logic Pro x and a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface. It’s been a great learning experience so far and I like to be in control and learn from my mistakes. My aim is to record the best possible demos I can for it and then give it to a few people in the scene that I respect and whose work I love to give me some feedback. I guess after that I’ll see if I can raise some funds to record in a studio – it’s so expensive!
I have a lead single that was recorded back in September 2017 that I have a friend working on a video for. We shot it in the Californian hills of Ojai back in June this year while I was out teaching guitar and band coaching with Girls Rock Santa Barbara. I plan on releasing that song once the video is finished.
Who are you looking forward to seeing play at Loud Women Fest?
I’m honestly so excited to be bringing Sister Ghost to London! It’s also my birthday that weekend too!
Really looking forward to checking out as many as possible really and hopefully make some friends! Wolf Girl are kindly giving us a place to crash while we are over – they’ve been really helpful and friendly and we haven’t even met yet!
Tell us anything else you think it’s important we know about you/your music!
Sister Ghost is all about being true to yourself, taking up space and making peace with your past… oh and owning your anger and curiosity!