The delightful Party Fears (of Berlin via Northern Ireland) releases lush new single ‘Time in Space’ today – a dreamy pop shuffle, showcasing Maggie Devlin’s honey vocals, and space age retro effects. She says:
“It’s a song about prioritising security over authenticity; not necessarily bad, but sometimes hard. This year has forced us to cling to whatever security we can find; sometimes against our deepest instincts. For this song, I did a bit of projecting, imagining selves beyond this self; maybe some of them more authentic than the me imagining them. It’s a weird year that calls for some light astral projection.”
We loved it so much we pinned the lovely Maggie down for a 5 question interview …
1. For anyone who doesn’t know already (fools!) tell us in your own words about Party Fears? Party Fears is me making music mostly out of some weird compulsion I can’t control. Sometimes it’s happy and sometimes it’s sad and sometimes it’s angry and sometimes it’s joyous but most often it’s all of these smooshed together.
2. Tell us about Time in Space… I first started Time in Space last year when I was daydreaming about how much I used to obsess with space as a kid. Then I sat with the song for ages cos I couldn’t quite work my way to a chorus that fit the song. Eventually, I arrived at something and then the song finally came together. But it took a lot of going down wrong paths first! I recorded it in my bedroom at the end of summer through a wee Steinberg interface and a c606 microphone, and it was mixed by the amazing lmtlase studios who also worked on the previous single, All Is Good.
3. What artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment? Great question! I really like what HAVVK have been getting up to, especially with their team-ups. Also from the South (of Ireland), I’ve been enjoying Denise Chaila and Fears. Lisa O’Neill is also amazing: my God, her voice and this, like, aggressive authenticity. Cherym is one of the most exciting bands on the go, writing absolute pop bangers. I loveCareerist too. Under their former name, Hot Cops, they released this song Dumbbo that I obsessed over for about two years. Problem Patterns and Charmpit are great bands to have a bop around the house to, and Beauty Sleep remain one of my biggest loves. They are such a genuine joy and have a very special and abundant relationship with music that’s really contagious. I’m forgetting loads! In terms of inspiration, I find that really hard to talk about as I usually don’t know! Like, for Time in Space, Babywoman’s Charlotte asked me for bands the song sounds like and I literally spent an evening going through my playlists trying to unearth some influences (landed on the Delgados and Judy Garland?). I think there’s always this kind of subterranean river of all kinds of stuff that sometimes overflows and that’s what ends up being a song. A big soup of piles of stuff!
4. What are your top 3 lockdown tips? Oh, man. In the early days of lockdown I started eating like a queen. I have loved making big extravagant lunches! So cooking is one for sure. I can very recommend Rukmini Iyer’s Quick Roasting Tin cookbook! I’ve also rediscovered writing, which has been really nice. I mean music and text. I had horrible writer’s block for ages, which made me miserable, so it feels brilliant to be creative again! And then my ultimate tip is birds. Love me some birds. Birdsong is known to reduce stress, and in general, observing things in the natural world helps bring us outside ourselves and regain some perspective. I recommend just getting out there and trying to spot some wee fluffters bopping about the trees, living their lives and having their own wee wins and losses. I hear the sparrows come to my garden every morning and I always leap out of bed and run to the window, tear the curtain open and go, “Baybaysss!” which is a completely normal thing to do.
5. What kind of a party do you most fear? The Tories.
Liverpool alt-folker Sara Wolff has a stunner of a debut single out today – ‘You Like Talking About Yourself’,
“a song about a person who loves themselves a little bit too much – to the point where they gobble up everyone in any room they enter. No one is spared.”
Oh don’t we all know that person.
Wolff’s got a voice that instantly draws you in, and a song you’ll be humming til teatime. Given the title of the track, we thought it would be apt to give her the opportunity to talk about herself …
1. Talk about yourself! Sara Wolff started as a solo project back home in Norway. I’ve always loved writing stories, and when I taught myself to play guitar one summer I started mixing the two together and songs suddenly came out as a result! I really value great storytelling! I find Benjamin Clementine’s writing really inspiring – I keep coming back to his album “At Least For Now”. Its one of those albums you have to listen to in order from start to finish. I usually put it on and go for a walk and have a little cry – listening to it is like watching a musical, he puts such vivid images in your mind. Oh and I also love Cate Le Bon’s ‘Reward’ – its the perfect mix of understated songwriting and weird, unexpected bleeps and bloops. I listen to it when I need a bit of an inspirational kick in the butt – I really admire how Cate just does whatever she wants but in such a tasteful way.
2. Tell us about the single. “You Like Talking About Yourself” is a song about someone who loves themselves a little bit too much. We all know one – the person who enters the room hungry for blood. If you start a conversation with them you might get stuck in a whirlpool of THEM and you might not come out of it alive. This song is quite different from what I usually write. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my music – I usually spend so much time thinking about my lyrics, the composition, making sure every word is the right one and that all of the chord voicings fit the song perfectly. Being a woman in a very male dominated music world makes it easy to get too self-critical. I have also always struggled with “taking up space” on stage – being loud and shredding licks. This song embodies all of that – it represents all of those qualities I want to build in myself – it’s rough around the edges, its got a very loud distorted bit, its a bit rude and its not very “thought through”. That is my goal – to get the unapologetic confidence of a white, straight indie-rock-boy. They are not gonna step off their stage anytime soon so we need to take our space ourselves, one guitar lick at a time.
3. What artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment? Broken Down Golfcart is a project in Liverpool I find really inspiring. On top of being an incredible songwriter she also makes boss animations and stop motion videos. She is all about collaboration and DIY, which I find super admirable!
Henrio is another artist I’m really excited about, he is one of the kindest people I know and he writes the most beautiful songs. His recent single ‘Together’ is about re-defining the preconceptions we have about love, and he made a beautiful video for it too! Loris and the Lion is a Liverpool-based duo who makes storytelling folk music that plucks your heartstrings and makes your whole being tingle! This is one of their songs, Waxwing, which tells the story about Jorinde and Joringel from Brothers Grimm.
4. What are your top 3 lockdown tips? Go for lots of walks! The park by my house has been my saving grace in this odd time, and I always find ideas for new songs when I’m walking. Crocheting! There’s nothing more satisfying than keeping your ears warm with a cozy strange hat youve made yourself. Soups and stews! It’s root vegetable season! Do I have to say more?
5. Who are your top 3 people who like talking about themselves a little too much? Me, myself and I 😉
Stonked to bring you today the premiere of a newie from Berlin electropop twosome Ducks!: With Compliments, a single released in collaboration with guitarist and composer Maya Shenfeld (formerly of Leoprrrds).
Ducks! describe it as “a tangy slice of indie dance with a swirl of psychedelic bossa-nova guitar”, and if that isn’t enough to make you fall in love with them, please note that these darlings sign their emails off with the line “Don’t go chasing waterfowl…” We just had to find out more, so we tasked them with our 5 lazy questions …
Tell us about Ducks and Maya – how did you come together?
Ducks! met in early 2014, when Lani had just moved to Berlin. A mutual favourite human in Australia digitally introduced us, and we started making music together pretty much straight away. Maya came into our world when we played a gig with her indie rock band Leoprrrds at a classic Berlin DIY venue called Loophole (the excellent Party Fears were also playing that night). We got to know each other a bit better, and eventually saw Maya perform an experimental electronic piece composed for a sixteen channel sound installation at the Humboldt Forum, which seriously impressed us and made us really want to work with her. We found an excuse to make something together soon after that – a Walkmix for Ableton’s Loop summit in LA in 2018.
Tell us about With Compliments.
With Compliments was recorded in two sessions earlier this year. The first one was in the pre-COVID times. Lani was hungover and fell asleep for a while and woke up to Craig & Maya’s beautiful sounds and some subliminally-delivered inspiration, and sang some vocals. The second one was when we were coming out of the first lockdown, the sun was shining, and we were all feeling a sense of relief. We worked in the classic Ducks! method of taking turns adding parts, which is always very playful. Maya recorded a dreamy guitar part, Lani added saxophones, Craig added some keyboards weirdified with ageing tape loops. And we all had fun making a choir together. The song’s about false compliments, meaningless small talk, and the masks we all wear in social situations – which makes it sound grim, but it’s a lighthearted take on it. We were working very quickly and trying not to overthink things, which adds a nice naïveté to the mood.
What artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment?
So many! Our friends TV Heads make beautiful dusty Californian indie rock, and their video for Ribbons gives us all the feels. Skwirl’s album Planned Obsolescence is a head-nodding, samplicious good time – if you can get your hands on the tape that mix is especially tasty. Yvois makes lo-fi hip hop with such a great blend of textures. We’re really loving her sexy remix of Ohrkid’s Cherry Juice. Then there’s Ori Moto, who’s been live-streaming his way through the pandemic with all different flavours of beats – slow rave, 80s house remixes, hip hop… all sorts. We’re also obsessed with this B-side called Run 4 U off our friend Sparrows’ latest single – it’s full of ear candy and the raspy vocal style is awesome.
What are your top 3 lockdown tips.
Get a ceiling projector, lie on your back and binge the whole of Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s even better as a giant movie marathon. Add hallucinogens if that’s your vibe.
Dance alone with headphones to Middle Eastern dabke.
Make music with those special people you already sneezed on (keep it in the bubble, friends!)
Dublin’s newest indiepop futurestars Magazines just dropped today their lush new single ‘Pink and Blue’. We caught up with frontwoman Catherine Leahy for a chinwag …
Tell us about Magazines I’ve always been obsessed with music, and have always wanted to perform and be in a band. I used to write songs alone in my room. I did that for literal years. But then about two years ago I met the lads through mutual friends, and it all sort of just fell into place. We pretty much immediately started writing together and rehearsing. We had our first gig pretty quickly after we started rehearsing too. We all have quite similar music tastes, which helps. We draw a lot of inspiration from bands and artists like Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, The Cure, Clairo, and Smashing Pumpkins. So it’s definitely a mixed bag. But it works for us.
Tell us about Pink and Blue We wrote Pink and Blue a couple of months ago now. Before quarantine and lockdown even started. Then we recorded it with our friend Adam of Flaked Studios. Writing songs is sort of like a stream of consciousness, I find. It’s usually only after I’ve written a song that I can sort of sit down and think about what it means to me. I used to struggle with my confidence a lot, which played a part in the band then too because I was always embarrassed to show new songs, and even more embarrassed to get on stage and perform them. I was embarrassed because I didn’t really think I fit the part of “front woman of a band”. It took me a long time to realise that being in a band doesn’t mean you have to be one thing. Like, I’m a person, and just like anybody else, am multifaceted. Which seems like pretty basic knowledge, but it took me a long time to figure that out. So I guess Pink and Blue is just about that narrative I had going on in my head.
What artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment? We are all big fans of the Irish music scene at the minute. There are some really cool bands coming out of Ireland at the minute, like Soda Blonde, NewDad, and milk. We also really love Beabadoobee’s debut album at the moment, but she isn’t exactly a new artist.
What are your top 3 lockdown tips I think it’s most important to keep your mind buzzing. I spent the first few weeks of lockdown just glued to my laptop, on YouTube. Not very healthy. So my word isn’t exactly gospel. But I would say try do something creative every day. Try exercise every day. And make sure you’re reaching out to friends and family. Get a good symbiotic relationship going.
If you could publish a magazine, who would be on the cover? Probably Robert Smith. Not that he’d ever be on any publication I’d written!
Out now, ‘Heady’ is the stunning new single from London/Oxford band PETSEMATARY, on Beth Shalom Records. Frontwoman Gaby-Elise says the song is about:
‘owning your gender and sexuality, but also feeling drained at times when trying to fight for it.’
Innit though. We cornered Gaby-Elise for a quick 5 question interview …
1. Tell us about Petsemetary. Petsem started off as a solo project. I released PETSEMATARY VOLUME I a couple years ago along with my pal Luke Allmond, which was basically a bunch of really embarrassing breakup songs…Surprisingly people really liked the songs, so I asked Luke to join on bass as well as Casper Miles and Jack Kendrew to join on drums and guitar. Our songs are slightly less embarrassing now I think.
2. Tell us about Heady. It’s about taking ownership of your body and your sexuality, and how exhausting and frustrating that entire process can be. It started off as a dreamy kinda guitar riff I kept playing over and over in my room. I’ve always been into experimenting with soundscapes and guitar sounds, so it was really cool to dig deeper into that on this track. We worked with Chris Barker of Premium Leisure who worked with us on our debut single Get Away With It. He’s an incredible songwriter from Oxford and a bloody dream to work with, and really helped us shape the sound of the track.
3. What (new/peer) artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment? I’m absolutely loving Porij at the moment. They’re a four-piece from Manchester and they make this incredible jazz/RnB/experimental pop music. They cross a lot of different genres but every song is just so well crafted and amazing. TrumanDinosaur are another band who are super inspiring to me. The songwriting at the heart of their songs is just super on point, evocative and uplifting, so their stuff has been a real blessing during these depressingly weird lockdown times.
4. What are your top 3 lockdown tips. Honestly at this point my only advice is to just listen to every single one of your carnal desires and give in to them (within reason – no murder/crime pls). It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and feel like your life is losing meaning with everything going on at the moment so I just really think we need to listen to our minds and our bodies and be kind to ourselves. Eat the food you wanna eat, read a book, listen to music that inspires you, talk to your mates etc. Anything that’s going to spark the serotonin in your brain. Also be okay with not being okay. I still haven’t managed to nail any of those things but I’m cool with knowing that everyone else is in the same boat and that it’s all a work in progress.
5. In the Stephen King novel Pet Sematary, a grief-stricken father ill-advisedly buries his child in an animal graveyard with magical, re-animatory powers. If you could bring one dead musician back to life for 24 hours to record an album with, who would it be? Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith for sure. They’re my favourite songwriters of all time and their music is endlessly inspiring to me. I mean I probably wouldn’t try and resurrect them on a burial ground though, especially if you know how it turns out for the guy in the novel…
Indiepop duo of the moment CATBEAR release today their third single of the year – ‘Who Are You?‘ – one for fans of 80s-tastic synths and catchy hooks.
We caught up with Zoe for a quick interview to find out more …
1. Tell us in your own words ‘Who are you?’ We evolved out of the band Cat Bear Tree. Initially it was a bedroom production project of mine which turned into the beginnings of CATBEAR. We just decided to have fun with music and not put any pressure on ourselves or not worry about what style it fitted into. We’ve kept our indie roots but now they’re drenched in poppy synths.
2. Tell us about the single. ‘Who Are You?’ was written and recorded in spring this year. The melody and words came to me on one of my last commutes before lockdown. I have quite a short commute so it came out kinda quickly and I had to sing it into my phone on the platform at Blackfriars station. We always seem to write lust songs and this one is no exception! The instrumentation is quite full on and it kind of represents the intense physical feelings you have for someone in the early stages, but it’s tinged with some uncertainty as to whether they’re right and whether you know them well enough to be getting in so deep.
3. Which artists are you most excited about/inspired by at the moment? Jenn Champion – her music videos make us want to dance around in lycra, we’ve shared the stage with Nova Twins before and they are one of the best live acts we’ve seen, Skies we’ve played with too and they’re awesome and have worked so hard going live keeping fans happy through lockdown, and Bryde because she is heartachingly fantastic.
4. What are your top 3 lockdown tips? Having a healthy routine – I have started having a cold shower and a run every morning, I even set my alarm for 6am now. It’s a bit ridiculous how lockdown has made me feel fitter and healthier than ever! It’s been really important to keep creating – we made both this single and our last single Girl Crush during lockdown. And staying social has been really important, making sure Sarah and I keep in touch and see each other as much as possible when we’re allowed!
5. If you could be a cat or a bear, which would you choose? Well people seem to think that I’m the cat and Sarah’s the bear. So I guess we’re stuck with those now! But we both kind of like cats and bears so that’s cool.
We are stoked to be hosting the premiere today of a new single from alt rockers All Flags are Grey. ‘Blood Box’ is out today, tackling as they say “elements of control within relationships, be it sexually or platonically”, and the stunning video is once seen never forgotten. We had a lil chat with the band …
We love this song! What’s it about? Lyrically the song explores the narrative of coercive control be it in a sexual relationship or a relationship that is purely platonic .
On our previous EP we had focused on incorporating more electronic production styles, but both our roots lie in alt rock and on this record we wanted to add a larger element of this with a hint of doom.
What the fluff is going on in this video then? We’re big fans of 80s cult horror movies and this definitely influenced the video, but we wanted to take a more comic style approach to the aesthetic so we teamed up with visionary artist Ben Coiacetto who directed and produced the video for us.
We also did this video during lock down all filmed on green screen – social distancing most certainly applied!
What’s next for you? Live wise we are really looking forward to playing again. We had a tour in the U.K. and dates in Germany which was was due to start in April but sadly cancelled , at the moment where working on some tracks for film sync projects but have new tour dates next year we will announce soon.
Tuffragettes are back with a storming 10-track LP called ‘4’ – with all songs written, performed, engineered and produced by the amazing Frankie Tuffragette.
“I have so many songs inside of me. They’re my ovules in my creative imaginative transgender bender womanly non-binary womb, and I love nurturing them and setting them free to make their own journeys. “4” began as a difficult album to write, and ended as a collection of songs that came together in a beautiful way, and that I’m incredibly happy with and proud of. I feel like I’ve improved as an instrumentalist, as a songwriter, and as a poet, and really what more could I ask for from a creative project.”
We caught up with Frankie for a quick natter about the album.
For those unfortunate souls who’ve not encountered Tuffragettes before, sum yourself up in a sentence.
genrebending ‘punk metal & chill’ for dykes, fags, trans people, butches, fems, andros, weirdos, outsiders and oppression fighters <333
What have you been up to since we last saw you? (when you played LW Unplugged in Oct 2019 – seems like a lifetime ago!)
It does seem like forever ago! Since then I’ve finished writing the new Tuffragettes LP, “4”, which is out now! It’s the second Tuffra LP, I’m really happy it’s done and out there, and hope y’all dig it.
Big hats off for getting a release ready in these funny times. Has lockdown been a help or a hindrance to your creativity?
Actually it was such a help! I didn’t have to travel or be away from home as much, so I had a lot more time at home with my equipment to get it done. I also had sooo much more energy being away from the stares and the bigots, it really made a difference. HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA ARE STILL SO REAL! It’s amazing and heartbreaking the difference it can make to take a break from wider cis-het society. All this said, I know it’s been such a hard time for a lot of people, particularly marginalised people, and I wanna extend my love and to everyone too. Jonny Pierce from The Drums has done a really beautiful guided meditation which is up on Spotify, and I’d really recommend it to anyone for whom meditation can be useful xxx
Talk us through the album – what are your stand-out tracks/songs you’re most pleased with?
‘Eat Yr Words’ is a big tune for me. It came straight outta the bitterness of being patronised, taken advantage of, and made to feel stupid that I think a lotta women and queer people can relate to.
‘Rhinoceros’ is fulla riffs n chuggs, and reminds you not to let your ways of surviving in this world swallow the ways that you truly are.
‘Make Yr Own Throne’ is a spark that I hope will help to ignite and mobilise, and encourage us all to keep standing up and taking back.
‘F@CK!’, ‘Aurora’ and ‘Geyser’ are a love song trilogy to an amazing human I met on the first show of our European tour last year, and am in a really nourishing, special relationship with 1.5 years later ❤
Tell us about the recording – when, where, who and how did it happen?
So this one happened the same way all my music does: in my bedroom on my own with an old mac, logic 8, a shitty audio interface, a basic pair of headphones, a basic speaker set, and some old budget instruments. If I can do it, you can too! And if yr a queer woman or non-binary person based in London and need a little help, msg me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give ya some tips! You can also get in touch with OMNII, an amazing sound collective of women and non-binary sound makers, and First Timers, who put on yearly workshops for first-time musicians and bands ❤
Carissa Johnson and Steph Curran release a new single and video today, “Now Or Never Now”, written by one of my favorites, synth-rock band Metric. This is their first single release of a two-part cover song installment. They have been performing and collaborating together since 2016. Curran joined forces with Johnson that Summer after meeting at a Boston club, as lead guitarist, shifting Johnson’s solo project into what would become the full-band known as Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls (with Nick Hall on drums) and they have toured the U.S. extensively.
Curran is from Boston and Charlotte and has been a part of other musical projects such as Marianas, Breathe, The Static Dynamic, and Goddess of my Religion. Her thoughtfully crafted driving guitar riffs take Johnson’s indie folk punk stylings down a grittier alternative rock path. Johnson is from Boston and Los Angeles and is influenced by bands such as MUNA, Veruca Salt and The Sounds. Her lyrics are poetic, melodies are memorable and music is edgy with a pop sensibility. The songwriting is organic and infectious leaving you with a feeling of instant nostalgia.
This past Winter and Spring, Steph Curran and Carissa Johnson got together (both remotely and in the studio) to record this cover single. The track was recorded and mixed by Curran and the video was done by Fuel Heart Productions, Johnson’s art and media company. It captures a dark, textural and playful vibe of the two performing in the studio that makes you want to dance around and release your inner demons. I caught up with these queer women multi-instrumentalists to discuss the inspiration behind it all.
1. How long have you two been collaborating/playing together and what is your writing process? Carissa: Steph and I have been working together since Summer of 2016. When Steph joined the band I was used to writing by myself and bringing the songs to her and Nick (our drummer) and then elaborating on them all together. It was really special when Steph joined the project because it was really the beginning of real collaboration in my project – her and Nick brought such important elements to the sound that the songs felt like they began writing themselves, and it wasn’t just a solo effort anymore. Steph usually writes her own guitar parts and we work out the structure together after the main idea is brought to the table.
Steph: Since this song is a cover, the fun part was putting our spin on it and trying to do it all ourselves remotely. I recorded the instruments at my home studio in Charlotte then sent Carissa the roughs to sing over. We went back and forth on vocal production ideas to switch it up from the original. This was my first time mixing a song with so many synth layers, so it was quite the learning experience.
2. Congrats on the song and video! What made you choose this particular song to cover? And how did the video come about? Carissa: Steph and I have always bonded over our love for Metric. Their album Art of Doubt really struck a chord with both of us and we agreed that the song Now or Never Now stood out to us as one of the albums’ best songs. I obsessed over the song for a while after hearing it for the first time, it was all I listened to. The words just really resonated with me and have taken on so many meanings over time – it actually really fits well with this time during coronavirus – feeling stuck, nothing’s the same, and just that feeling of time slowing down but not waiting for anything either.
Steph: The genius of this song is in the musical nuance. The core of it centers around the same chord progression, but the band makes small variations each time the progression repeats. If you aren’t paying attention, you might not notice but put on some headphones, focus on the music, and BAM–the subtle changes are brilliant. During the lockdown, Carissa and I were talking about feeling a bit out of sorts. Both of us were sheltering in place in new situations. I’d recently moved to a new city far away from everything I knew, and she was alone in an Airbnb in L.A. We are planners and workaholics by nature, so having an empty calendar all of a sudden was a bit unsettling. I thought working on a cover could give us something fun and stress-free to rally around outside of our other musical ventures.
3. What is the song’s meaning and how does it speak to you/translate into your version of “Now or Never Now”? Steph: My interpretation of the song’s meaning is kinda like seize the day while you can. I think we all hit a point in life where we get tired of being kicked around, we reflect on our past and the choices we’ve made. We can choose to focus on the negative stuff and let it drag us down to the point of giving up or we can choose to say screw it, it’s now or never so let’s get on with it. When it came to translating it into our version, I wanted to emphasize a hopeful message since it’s been such a trying time for everyone this year. We did an extended outro repeating the words “Never” and “Now”…“Now” being the word we end the song on. Carissa: The song, to me, means facing change and growing pains at a time that’s not expected or easy to deal with. It’s almost an internal monologue of “go for it, the time is now,” and facing your fears head on, while also being emotional about past events or things falling apart that are out of your control. The verses of Now or Never Now really resonate where I’ve felt like I’ve been in a whirlwind a lot of the time, traveling and leaving places and things of comfort behind. The lines “I’m fine to sit and stare at the door, can’t run anymore, too weary to stand” and “my life is on pause, it’s out of my hands” take on a far greater meaning with the pandemic happening around us. It’s gotten far more literal now, almost eerily literal. Also the lines “to perfectly perform in reverse, there’s no way to rehearse, there’s nothing to plan” are just too spot on for how I’ve felt these past few months!
4. When did you start playing? Please share with us why you wanted to become a musician and your first instrument and band. Carissa: I picked up a guitar at 9, and started performing with my first band in high school at age 15. That band was called Left Hand Blue and we played together for about 5 years until the singer and I both took on solo projects. I didn’t venture into my solo thing until I was about 18, but had always known I’d find my way onstage as a front person, singer/songwriter ‘cause I always felt like I had something to say and to share with people. I am a quiet person and am really internal – so performing is where I can be a bigger version of myself and kick and scream the things I don’t know how to communicate any other way other than through song. It’s my own version of therapy and way of coping with frustrations and growing pains.
Steph: I started getting serious about playing guitar around 8 years old after seeing the Guns N’ Roses’ video for “Paradise City.” I wanted that life—sex, drugs and rock n’ roll along with killer riffs, cigarettes, and whiskey. By 17, I’d moved on from the sunset strip to heavier bands like Pantera and got into my first band called “Resistance.” We covered “Roots Bloody Roots” by Sepultura and I fell in love with the more physical side of performing live.
5. Carissa, you recently released two remixes by Ryan Manning that incorporate synthesizers and some different production into your music. Did this have any influence on recording this song and will you be continuing on this path in the future? Yes! I love synth. I have always loved synths in songs and bands that focus around keyboards and danceable melodies. Even more so now, I’ve begun to listen to so much synth-pop and keyboard based artists that I’ve wanted to incorporate it even more into my own music. I feel like there’s a whole world I haven’t even begun to explore yet and through the collaboration with Ryan I realized how many different routes I can take with the same song. I don’t want to create the same thing twice, or make albums that all sound the same, and after playing punk and rock based music for a while I can sense myself drifting into something entirely new and different. It’s one of my favorite things, experimenting with genre and new sounds, and discovering new artists who inspire me to stretch my comfort zone, so I’m looking forward to how things fall together musically for future albums.
6. What is your favorite dessert? Steph: I’ve been super into Dairy Queen’s cherry dipped cone lately. I have no idea what that cherry dipped stuff is–half sugar, half wax, 100% perfection.
7. What is the weirdest show you’ve played? Carissa: I once played a show at a thrift store in Vallejo California, for my tourmates, the thrift store owner, a radio DJ (god bless his heart for coming out and supporting) and a handful of locals there to see the other act on the bill, “Socks,” an older, soulful guy who I believe danced and sang to some tracks on an old school radio. It’s all kind of a blur but I remember playing the same song twice because the one person in the crowd requested it, and then locking my keys in the car and waiting a long time for AAA to find us.
Steph: One of the weirdest shows I’ve played was a “freak show” festival in Pennsylvania. During our set, a guy was swinging in the air from hooks in his back with a woman hooked to his knees from her back. It was horrifying yet impressive all at once!
8. What is it like releasing a single under lockdown and what do you have in store next? Steph: For me, the only difference is the lack of physically performing it live as a way of promoting it. We have another cover coming out in a few weeks, which is quite the departure from the original production, so I’m super curious to see how people react to it.
Carissa: It’s been difficult navigating the promotion for anything lately, but it feels good to get something out there. It feels good to be connected, and to do what I’m used to doing, creating and releasing things. It was a fun challenge for Steph and I to create this (we did it remotely while I was away in CA and she was in NC). There will be another cover TBA very shortly that will be out on August 28th! Steph and I recorded this one this past fall/winter at Mad Oak and are SO excited for you all to hear it.
LOUD WOMEN’s Cassie Fox caught up with BBR’s awesome frontwoman Stars (Anastasia Walker) on Zoom – here’s a transcript of the video if you’d rather read!
Stars: It’s actually called ‘LOUD WOMEN Fest’? That’s the best festival name I’ve ever heard in my life. And I’m buzzing! I’m buzzing for it! There just isn’t enough females on festival line-ups. There isn’t enough variation. And whether that’s down to not enough women being seen or inspired, either way there needs to be more of it, and it’s a pleasure to be part of something that is going towards the cause of getting women playing guitars and getting seen on stages. It’s like a massive inspiration hotpot. The amount of women I’ve spoken to who might be an amazing bedroom bass player or something like that, but have never gone on to play in a band. A lot of the reason is because, well, you don’t really go anywhere do you? You don’t really get on any line-ups. And I think this is another brilliant way of inspiring – oh no, actually you can! But we’ve got to fight together to get on those line-ups and to get seen. You want to be able to see yourself, in the future, being able to do that. And if there’s not enough representation on current, everyday line-ups, then how are we supposed to inspire the next generation of women to pick up drum sticks, microphones, write songs, etcetera.
Cassie: I think we’ve got a great opportunity now, with lockdown as well this year. Like, nothing happening. It’s almost like the slate’s been completed wiped clean. Maybe all the festivals could look at their line-ups next year and think ‘OK, well maybe we won’t just book Oasis or whatever to play everything!
Stars: When it comes to massive acts, it’s like – they were free this year, but then they might not be available next year. That’s also a great reason for festivals, and event organisers and promotion companies to be like ‘right OK, let’s look at the up-and-coming female acts’. It’s like we’ve almost got a second chance here. Anyone of you guys listening, we’re inspired, and we’re hungry, and we’re ready … and this festival is going to prove that. So listen!
For all those who support putting women on stage, and turning up the volume